INDIE AUTHOR GOES ROGUE

Julie web site

 (READ ON FOR FREE STUFF!)

 Approximately ten years ago, I made the choice to follow Jesus Christ . Just as He promised, it wouldn’t be easy, but I took heart and knew He overcame. He gave me the strength to survive some dark valleys along the way and His light shone bright at the peaks of new territories. The journey led me from the valley of the sun (Arizona) to the Rogue valley of Oregon—a place I believe He may have spent a little more time in than in others. I fell in love with Jesus right alongside falling for the Rogue Valley. A few years passed and the hibernating seed of being a writer began to crack open. Advance five years, I followed His guidance and the book “grace” is written and published, with characters taken from my life and a setting in the beautiful southern region of Oregon.

I also followed guidance and prompting from WestBow Press, my self-chosen publisher, and have an up and running blog (www.juleseddy1.wordpress.com) and now; I am launching my new website:

http://www.julieeddy.com/

HERE IS THE GOOD PART:

Because I love giving stuff away and because I have also begun my Christmas shopping:

PLEASE take one moment to visit the site. Click on the BLOG page/tab and leave a comment, ask a question, or just say “Hello!” Click the FaceBook Icon on that page to access the devotionals and a full array of blogs.

To promote the site, I am giving away 20 signed soft covers of my book “grace”!

If you post/comment on my website your name is entered once.

Sign up for my blog at http://www.juleseddy1.wordpress.com or “LIKE” me on my FaceBook page https://www.facebook.com/juleseddy1 and you are entered 5 times!

If you write a review on Amazon.com or goodreads.com or share/re-post or re-tweet one of my blogs, your name will be entered 10 times! I will do this until 12/15/13 and then will notify the winners.

I will ship out (and hand deliver, if possible!) your signed book to anywhere in the USA! There is no limit to the number of times you can enter and the artist who designed the cover also signed these copies. Good luck and talk with you soon!

 

“Grace” WORKS GREAT AS a GIFT (IF YOU ALREADY HAVE IT) OR KNOW PEOPLE WHO ENJOY READING TRANSFORMATIONAL STORIES OF FAITH TESTED.

Because I am an “Indie Author” (independent)—I am doing this without the backing (and paycheck) from a publisher. The best I can hope for is that all the time and money I spend writing serves my readers, entertains, and points to my guide, my savior and the ultimate “author of salvation” Jesus Christ.

Thank you and may God bless your holidays!

 

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AUTHENTICITY – Part 2

DSCF8820AUTHENTICITY -PART 2
The whole truth…
Why do you write?
Who is your audience?
As a new author, I was doing research on book signings and book release events. My friend and “research partner” Pammy and I entered the doors to The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona as wide-eyed, innocent information gatherers. Both of us are “lovers of books” and could hardly wait for this day. With its shelves laden with adventures, mysteries and thrills, the excitement we felt at experiencing a new bookstore was palpable. The chairs were set in rows and the two empty seats in front of the rows captivated our attention. Yet, what we learned that day paralleled the day my sister and I found out about Santa Claus; catapulting us out of our innocence and into a harsher new existence.
Barbara Peters, the owner of The Poisoned Pen, the “emcee” for the event and a lawyer by trade, had no issue with sharing her knowledge with everyone. She and the author of “Going, Going, Ganache” (a cupcake mystery) by Jenn McKinlay had a very open discussion about Jenn’s book, her fun characters, the cheeky titles of her books, her genres and her journey as an author, librarian and mother. The discussion turned to publishers and talk began about “ghost writing.”
Up to that point, I thought ghost writing was simply when a person hires someone to write down their words for them or when someone who hasn’t yet embraced their “author-hood” writes under a different name. (–Like when Stephen King began his writing as Richard Bachman.)
Ignorance is bliss.
I had no idea that publishers will hire writers who can most similarly write like other authors (i.e., Clive Cussler) and thus mass produce more books (at a cheaper rate) and still sell it as a Clive Cussler novel. (Notice that now the Clive Cussler novels will acknowledge the additional writer!) Yet, this was the truth that was shared so openly. I felt like the new kid in junior high English who appeared to be the only one in the class that had the wrong answer and was trying to hide this fact from the teacher and the other students while reviewing homework answers.
I dared not look around to see if others had the same shock I was feeling for fear of giving away that I had no idea this happened. I refused to look at Jenn and the owner. I tried to steady my breathing, I glanced at the book shelves that overflowed with hundreds and thousands of books; the hard work of hundreds of authors filled this room—or did it? This new truth seemed to howl out at me like open mouthed skulls screaming out from the valley of the shadows of death.
To me, this isn’t ghost writing but more along the lines of the forgers and frauds. Truth be told (by these two people “in the business,”) it happens more than you would guess.
Like a well taught liar, deliver enough of a truth and it seems entirely plausible.
Is this slippery concept of authenticity really something all writers strive for? Or is it just a dead idea?

