Posts Tagged: Julie Mellon

Three Years and Counting…

My friend, Michelle, and I sat down three years ago and had a conversation about where we wanted to go with our careers. Both of us were in jobs that didn’t really call to us. They paid the bills and paid the bills and provided health benefits – you know, the things people want and need to feel secure. But the long-term prospects for those jobs just weren’t satisfying. Instead of letting this conversation become a ‘woe is me’ pity party, we decided to set goals – with time limits and action steps. My goal for that first year was to write and publish one book. Looking back, that was a very naïve and uninformed decision – good thing I’m adaptable.

During the first year, I went to two conferences, signed up for many courses on self-publishing, and started researching the success of some of my favorite authors. Not only did I learn how much more was involved in being a self-published author, I finished not one, but four books. I had headshots taken, got a website up and running, joined several social media platforms, and, yes, published my first book.

Year two brought some major changes to my personal life. I spent several months in transition between day jobs and finally ended up with a job that is perfect for accommodating my second career. I can now leave work at work and go home to spend my evenings and weekends writing.

The third year is coming to a close with my 40th birthday in June. My original goal wasn’t to become a successful, self-supporting author. It was to see if my books had gained traction and, more importantly, if I still enjoyed the process. I’ve worked in the professional world for over 20 years, and the last thing I want is to be pursuing something that doesn’t bring me joy. So, what have I decided, you ask? I love writing! It still fulfills me every time I sit down at a computer. I love dreaming up new stories. I’ve discovered that even something that I do for fun can strike a chord with a reader. Putting in humor has become easier. And, I’m almost over the embarrassment when my parents read an intimate scene that I’ve written…not sure that will ever go away completely!

Blue TempestWhat about my friend Michelle? Well, she too has made adjustments to her day job. She’s expanded her art to several retail spaces around town, started her own social media campaign (in addition to running mine…), and sold several paintings/mixed media art pieces. If you’d like to see her talent, take a look at the photo attached to this blog – it’s one of many of her pieces I’ve purchased.

We might not be successful by society’s definition, but we made it! We’ve set out to do what we outlined. And we’re going to continue to grow and expand and adapt and learn. Most importantly, we’re going to keep creating. Because that’s what brings joy.

Sneak Peek: Free to Live

It’s almost time for Katie Freeman #3! Only two more weeks. I’ve had so much fun writing this one. This past week has been a busy one for me, so instead of blathering on in this blog post, I thought I’d share a little sneak peek of Free to Live. Here you go…

Enjoy!

Free to Live

sunset-blog post sneak peek

It was the end of August and Sarah wasn’t doing much. The heat zapped any energy she had and her feet were so swollen they felt like clubs. Patty constantly fussed over her, refusing to let her get up for anything but to use the bathroom.

Months earlier, Sarah had made Patty find a midwife that would come to the ranch to check up on the baby. She refused to leave the ranch, even to go to the hospital. Unless there was something wrong, she was determined to have Katherine right here at home. She had arranged everything legally so that Patty would have custody, should anything happen to her. Patty also had a power of attorney to make decisions on Sarah’s behalf. Of course, she hadn’t told Patty any of that.

All day, Sarah had been extra achy and tired, but she refused to say anything about it. The other woman had been fretting over Sarah’s flushed cheeks enough as it was. Now, it was the middle of the night and, once again, her bladder was waking her up. If she could just find a comfortable position to lay, she could get a good night’s sleep.

Dragging herself to her feet, Sarah made her way to the bathroom located between her bedroom and Patty’s. They had put in a nightlight a few months ago so that Sarah didn’t have to turn on the lights in the middle of the night when she needs to pee. It still didn’t matter, every time she went into the bathroom, Patty would wake up. She was as excited for the baby’s arrival as Sarah was.

Sarah sat down and relieved herself, but as she pushed herself to her feet, she felt a flood of liquid run down her legs. She immediately knew Katherine was on her way.

Not bothering to yell, knowing full well that Patty was awake, she said, “You might want to call the midwife. My water just broke.”

