Friday, August 4, 2017

This is a really good blog post. Really. Like super good.

Look, I made a banner! Letting it proudly wave! Happy Photoshop Friday!!!!!

Anyway, I feel like I need to make a really good blog post, but seriously, I'm so busy doing fun things. And not fun things. I'm on page 227 or something on Butcher Baker 2. That's fun. I'm kind of just happy that I've finished House of Slide. That's fun. I've taken up running this summer, and every time I go, I jiggle a little bit less. Yep. For some reason, sitting in front of my computer and writing 900 pages in 41 days isn't that slimming. That's Darkly Sweet, coming next year. Right now I want to write the next Watergirl. It's going to be like college dorm life only underwater. FUN. And hard, but let's not focus on that. Hm. Maybe I'm not in a hurry to write that after all. I am in a hurry to read it.

I was in the library today. With five kids. (NOT fun) and I realized that the YA section was jam packed with dark angsty, vampire/dystopian/weird stuff. And that's why Watergirl is so necessary for this world. We need some happy fluffy hot guys with gills, you know? I know.  I was personally looking for that kind of story. But I've got to settle for Butcher Baker2 which is still pretty fun and light. Ah, Armand. I had my husband read this one bit out loud last night, okay, like 25 pages. You know, light reading for a college prof like him, and he snorted and laughed out loud for like three minutes. FUN. 

What else? Harvesting our own mushrooms, the Ash tree Bolete, in case you were wondering, going going going, meetings, don't ask, oh, and now I'm teaching piano lessons. Um. So, busy, which means I want to just hide somewhere dark and write nonsense, or read nonsense, but I'm having a hard time finding the perfect thing. Which is why I write. I actually really want to go back and read Darkly Sweet and Dreadful Delicious, books 1&2 respectively, which are pretty close to publishable, but I'm going to publish the entire 4 book series in one summer. Next year. Will be frantic. But fun. 

Loved Valerian. The movie. The soundtrack, been listening on repeat, along with Kubo's 'While my Guitar Gently Weeps'. Weird show. Loved that too. And Spiderman was super cute, and Wonderwoman, but everyone knows that. Honestly, was more impressed with Valerian. But that's because it's french and I am tres chic. Oui. or Non. Whatever.

My garden is not too shabby. Finally got mulch on it. The day before August, so rawr! The kids tested as brilliant so I can be less frantic and worried I'm destroying their brains by not shoving them in pub school. Pub school would be so cool. Like a different pub every day, learning lessons from all the veterans and other interesting folks who habitate the space. Hm. Maybe next year. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

About that cover reveal...




HOLLOW IS OUT!!!!!!

I can't say how happy I am. I feel like I just got released from some kind of sentence, not a terrible one mind you, I love House of Slide, but I've been in that world for over a decade, and I want to explore new ones. I am really proud of myself for finishing this. I'm not really the best at finishing things in a responsible manner, but I think this is a great sign! Also, I love this book. I've been writing it over three years and it's just a delight. I mean, how delightful can horror be?

Oh! I realized that House of Slide is horror. I'm so shocked because I don't read Horror. IT's too scary for me because my mind is a scary place already. Apparently. :) But it's horror, sort of funny Horror with a lot of kissing. And dancing. And fighting demons and monsters and uncomfortable conversations with Satan who lives in the basement. (He's not really Satan. He's her uncle Saturn who just looks like the devil.)

The Blurb:

Things to do:
1 Tame the Hollow One (Before he destroys the world)
2 Defeat the Demon Mistress (Before she destroys the world)
3 Don't become a Demon Mistress (Who destroys the world)
4 Don't lose your mind.

Three out of four, not bad.

In the Exciting Conclusion to the House of Slide series, the world is overrun by demon hordes and the only hope is a group of misfit Hunters.

Can Dariana convince the Hollow One to ally against the demons, or will he be the one who destroys everything she loves? 

From the wizard of Oz's Hunter Camp to narrow alleys of Romania, Dariana, Smoke, Snowy and Ash band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: a demon mistress that not even the Hollow One can defeat. In the hunt for the last demon mistress, they'll find friends turned to foes, and vice versa. Nothing in the world can defeat the Hollow One but is he truly with the Hunters, or does he have his own darker motives? 

