Chrysalis

Dear friends,

I have felt the tug of wanting to share things with you, my kindred spirits, and at the same time a reluctance to put into words what is transpiring in my heart and mind and life. So I have cocooned myself over the past six months. But now I feel the thinning of my chrysalis, the warmth of the spring sun penetrating its papery layers, and when I blink and stretch, I feel gossamer wings folded along my back. I am not who I was. I am not who I thought I would be. But I am very, very grateful for the process of old things dying and new things emerging.

So. Let’s talk about Lost In Scotland. For a lot of reasons, I can’t give you a date when that story will be ready for you. Don’t hold your breath, because I have not touched that story in six months. What I have written, mostly, is poetry. Here are a couple I’ve written during my time in my chrysalis.

Forty-One

I am looking for my soul
It was taken from me long ago
And I have missed it
Ever since
I have tasted fame
It is ashes on my tongue
I have gathered wealth
It goes
It goes
It goes
I have wrung myself dry
Like a cheap rag
I have laid down my needs
On the altars of “work” and “love me”
I have stamped down dreams
I have carried emptiness
Inside me as heavy as death,
And, oh, how I have cried.
Now
outside the window
I see the dry husk of my soul
Leaning listlessly under a ruthless sun
Like a forgotten scarecrow.
It is a sad, forlorn thing
Pathetic
Wounded
Discarded
My heart thumps once, then twice
In recognition
I open the creaking door
And walk quietly across
The brown, dying grass
I pick up the thing that once was mine.
It is infinitely fragile.
I cradle it in my arms
I am so sorry, I cry
The door opens
They have missed me
I see them come at me
With outstretched hands
Wanting
To mold
To take
To mangle
To use up
I clutch my neglected soul
Close to my chest
And I run
And run
And run
Toward the life I want
Dear God
Please
Don’t let me look back

 

A Dream
Look!
What is it?
Guess.
A seed?
An egg?
A chrysalis?
Yes. Something like that.
Can I…?
No! It’s mine.
I hold it in my cupped hands
And feel a flutter of life
Against my curved fingers
It could be
Anything

 

Along with these poems, I’m going to share something else with you: an updated headshot. This may not seem like a big deal to any of you, but it’s been a big psychological block for me. I loved my last headshot. I was younger and thinner and life had not made so many marks on me, and I found that I didn’t like any of my recent pictures. But I can’t keep going to events and having people not recognize me! So I think it’s time for me to embrace the fact that I am a 42-year-old mother of five, and offer my real self to you with no apologies. This was taken today by my very talented friend Erin Summerill (look up her books!)

 

JulieDonaldson

 

Thank you all for your patience and support during my time in my cocoon. There will be more wonderful stories to come. And hopefully soon…a butterfly will emerge.

An Overdue Explanation

My dear friends,

A lot of you have emailed me and left comments here asking “What in the world happened to Lost In Scotland?!!” It’s got to be disappointing to pre-order a book that doesn’t show up. I’m sorry for the confusion and I’m sorry for not responding individually to all of your messages.

Have you ever had a bad week? A bad month? What about a bad year? I tend to go through the normal ups and downs where I might be in a slump for maybe a month at the most but then I get things adjusted and life looks up again. Well, 2016 was not a normal year for me. 2016 was the year that kicked my trash. In August I hit rock-bottom and decided it was time to have a mid-life crisis. (I’m 41, so it seemed both appropriate and necessary.) Part of that crisis resulted in my not finishing Lost in Scotland. Actually, I kind of finished a story with that title but it was garbage. And do not think that I’m exaggerating! I know garbage when I read it and when you’re in the midst of the worst year of your life and under pressure to write a great book, you will not produce greatness. You will produce garbage that readers will throw at the wall after vomiting all over. Trust me, trust me, trust me. It was not good. I am only human. I do not have super powers.

Fortunately, I have an amazing friend in my publisher who saw the writing on the wall and told me to take whatever time I needed to write this story. So I am currently not writing. I am currently not doing a lot of things I spent this year doing. And, instead, I am doing a lot of things that I haven’t been able to do in a long time. Like read. Sew. Dance. Play with my kids. Relax. Spend weekends with my family. Exercise. Volunteer. Watch TV. Cuddle with my husband. Normal things that other people take for granted. Things that make my life balanced. Things that fill my well, which was bone-dry. When I emerge on the other side of this crisis, I will be a stronger and happier person, and hopefully that strong, happy person will be able to write a story that will be worth waiting for.

