30 July 2011

A Long Happy Marriage

You guys are all so wonderful. I have the best readers! I'm in the process of going through my blogs, but rest assured every single one of you who commented will be in my favorites folder :)

So, here's a little happy because you all make me so happy. Enjoy!

27 July 2011

Follow follow follow follow...

Yes, I'm singing the Wizard of Oz song :)

I feel terrible I haven't been posting regularly. I've done a ridiculous amout of traveling this past month and feel as if I haven't slowed down once to concentrate on my writing and blogging, and especially with keeping up with all of your blogs!

Speaking of your blogs, I looked at all of the blogs I'm subscribed to on Google Reader and realized just how many I follow. Honestly guys, I try to get to all of them but sometimes it's quite difficult.

My question to you: are you a follower and reader? If you are, comment below and I'll be sure to stick you in my 'favorites' folder (this is the folder I always make sure to read and comment on).

Here are some things coming up in the next months that you just might want to stick around for ;)
1. Some awesome book give-aways
2. An even awesomer blogfest with (as of right now) three great prizes to be won!
3. And following me on my move to Nashville. Yay!

So, do you want to be in my favorites folder?? I know you do! (Make sure your name links to your blog or else stick it in your comment :)

23 July 2011

The Often Forgotten Sense of Smell

Of the five senses, I often find myself completely forgetting about smell. Isn't it said that smell is very important in unlocking memories? How awesome is that- it's a perfect way to lead into memories in your WIP.

The smell of lemon drops will forever remind me of my Grandmother (or is that Dumbledoor?? Haha) and the smell of a new shampoo will always make me think of my sister. What smells conjure memories for you and how do you add this into your writing?

My MC has a very strong sense of smell. After getting my first pages back from my crit partners I realized I used the word smell, scent, sniff wayyy too many times and needed to figure out new ways to describe scent. So, without further ado, here are some tips for writing about the sense of smell. (Most of these are pared down from http://www.wikihow.com/Describe-a-Smell )

1. Are there images or memories associated with the smell? What is your gut reaction when you think of the smell? Feelings or emotions?

2. Use adjectives- wispy, rancid, airy, musty, stale. Adjectives will describe the effect of the smell.

3. Use nouns and be specific- is the smell of chocolate milk or dark, or is it the smell of hot fudge to be poured over ice cream? Or is it chocolate with a hint of raspberry? All of these scents will elicit different emotions from your reader and your MC.

4. Use verbs- waft, distract, hint, permeate, suggest, confuse.
-suggest the source: are you baking or frying? Sweating from a hard run or desire?
-visualize what it does: creep into the nose, wrap around, follow, bombard

5. Borrow words from other senses:
sight- bright, dark, clear, hazy
sound- dissonant, harmonious, loud, quiet
touch- sharp, dull, rough, smooth
taste- sweet, salty, bitter

6. What is the reaction to the smell? Do you relax, stiffen, pucker. Is it startling, jarring, soothing or comforting?

7. And of course, the good old metephor. The smell of hot dogs hit me like a tornado.

Are there any other tricks you like to use when writing about the sense of smell? What other senses do you find yourself forgetting to write about?


19 July 2011

I Am Not J.K. Rowling

This is a conversation I had with Cale after we saw the last HP movie this afternoon. I hope it makes you guys feel better, like it did me.

Juliana: I feel a bit melancholy now that Harry Potter is over.
Cale: So do I.
Juliana: Is it bad if I'm a little depressed to know that I'll probably never write a book like Harry Potter.
Cale: No, I knew that I'd never play like Zinadine Zidane but I could play like Roy Keane. I could be a grinder and work my ass off. I could play with passion and get stuck in. You may not be JK Rowling but you can still be a great author who writes great books.
Juliana: :)

Zidane is one of the best players to play the beautiful game and JK Rowling is one of the best writers to come along, but there have to be other players and writers who make up the rest of the field, and honestly, I'm okay with being one of those other writers. I'm thankful I live in a time when I am able to read Rowling's genius and even more thankful that I can write the stories that I have in me. I hope you all are too!

