Welcome to Julia Talbot's blog!

Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

where have all the cowboys gone?

this is a question for stock photographers, because I know cover artists can only choose pics that they have access to.

So I ask. Why do we have all these Guido types with spray tans and bandannas under their redneck straw or leather hats doing the armpit sniffing pose?

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Guidos, spray tans, or fitness models. But when I have to help my wife, who writes a very specific brand of Texas cowboy, find a cover model, I want, well, a cowboy.

There's an old song by Conway Twitty, called Don't Call Him a Cowboy (Until You've Seen Him Ride). In this case don't slap a hat on a guy with no shirt on and call him a cowboy.

See, there are all sorts of cowboy hats from the low crown Texas straw Stetson, to the high crown, curly brim high mountain hat. They all have a few things in common, though. They come in felt or straw. They do not come in leather. They are not worn by celebrities like Toby Keith or Bret Michaels. They are not bought in a tourist shop at Myrtle Beach or at the Margaritaville in NOLA.

As a side note, the redneck leather hat that most closely resembles a civil war cavalry hat is what the slimy, jerk of an ex used to wear and call it a cowboy hat, and is never, ever an appropriate hat for a BA Tortuga cover. Ever. Julia would rather bash herself in the head than see it on a cover, thanks.

A real cowboy hat can be bought at a western wear store, a rodeo, and in some states, Wal-Mart. Approved manufacturers include Stetson, Resistol, Justin, Larry Mahan and many, many more.

I am begging for real cowboys to come back into style. They're hot. Trust me.



Saturday, September 26, 2015

A story about my Mom

We went to an estate sale today during our mad yard sale run into Old Town. BA and I love weird and wonderful stuff, and today at yard sales we got a bizarre hanging chandelier for our dining room to replace the generic wal mart model our predecessors hung. At the estate sale, we got a frankly odd table with an oval top and two tiny shelves on the bottom. Maybe a candle stand with a place for a tinderbox? Maybe a lamp table with a place for oil? It has little metal claw feet, which makes me so happy.

Anyway, estate sales are little glimpses into someone's life, and today the gentleman in question made me think of my mom. He was a military man, so there were uniforms and foot lockers and more than 20 years of insignia. He made wooden toys, soldiers mostly, but he had some trucks and cars, wooden toys for smaller kids.

Mom loved her Army days, would have retired if she could have, but back then women got married and pregnant and they got an honorable discharge. She made wooden toys for years, loving it when a little kid latched on to a car or a truck and wouldn't let go.

The biggest thing that hit me today, though, was the workshop the man had set up. There was a workbench (sadly a built in and not for sale) that made me think of all the hours my mom spent out in the garage with the dog, sitting on her stood in front of her workbench. She'd have a cigarette dangling out of her mouth, a block of wood in her hand that she would turn into something amazing. I spent a lot of time in her various shops over the years, sanding parts, gluing in pegs. She would chat with me, or we'd sing with the radio or we'd just work, but we were content to spend time together. The smell of sawdust and wood glue will always make me think of her.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Release- Emerald Eyes

Oh, y'all.

It's been a long time since I visited Club Bloodrose.

I mean really. I started this series eons ago with what is, chronologically, the second book. The Werewolf Code. In that book, which intros a werewolf named Deke and a vampire named Kasey, a terrible mutation is being introduced to make people into werewolves. Deke mentions he and Kasey met at a BDSM style slave auction at a club, and all the readers said, what? We want to see this.

So I wrote An Itch to Scratch, which introduces Jonny, owner of Bloodrose. Yummy.

Then, in Belling the Cat, Jonny meets his match in a panther shifter named Luc. I admit now that I was in a hurry to finish that one to fill a slot someone else left gaping open at the publisher (which was my business back then) and if I had been a reader when that book came out, I'd be seriously pissed ;)

After a few more stories in Bloodrose, and several offshoot books about Cereus, Jonny's paranormal resort, y'all finally yelled loud enough.