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive fourth and final installment of the House of Slide series?

I even like the blurb. The book is better. 

I've been going crazy, doing edits again and again, trying to make this really shine, and I've been working on the second Butcher Baker book, Butcher, Baker, Werewolf Savior, in case you were wondering, (p. 128) and redoing all my covers for House of Slide. 

Now I want to relax and binge read something super light and fluffy with great dialogue and hot guys. And kissing. :)

Hope your summer is going great!

Friday, May 26, 2017

House of Slide: HOLLOW!!!!! Cover Reveal

Wow. I know I've been all about Darkly Sweet, but that's because Hollow is in the edit stage, so I don't have to give so much brain space over to it. At any rate, this is what I just did until my eyes are twitching. I have to figure out how to blink while doing photoshop.

Coming SOON!!!


Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Zoo!!!

We went to the zoo. It was fun.


Wow, a picture with me in it! Hi world! I exist!

Silk spider. So cool.

Leaf cutter ats. Amazing.



Bush dogs.



carrion





Only picture not the rhino's butt.







Oh this was the cutest thing!



Catalpas! I miss ours.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Darkly Sweet and a conglomeration of covers.

Hello! I just thought I'd put this out here. It's always interested to me to see the creative process in process. And what a process it is. This has been my most confusing cover to date. I think because the genre is so quirky. It's Addam's Family meets Mean Girls, and it's dark and it's funny and it's weird and it's magical. A little bit horror, a lot romance.

What do you think? Which is your favorite, and which screams witches are hilariously cruel to each other while fighting over husbands?

Very rough blurb: Penny Lane has eight months to find a suitable husband among the monstrous mages at Rosewood Academy. With only a weasel, her wits and a handful of lollipops, she sets out to tame one of those monstrous mages, but can she keep her heart from being bewitched by notoriously wicked, Drake Huntsman?





I'm leaning towards this one. And why is my font gray? 

Monday, May 8, 2017

The last of the kitchen shelves up! Hurray!

This has been a kind of crazy weekend. So much shelf nonsense. I never thought we'd get these finished, but with a deadline, it's happening! Hurray! And some things going on in my garden. :)

This week will be all about the living room, getting it back into a living room instead of the kitchen it had to be for a year. Today I made a little reading nook in the attic. The mice will enjoy it.














Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Darkly Sweet: A little bit.

Someone had this fabulous idea of putting up a sample chapter of the book I've been obsessing about for what seems like forever. So here it is. Oh, and the cover. :)
Darkly Sweet
Juliann Whicker


