Author Archives: Julie B Campbell

About Julie B Campbell

Julie B. Campbell is a fiction author and freelance writer living in Canada. She is the the co-author of a published and soon-to-be top-selling fantasy young adult book series called Perspective (Book 1: "Love at First Plight"), along with co-author Amanda Giasson. Julie has previously written children's books such as "The Elephant-Wolf" and "Finding Manda's Sunshine". She owns her own professional writing services company called JBC Online, which was founded in 2002. Julie is also a rosacea sufferer and blogs about the subject, including topics such as natural rosacea treatments and her success with red light therapy and amber light therapy. Follow on Google+

Becoming a Writer Who Reads

Perspective book series - Love at first plight - readingFor nearly a year, Amanda and I have been pouring all of our “free” time into the rewriting of Love at First Plight, which then turned into hours, days, and weeks of editing (and editing, and editing).

Throughout that time, the only fiction reading I did had to do with my own book (aside from a stretch of time in which I read 14 Superman/Batman-crossover graphic novels, but we don’t need to go there, right now). As much as I loved living inside the world of my own book, the process somehow managed to disconnect me from the works of other writers.

I wasn’t worried about it, at the time, but once Love at First Plight was published and I promised myself a break from reading those pages, I found myself playing game apps on my tablet, instead of reading. Shame on me!

The problem was, I had no idea what to read. In fact, I actually felt nervous about getting back into books again! It was as though I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find my way into someone else’s fictional world. Could I really be locked in Qarradune, forever?

Being the determined (that’s such a kind way to say “stubborn”) person I am, I decided to ease my way back into the fiction of other writers, once more. I picked up a copy of Lyddie, by Katherine Paterson (Jacob Have I Loved, Jip, Bridge to Tarabitha). I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of it. I only wish that there was a second book, because I would have liked to continue following the main character! I’m looking forward to the next book that I’m going to read, too, The Palace of Laughter, which is the first in The Wednesday Tales book series.

Am I looking forward to getting back into Qarradune? I sure am! Amanda and I have already started Book 2 of the Perspective series and I am already head-over-heels in love with it. But I’m glad to say that even though I am a writer, I can still consider myself a reader.

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My Dream is Coming True…I’m Terrified!

This week, as of Monday, Amanda and I have been on Cloud 9. In fact, if there is a better cloud than 9, that’s where you can find us. Our first novel, Love at First Plight, the start of the Perspective book series is getting published. Our dream is coming true…and I am so freakin’ scared.

Love at First Plight published Perspective book seriesI know for a fact that I couldn’t have done this with anyone but my co-author. The rollercoaster of positive and negative stresses from having been let down by so many different people and so many different companies, and from having been thoroughly supported from our closest friends and family (and from some unexpected places, too), would have tested even the truest friendship. If I’d ever had any doubts in the strength of my friendship with Amanda, they’re certainly long-gone, now.

This book has threatened to bring out the ugliest in us, and has allowed us the opportunity to rise above it. At the risk of sounding completely full of myself, I’m going to declare that Amanda and I have done just that. We faced one challenge after the next, and now a story that we adore is getting started in a published book. I am very proud of our book and I am very proud of having survived the process of making it.

If you are a published author and you are reading this, my hat goes off to you. You have made it through a storm that cannot be understood by those who have not experienced it for themselves.

Notre Dame stained glass rose windowGetting a book published is like looking at the stained glass from the inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It’s like crawling, climbing, and wriggling your way through the systems of tight limestone tunnels and vast caverns of the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. It’s like trying a very good quality of chocolate for the very first time. It is like facing your fears, your insecurities, and your dreams, head-on, and discovering who you are when you reach the other side.

You can certainly imagine what all of those things would be like, but until you go through them for yourself, it is impossible to know the complete experience. Without fail, what you see, feel, hear, smell, or taste will be different, and greater, than what you had thought.

That’s exactly what this last week has been like for me. At first, I went through a stage of denial. After all, just knowing that Love at First Plight would be an e-book and a paperback didn’t create an immediate change in my life. Certainly, I felt excited, but nothing had technically happened, yet. I had bragging rights, of course, but there is still a lot of time left before the novels will be on the bookstore shelves.

That did move on to a feeling of excitement. Equally, I think that aside from being thoroughly ecstatic (and immensely impatient – I’m not exactly known for patience), the other reining emotion that I am feeling, at the moment, is terror! Since Monday, I have been very thrilled about the future of the Perspective book series, and yet, now that my dream is coming true, I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, with a pounding in my chest. I love the book and its characters with every part of my heart, but now that world is about to be exposed to the world…that’s a terrifying thought!

It’s a great story. It really is. I wouldn’t have put my name on it and published it if I didn’t completely believe that. At the same time, I am aware of the fact that if I actually talk to people and tell them about it, then they’ll never be able to discover the story, for themselves! This places me in the spotlight, and as someone with a social anxiety disorder, that’s not exactly the most comfortable place for me.