Patty was up and on the phone before Sarah finished speaking.

It was two in the morning before the midwife arrived, and though they tried to keep quiet, several of the women staying with them came down to see if they could help. They small study that was located beside Sarah’s room had been turned into a nursery, so the women went in and made sure the bed had fresh sheets on it and that everything was ready for the new arrival.

As first baby’s go, it was an easy labor, lasting only four hours, though that’s because the midwife suspected Sarah’s discomfort the day before was actually labor pains. At six in the morning, the midwife handed a squalling little girl into the arms of her mother. Patty sat on the bed beside Sarah looking down into the round, red face.

“What are you going to name her?” the midwife asked.

“Katherine the Great,” both women replied at the same time as the dark haired baby cried on.

“That’s an awfully big name to live up to,” she replied.

The two women looked at each other. They had never considered that when they picked the name.

“Katie,” Patty whispered.

“Perfect,” Sarah replied.

The men from Tip of the Spear are back!

Sneak peak of image for book cover! Photo by Ryan Bukowski

Sneak peak of image for book cover!
Photo by Ryan Bukowski

As promised, the men from Tip of the Spear are back! In the Dark is coming September 1, 2015. Just in time for Labor Day vacation!!

Avery Powell has a problem – well really, someone has a problem with her. After discovering dead flowers and a cryptic note on her front porch, she turns to the one person she knows will keep her safe – Jeremy McCall. She has been chasing after him for more than a decade. Despite his continual rejection, she knows that under all that armor beats a heart made for her.

Jeremy is a founding partner in the investigative firm Tip of the Spear and best friends with Avery’s brother. He has silently been in love with Avery for eleven years – since the first time he laid eyes on her. The last thing he’ll allow is for any harm to come to her, even if he can’t claim her as his own. But can he keep his emotions out of the picture long enough to keep her safe? Or will he give in to those forbidden desires and make them both happy?

Taking this case will light a match, but will the inferno ignite the sparks, or will it consume them?

Keep checking back for sneak peeks in the coming weeks.

 

Meet Adala Reger

Four score and seven years ago…okay, not that long, but sometimes it sure feels that way.

Let’s try again.

Once upon a time…well, this isn’t a fairytale…unless you like people who turn into monsters…so maybe it is a fairytale.

Several years back I had four very good friends decide to have opinion on what I should read. Jenny pestered me to read this book she was finishing simply because I said, “I don’t like books with vampires and werewolves.” Boy was I wrong…

Over the last several years, I occasionally picked up other books involving vampires and werewolves, not together, of course. I have discovered that I still don’t like vampires…werewolves, on the other hand – definitely my thing.

full-moon-460314_1280I have discovered a love for shapeshifter romances. Who knew?! Bear shifters are my favorite and I now have several authors from whom I anxiously await new releases.

On a separate note, that I will connect back to this if you have patience through my rambling, I love anything related to WWII. Now, I was never a history buff. In fact, I hated anything to do with history, especially memorizing dates – ironic when you consider that my pay-the-bills profession is numbers related. But as I have grown older, I have discovered a sincere interest in the things that have happened in this world before me – just don’t ask me the dates they happened!

This past year marked the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust and I was addicted toany and all coverage that I could find. Such a travesty from those years. The waste of human life. The poisoning of generations. The effects of what happened there have trickled down.

That all got me thinking: we have several documentaries that have tracked what happened to the Jews who survived, but what about the Germans? Sure, those that were arrested and tried for crimes have been documented, but there were several others who played a part in the atrocities that were never convicted of wrong doing. But their evil remained.

So, just as a creative project, I decided to look at what happened to some of these people after the war and how it has impacted today’s generation. The result was a novella about shapeshifters. I let a friend read the story and she loved it. I have to say I had so much fun writing it that I decided to release it.

But then a second character stood up and howled (yes, he is a wolf) that he deserved attention too. So, now I am writing a second part of what I think (characters permitting) will be a trilogy of shapeshifter romance novellas.
The first book, tentatively titled Only Wolf will be arriving in September.