 Chapter 1
My fingers sank into the globs of melted wax. I hissed and yanked them back, sucking on them before spitting out the white flakes. The candles were as fat as my leg, their flames bright and flickering. I caught my image in the silver-framed mirror propped behind the candles, my skin pale except for the purple circles beneath my eyes.
“Level two burn. Why don’t you cry, Penny? You look like you’re going to cry.” The girl in the mirror made a face at me, my mouth tightening into a little bud while I tilted my head down so my hazel eyes were enormous. The light reflected dimly on the layers of pitch-what I called the black substance of flame resistant potion that coated my hair. Pitch was for irony.
Revere knocked on the door. Thud, thud. I knew it was Revere because no one else knocked.
The girl in the mirror closed her eyes and for a second I stood there, my fingers throbbing. Finally, I exhaled and spun around, marching my heavy black boots across the old wood floor, avoiding the uneven gaps between the boards.
I threw open the door and stared at my stepfather lean, mean, housekeeping machine. “What do you want?”
He raised a black eyebrow. “Are you packed yet?”
I crossed my arms over my chest and smiled at him, my nastiest smile. “The only way I’m leaving here is in a coffin.”
“That could be arranged.”
I scowled at him and shook my head tightly. “I don’t care about Grandmama’s will. I’m not going to Rosebush, academy for wealthy brats.”
He raised his other eyebrow while his black eyes narrowed. “Penny, every year you had a choice whether to spend that year or the next at Rosewood Academy, and every year you’ve deferred. This is your last opportunity to go. If you do not attend Rosewood and do not find a peer to marry, you will be cut out of the will along with your mother. This house will be demolished and the land donated to…”
“I know. Parks and Recreation so people can go camping on the bones of our ancestors. Why? Why would Grandmama do something that evil?”
His lips went thin while he stared at me flatly. “It’s almost as though she knew how difficult you would be. If you aren’t packed with your own things then you won’t have them. If you send trunks ahead of time they will be at the school when you arrive.”
I shook my head. “I don’t care. Let them come and tear down the old lady.” I kicked the door and dust puffed up. “She’s lived past her prime.”
The rafters of the attic creaked like ‘the old lady’ heard me. Revere cleared his throat. “I suppose you wouldn’t mind working somewhere like the local Walmart or as a telemarketer calling people on the phone during dinner.”
“I have work already.”
“Your little shop online selling lotion, yes, Penny, but what about your mother?”
I chewed my thumb savagely while I glared at Revere. “Why should I care about someone who never cared about me?”
He smiled slightly. “If that’s your choice, I’ll let her know.”
“Wait!” I grabbed his shoulder, holding him back before he left the landing at the top of the long winding stairs. “You know what she’ll say.”
He glanced back at me, his gaze calculating. “She will tell the same story she always tells about a girl who chose to keep her unborn child instead of her own life, her own freedom, a child she’s struggled to make any other responsible choices for in the past seventeen years. Of course, she’ll mention that she married me to take the place of your father and give you the opportunities she never had. She’ll also declare that she will never leave this house even if the walls come down around her, burying her alive.”
I glared at the floor of the landing, like it was the house’s fault that my mother hadn’t left since I was five. “Do you think she’ll really do it?”
“I don’t think that she can leave, Penny. The accident left her broken.” His expression almost showed emotion, but it vanished quickly.
I ripped off the skin of my thumb so hard that it started bleeding and I pressed it into my black skirt while I glared at Revere. “I’ve never even seriously dated someone. How am I supposed to get engaged to some guy before I turn eighteen? It’s impossible. It’s humiliating. It’s child abuse! I was going to go to school with Poppy when we turned sixteen and that would give us two years. She was good with people. She knew how to talk to them. How am I supposed to do this alone?”
His face softened. “You were always the strong one. If you don’t try, if you allow yourself to become paralyzed by fear, you will always regret it.”
“Like my mother, paralyzed by fear?”
He smiled slightly. “If you had known her before…” His smile faded and he turned, heading down the stairs. “You need to have your trunks packed by tomorrow with whatever you want to take with you to the dormitory. I know that it’s going to be a difficult transition for you, but I am certain you will find others who share your love of black and the skeletons of rodents.”
I fingered the bleached skulls tied in my hair, the pigtails that fell over my shoulders almost down to my knees, coated with black. “You’re going to miss me, Revere. You’re going to miss having a sane person in the old lady.” I raised my voice as he disappeared from view, the stairs curving out of sight.
“Pushy, cantankerous old care taker.” I slammed the door and turned to survey my kingdom. The attic covered most of the house, so for sheer square footage it gave me plenty of room for most of my everyday activities. The center was taken up by an enormous hearth and wide chimneys from the fireplaces downstairs. Candles and mirrors were sprinkled throughout the space and ropes hung from the rafters. To my right was a little alcove where a body dangled amidst the myriad dripping strands, Dandy’s purple and black suit stuck through with hat pins. To my left was the bed, the armoire, and the wall that was an actual straight wall instead of the interior curves of the mansard roof. A French door led to a small patio and let in a little bit of natural light. Behind the chimney, past the body, was my lab.
My little business wasn’t nearly so small and insignificant as Revere seemed to think. Darkly Sweet was a serious brand in indie beauty products. I’d seen several knock-offs that didn’t have anything on my brand. Maybe it was small compared to the family business, the soulless beauty corporation Great Grandma had established, but it was mine in a way nothing else was.
I dragged two enormous trunks out of the shadows under the eaves, dust puffing off them when I flung back the lids. I packed away my vials and tubes with meticulous care, layers and layers of packing bubbles between until I was certain nothing would destroy my lab, my livelihood. That took up most of the trunk and the rest I packed with ingredients, herbs, oils, bottles and bags.