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I sincerely do consider you my friends. My kindred spirits. I hope you have a beautiful, wonderful, love-filled Christmas season.

Summer Events

Hello friends!

Isn’t summer with kids crazy? I have all five at home and between the toddler and the 15-year-old, I’m running around all day. Right now I have my 13-year-old bathing the little guy while my red-haired son is playing on the computer and Thomas the Train is blasting from the TV but nobody is watching it. And I just ran into my office to tell you all that I have a couple of events coming up that I would love to invite you to.

On Thursday, July 21st, at 7 pm, I will be speaking at the Provo City Library. I don’t know what I’ll be speaking about yet, so if you have any requests, please let me know! I’ll also be signing books afterwards and would love to meet you. It’s a free event.

And I’m very excited to announce my first author visit to Boise, Idaho. I’ll be at the Boise Deseret Book store on Saturday, July 23, from 12-2 p.m. Please come and say hi and bring your books for me to sign. I’d love to meet you!

Now I’ve got to run make lunch and put the babe down for a nap and find something for my bored kids to do. I hope you’re all having a great summer!

A New Book and Lots of FAQs

Dear Friends,

If you’ve missed hearing from me, it’s because I’ve been hard at work writing Lost in Scotland, my contemporary romance that will be released this November. I have exactly 34 writing days left until my deadline, and it’s crunch time. But I’m taking a break from my lovely, flirty, hilarious characters to answer some of your questions and share some things about my writing with you.

First of all, in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the cover.

lost in scotland cover

 

And here’s the synopsis. But here’s the thing about writing a synopsis when you’re still writing the book: things change. A little. So it’s not entirely accurate but it’s close enough to hopefully get you hooked.

Nothing ever goes right for Skye Cameron, thanks to her family’s Scottish curse. She protects herself from the worst of it by following certain rules, like no traveling, avoiding all things Scottish, and never doing anything she loves. Everything changes on her nineteenth birthday when her sister calls, begging Skye to come to Scotland to help her break the curse. But the travel curse is strong with Skye, and without the help of a handsome stranger with a wicked sense of humor, she wouldn’t make it past airport security, let alone to the Scottish islands where the future of her family hangs in the balance. But if getting there is more than half the battle, getting there without falling in love is the war of her life. Lost in Scotland is a contemporary romance full of adventure, humor, and heart.

If you would like to pre-order it, here‘s the Amazon link.

 

And now to answer some of your most frequently asked questions.

1. Why am I writing a contemporary romance? Why is it set in Scotland and not somewhere else? Will I ever write a historical story again?

Answer: Three years ago I went to Scotland for the first time, after obsessing over it all my life. I am half Scottish and I have always wanted to visit, but I swore I wouldn’t go until I could afford to go with my husband, who has never been anywhere in Europe and so he couldn’t understand my desire to sell all of our possessions and move there. So thanks to all of you for buying my books, we were able to afford a trip and I fell head over heels in love with Scotland. I love England. England is pastures and green meadows and cultivated gardens and great estates. But once I went to Scotland, it was like England was the ho-hum boyfriend I had just been putting up with until I met the man of my dreams. Scotland was crumbling castles, rocky coasts, soaring mountains and green valleys, fairy pools and sea caves and wild, blustery skies. I was a goner. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And I knew that I had to write a story set there.

So why a contemporary story? First of all, it’s the story I want to tell. I tried to set it in a historical time period and my story yelled at me to stop pushing it into a box that it didn’t fit in. So I made it contemporary and I fell in love with my characters and their struggles and I love the freedom that writing a contemporary story gives me. There are so many restrictions when you write a historical novel. So many rules to consider, so much research to get just right, so many obstacles to ever getting your hero and heroine alone together. I was really excited to write a story where anything could happen.

The second reason I decided to write a contemporary Proper Romance was to prove that it could be done. Last summer I visited Barcelona and spent a day with my Spanish publisher, Libros de Seda, doing interviews and book events and signings. It was amazing and I loved every second of it. One question I was asked over and over again was if I thought a contemporary romance could be clean and successful. “Absolutely,” I said. “I have no doubt about it.” But people doubted me. They had not read a contemporary clean romance before. They thought that it was only the Regency time setting that allowed for the clean nature of my other romances. I considered it a challenge, and my wonderful Spanish publisher backed me up. They encouraged me. They believed in me. They wanted me to give it a try. And so I am.

Will I write more historical novels? Yes. I’m sure I will. But my most important consideration is to write the story that lives and breathes inside of me and begs to be told.