And yet, it seemed to make sense.
This is America. We like to mass produce things. We like to sell things and create them as cheaply as we can. The good old All-American dollar. All of a sudden I didn’t feel so bad for taking nearly two years to get my first book written and published. If these other writers have a staff of others cranking out titles for them (for the publisher,) then what harm does this really do to me? I had to rely on the other theory that there MUST be other good and decent, talented authors who refuse to let another writer take on their name and write THEIR stories.
My friend and I departed the doorway of The Poisoned Pen, stumbling into the harsh noon sunlight of the Sonoran desert radiating off the black asphalt. Our innocent endeavor forced our eyes to open into a new, scorching reality.
“Did you know that about writers?” She looked at me sideways as we approached the car.
My mouth still agape, “No idea. They talked like everyone knew?”
“I KNOW! And I felt totally stupid.”
“Me too! But now I’m kinda pissed…”
“Me too…”
We drove in silence as we digested this new information.
I remembered reading that when commercial airlines first took off, the barf bags were used all the time. It would seem that people do, quite literally, have a tough time digesting and adjusting to new ideas and new things. As more and more people took more and more flights, the barf bag use declined quite measurably. Fly now and the bags are so rarely used and rarely even found on a flight.
I felt like I needed a barf bag.
Yet, as I chew on this new idea, tossing it around my taste buds, I am learning and experiencing a new flavor. When I wrote my first “piece” and put it out there, I didn’t want to take credit for it. I didn’t want my name on it. In “Masters of the Mountains,” my name is found nowhere. I was simply the author included in the telling of that tale of Jim King’s Paradigm Racing Team. I didn’t want my name in there because of who I was writing for and because of the purpose behind that book.
When I saw the beauty of the photo of Central Park (see Part 1), and witnessed the ideas morphed by Heidi Rosner for The River for the cover of my book “grace,” they both show the truth of the beauty of the places.
And, as I thought more and more about my purposes for writing and who I write for, I realized that I would be okay with the title of “ghost writer.” I could handle the criticism of others who might call me a fraud, a forger, (ha ha—like I will ever be) a-“mass producer!” Whatever anyone wants to call it–If you are doing what you love then I believe you only have to ask yourself this question:
Who are you writing for?
I need only to read Hebrews 12:2 to remind myself who I “ghost write” for:
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” King James Version (KJV)
When I digested my own truth of who I write for, the bitter taste evaporated and was replaced with sweetness. There is only One that I write for; only One I have to satisfy with the words He has given me. Bottom line—Aren’t we are all ghost writers?–filling pages with the authentic, genuine reality of what the ultimate Creator has given us? We become the translators of our experiences; sifting the golden perfection through our wiry sieve of life. We are those made in His image and made to be the reflectors of His light; those made to have life abundantly and to tell those stories, worthy of an audience of One.

AUTHENTICITY – Part 1

Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth-So…Help Me GOD!