Emerald Eyes is the sequel to Belling, and catches up with Luc and Jonny, as well as Luc's twin brother, Yves, and his new bodyguard, Reuben...

Yeah, it's really entwined. This book really explores Luc's life, making Yves the star, but digging into Jonny and Luc's relationship with Deke and Kasey, as well. I hope to continue that arc in Cereus at some point soon.

Here's the deets.

Get Emerald Eyes here!

This week, Belling is on sale 20% off, as are the Bloodrose shorts.

When Jonny, the owner of club Bloodrose finds out his shifter mate Luc has a twin brother, he decides Yves needs protection from the bad guys who have tried to kill Luc. He sends Reuben, a werewolf security agent, to keep Yves safe from the killers. And from Yves himself.

Reuben has never met someone as determined to find trouble as Yves. The guy has this obsession with a set of emeralds, a dead younger brother, and some kind of demon ritual. All of this should make panther shifter Yves a bad bet as a mate, but that doesn't keep Reuben from falling hard. Can he and team Bloodrose keep everyone alive long enough to convince Yves they're made for each other?

Author note: While the story can stand alone, this book is best when read as a sequel to Belling the Cat.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Julia's Best Travel Tips

I love to travel. I go anywhere I can, anytime I can. I've traveled both domestically and abroad. I love Malaga and London, hate NYC and Atlanta. I have been in cabs and on trains, have been dragged across Rome with a man named Orlando carrying my suitcase and I've eaten squid ink pasta in Venice and gluten free Falafel and pita in Portland. Over the last fifteen years I've learned some great tips for having a good trip.

Don't go with someone you don't get along with pretty well. I've been to Italy 3 times, and every time there was one person who dragged down the fun level. Now, that's not to say anyone was a jerk, but if you don't see museums at the same speed or if one person wants to shop and sun on the beach and the other wants to hit historical sites and sights, you're gonna have a problem. I can't wait to go to Italy with my wife. We travel well together.

Don't get into the cab with the crazy Russian driver. I learned this in LA. Our party split into two cabs and BA and I got the crazed man who decided it was a competition. He damned near killed us. However, we have found that if you get a cabbie who will chat with you then talk! Don't just sit there. We've learned all about 1950s French Quarter NOLA, downtown Pittsburgh during the steel era, how thw Queen's Guard in London all learn to talk through closed lips so they can pick up women, and how police work pays in Houston, TX. From carriage drivers we've learned that they used to use homing pigeons to get football scores to the newspaper in Texas, that mules are more surefooted on cobblestones than horses and that the bull fighting ring in Malaga Spain is their pride and joy.

Pay for the better hotel. Don't stay in a cheap hotel. Get the best one you can afford. Not luxury, unless you're into that, but a good, clean, comfortable hotel. After a long day of walking about, the last thing you want is to come back to a gross bed and nasty carpets. Do your research online, make sure the hotel has the amenities important to you. Pool? Beach access? Room service? Gluten free food. You don't have to compromise in this competitive day and age.

Eat and travel and expect things like a local. I can't tell you how many people I've seen say, "This isn't like home." Lord, people go all over the world and eat McDonald's. Seriously, y'all. Bust out. Don't eat the menu touristica, as they say in Italy. Wander off the beaten path. Try the weird seafood soup. Go to the food truckk court. See the real.

There's so much more, but I'm out of time.




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

my favorite Coastal Magic Authors

We all fangirl, right? Some of my favorite authors will be at Coastal Magic Con in February.

Carrie Ann Ryan, Christopher Rice, Shayla Black...

Yeah. bestsellers, much.

Still, some of my faves, who are also bestsellers, are people I feel lucky enough to call friends.

Andrew Grey. I met Andrew at either Authors After Dark or GRL in New Orleans. Sorry, babe, I can't remember which. He was there when BA and I got engaged, and this summer he spent a week with us in Texas, meeting all the family. He writes lovely romances and yummy adventures and he's a genuinely good guy.