There are few things that I want more in life than for Love at First Plight – and the Perspective series that follows – to be a tremendous success, but even as the hype begins to build among friends and family, I can feel a rapid heartbeat kicking in with every “tag” my name receives in a Facebook post.

Love at First Plight - Perspective book series 1I feel genuine excitement when someone mentions the Perspective book series page on that social network, but whenever the attention is aimed directly at me, I find myself shaking in my boots (or, more accurately, fuzzy purple slippers, since I don’t tend to wear boots when I’m at my computer). This is definitely something I’m going to need to work on if this book is to go somewhere. After all, I don’t think that the media would be satisfied with quotes taken from the book series Facebook page. I’m going to need to start being me, in front of real-live people.

This is going to be the most important “therapy” of my life. I need to ensure that people will hear about this book so that they can enjoy the world of Qarradune as much as I have for the last 14 years. I need to be there for Amanda and for Love at First Plight if I am going to keep this dream come true going.

It’s time for me to move beyond writing a strong female character who will take on the world so that she’ll achieve her goals and dreams. It’s time for me to become one, too.

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Taking the Leap of Faith

…only to land in a net of support

 

Have you ever had a dream that was so close to your heart that you would give up every other item on your “bucket list” in order to achieve it?

If you have, then you know how important this first book (of our book series) has become to my co-author, Amanda Giasson, and I.

leap of faith perspective book seriesIf you haven’t, then you’ll just have to use your imagination for now, and when you do suddenly come across a goal that is means more to you than any other experience in your life, I hope that you’ll remember this post. No, that wasn’t my “subtle” way of asking you to please subscribe to this blog, but now that we’re on the subject, please feel free to do so if you want to continue to read about our thoughts and progress on the way to getting our book series published and becoming rich and famous 😉

We’re not quite there, yet, but we’re trying very hard and we’re making  promising progress. It’s a nerve wracking process! When you decide to try to turn a dream into reality, it means that you’re taking a massive risk. While something remains a dream, it’s “safe”. You may not have it, yet, but at least it remains on your list of things that could happen.

When you decide to actually try to achieve your dream, you’re essentially jumping off a cliff and are trusting that either the water below you will be deep enough, or that a net will appear and will catch you. If things don’t work out, all could be lost.

When Amanda and I decided that it was time to stop talking about getting our books published, and to start taking action to get our words onto real pages that you can find in bookstores, jumping off a cliff was exactly how it felt. Completing the first draft of the manuscript was a tremendous victory for us, as Amanda described last week, when she wrote “Some Success Lasts Forever”.

taking the leap perspective book seriesStill, taking our leap was a huge rush. Suddenly, we found ourselves mid-air, falling toward the unknown. We could only hope that it would work out; that the experience would be a successful one. We are, after all, headed into unknown waters in the most important undertaking of our lives.

That’s where the net came in. As we started to tell friends, family, and even blog readers and social media followers, about what we are trying to do, the support was nearly overwhelming. The thought of it moves me to the point that tears are forming as I type these words. Instead of calling us “dreamers”, looking at us with doubt, or telling us not to get our hopes up because the odds are against us, the support that we have received has been far beyond what I could ever have expected.

At no other point in my life have I been the recipient of such consistent, genuine, and remarkable positivity. Every “like” to our Facebook page or “follow” on Twitter, every person who smiles with interest and wants to know about how we’re progressing, and everyone who has enthusiastically told us that they can’t wait to get their hands on their own copy and read our story, has made an immeasurable difference to my confidence.

net of support perspective book seriesIn return, that all I can promise is that Amanda and I will do everything in our power to keep the books in our series fun, interesting, original, and entertaining. We will continue trying, and we will do everything to see our stories on printed (and e-printed) pages.

When we do, we will never forget the support that we received so openly from everyone around us – in the real world and the digital one.

…Here come the tears again.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this:

We are taking the leap, but you are providing the net.

Thank you.

 

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Writing is Hard!

Back to the drawing board…

We’re back! I’m sorry for disappearing for a full year, but until now, there hasn’t really been much to post. I’m excited to say that this has now changed.

Perspective BooksSo here’s the scoop…

Amanda and I used 2014 to take our book (yes, that same book that we talked about through all of our previous posts) and start it again. Our intention had initially been to edit what we had and to see what we could do with it. After giving that a try, we realized that a “simple” edit just wasn’t enough.

That first draft was far, far too rough. So instead of trying to work with a deeply flawed manuscript, we started again. We went back to the drawing board. We held on to our characters and to the core plot of our story, but we essentially gutted it and began at the beginning. Now, we have re-written everything and we have a first draft that we can work with.

To be fair to ourselves, the original story was written nearly 15 years ago. We’ve come a very long way since then, both personally and in terms of our writing careers and abilities. So instead of trying to stick to what we’d originally written, we decided to take that foundation that we loved (and still love) and apply our decade-and-a-half of added experience to it. If I do say so, myself, it’s now on the way to being truly great.

