The Peek Inside My Brain You Never Requested

At 9:18 this morning I quit seeking a clever topic for this post.

Did my watery oatmeal signify the surrender? (Too lazy to measure liquid, I over-filled and got stuck slurping.)

Was it the fact that as of January 12th, my dining room table still boasts a crowd of Christmas crap?


Are those stains on my sweatshirt from melted chocolate? Red wine? Oh, who cares.

I’m feeling un-insightful today.

Today I just want to tell you stuff.

Like…I have an AUTHOR NEWSLETTER coming out soon and I’m so sorry but I’m going to have to beg you to sign up.

Especially since I lost all my blog subscribers in the shift from blog to AUTHOR WEBSITE (I had somewhere between one subscriber and one million subscribers) which means I might have to beg you to re-subscribe to my blog. Up top above the SUBSCRIBE box on the right —>

Do you see it? I forgive you if you don’t.

But if you DO, I promise not to post too often or send my in-the-works newsletter more than once a month. FYI the newsletter will be called Running with Pencils and when you sign up for it, you’ll receive a free piece of my writing. And if that isn’t tempting enough, I’ll let you dog-sit my puppy.


I know! It’s your lucky day! Wear elastic waistbands!

So when I eventually tweet about Running with Pencils or if I mention it in a Facebook status or post it on my Facebook author page (ohmygodIamalreadysickofmyself), or when I ask you one more time to re-subscribe to my blog, will you try not to be too annoyed?

What if I share my chocolate with you?

Oh, wait! Here’s something else:

I found out the book cover of my first novel (!!!) will be revealed on Leap Day, February 29th, which is appropriate since Letters for Scarlet took approximately four years and 24 hours to write. (No, seriously.)

But it was worth the effort and I’ll tell you why: the other morning Bill was tired because it’s exhausting being married to me and also because he stayed up later than usual because he didn’t want to stop reading my book.

(Using because three times in one sentence is a sign you’re an author. Probably.)

And another thing: it’s been three years to the day since our house fire on January 12, 2013. If you didn’t know me then or read my blog, Hey! We had a fire! If you did know me then and/or read my blog, thanks for being awesome. Because everyone was awesome.

Everyone still is.

Speaking of awesome, I was in this very same sweatshirt, completing an online interview (Fancy!) that asked what inspires me as an author. I felt insanely unprepared. This was an answer I should have at the ready. What inspires me?

Chocolate? Zippers? Wine?


I had no idea.

I did know Letters for Scarlet was inspired by the five-year-letter assignment I used to do with my students. Of course my book is a work of fiction so I changed the assignment to a ten-year-letter. I also changed everything else. You can find out what and how and why on April 4th.

Have I mentioned Letters for Scarlet is being released on April 4th?

Have I also mentioned I’m apparently going to need reviews on Amazon? There was a lot I didn’t know about promoting a book (related: NEWSLETTER!) and among those things is how vital it is to the Almighty Amazon Algorithm that authors receive manymanymany reviews. Gulp.

(And here’s where I admit receiving bad reviews has been one of my worst fears in the publishing process but I’m making peace with it. Mostly.)

So if you’d like to be on my Fancy Review Team (several of you indicated you want to read/review my book but I’m afraid of imposing!) pleasepleaseplease comment or message me. Or email. Or text. But don’t call because #phonesarescary.

Also, the team is just me and we won’t actually be fancy. You can be anywhere in the world and in your pajamas.

Speaking of pajamas, it is now almost noon (let’s hear it for lunch!) and I’m raising a white flag over this post.

My kids have been fed (Rice Krispies = I win!) and deposited at school; my dogs are semi-walked and the dishwasher’s swishing; our washing machine’s cycling and the dryer is….clanking. (What on earth is in there? Certainly not my sweatshirt.)

Even if I accomplish little else today, at least I have not done nothing.

In fact I might’ve found my new tagline:

I did not do nothing. TM

FullSizeRender (3)

(Bacon grease. Yep. That’s it.)