Kiernan Kelly. I've known K for 10 years. I published her first book. She's hilarious, fiercely loyal, and insanely talented.

TC Blue. Tis has been in my life almost as long as Kiernan. She's honest, wicked snarky, and will give you the shirt off her back. She spent an entire convention after BA went gluten free providing my girl with free Kind Bars just so she could have food.

Damon Suede. I met Damon in New Orleans at AAD. We bonded over literary theory in romance. He was sweet enough to dance with me though I had a terribly injured foot. He sweats, but so do I. He's my wife's evil gay twin.

Sean Michael. What can I say. This will be Sean's first public con. O.O Sean introduced me to my wife, and I have known this freakishly cool Canadian since 2000. Fifteen years. Whoa.

BA Tortuga is my wife. We got married in June last. We got engaged at a romance con. We got together over a romance publishing house. I couldn't do it without her. And she's a hell of a writer.

Come see us all at Coastal Magic in February! Click here to go see the website!



Monday, September 14, 2015

My favorite beaches- Coastal Magic theme week

Hey y'all!

I'm getting promo together for Coastal Magic in February. why now, you ask? Well, it's February 4-7. Starting in October, we have trips and guests and holidays and birthdays and BOOM. It will be here.

Since it's in Daytona, I thought I would share my favorite beaches.

Myrtle Beach. Oh lord, y'all, I spent time here as a kid. Dad loved the beach, and he would take us down in April or October just when the off season was ripe. We'd collect shells and play games on the boardwalk and -- hey do they still have the dinosaur goony golf?

Ocean City, Maryland and Chincoteague Island, VA

I spent summers here as a teen, staying in my best friend's parents' RV and eating crabs and shrimp, swirled chocolate vanilla soft serve and fries with malt vinegar. We'd go bay fishing and watch the ponies and ride bikes all over the place.

Anything in the Bahamas or St Marteen. Blue water, white sand, umbrella drinks. Hoo yeah.

The promenade at Malaga, Spain. Orange and olive trees. Horse drawn carriages. Okay, so there's not much beach and a lot of big ships, but I love it.

The tiny beach at Turbatt's Creek, Kennebunkport, Maine. A glass of wine, a rocky beach in Maine, and an old lighthouse in the distance.

Coastal Magic will be my first beach in Florida. I've only been to Orlando. Eeee.

Come see us! Click here for website!



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Author Burnout

In this day and age, in order for an author to stay current, we must produce a lot of work. Not just writing books. We have to do blogs and Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus and Instagram and conventions and signings...

Yeah, you get the picture.

Now, I could complain, but I love my job, so here's how I combat the three major areas of Author Burnout. Writer's block, editing freakout, and social media fatigue.

Note: These are my cures. Feel free to comment and tell me yours!

Writer's block is something I rarely suffer from. I get stymied on one story, I just move on to another for a bit. Still, there are times when I really get myself in a bind, write myself into a corner and have to stop for a bit. That's when I pull out one of two tried and true techniques. One is to take a notebook (analog, folks. no tech here) and go to a coffee shop. Somehow going longhand and old school makes a different part of my brain kick in, and I often find I can get back on the horse. The other thing I try it just getting out of the house. No work, no notebook, nothing. Just turn the sound off on my phone and get going, out to dinner or to a museum or anything that gives me a new experience and people to watch. We forget how solitary we are sometimes, working alone at a keyboard. If you write romance, you have to see how people interact sometimes... Just go.

Editing freakout. OMG this is the one I am most guilty of, y'all. When you're a published author, you may have a book coming out in October, February and March and have them all in edits at the same time. Content edits, line edits, final line edits... It gets dizzying. Now, I thank God for my editors every day. I love that they make my books better. But after a pile of edits slashing through your prose, your characters, your plot, I start to take it personally. It's simply human nature. I begin to freak out. I troll Goodreads and Amazon obsessing over any bad reviews that prove I suck. It's a downward spiral.