 

2. Will Lost in Scotland be available as an E-book? Will it be available in foreign translations?

Answer: Yes, Lost in Scotland will be available as an E-book as well as an audio recording. At this point, only my Spanish publisher has bought the translation rights to this story and has a beautiful cover ready. I’m hopeful that my other foreign publishers will buy it also. Here’s the Spanish cover:

 

perdida en escocia_FINAL_3 (1)

 

3. Will Heir to Edenbrooke ever be released as a physical book? Will you finish writing Philip’s story?

Answer: As of right now, my publisher is only selling Heir to Edenbrooke as an E-book. I’m not certain if this will happen, but I am thinking about finishing the story from Philip’s perspective after I finish Lost in Scotland. I am confident that if it’s a complete novel it will be released as a physical book. I’m even hopeful that my publisher will agree to package the two books together (Edenbrooke and Heir to Edenbrooke) as a really nice hard cover copy. I’ve been begging them to print Edenbrooke in hard cover, because so many of you have requested it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe if enough of you are interested in it, they will agree.

 

4. Can you give me writing tips? Can you visit my school? Can you blurb my book? Can you send me signed bookmarks?

Answer: I would love to do all of those things. Honestly, I would. The hardest thing I’m trying to accomplish right now is learning how to balance the demands of being a full-time mother to five kids, a supportive wife of a very busy husband, a sister and daughter and friend, a volunteer in my community and church, a housekeeper and cook and chauffeur, and just a regular human being who occasionally needs to not work so that I don’t have a psychotic break. I have never been busier. I have never been stretched so thin. So while I would really love to respond to your emails and wonderful messages, I just can’t. I hope you know it’s not for a lack of interest or caring on my part.

 

Okay, that was a long break! I’m off to take my daughter dress shopping for her first school dance. Then I’ll be back to dreaming of Scotland.

Dear Ones

Dear Ones–

(And by “ones” I mean fans, friends, readers, kindred spirits–these terms all encompass you.)

I feel grateful beyond words for your positive responses to Heir to Edenbrooke. I was so excited and nervous at the same time to share Philip’s story with you for a few reasons.

1: I had never written from a male POV before. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

2: It had been years since I had been in Philip’s head. It took me literally dozens of hours of drafting (all of which was garbage and had to be thrown away) before I found him again and he woke up from his long sleep and started breathing and moving and speaking.

3: I was worried that it was too short.

And, yes, it was too short! But to have you love what was written has been a precious gift to my sensitive writer’s heart and doubting mind. So thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support of my writing.

To answer a few common questions:

1: My publisher chose to release this only digitally right now. I have not heard any plans from them to publish this in physical book form. If they decide to do so, I will certainly let you know.

2: I have no control over the price of any of my books. But I did notice on Amazon that the more popular a book is, the lower the price will go through Amazon’s own evil genius. So you might find it cheaper today. Use that information as you will.

3: I don’t know if I will finish Edenbrooke’s story from Philip’s perspective! I need to write the stories that are calling to me, and right now I have a really dashing Scottish hero who is growing impatient for his own story to be told. But I can see myself possibly revisiting and finishing Philip’s story down the road.

4: At this point, only my Spanish publisher has bought the rights to Heir to Edenbrooke and will be translating it soon.

 

And now I’m off to rescue a crying baby from his crib. Motherhood, as you should know, is my first and most important job. My family sacrificed so much to enable me to write Heir to Edenbrooke, especially my husband Fred, who did solo parenting many, many Saturdays in a row to make this happen. He is my best friend and greatest supporter and the love of my life and I could do NONE of this without him. So a public thank you to him, and a great big thank you to all of you! You really have made me so, so happy.

Heir to Edenbrooke cover

Guys!!! I am so excited to show you the cover for Heir to Edenbrooke, the prequel to Edenbrooke from Philip’s point of view. In case you missed my previous announcements, it’s a novelette (longer than a short story, shorter than a novella), will be a digital release, and here is the exciting news:

 

Are you ready?

 

 

It’s going to be available to purchase on November 17th!!!!

 

I can’t believe it’s going to be out so soon! I just barely finished the edits about two days ago. I think you’re going to fall in love with Philip all over again reading this, and I can’t wait to share some of his story with you.

 

 

And now, without further ado, the gorgeous cover…..

 

 

 

 

scroll.

 

 

 

 

scroll.

 

 

 

 

I’m teasing you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here it is.

heir to edenbrooke

Finally.