CENTRAL PARK

CENTRAL PARK

You’ve heard it. You know it from courts of law, swearing on the Holy Bible in a country where Christianity and beliefs get blurred and kicked out of any public or political place.
What do you believe?
WARNING: This blog post contains some harsh truths
JOHN 8:32—“Then you will know the Truth, and the truth will set you free.”
My friend and neighbor, Heidi Rosner, (and the artist behind the cover of my first novel “grace,”) sent the above picture from her most recent visit to Central Park. Her text said: “Looks a lot like your cover?!”
I was stunned. It really did look a lot like my cover. As writers, we are continually on the quest for authenticity. The cover that I created in my mind’s eye—morphing the Applegate River with the events in my book; calling the river in the book The Rogue River, adding a bench and a bridge…totally unique. I was searching for an authentic cover (which is why I had it created instead of using one of the publisher provided images).
What Heidi created with her translation of my descriptions and desires for the painting truly blew my mind. She has authentic talent: morphing water, brushes, color and a two dimensional surface into depth, beauty and captivating emotion that brushes the soul with magic.
Then it hit me—Like the ugly truth—words from Dr. Jared Aragona the instructor from my most recent writing course at SCC, “There are no new ideas. There are archetypes that are generally appealing and re-used in new ways. You will not come up with something that has never been thought of or already created.”
This mirrored a truth I have found in movie productions. There are usually two movies released close together; two competing studios trying to capture your attention and your dollars. Think about it–Remember “Stir of Echoes” and “The Sixth Sense?”—Two very similar movies released within weeks of each other and both embodying quite similar stories. Or, how about “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist?” and “Wyatt Earp” vs. “Tombstone.” More recently, although I didn’t see either of these (nor do I think I need to) “Friends with Benefits” and “No Strings Attached.” These are just a smattering of genres and types but the list goes on and on, seemingly proving Dr. Aragona right—no new ideas.
Gloria Steinem—“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
It was like the first time I heard the awful truth of Santa Claus. My older sister and I huddled in the living room after asking the hard question—our parents huddled in the kitchen, awaiting our answer.
My sister in a hushed whisper, “We need to know! All those nights we spent waiting for him? They said they would tell us the truth.”
I was too young to really get what my sister and parents were talking about, but I felt the foreboding in my gut. Truly, though young, I already knew the universal truth that, indeed—Ignorance is bliss. I didn’t want to know, but I wanted to be brave like my big sister.
We squared our tiny shoulders and approached the kitchen. I love how my parents handled it—my sister, driven for the truth gave them our answer—we deserved the truth. She folded her arms across her night gowned chest and lips quivered slightly with the words, “We want the truth.”
“First understand that, no matter what we tell you, there is still magic in Christmas — if you believe. It is more about belief than the truth…The truth is — there is not a Santa Claus. Also, the truth is—if you don’t believe—there just might not be the magic…or the presents.”
I saw my out, “I will believe! I believe!”
Fast forward–back to truths and authenticity—is this a myth? An unachievable platform that people somehow grasp at but it slips by them as they await up late at night, trying to stave off the sleep-laden eyelids long enough to get that glimpse of it? Does what one believe even matter?
I believe there are fakes and forgers; you can’t work in my profession at the police department and not see this truth. But there is also the scientific truth that no two fingerprints are the same—Each of your ten fingers’ prints are unique and different, and these are different that anyone else’s ten fingers, and those are different that anyone else’s created, EVER.
“We are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)
As I studied the photo of Central Park and thought about the creation of “The River” by Heidi, I was struck with another truth—Beauty is beauty. Beauty is true and we are simply God’s unique creations trying to interpret, translate and relay His beauty. Truth is, even these ideas I was “stumbling across” were not new. As I studied this phenomenon in these two pictures, pondered the duplication of movies, and thought on my beliefs, I also came upon these words—

“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” Piet Mondrian
“The music of this opera was dictated to me by God; I was merely instrumental in putting it on paper and communicating it to the public.” (About Madame Butterfly) –Giacomo Puccini
“It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.” Mary Daly
So, God helped me. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but…
And, indeed, it is free.