Adala Reger is searching for answers. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident that should have claimed her too. But somehow she survived. Now she is left on her own wondering how and why she turns into a wolf. To make matters worse, she is getting weaker. No longer able to work, and with the insurance money from her parents running out, she heads to Alaska – toward the only clue in her parents left her as to her real identity and destiny.

Dirk has taken over as the leader of the pack of shifters on the Seward peninsula in Northwest Alaska. Struggling to keep his clan safe is his number one priority, especially with the neighboring pack constantly threatening their borders. When Adala arrives, the last thing he expects is to find his mate.

Can they survive the invasions? Does Adala’s past hold answers to why the neighboring pack is attacking?

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. But never fear, Katie and Michael will be returning in December with the answers you have been waiting for concerning Katie’s past. And the crew from Tip of the Spear will be returning in September with Jeremy and Avery’s story. Look for inside peeks and previews in the weeks to come!

Julie

My first book!

I’m pleased to share with you the first book in my Katie Freeman series, Free to Kill.

Description:
FBI Agent Katie Freeman’s life has been upended. After being reassigned from Louisiana to middle Tennessee, her new bosses suspect that her reassignment is due to an indiscretion with her previous partner. Now, she and her new partner, Michael Powell, are asked to assist on the bewildering case of a woman who was kidnapped, tortured and left for dead on her own front porch. Before they can make any headway, a second woman disappears. As the number of missing women rises, Katie and Michael must work to figure out how the women are being abducted and where they are being held. Will they be too late to save the latest woman?

Complicating matters even further is a cold case left behind by Michael’s former partner. Who murdered Henry Stephens twenty-six years ago? What happened to Henry’s wife? And why does one of the suspects act like he knows Katie?

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If you’ve read Free to Kill, please consider leaving a review.

Thanks for being a part of my journey.
Julie

In the Shadows – Tip of the Spear Book One

Check out the first book in my Tip of the Spear Series.

Jessica Ross is on the verge of achieving her dreams until one poor decision threatens to derail everything she has wTOS---3dorked so hard for. Now on the run from her ex-boyfriend, will she have to give up everything in order to survive?

Jason Powell has everything he ever wanted. After years in the military, he lives life on his own terms. Now a partner in a private investigation firm, his job allows him to travel to exotic places and he has his pick of women – what more could he ask for? Then he meets Jessica and his world is turned upside down.

Can Jason protect Jessica from her ex-boyfriend while also accepting his feelings for her? Can Jessica trust her growing feelings for Jason, or is she convinced that they exist because he is her savior? Will these two live to see a happily ever after, or will the danger hiding in the shadows take everything away?

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Thanks so much for reading! If you read In the Shadows, I’d love it if you would leave a review on the platform where you purchased my book.

Best,
Julie

 

Free to Deceive is now available

Free to Deceive 3D cover2I’m pleased to announce my second novel in the Katie Freeman series is now available! I’ve included the description of the book as well as links to purchase your copy!

Special Agent Katie Freeman and her partner, Michael Powell, step in to assist the local authorities after the discovery of thirteen bodies buried in a small park. The chilling pose of each body and the gruesome manner in which they died indicate a particularly sadistic killer. As Katie and Michael begin investigating the case, they encounter more questions than answers – are these hate crimes or crimes of passion? How did so many men go missing without someone noticing? How are all these victims connected? With more bodies than they can handle and time running out, can they catch the killer before another victim disappears, or will they lose one of their own in the process?

While Katie navigates this case, guilt over the secrets she is hiding from her partner threaten to overwhelm her focus. Can their partnership – and her career – survive if the truth comes out? 