Upcoming Events!

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Do you live near Las Vegas? Do you love Regency romances? Would you like to meet me and other fabulous romance writers like Sarah M. Eden, Nancy Allen, and Jennifer Moore and hear us talk about our craft? Would you love to have us sign stuff for you? Then come to the Vegas Valley Book Festival this Saturday, October 17th at 3 p.m. (Address:Historic 5th Street School (401 S 4th St, Las Vegas, NV)). We’ll have a panel discussion and a book signing afterwards.

ALSO! On Saturday, October 24th, I’ll be at the Brigham City library at 2 p.m. for a presentation, Q&A, and book signing. Come say hi and support the Brigham City library.

Thanks!

 

Do You Love Philip?

Edenbrooke library windows

Hello Friends!

I’ve been a little absent lately because I have FIVE kids and life is crazy. But on top of my five kids, I’ve also been working on a secret project that is close to my heart. And one that I think you will all be excited about.

For everyone who loves Edenbrooke, and for everyone who loves Philip, and wishes they could have a little more Philip in their life, I am writing a prequel to Edenbrooke from Philip’s point of view. YES! You really read that. You will get to know Philip before he meets Marianne, and you will get to meet Marianne through his eyes, and watch her sing her ridiculous milkmaid song, and find out what’s going on inside of that handsome head of his.

Unlike my other books, this will only be published digitally, and it will be a novelette (which is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel). But the great news is that it will be available to read before Christmas.

I made this announcement on a local TV show this morning. If you want to watch it and find out what else I talked about, you can watch it here.

 

 

 

Hello Again!

Hello, friends! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. Right after the holidays I moved my family to another city and have spent the past two months trying to unpack and get my kids settled in new schools and making new friends. It’s been more of a challenge than I anticipated! But things are running a little more smoothly now, allowing me time to pop in her to give a quick update on a few things.

 

Thing #1: Great news from abroad! Edenbrooke and Blackmoore are both published in Spanish and French. They are beautiful! And Edenbrooke won the Dama Prize 2014 for the best historical romance! I was also invited by my Spanish publishers to visit their lovely country this summer. Oooh, I am so tempted! I am itching for another trip abroad.

 

Thing #2: The question of the year: am I writing something new? The answer: yes and no. I am in the dreaming stage of my next story. The writing stage will come next, and soon, but it will take me a while. By “a while” I mean close to a year, most likely. And then probably another year to get it published. So I’m sorry to all of you who are clamoring for another story soon! I hope you’ll be patient with me as I put my family first and try to figure out writing with five kids, including the cutest baby on earth who is crawling all over the place and saying “mama” and loving to be with me. I would love it if you would continue to share my books with friends and family. THANK YOU to all of you who have made them more successful than I ever dreamed they could be.

 

Thing #3: The Edenbrooke jewelry is in danger of being discontinued, so if you had it in mind to buy a piece or two, you might want to do it relatively soon. I have links to the jeweler’s store on my store page.

 

Thing #4: Are you a writer? Do you dream of being published? I highly recommend the LDStorymaker’s Writers Conference, which can be found here. It’s held in Provo, Utah on May 15th and 16th. I will be in attendance as a student and am so excited by the authors they will have this year, including a YA author I really look up to, Martine Leavitt. I bought my tickets this year JUST to attend one of her workshops. She is phenomenally talented.

 

Now before I sign out, I’m curious to know: if you could ask me to write a story about anything or anywhere, what would it be?

A Funny Story and another Giveaway!

I received the cutest email from a reader a couple of weeks ago. She told me this story: “One of my favorite things to do is read [Edenbrooke] with others. Last year, for my birthday, I spent 2(ish) days reading it aloud to/with my mother in law & a few of my sisters in law. In fact, I had to drive back over to their house one more morning to finish it up. They were all already there, just waiting for me. Well, the doorbell rang & 3 grown women ran to the door & threw it open (all the while squeeling)…scaring a poor UPS man. Soooo funny! I came about 20 minutes later haha!”

 

I had a good laugh about that. So when she asked me next if I would consider a holiday sale on the Edenbrooke print, I had to say yes as payment for the laugh she gave me. So from now until December 10th, all Edenbrooke prints are on sale, half off, for $5.00. How’s that for Christmas cheer?

 

Now you know how to get me to do things for you. 😉  Do you have a funny story about my books? Share it in the comments and I’ll enter you in a drawing to receive a free audio book of Edenbrooke. Just cause I love y’all.

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