Recession Brings “grace”

IMG_20130514_183310_506Five years ago, as I was working at Scottsdale PD’s Crime lab as a fingerprint technician, I went part-time to help care for my terminally ill father in Colorado. I figured I could return to full-time within a year or two.–The “recession” changed all that. After my father passed away, I found myself with some extra time on my hands and a desire to pursue some old dreams. I enrolled at Scottsdale Community College and began honing my (at that point) “latent” writing skills. These new skills and the inflamed desire to write are what brought about my first fiction novel “grace.”
“grace” is a novel set in southern Oregon that follows four friends’ lives and is threaded with the overarching theme of undeserved forgiveness. It contains tragedy and murder, life and death, good and evil, as well as triumph, love and second chances.

PLEASE COME AND JOIN IN THE CELEBRATION OF GRACE AT A FREE COMMUNITY EVENT!
JUNE 1ST AT ASU’S SKYSONG CONVERGENCE ROOM (SE corner of McDowell Rd and Scottsdale Rd)
Enjoy a free continental breakfast and hear a reading from “grace”
A book signing and Raffle will follow.
Event is FROM 10 AM TO NOON
(for more info check details at AZCentral.com, Phoenix New Times.com and on the events page at K-LOVE.com)
“grace” will be available at the event ($15.20 for SC, $33.75 HC and $5.00 for the e-book) and also at Amazon.com and other online retailers.

TRUTH or FICTION?

TRUTH OR FICTION?Image

Having dinner with friends last week, the launch party for my first book “grace” was brought up.

“Okay,” my friend’s husband leans back from the table. He straightens out his spectacles and says, “About your book…I don’t want to sound stupid, but which one’s real? Fiction or non-fiction?”

His wife nods her head, “I always get those confused!”

“That’s not uncommon,” I reply. “Non-fiction is the real stuff, like auto biographies.” I nod at them and try to help them with the trick I used to learn this. “Fiction is false. EF-Fake.”

“Okay, I think I got it. So your book ‘grace’ is…?” Both of them look at me.

The restaurant is a flurry of activity; families enjoying dinner, couples conversing, mugs of margaritas and the sizzles of fajitas swarming all around us.

“Grace is fiction, but many parts of the book are taken from real life–from my life or lives of those around me. So some of it, you could say, is non-fiction.”

I say, “Take for example, the four main characters. They are totally made up people. False. Fiction. But the part in there with the hunting dog, that story is true. My uncle’s hunting dog Corky really did that.”

My two confused friends lean in closer and look at me with eyebrows raised. “Okay, so why did you choose to write ‘grace’ as fiction?”

I look at them. I think they are tracking with me now just as the waitress arrives with our steaming plates of cheesy, beany deliciousness.

As we settle in with our food, my friend’s husband resumes, “I have only gotten to the acknowledgements section, so don’t say too much! Okay, so let me get this straight. Your book is non-fiction?”

His wife chuckles, “No, its fiction!” Then she looks at me, “Right?”

We’re all laughing.

The conversation above really happened. Non-fiction. True.

The book I wrote is a fiction novel with characters I made up.  The location in southern Oregon exists and has been molded by me (fiction) to fit the made- up (fictional) action of the story, which in turn is loosely based on some life events I’ve witnessed and sprinkled with pieces and parts of reality and truth (non-fiction).

Crystal clear as mud?

As many people I know read it, I am certain they will see parts of themselves and events that we’ve shared in life, but the reality is – fiction provides a beautiful freedom to express a reality or truth that is shared.

This happens all the time in literature. Even in The Bible, Jesus often taught his disciples with “parables” or stories in order to point out a truth.