The other trunk I stared at before opening the armoire, studying the rows of dresses, skirts, blouses, and the bulky capes made of impermeable rubber interfaced with a thin layer of lead. My fingers lingered on the golden yellow cape, the color her hair had been.
I whirled from the armoire and flung myself across the bed, muffling my scream in the mattress. After I had that out of my system, I didn’t waste any time but reached under the bed and pulled out the laptop, booting up and checking the battery life. A quick search found Rosewood Academy, your generic preppy looking building, all marble pillars and leaded windows. So the insulation wouldn’t be, and neither would the security. Great, that is.
I went back to the shadows and pulled out two more trunks. I filled them with quilts and tapestries, wooded scenes mostly. Grandmama had collected a wide assortment of tapestries on her travels through Europe. Most of them had something off, something odd, like the humans had chicken feet, or the trees had faces.
I flopped back on my bed and was surprised when my laptop chimed and then said, “Welcome to Rosewood, Penny Lane,” in a pseudo-aristocratic New England accent. The screen had a scrollwork banner along the top, “Meet your peers,” and faces of boys and girls I imagined I’d soon see in person.
An image slid onto the screen, a guy with dark eyes and a sneer, his red hair artfully messy in sharp contrast to his cravat and diamond stick pin. We had paintings in the gallery overlooking the hall of that kind of ridiculous tie, but they went with wigs and careful coifs, and not the diamond stud in his ear. Too quickly, the screen slid to another face, and I had to watch the whole thing around in a loop before it got back to him. This time, I clicked through to find professional looking shots of him—Drake Huntsman, apparently—in equestrian gear riding horses and hitting a ball with a stick (while creaming two other players) and dressed in a tux. I stared at the tux photo where he stood next to a dazzling brunette in a blue satin gown. Blue wasn’t enough to capture the glamour. Peacock. Yes. Peacock that matched her eyes. He stood beside her looking indifferent, like the shot was taken before the moment of action unlike most of the other photos. He gave the impression of constant movement; even when he didn’t move, his eyes seemed to show the action of his mind.
I sat back and closed my laptop. “Good-bye, Penny Lane.”
Creepy. What kind of guy did I want to marry? I couldn’t help but snort out loud. It was the most ridiculous thing in the world to try to seriously contemplate something that insane. Yes, I’d always known that was part of Grandmama’s will, ever since the funeral when I was thirteen, but I’d done my best to pretend that it would all go away. Poppy…
I opened the laptop with a jerk and focused on the image of the Drake and … “Witley Penmore” at the “Annual Winter Musical Extravaganza.” I opened a new window and typed Drake Huntsman in the search bar. That revealed whole new dimension to his character. There were videos of him and his friends walking down a hall while girls bounced and squealed like rabbits that had been shot.
I watched video after video until I saw one titled, “Christmas Tree Suicide.” I thought it would be something like a pathetic school play, but instead there was screaming in the background, dark night, snow, and this enormous Christmas tree in the middle of a courtyard, some kid at the top of it. The video zoomed in and I could see his face, see the way he clutched at his neck while he dangled there, hanging.
After a flurry of evergreen limbs, the camera refocused on Drake wading through the greenery of the now fallen tree. He hauled the guy out and then with this snarling smile punched him hard and fast in the face. Drake hit him until he staggered over, then Drake kneed him so that he jerked and sprawled onto the ground. Drake stopped for a second, staring at the other boy with his wild, crazy look in his eyes before he drew back his big black boot and started kicking.
That’s when he started yelling, expletives that I wasn’t very familiar with—being homeschooled and all—on and on until I closed my laptop with shaky fingers then pulled my knees up to my chest and started rocking.
Poppy. Cruel boys who ruined lives carelessly. It took me a long time before I could open the laptop and go back to Rosewood to find the boy who had been the tree ornament. When Drake’s image passed, I pressed my thumb to his face.
“You’re dead!”
Before much longer I found the other guy, Zachary Stoneburrow, brown-haired, cute enough, but not in sports or music, or anything else as far as I could find.
I searched the school photos and found him in the periphery: sitting in bleachers by himself, sitting at a table in the dining room by himself, a loner in a sea of guppies. He was a peer, though. He was eligible as my spouse. I hissed at the preposterous notion and leapt off the bed to open the armoire and dig through to the back, the lacy, frilly dress-up dresses I hadn’t worn since Poppy… We’d had elaborate tea parties that lasted for days, combining drama, music and sparring with the consumption of tea and finger sandwiches.
If I wanted a nice guy, I had to be a nice girl. When I went somewhere where there were other people I felt less and less comfortable until I was snarling like Señor Mort. Who could snarl when they were cute and happy? I would be like those French candy sandwiches dyed unnatural colors. Macaroons. I used to love the macaroons Grandmama brought back after one of her long trips.
Remembering her, I left every single black thing in my closet and filled up the trunk with lace, pink, and florals. I went to close the trunk, hesitated then threw in the black cloak. I could survive a nuclear blast in that thing.
After that was my sewing machine and fabrics in the school colors. I’d have to come up with my own elaborate uniform that somehow broke all barriers between myself and Zachary Stoneburrow, because I was going to marry him. Hopefully he liked legs more than breasts, although I could always buy a bigger pair if it came down to it.
I closed the lid of the last trunk with finality then shoved them to the door where they’d be taken in a very few hours.
Standing in front of the mirror above the mantel, I held up my two plaits before letting them slap down against my neck. I’d had “pitch” in my hair since Poppy tried to light it on fire when I was ten. It would take ages to get it all out. I pushed up my long black sleeves and got to work.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sew Saturday, Book Review, and Dirndl!