The process reminded me of the house that had belonged to my Great-Aunt Marge. It was well over a century old, and my family loved how quirky it was. We had to sell it, and when I found out that the new owners had maintained its exterior but had essentially gutted it, my heart broke a little…until I saw pictures of the changes they’d made. Holy macaroni! The new owners completely embraced the age and style of the home, but gave it the modern touches – and level floors – that it desperately needed. Now, I only wish that I could buy it back 😉

In my opinion, that’s just what Amanda and I have done with the book. We held on to every part of it that made it great, and scrapped all of the sloping floors, the crumbling plaster, and the ancient carpet. Now, it’s something even more special and we love it to bits.

So begins the editing process…again. That first draft says everything we need it to say, but we’re now busily tweaking it so that it actually says it in English!

To motivate ourselves to get the job done, this time, we’re getting back to blogging and will be posting updates of our progress over social media. If you’re interested in following our progress, feel free to join us at:

Twitter (@Qarradunebooks)
Facebook
Google+

Thank you, Reader, for sticking with us! Aside from our own obsession with the fantasy world that we have created and the characters who live within it, you are the reason that we work so hard to bring our book to reality.

With luck (and a lot of hard but wonderful work), we’ll soon be telling you where you can actually read this book that we’ve been telling you about for so long.

Come back often, check us out on social media, and please feel welcome to subscribe to this blog so that you’ll always know when Amanda and I have added something new. Please, feel welcome to start commenting again, too! We read every comment and would love to hear your thoughts on what we’ve said or on the progress that you are making on your own creative writing!

See you again, soon!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2015

Big things are on their way in 2015.

 

Let’s all work hard to make this year a time that is filled with good health and great happiness.

We wish you all the best and hope that you will join us here as we begin posting again on a more regular basis.  There will be lots to share and some great announcements to make, too.

See you soon!

 

 

 

 

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A Code id by Dose!

Hi Everyone!

Julie Campbell writer - the common coldI’m sorry for the silence.  I haven’t forgotten about you and Amanda hasn’t killed me for requesting assistance with editing 😉

I’ve got a cold at the moment and am not thinking all that clearly.  I figured it would be better to take a bit of a break than to write something even more nonsensical than my usual posts.

I hope to be back again for the usual schedule next week.

Until then, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

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Two Heads are Better Than One: It’s Not Just a Sesame Street Song!

I can’t stand it when writers get too descriptive. It’s not that I don’t understand the value of description. It’s not that I don’t see the skill that a beautiful and clear description requires. After a certain point, I just stop caring. It’s nothing but a big yawn for me.

julie campbell writer - writing descriptionYes, description is needed to tell the story. If I begin a story that dives right into a conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Character with absolutely no insight into who they are, how they look, and where they are, then I have lost an opportunity to give you, Reader, the chance to imagine the story in the way that I do.

After all, if I don’t tell you that Mr. and Mrs. Character are having their conversation on the deck of a sailing ship, then you might be imagining them in their kitchen, sitting on the porch, or on a picnic blanket at the park. Even if I do tell you that they’re on the deck of a ship, I need to tell you that they’re on a sailing ship or you might think that they are on a massive cruise liner.  For that matter, are Mr. and Mrs Character merely passengers, or is Mrs. Character actually a pirate queen who terrorizes the nine seas (it’s my world, it can have nine seas)?

However, if I spend the first thirty pages of the book describing the precise wood used to construct the deck of the ship, the type of sealant that was applied to protect it against the salt in the seawater, the name of the family that developed said sealant, the back story on how they came into the sealant-development business, the precise shade of brown that is achieved after the application of the sealant, the number of knots per plank and the difference the sealant makes in the clockwise swirling pattern of the knots in the surface of the deck, and so on, then I’m pretty sure that I’ll have lost your attention halfway through the first paragraph. I know that my mind would certainly have wandered by then (possibly to a story from a book that wasn’t as overly descriptive).

At the same time, though, I love to write description. I adore describing a scene. Since, I can see everything very clearly in my head, I want to share that image with everyone who is experiencing the story that I am telling in the Book. But where do I draw the line? It is in this area that I find myself relying very heavily on Amanda’s opinions. I haven’t come to the point that I have had the guts to ask for it (although, being a very smart person, she may see the subtle hint in this post), I think it’s coming close to the time in which I am going to need some extra help in the editing process to know when it’s time to just shut up.

I am confident that I can do my part in giving the book some polish, but this was a team writing effort and I know that it will be a team editing effort, too. We can only work on it independently for so long and then it’s time to get out the boxing gloves.  I only hope that I will be able to take the criticisms of the length of certain descriptions with dignity and not break down into a ball of tears on the floor. If the next post sounds a little bit cranky-pants, then you’ll know that things are off to a rocky start and that I’m clinging to that thirty-page ship-deck description. Wish me luck!

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