Sooo–

SPOILER ALERT!!! I thought it would be helpful to share some tid-bits from my “fiction” book that are the non-fiction (TRUE) parts. (If you haven’t yet read “grace” beware of the following information):

Robbery at grandparent’s house right after Easter by escaped, convicted child molesters – True

My parents’ bright orange Vega was stolen in the robbery – True

My “grampy” was a championship trap shooter who battled with lung cancer – True

My uncle’s hunting dog Corky and the event in the book – True

My friend floated down a different river much to her hatred and fear of snakes – True

Ashland creek flooded in 1997 – True

I know someone who basically subsisted on Skittles – True

The story about “The River” on the cover of the book of by Heidi Rosner (see prior blog “Behind the Cover” on juleseddy1.wordpress.com) – True

“Grace” is currently available from WestBowPress.com, Amazon.com & Barnesandnoble.com – True

Friends have sprinkled seeds of the truth of Jesus Christ in my life, forever changing me – True

The undying, relentless, unfathomable, all consuming love of a Savior who never gives up on us, even to the death – TRUE!

(This list is not exhaustive—you’ll have to ask me about the rest! 8)

If you are in the Valley of the Sun, save the morning of Saturday, JUNE 1st for a FREE Launch Party/book signing/raffle at ASU’s Sky Song’s Convergence room from 10am – 12pm.  “Grace” is available at the party!

I hope to see you there! True!

Behind the cover of “grace”

The RiverOne of my favorite stories about my first fiction novel “grace” is about the cover. I had completed the manuscript and was struggling through the cover images for it.  A few years prior, I moved to the Scottsdale condo community where I currently reside. All my neighbors and community pointed out that I was closest neighbor to Heidi Rosner, the artist.  I knew nothing about her except that she was very well liked in the community and was an artist.

For the record, I don’t believe in coincidences and I am a somewhat private person. Yet, God kept nagging at me to talk with her about the cover.  Up to this point, we had only brief conversations and interaction as she spends much of her time at her other home in California and I was working three jobs at the time. Nonetheless, opportunities kept presenting this one particular day when I should have asked her, but I chickened out.

I was returning from getting my mail and Heidi approached me!  We began a light conversation: “What have you been up to?” “Not too much.  You?”  blah-de-blah–I mentioned to her I was self-publishing a book in the near future and sure enough, the chance came up for me to ask her what medium of art she worked with. When she told me she was a painter mostly focusing on landscapes and florals, I was urged to question her if she would be interested about doing a book cover.

“Well, tell me about your book.” Heidi asked.

I stammered on about the southern Oregon setting, the four friends that it centers around and their struggles with life, death, forgiveness, faith, etc.

“So what’s it called?” She asks.

“Grace,” and when I answered with this, I was not expecting her response.  Her lips quivered, jaw clenched and tears filled her eyes. “Are you okay?” I was stupified. What had I said???

“Julie, I have been feeling my mom’s presence with me today.  Really.  All day just feeling her talking with me.  She passed away just a few weeks ago. I recently returned from her funeral. Her name was Grace.” (this is a paraphrase but pretty darn accurate!)

Now it was my turn to have the lips quiver, eyes fill with tears, etc.

And that was how “the Heidi Rosner” agreed to do the cover of “grace” with her amazing painting of THE RIVER.

PLEASE COME AND JOIN IN THE “CELEBRATION OF GRACE” AT A FREE COMMUNITY EVENT!
JUNE 1ST AT ASU’S SKYSONG CONVERGENCE ROOM (SE corner of McDowell Rd and Scottsdale Rd)
Enjoy a free continental breakfast and hear a reading from “grace”
A book signing and Raffle will follow.
Event is FROM 10 AM TO NOON
(for more info check details at AZCentral.com, Phoenix New Times.com and on the events page at K-LOVE.com)
“grace” will be available at the event ($15.20 for SC, $33.75 HC and $5.00 for the e-book) and also at Amazon.com and other online retailers.