Hi!

I've been kind of obsessing about this Darkly Sweet world and in it the characters have tea parties and dress up ridiculously. Dirndls. So I found this book on Amazon, it's in Japanese. It didn't make the slightest difference because the pictoral instructions were amazing. It went together kind of like a nightmare because the cheap satin I had on hand unraveled and slipped like a lambourghini on the ice (did you see that movie?) and I did about ten yards of ruffles. Of that nightmare slick stuff. But it turned out so cute. So adorable. So fun! We both love it. And I didn't spend a cent on it, just used stuff i had on hand. An invisible zipper would have been better, but I didn't have one. Also if it had been green instead of white... but these are small things, and using up stash, and using a pattern from a new book, and maybe coming up with something that might work for a book cover, these are such good things! Anyway, I highly recommend this book. I think it's "LOLITA DRESS BOOK 6" But it's mostly in Japanese so it's hard to be certain since I do not know ANYTHING in Japanese. Alligato?

One thing on sizing, they didn't have sizes small enough for my daughter, but I'm like, 'japanese pattern, I'm just going to throw this together and tie a ribbon on the back to pull it in if it's too big. She'll grow into it." Um, no. It fits pretty much perfectly, although I took in more seam allowance than they allowed, not that much. My point is that this is small. VERY small. Not a problem for my daughter, but I won't be able to wear any of these outfits without severe pattern grading. I am seriously tempted. :D

This is the first piece of her sudoku wardrobe. Did I mention this? I'll have to do a post next week. It's the coolest thing ever. I have six items all cut out, easy things that I should be able to get all sewn up on a nice rainy day without anything else to do. Then I'll make one for me. Or something.

You can't tell, but in these pictures the rain is pouring down. So stormy this weekend! Good for my peas!!!

Super Springtime dirndl. 
I feel pretty...

Way too many seams in this fabric.

She loves it, the spinny awesomeness of it.

All those teeny tiny ruffles!

Instructions were really great. I have no idea if I did it right, but I don't really care.


This is the book version of the dirndl. Cute, no?

The book had this whole cinderella wardrobe, and of course my daughter is desperately in love with it.

Also this Anne of Green Gables wardrobe. So cute. So, so so cute! I really want to order all the rest of these books at once!

These are the wardrobe pics. 

Anne of Green Gables ones. 

The left is the dirndl. And the right is these weird shorts that are made out of squares. I don't think we're going to do that, but that cape is so cute! Also the polka dot tights...

This is a really good blog post. Really. Like super good.

Look, I made a banner! Letting it proudly wave! Happy Photoshop Friday!!!!! Anyway, I feel like I need to make a really good blog post,...