*As a note, Cale played soccer in college and the PDL (semi-pro) but was forced out due to injuries, so he does know what he's talking about. He is a constant source of support as I try to get into the writing business since he can relate with his soccer experiences.

17 July 2011


My thought on queries: yuck. They make me all sorts of unhappy. It's a good thing this is part of Deana's blogfest- I need all the help I can get on this, guys! So have at it, hack away, give me the best advice  you can :)

Dear So-and-so...

Twins, Farrah and Felix, are born into an existence of servitude.  They are Bonded with the king’s sons for the sole purpose of protecting the boys; if they fail, they will be put to a painful death.

Farrah protects Alec, but all she desires is to not be chained to a man she can’t stand.  But the only way to escape her imprisonment is to end her life.  What makes matters worse, is that Farrah begins to fall for Alec and realizes she must make the most difficult choice of all: freedom or love, for she cannot have both.

Felix can’t deny his intense curiosity.  He willingly protects his Charge, Gabe, because it means he has free access to the secret tunnels of the House they live in.  As he searches further into the history of his world, he uncovers secrets that will put both his and Farrah’s lives in danger. 

After death threats against Alec puts Farrah life on the line, and the other slaves in the House rise up in rebellion against their captivity, Farrah and Felix escape with Alec and Gabe to try to find answers to three questions: Who wants Alec dead?  Would Farrah and Felix keep Alec and Gabe safe if they weren’t Bonded to them?  And, if they return to their House, will they all be killed?

GUARDIANS is a finished at 72k.  It is a stand-alone YA-fantasy but has strong series potential.

*personal stuff here??


Juliana Brandt

-I'm not a fan of the questions at the end but can't figure out how else to end it.

15 July 2011

Too Many Questions?

Cale said this to me earlier today: Sometimes, you remind me of a small child. You ask too many open ended questions.

To my credit, we were at the pier watching fisherman bring in their catch of the day and watching the seals swim through the water, waiting for fish to accidentally fall overboard. I mean, there are a lot of open ended questions to ask when you're watching that.

But don't you all think that it's a requirement of a writer to ask all those questions?

I took a nap today and before I fell asleep I thought, What would happen if everybody was connected to someone else and could only die once that other person died. If you got sick or were injured you could survive because you were spiritually attached to someone else? Overpopulation of the world, that's what would happen. But that's not the point. The point is that we ask ourselves these weird questions, file them away, and write books answering them later.

And it's totally okay! No one can say our questions are annoying because frankly, it's just a consequence of our job.

Job Hazard Zone: too many questions.

My teachers in middle school were right after all, there are no such things as stupid questions, and even if there are, those stupid questions lead to really interesting answers, which lead to even more really interesting questions.

Moral of this post, it's not possible to ask too many questions. Our curiosity drives our imaginations and surely that's a good thing.

Because seriously, have you ever wondered if seals accidentally breath in water like people sometimes do when they're swimming? Or why a Dogfish is called a Dogfish? I know I have!

13 July 2011

Story Chain!

For the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent blogfest, week two is all about creation and the story chain.  If you'd like to read the post before mine, check out Deana's blog.

Tony plopped a bag down in front of Dio and she fell to herknees, digging through it, unable to wrap her mind around her parents death and...Europe? Suddenly, she hated Europe too.

Dio chucked out an old bottle of shampoo out of the bag and her old stuffed weasel from when she was little. Surely, she wouldn't need those.

"Come on, Dio. We need to leave." Sandy waved and Dio reluctantly dragged her bag toward the taxi. Dio sat down and began to cry when her fingers touched dried boogers on the seat.

Life is so unfair.

To follow the story, go to Frost Lord's blog.