You can find my novels here:


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And PLEASE connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Writing is a lonely business and I love to make friends along the way.

47 thoughts on “The Peek Inside My Brain You Never Requested

  1. Laurel Janssen

    You can keep your chocolate – I’ll watch that puppy any time!!! xoxo

  2. DEAL! I will drop her off in 15 minutes 🙂

  3. Aparna Sreenivasan

    You are hilarious. I love the way you write, and yes, I will sign up for anything you request AND I will be first in line to buy your book – can I preorder it? AND I will write you a review on Amazon – BECAUSE I’m certain that your book will be wonderful. I already like the name – it reminds me of The Scarlett Letter – in reverse order… so I’m completely intrigued!
    Love and HUGS!

    • Yay! You’re in! And yeah, the title was intentional.
      I’ll be In touch soon and thank you!

  4. Sue

    Me, me, me!! I want to meet the puppy, the chocolate, I want to read and kindly review your book and is it too much to ask for a glass of wine too? Happy 2016!


    • Yes yes yes to all of it. Stay tuned, my friend.

  5. Fancy review team! Sign me up. I can’t wait to read your book. <3

    • Hooray! I am going to have the best Fancy Review Team Ever! I’ll email you soon. You have time to pick out your pajamas…

  6. I will take a peek inside your brain any time. (Also, here or there or anywhere!) Everyone will love your book (I do!) and if they don’t they are (to quote someone I like a lot) stupid stupidheads who are stupid!

    BTW, how much do I have to pay you to use your new TM. I commented on your blog today. Today, I did not do nothing!

    • You get to use my TM for free.
      That’s how special you are to me.

  7. Diane

    Please, please, please sign me up for the Fancy Review Team! Can’t wait!

    • I love you and you’re in although I know you don’t wear pajamas

  8. Jamie Coleman

    Look at the bright side? In my case the stain on the sweatshirt would most definitely be…poop. Or puke. Both happened this weekend.

    I’m in for the review team. And then, the shameless plug on my Facebook page team. 🙂

    • That is beyond amazing, Jamie. I will be in touch soon and forever grateful.

  9. Because I know firsthand how *miserable* the whole newsletter experience is (you’re wicked psyched now, aren’t you?), I am all over signing up for yours. Love and bestest publishing juju to you!!

    • Thanks for the juju and for signing up when the dreaded day comes – ha!

      And your comment on my “Over the River Post”…well. Be still my heart.


  10. Barbara Madvin

    I would love to be on your fancy review team. That is, if you promise never to publish the screenplay we wrote together in 6th grade!!

  11. THE THREE MOUSKETEERS! Ha! How could I ever forget it? That screenplay will live forever in my heart as my first-ever attempt at writing something for an audience.

    While dressed in mouse ears.
    The best!

  12. I am still going to call you sometimes (you made the mistake of answering once and I still remember waving the spoon around in the kitchen as I talked your poor ear off about Letters For Scarlet and you were probably at dinner or something) because I feel like we have unlocked that friendship level, the one where you can have unbalanced levels of weirdness in different categories, but you’re each weird in your own way so even though your categories are different, you level out.

    Or something like that. Anyway I did re-subscribe to the blog but my email’s incredibly robust spam filter ate the confirmation message so I just found it and did that and you have me as a subscriber again.

    • Yes. Unbalanced levels of weirdness unlocked.
      It’s a whole thing.

      (I will always answer your call when I’m not eating!)

  13. Robin Goodheart

    I’d love to be on the review team! Please count me in!

    • Consider yourself counted, Robin!
      Thanks so much – I will be in touch 🙂

  14. I will subscribe! My phone won’t let me but I’m sure my computer will. My blog is non-existent but I will happily tweet, FB and old-fashion tell people about your wonderful book. (I already know it’s going to be wonderful.) I love you, Julie, and this post makes me love you more.

