Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | By: Taffy

Utah Book Month with Sharks, Pebbles and Julie Daines

When I first started writing, I thought I was hot writerly stuff. I was sure my writing was pretty awesome and perfect coming out of my head. My writing was so good, agents would be fighting to hand over million dollar checks and movie deals.
A friend offered to read a chapter and give advice. I happily handed over my words, knowing she too would be astonished.
She kindly read.
She smiled.
She asked, "What's the dog's breed? Or name?"
I jokingly replied, "Can't you read my mind?"
Yeah. My baby story was not ready to join the real world. I was not as good as I thought.
Now what?
I wasn't sure where to turn now. League of Utah Writers happened to have a writer's conference that weekend that I attended. Josi Kilpack spoke about her critique and how many books they had published between them (25?) and that is when I knew I needed a critique group. I wanted to be a better writer. I needed a few fresh pairs of eyes on my writing. I hoped I could find such a group.
And I Did!
We nicknamed ourselves Shark&Pebbles (every group needs a nickname!) and have been together for FOUR years. We have SIX (?) books published between us with many, many more on the way. I seriously love my group.

I'll introduce each person in my group and what they say about our group:

JULIE DAINES~ When trying to get published, submitting a clean, polished manuscript is of utmost importance. My critique group is so good at finding what’s wrong with my writing and helping me fix it. They can spot everything from repetitive sentence structure to serious holes in the plot. They help me brainstorm how to make my story and characters stronger, and are incredibly supportive. Without this invaluable input, my writing would not be where it is today, and I doubt I would be a published author.

SCOTT RHOADES~ After a while, the help expands beyond critique sessions. When I write, i think of each of you and what you're going to call out if I don't change it.

YAMILE MENDEZ ~ respect, commitment, and support. You guys know what to say to make me feel better when I'm in my lows, and you know when to push me when I can take the extra critique. I love you for it!


JAIME THELER~ Jaime LOVES us but she is so busy finishing her amazing book that she can't come out and play right now.






Also, because Julie has the most recently book published, I decided to spotlight her here!


Julie Daines was born in Boston, Massachusetts, raised in Utah, and educated around the world. As a high school student, she spent her summers hiking the deserts of southern Utah, drawing inspiration from the various plants and animals to write children’s stories and legends. 

She studied Zoology and Secondary Education at Brigham Young University, paying her way through college by performing live reptile demonstrations at the university’s life science museum.

She spent eighteen months living in London where she studied and fell in love with English Literature, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and the fellow who ran the kebab store around the corner. 

After editing for other authors, she decided to take up writing again--this time in the young adult genre. She feels qualified to write for teens because, as a young adult, she mastered the art of drama. Oh, and she has some skulking around the house.

Julie is a member of SCBWI, the League of Utah Writers, and Utah Children’s Writers. She frequently attends conferences where she has won a few awards for her writing, and is part of a superb writer’s group.

Enough of me in the third person. If your curiosity has still not been sated, then here’s a little more of the interesting stuff:

Things I’ve done:
    
  1. BulletThrown a frisbee off the top of the Eiffel tower.  It was a group effort.  

  1. BulletRemoved my own stitches.  The nurse was doing a terrible (aka painful) job, so I demanded the scissors and finished it myself.

  1. BulletKilled a rat with my bare hands.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

  1. BulletPulled a snake tooth out of my finger--on my honeymoon.  True story.  The snake (a Rainbow Boa Constrictor) bit me a few weeks before my wedding.  I couldn’t figure out why it was taking so long to heal--until part of the tooth started sticking out.  Did I mention it was on my honeymoon?  

  1. BulletTalked my way out of three speeding tickets.  Seriously, it pays to go to the judge and argue your case.

  1. BulletTaught myself to play the Irish whistle.

  1. BulletSnuck out of the hotel (age 18--three girls--alone) in Moscow to meet some strange (but hot) guys at a local disco.  Did we ever find them?  No.  Did we ever find the disco?  No.  Did we get lost on the subway system and find ourselves wandering deserted streets late at night in Communist Russia?  Yes.  Were we stupid to try?  Absolutely.

  1. BulletStole a flashing barricade from a road construction site.  It’s important to note that they put those barricades up for a reason--to warn sneaky teenagers of the deep and dangerous hole.  Picture roadrunner slapping down a black circle-hole.  Picture Wile E. Coyote walking along then suddenly disappearing into the aforementioned hole.  As a follow up, I’d like to say that, riddled by guilt, we put it back about an hour later.

  1. BulletHeld a scorpion in my bare hands.  A live scorpion.  

  1. BulletGot car sick on the way home from Disneyland.  I was trying to finish my math homework in the very back of a station wagon.  To this day, any mathematical work still makes me a little queasy.

  1. BulletBeen chased by a moose.

Things I’ve Never Done:

  1. BulletHad a facial, pedicure, or manicure--or been to a spa. 

  1. BulletEaten sushi--I just really can’t stand seafood!

  1. BulletTired of seeing the full moon through wispy clouds as it rises over the mountains near my home.

  1. BulletBeen to Hawaii. *Update* Hawaii family vacation 6/13

  1. BulletChanged a flat tire on my car.  My awesome husband always does it for me!  I am, however, pro at changing my road-bike tires.

  1. BulletBroken a bone.  Or had my tonsils out.

  1. BulletBeen stuck in an elevator.

  1. BulletBeen stung by a bee.  A wasp, yes.  It was hiding in my pants and when I put them on--yeow!

  1. BulletHit an animal while driving.

  1. BulletCheated on a test.

  1. BulletEaten brains.  They tried to serve me some in South America.  But I started having a nervous breakdown and told them, in my not-so-fluent-spanish, that I didn’t want to eat any “mind.”

  1. BulletJumped off the high-dive.  

  1. BulletWon the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.




Amazon Buying links:

Julie Daines | Author
A Blind Eye
Unraveled

3 comments:

Jessica (The Bluestocking Society) said...

Awesome spotlight of both the group as a whole and of Julie in particular. It is interesting to hear authors speak - they almost always have a supportive and long-running writing group. And that list of things Julie has done! Such an awesome (and terrifying) list. :) Plenty to draw from for her writing.

Julie Daines said...

This is awesome, Taffy. But I really need to update my author picture! Ha!

zunaira mehar said...

This particular blog is really amazing as well as i definitely love it. Good job!!
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