This is when I step away from being an author for an hour. I read a book that is not mine. I call my brother because at this point my wife is either like "Let's kill them all!" or "Oh, would you shut UP". Sometimes I vaguebook, I admit, but that's always a bad idea.

What I find works the best is another creative hobby. This is why so many writers knit and crochet and color adult coloring books. I pick something quick, a project I can finish in a day, like a dishcloth. Boom Instant sense of accomplishment. Sometimes the editing process seems never ending, but a nice chunky yarn scarf? No one critiques that.

Finally, there's social media fatigue. Even though we all live in the electronic age, authors are essentially introverts. The constant pressure to stay in the public eye means we need to be out there writing blogs and doing tours, Facebook posts, Twitter, and a host of new social sites popping up means a writer can not only be utterly swamped, but it means I can waste a lot of time I should be writing surfing the Oatmeal or Grumpy Cat.

I know a lot of authors who cope with the inundation of social media by using a service like HootSuite to schedule their social media and do it all once a week.

I pass no judgement on this, but it doesn't work for me. I find spontaneity important in the little social details I share, and I like to post about 85% about something not my books so no one feels overwhelmed with promo. So what I do is schedule my days. I look at my author Facebook max 3 times a day. I may only post once, then read and like other people's posts, but I try hard to limit my surfing. I get free phone apps that help me post pictures to Twitter, Instgram and Tumblr. These apps, like Word Swag, help me create interesting content from regular phone pics. I pick a theme for the week. This week all my Pinterest pins for work relate back to a WIP about a spa owner who runs a GLBT friendly hotel. Just jotting down the theme for the week, the blog posts I need to make, and the places I need to touch each week on Sunday keeps me from feeling completely overwhelmed.

Please share any coping strategies you use with me!

XXOO Julia

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Sunday, September 06, 2015

First world problems the tech edition

went to upgrade my phone today. I need an up to date smart phone for my writing business, frankly, and my camera has to be up to par to support my destashing through Ebay and Artfire. (PM me on Facebook for links to jewelry and yarn etc)

So, we go to the ATT store. Did we forget to update our phones? Yes we did, so we had to do it there. Three hours later we've updated, upgraded, and grocery shopped in between, and are home. Do I have a phone? No. It's plugged in trying to upgrade to the new OS, which, you know, I think should be on the damned phone already. It's taking hours, y'all. because I made the mistake of trying to download all my darned apps at the same time.

If I ever get to use use my new phone I'm sure I'll love it.

When I get this frustrated, I remind myself that I can afford to shop at an organic co-op and upgrade my phone on an installment plan...



Friday, September 04, 2015

I was going to do TBT but it's Friday

but I can't find any pics on this machine

Sigh. And my dropbox only has new stuff

So I'll tell a story instead.

When I first met my wife in person, I went to Texas in February or March and melted. They took me to Chuy's and we waited outside forever and I melted some more. I was dying. Colorado at that time of year is a tough one. Colorado: 40 degrees. Texas: 68

See, in Texas, spring comes on Valentine's Day.

My wife came to visit me the first time in October in Colorado. It was lovely. 70 and sunny the whole time until the last day. Then it rained and the high was 58.

She about died.

Now we've been in Albuquerque for 2 years. This is our third fall. Yes, despite the 85 degree highs, it's fall. How do I know? BA broke out her jeans yesterday. She loves the seasons now, and it looking forward to cooler weather. Now when we go to Texas? She's the one who melts.



Tuesday, September 01, 2015

What I'm reading right now - Late summer edition

What I'm reading this week.

I just bought my first Brandon Shire book. I'm a sucker for blind stories, and this one says it's a blind gay romance. Afflicted, I think the title is. I will let y'all know how it goes!

I've been re-reading my old Jo Beverly books. I do love her Rogues and her Mallorens. I started a historical. It's her fault.

I've also been reading my get organized storage magazine O.O

What are y'all up to? Rec me, people, or I'll just keep getting free books on Bookbub and not reading them.