    • You are one of my inspirations, Heidi.
      Now I have an answer to that question.

  15. Subscribed! Obviously. Can’t wait to read your book. Is it available for pre-order? I guess I’ll find out about that in your first newsletter, right?!

    • Ack! The newsletter. Yes. Thank you for leading the way with your Tools for Better.

      You make me a little braver.

  16. Desiree

    I like reading. I like books. I like you. Also, I’ve spent most of my professional adult life reviewing books for strangers. Send me an AR or a chapter or two and I will review it! I’ll message you my address if you need to send me a hard copy. 🙂 I’m pretty good at shelf talkers as well and drinking wine, playing with puppies and eating chocolate. My weekend “writing wardrobe” consists of a pair of fleece lined tights and an old sweatshirt (NYPD because it lets me pretend I am on Law&Order). I guess what I’m saying is I’m totally stoked to join Team Review!

    • Your writing wardrobe sounds like my everyday living clothes. Love it. Love you.
      Would love to have you review my book.
      (You have read soooo many good ones. Be gentle!)

  17. Mom

    You NEVER cease to amaze and amuse me! xoxo

    • You should meet my mom.
      She’s pretty amusing, too.

  18. Well, you know I would do anything for you … and more.
    Love ya girlfriend, and this post, and those fur babies .. and also the sweatshirt because I can own up to being in the same clothes since Sunday afternoon. Right now. Because life …

    • Same sweats since Sunday sounds smart.
      Less laundry, Love.

      Thank you for being wonderful, always.

  19. Courtney

    Love you – I’m in for whatever you need ❤️

  20. Mike

    This made me chuckle if nothing else. A good start to my morning.

    • Julie Gardner

      I’ll always take the chuckle. It’s my first, best goal.
      Thank you!

  21. Kristi

    If you find you still have room on your Fancy Review team, consider this my application! It’s so cold here in MN that typing is tricky, but I’m sure my fingers will thaw by the time I get to read YOUR BOOK. (Loved typing that.)

    • Julie Gardner

      I do have room, I do!
      I’ll be in touch soon and THANK YOU SO MUCH!
      (I love typing MY BOOK, too.)


  22. I mean this with all of my heart, I would love to review the book! It would be an honor!

    • Julie Gardner

      That would mean the world to me, Nina. For real.
      Thank you thank you.

  23. The fact that you wrote a book is amazing and wonderful and I would LOVE to read and review if you have an extra! 🙂 Happy New Year! And send that puppy my way. Ollie needs a buddy.

    • Julie Gardner

      OLLIE + SCOUT = Love.
      And yes yes yes I have a copy for you.
      I’ll contact you soon.
      Thanks so much, Elaine!

  24. I’m honored to be on your PJ review team. And PLEASE come babysit my dog because I am LOST here. #catlady.

    • Julie Gardner

      I wish we could have a real-life slumber parties with food and wine and pillow fights.
      Well, maybe not the pillow fights. Maybe we just eat and drink and sleep for twelve hours pretending we don’t have puppies.


  25. Okay, I’m probably the first one with a stupid question. Is signing up for your blog via e-mail the same as signing up for your newsletter? Because I already follow your blog on Netvibes, but would still like to receive your newsletter. How?

    I’m very slow.

    • Julie Gardner

      Trust me, I’m slower.

      Here’s a link you can use to sign up because the blog posts and the newsletter are two different entities.
      Because I can’t find TOO MANY WAYS to invade your inbox 🙂

  26. You didn’t lose ALL your subscribers, because you are still in my feedly! Can’t wait to see/read/revel in your book!

  27. christine

    As someone who doesn’t know you and hasn’t been following you since your fire (holy oh-my-goodness scary) and is also coming to the party late (because that’s how I roll, not fashionably late, just late — because party = terrifying), I adore your writing and would be very interested in writing a review. That is, if you still need it. If not, I promise I’ll still read it because I’m crushing on you (but I promise not in a stalkerish way).

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