Tag Archives: Julie Valerie

Writing Goals 2017: Just Hold It Together

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anxietySo. 2017, eh? That shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp. Coming year, fresh start, New Year’s resolutions, long-term plans. But for those of us who are having a hard enough time wrapping our minds around something more immediate…like…oh, I don’t know…tomorrow, maybe, or even a couple of hours from now…”next year” and its goals can be a big scary monster we’d prefer to pretend isn’t lurking in the bedroom closet. Long-term plans? I cannot even. Read the rest of this entry

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Fugitives from the Library

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libraryI love Julie Valerie’s topic for her blog hop this month. Libraries! Avid writers/readers like me are passionate about libraries! And I’ll bet anything we have similar warm memories of the place—devouring everything in the juvenile section, from Go Dog Go to Judy Blume; discovering our genre of choice that we actually ended up writing as adults, like romance or mystery; meeting our friends there; spending rainy afternoons wandering through the stacks. We can all expound on the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of volumes, the smell of old books, the crinkling sound of the clear plastic covers protecting the hardbacks, the nice (or mean) librarian who always seemed to be behind the counter, the thunk of the card reader.

So, to avoid repeating a tale every library lover knows by heart, I’ll tell you about the time I became a fugitive from a library. In a foreign country. Read the rest of this entry

When the Book Club Goes Boom—Er, Fizzle

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I was a member of a book club once. It was a glorious five minutes.

I live in a very small village that’s best described as pretty much entirely unlike the idyllic Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. It’s the Upside Down of Stars Hollow, in fact. No quirky neighbors, not many cute shops, very few fun events. Knitathon for charity? Newp. Picnic basket auction? Nuh-uh. (And don’t even get me started on the sad lack of hunky Luke types.)

Needless to say, when a friend invited me to join a book club, I exclaimed, “There’s a book club?!” and said yes without hesitation. What a rush—a circle of educated, intelligent women spanning the ages of late-thirtysomething through seventysomething, all eager to discuss literature instead of, well, one another/their friends/their relatives/their neighbors—all of those categories overlap, by the way—which is pretty much the official village sport. Read the rest of this entry

Confessions of a Former Bookschlepper

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When Julie Valerie announced this month’s Fiction Writers Blog Hop theme was “bookstores,” I was so excited. The mere thought of those hallowed retail establishments inspires all the feels in me, because they’re my second home—and not just for shopping. My undergraduate degree was a BA in creative writing, which meant that it was highly likely my first job was going to be at a bookstore, and…yep, it was.

I started out at the Village Green Bookstore in Rochester, NY, for the incredible minimum wage of $3.35 an hour! When I got a whopping 25 cent raise, I thought I’d hit the big time! (Yes, I had to live with my parents, but I loved that job, so it was worth it.) My second bookstore was the Brookline Booksmith, where I worked part time while I was attending Boston College for grad school. And when I became disenchanted with teaching high school, I sought refuge at Borders, once again in Rochester. So after two indie places and a chain store, I kind of know a little bit about bookstores. Here’s the inside scoop: Read the rest of this entry

Breaking: Fluffy-Tailed Rodent Takes Revenge on Unsuspecting Homeowner

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Squirrelsville – An unnamed gray squirrel lashed out violently today when denied its normally easily obtained meal of sunflower seeds. Read the rest of this entry

Okay, Now What?

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Gather ’round, kids—I’m going to let you in on a secret. Okay, it’s not really a secret, because I’m not one to hide this sort of thing: On January 2 of this year, I turned 50.

I KNOW!! Shocked me too!

So I guess I’m an old lady according to some (like my 12-year-old son, who won’t get anywhere close to middle-aged himself if he doesn’t stop calling me that), although I don’t feel very old.

However, whether I feel 50 or half that, it’s still a milestone, so I thought I’d do a little soul searching, a little assessment, to figure out how I’ve been doing so far. What did I dream of doing when I was a kid? Did I achieve any of my goals? Or should I be downright ashamed of myself for squandering these fifty years (so far)?

(Psst…I did have a drink. Quite a few of them, in fact, over the years.)

So let’s check on Jayne’s Life So Far… Read the rest of this entry

In Which Jayne Gives the Hell Up

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Okay, you know what? I’ve got nothing today. No blog topic. No big idea. Nothing. I’m tired—exhausted, really.

r2d2
• From finishing the draft of my sixth romcom and consequently wrestling the manuscript to get the word count down to a respectable number that won’t make potential publishers faint dead away.

• From the winter blahs as we drag ourselves out of February and into March, knowing full well March in the Northeast US is always made up of thirty-one days that look remarkably, depressingly like February.

• From dieting to get rid of my holiday poundage. (Why do I do that to myself every year?) Read the rest of this entry

Pumpkin This

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Credit: MomminItUp.com

Credit: MomminItUp.com

I like pumpkin stuff.

Yeah, I said it. I’m so far from a basic bitch I don’t even own one pair of yoga pants, but I never turn down a good pumpkin spice latte if I can help it. What’s more, I’ll have a slice of pumpkin loaf or a pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting right along with that latte and not even bat an eyelash.

It goes deeper than that, however. I love sweater weather. I own, and frequently wear, many garments made of fleece. I fire up the woodstove way too soon. I put up “black” strings of lights for Halloween. I regularly devote hours upon hours to making my son’s costume fabulous (while he’s thinking it’ll be good enough to cut something out of cardboard). Read the rest of this entry

Rereads Are Good for the Soul

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You know how it is with us authors, always having to keep up with the latest in our chosen genre (in my case, it’s romance/romcoms/chick lit). Like that’s a chore or anything, right? I’m regularly up to my eyeballs in love stories with strong heroines and guaranteed HEAs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But there are other times when even this romcom author has to go just a little farther afield. It starts as a little niggling thought in the back of my head, and whether it’s triggered by a random thought or the time of year or something in my subconscious that completely escapes my notice, the result is the same: “Time for a reread.” Read the rest of this entry

Parenting: Level – Top Secret

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My son is 11 years old, just a couple of months shy of 12 as I write this. In those 11-plus years, I have of course loved him with all my heart, as well as done my parental due diligence: fed him, clothed him, hugged and kissed him, dried his tears, caught his barf, wiped his butt. Took him to preschool where parent volunteering was required, and thus spent an inordinate amount of time wiping complete strangers’ kids’ butts. (If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is.) Read to him, then helped him learn to read. Took him to see Santa and the Easter Bunny. Assisted a couple of days a week in his elementary classes. Schlepped him to innumerable birthday parties and even hosted one, his seventh, at our house. (Once was quite enough, thank you. After that, Chuck E. Cheese was my homie.)

Of course, now that my son is closing in on the teen years, my job has changed somewhat. Once the driving force behind the Cub Scouts pack, moms like me are not quite as welcome in the Boy Scout troop. I now merely wave goodbye and remind him to take his phone as he leaves the house instead of driving him to his friends’ houses. I’m supposed to honor his request that I don’t embarrass him in front of other kids. (Yeah, like that’s going to happen while I have breath in my body.)

But there is one element of his preteen life that I must direct in order for my child to develop into any sort of well-rounded adult—Okay, wait. Let’s bring this in; we don’t want it getting out to just anybody. This is top-level, double-secret-probation type parenting here. Not the kind of thing you read about in parenting books. You ready? Read the rest of this entry