10 July 2011

The Ultra Shuffle

This is a moment when the ultra marathon shuffle is appropriate-

This is a picture taken from Badwater Ultramarathon. Badwater is 135 miles long from Death Valley to Mount Whitney and it's claimed to be one the hottest races with temperatures ranging to 120 degrees (Farengheit). Racers run on the white lines on the road because they're shoes tend to melt when they run on the black. They also dress completely in white (as seen above) to try to reflect as much heat as possible.

Yes sir, if ever there's a time when the ultra shuffle is appropriate it's when you're running Badwater.

What is the ultra shuffle? Basically, it's when you're so tired you can't run. Your mind has shifted into neutral and your body goes on autopiolet. Instead of running, you shuffle, trying to run as best you can because you don't want to walk.

Sad to say, I did the ultra shuffle in my marathon and that wasn't even an ultra *sigh* haha :)

But I have been doing the ultra shuffle for the past week in writerville, sloughing through my work. Trying to write and edit even though the motivation isn't there.

Not until the past couple days have I felt the energy to write come back. I must give that credit to my critters. They've sent some amazing critiques my way that has motivated me to open the laptop, sit my butt in the chair and actually get work done.

I'm crossing my fingers I've moved past my ultra shuffle phase and have moved back into running. The only thing that's making me pause now, and I can't decide if this is good or bad, is that this isn't a 135 mile run. The writing race is never going to end! Good thing? Probably :)

Have you ever done the ultra shuffle, either in real life or in writerville?

08 July 2011

Judgy Juliana?

Gasp! I realized last night that I've been snidely looking down my nose a group of writers.


I'm a natural plotter. I love plotting and knowing where my story is going.

The ironic thing is, it turns out I really enjoy pantsing. Another gasp! *sigh*

I'm in the midst of editing Guardians and don't have the focus to plot out a whole new book. So instead, I'm completely winging it with my new WIP. And it's been great! I'm discovering the characters as I write and am realizing I don't have to agonize over plot, structure, and pre-fabricated ideas over what the WIP should be.

Simply amazing.

So I apologize all of you wonderful people who are pantsers. It seems I've learned a thing or two in the past week and have been completely proven wrong.

Two amazing writers have helped me realize the benefits of pantsing and you all should go check out their blogs: Misty and Kate. You guys are the best :)

Are you a pantser or plotter? Or do you find you enjoy doing a bit of both?

(Thanks everyone who's stopped by for Deana's blogfest! I've had a blast stopping by all your sites and can't wait to get to know y'all better :)

04 July 2011

Get an Agent Blogfest!

I've been looking forward to Deana's Get an Agent Blogfest all month and now Week 1 is finally here!! Eep!

Everyone should go and sign up because it's awesome.

So, here's my question! Are you a character driven writer (or reader if you prefer) or are you plot driven?

If the plot is weak but the character is strong then I will absolutely keep reading. This applies to my writing, although hopefully this doesn't mean I have weak plots, lol. I try to have fully developed characters who are flawed, as we are in real life, but also are able to overcome their weaknesses.

What kind of writer are you? Do you think there's a happy medium we can reach between character and plot?

(btw, I've been driving across country for the past couple days and completely forgot to post yesterday for Sentence Sunday. Sorry guys! I'll catch up next week :)

01 July 2011

So. Much. Work!

I have been in the editing trenches with GUARDIANS for a few weeks now but have stuck my head up to get some fresh hair this week. I figure, vacation is a great time for a breather.

Yesterday, I wrote the first 1k for a new WIP, something I'll get to once ,GUARDIANS is all nice and shiny. I haven't been able to get myself to turn back to editing this week and so have thought about writing more for this new story, but honestly, that thought makes me feel like this...

Overwhelmed! I love my MC (male), the POV (first person, present tense), and setting for this new WIP, but seriously, I just finished writing 74k of words for GUARDIANS and am thinking of jumping right back in? So. Much. Work.

For now, I think I'm going to keep enjoying my vacation and worry about writing when I get back to the real world. In fact, Graceling is sitting on my couch waiting for me to read. That sounds perfect and very stress free.

Tell me, do you get overwhelmed when you think about starting a new WIP?