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If you read it and love it, please consider leaving a review!
Julie

Finding an editor

In all the research I did for self-publishing, one thing was repeated several times: look for an editor in time to get on their schedule. The recommended timeframe for this was two months. I started looking four months before I needed an editor. What I discovered is that most editors have a six-month waiting period. Oops! What is a new author to do? I knew that my book couldn’t be published without a professional editor getting their hands on it. The last thing I wanted was to put something out there that would cause the reader to cringe. I have read those book – the ones that have so many mistakes that it distracts from the story. I just finished a book where one of the two characters in the scene kept switching names. In that same book there was a scene where one minor character was given two different names. It happens! And it is easier than you might think for these things to get through the rereading and beta reader process.

So, I contacted the first editor. I was told that she had no availability until March…MARCH!! Well, since I want my book published in December, March is simply not going to work. I thanked her for her time and moved on.

Then I contacted three more with the same results.

The third of these had availability! Imagine my excitement! We emailed back and forth, clarified her process, talked pricing and payment options; it was great! Then the moment of truth: she asked for a sample from me so she could edit it and we could see if her process worked for me. I had editing samples ready that had been sent to all the other people. I thought this was the easy part. Oh, how wrong I was. I mistakenly thought that those who edit did so because it was their job. In my naivety, I attached that little sample to an email and sent it right off. To my surprise, I received an email a scant two hours later with an, “I’m sorry, but I cannot do this.” My heart sank. Was my book really that bad?

It turns out that the editor wouldn’t work with the subject matter contained in my book. Admittedly murder can be a touchy subject, but that wasn’t the issue here. We exchanged a few emails back and forth; I thanked her for her time; we wished each other luck…and I was back to square one with only three months left until my publishing goal…

Then my life was saved! I was referred to Mike Spring. Mike is a published author (both print and audio), a voice coach, and runs his own company. This man can do it all! And did I mention that he was available?!? Mike literally saved my dream. He was professional, courteous, quick, and responsive. He responded to all my concerns and questions. He never made me feel discouraged, and even better, he said he liked my book! I think that was the moment my nerves calmed down some about actually putting my work out there for the public.

I am still nervous about people reading what I have written. These are thoughts in my head, it’s almost like walking into a room naked. Everyone is going to see everything – yikes! But I am slowly coming terms with this. But working with an editor that has confidence in my work has done a lot to boost my courage.

The lesson in all this: surround yourself with the right people. That doesn’t mean these people should be like-minded. They need to be strong in their opinions and they need to be able to express them in a way that demonstrates how your work can be better, but without making you feel demoralized. I have a great team around me and I would not be where I am on this journey without them.

Where I am in the process

I started January of this year evaluating the goals in my life. I am not a big fan of resolutions. That is really a recipe for disaster for me. I can count on one hand the number of resolutions I have made and kept in my life. About three years ago, I decided: NO MORE RESOLUTIONS. Instead, I set goals. They can be life goals, career goals, personal development goals, or just basically anything to improve where I am or where I want to go in my life. They cannot be things like: lose weight, join a gym, start a diet, etc. So, in the evaluation of my life for 2014, I decided that my career needed some evaluation. I have been doing the same thing for 15 years now. FIFTEEN YEARS! That seems like forever when I look back, but in reality, the years have flown by. I decided that it was time to let lose some of the ideas that have been circling in my head for so long. My goal: write one book and have it ready to publish by year end.

Well, I now have two and a half books under my belt and I feel I’m no more of an expert than the day I started. The first thing I learned: writing is HARD! I mean, seriously, it’s A LOT of work. All these characters are running around in my head screaming to get their voice on the page. My poor fingers can’t keep up with the speed at which my brain is thinking.

The second thing I have learned is to train my brain to only think about the book I am writing and not go off on tangents that will be developed in a subsequent book. This was especially difficult as I started writing The Academy: Book One (yet to be titled). There are several secondary characters in book one that will eventually get their own story before the series is over. As I started developing those characters, their stories started coming to life in my head. I even started dreaming of them! But…dreaming of future stories does nothing to help complete the one you are currently writing… FOCUS!!

Anyway, back on topic. J Book three is going to be finished by the end of November and I am very excited. AND…book one, Free to Kill, is going to be published December 9. I am very happy to say that my life goal is well on its way to being realized. I look forward to evaluating for 2015