Introducing... Ms. Julie Anne Nelson (Cue wild cheering, confetti, & balloons)

I'm leaving today for Denver for a week-long visit with my family. I'll be wearing a pink poodle skirt to my parent's 50 wedding anniversary party and finally getting to hold my precious new niece in my arms.

So, I'm turning over my blog to my dear friend, Julie Nelson. She found me via a comment I'd made on Jessica Faust's blog back in December. We began e-mailing each other, then talking on the phone for hours at a time, and finally we had the great opportunity to meet in NYC in May when we both attended the Backspace Writer's Conference. She's not only my best "writer" friend, but she's one of my best friends, period. And she (finally!) has her own blog. It's called Literary Jules and I'm hoping you, my wonderful readers, might check it out.

And now, ladies and gentleman, heeeeeeere's Julie!

Debbie, thanks so much for this wonderful introduction to the world of blogging!

Like many writers, my writing journey began when I was young. Somewhere, I still have the first stories I wrote. (They all involved Black Beauty. What can I say? I knew nothing about copyright infringement back then.) I was always writing and finished my first novel in high school (written on the back sides of class notes). When I hear the fantastic tales of high-school-age people securing representation and book deals, I am quite certain they are better now than I was then. Really, though, it is possible that my book, complete with characters based on the members of Duran Duran, might have changed the world. The Berlin Wall might not have fallen. Best that that book remains in a box with the Black Beauty-inspired stories, I think.

I wrote my next novels in college, along with screenplays, all without learning about the business. I seemed to know I wasn’t ready. Years passed, always writing, but never finishing to the querying stage. The teaching years were a dry patch for my writing. I was simply too exhausted after the energy I put into my classroom, my crazy battle games for the kids, the film club I created and ran, and all the other things teachers who love their jobs do. When I left teaching, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I did so because the well was dry, and I knew I couldn’t do my job to my own standards anymore. Teaching is simply too important to be phoned in. (This is not to say that others can’t effectively juggle teaching, writing, families, and lives.)

Careers shifted for me and last year I made the commitment to get the stories that had stuck with me through the lean and flush years down on paper and to give myself the chance to succeed at my life’s goal. I started with commercial fiction and then fell into YA fantasy with a vengeance. So, now I write every day, at least a little bit, and have learned much more about the business, much of that knowledge coming from savvy Debbie Schubert, whom I only met because she doesn’t have the insane level of internet shyness I do. In this forum, I’m really the little, spotted fawn taking her first steps, even though in the rest of my life that would hardly be an accurate description of me.

What I’m most excited about using my blog for is highlighting the authors who inspire me every single day. The most apt description of my reading tendencies is that I read like a heroin addict, only this addiction comes with beautiful journeys that I’ll never need methadone to be free of. At some point, I’ll blog about all the ways I cram reading into my day - those stories usually make people laugh. And my other hope for the blog is to connect with other fantastic people who love writing and reading as much as I do. I never realized what I was missing in not having people around me who were traveling this writing road (but I have been blessed with a very supportive group of friends who are now my trusty readers). And I’ve seen how much fun Debbie has with her blog and how she has connected with people throughout the industry.

So, for all my internet phobias, I’m seeing this technology more as a gift than ever. I am currently seeking representation for a YA fantasy and enjoying the chance I currently have to play with my writing, spending time on first drafts and following wherever the muse takes me. Please, stop by the blog and share your thoughts. And a huge thanks to Debbie for just about everything, and thanks to you for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me.

Happy reading, and keep writing!

Julie Anne Nelson
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