Tag Archives: Julie Howard

A #booksale plus a #newrelease by Julie Howard

My Wild Rose Press sistah, Julie Howard, is having a busy week. She’s having a 99cent book sale on one of her fabulous mysteries, and also has a brand new release out in the book reading world. She stopped by recently to chat about her “happy place” in life.

Julie….

Choosing my happy place

Okay, this is going to sound terrible. I’ll say it anyway. My happy place is dark and dreadful, filled with people who lie and cheat, and do almost anything – including murder. Only on paper though, and only fictional people. In real life, I’m terribly nice, with a wonderful family and a small dog at my side. I’m a good driver, say please and thank you, and visit my parents often. But when I sit down at my computer, my imagination takes off and my fingers obey.

I love writing a good mystery and they don’t necessarily all include murder. For me, the puzzle is what’s important. I’m a crossword puzzle fan and also enjoy “seek-and-find” games where you have to discover pictures hidden in plain sight. In crosswords, coming up with a word is easy, but that’s only the first step. There’s a strategy in where you lay down a word –trapping a competitor into making the wrong move can make the difference in win or lose. Oh, the satisfaction when they fall for it! Similarly, in those seek-and-find games, I love how an item can be so very obvious, but the artist has drawn the scene in such a manner that my eyes can’t at first recognize it for what it is.

Creating a mystery is comparable. I must lay clues, but not so obvious or difficult the reader gets bored or frustrated after the first few chapters. The motivation and strategy of a criminal must be evident but not too much so. There must be the perfect challenge.

There are other elements I enjoy in a mystery too. The characters are paramount. I do tend to care about all the “people” I create, especially my heroines. By the very nature of the genre, they fall into danger and I work my very hardest to save them. The women I write about feel like real people to me – with flaws, hopes, fears and strengths. I enjoy developing their strengths as a story progresses – and if my heroine is in a series, I develop her character’s depths more through each book. Like real people, my heroines must fight their own internal battles along with story’s villains. Often, my characters save themselves.

My latest release, coming December 4, finishes the story of Meredith Lowe, an abused woman who fantasizes about killing her husband. The first book, Crime and Paradise, is on sale this week for 99 cents. The latest book, Wild Crime, explores her past as she seeks to unveil a family mystery, and stumbles across a possible murder. Through all three books is a slow-burning romance.

Mystery, murder, romance? Yes, this is my happy place.

 

Blurb for Crime and Paradise:

Meredith has been uprooted to the middle of nowhere with two kids and an abusive husband. After she fantasizes about ways to kill him, he ends up dead. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and this small, isolated town.

Can Meredith make this place a new home for her family, or will the real secret behind her husband’s death send her away for good?

Buy links for Crime and Paradise (now 99 cents for a limited time)

Amazon // Apple // B&N 

 

 

Blurb for Wild Crime:

“I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer.”

Those three repeated words discovered in an old letter propel Meredith Lowe in a cross-country pursuit to unveil her mother’s murky past. Danger stalks Meredith back to Hay City, Idaho as she peels apart the mystery: who is her father, and did her mother kill him? In finding the answer, will a growing love slip through her fingers?

Past merges with the present as the story races to its stunning conclusion.

 

Excerpt:

Her hair fell below her waist, ripped free of its ties and weighed down by the warm, lashing rain. The sky-blue dress, so carefully chosen for this night and tried on so many times in her bedroom, was ruined. One strap had torn from her shoulder and dangled down her back. Mud splattered the hem. Sweet Cantaloupe lipstick, a lovely coral that heightened the green in her eyes, was smeared like a bruise on one cheek. She ran.

The high school gym behind her, decorated in crepe paper and curtains, vibrated with electric guitars and teen-aged hormones. Couples gyrated on the dance floor and then disappeared into dark corners. It was late and the Spring Dance was in full throttle. No one would miss her for hours.

Before her, trees dripped moss, barely visible in the darkness. She envisioned the moss brushing her shoulders, low branches snagging in her hair, the possibility of snakes both at her feet and above; this made her hesitate. It would take one scream, one gasp, and he would find her.

Buy links for Wild Crime:

Amazon //iBooks //B&N 

Author bio:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.

Social media links:

Website // Facebook // Goodreads // Twitter 

 

 

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An interview with #Author Julie Howard

You all know I lovelovelove when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes for a visit and today I’ve got a treat for you and me: new-to-me-sistah-and-author, Julie Howard. 

Julie was so gracious to sit down with me and be interviewed and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. She has a new book out titled, CRIME TIMES TWO and she’s giving us a little sneak peek at it today as well. So sit back and get to know this fab writer of mysteries, thrillers, and  romantic suspense. And stick around because she has a special sumthin’ sumthin’ she ‘s offering exclusively here!

 

Julie, the Author:

What drives you to write?

I’m a sucker for a good story, whether it’s true or not. I loved working as a journalist because I met so many interesting people and had a great time telling their stories. Now that I spend my time making up stories, it’s even more fun.

What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

Mystery, suspense and even a paranormal mystery recently. I love the thrill of the chase and a little danger along the way.

What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

I love historical fiction because those stories take me places and to times I’ve never experienced. My particular favorites are those set in countries with vastly different cultures. I not only want to learn about places, but also about different types of people.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

Every. Single. Day. If I don’t, I feel like I forgot to put pants on for the day.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My office most often is a café somewhere nearby where people come and go and there’s a pleasant buzz of conversation around me. For some reason, none of that is distracting. But I can write just about anywhere. I keep a notebook with me at all times.

Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?

I like total quiet when I read, but not when I write. This probably comes from working in a newsroom for so many years. They’re noisy places, with TVs on and people talking and arguing. That’s my normal.

Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I’ve tried listening to music but I’ve discovered it influences my writing. Other writers I know always having music playing when they write, with the type of music matching the mood and scene. Just doesn’t work for me.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

When we first moved from California to Idaho, I was struck by the remote places people chose to live. The story for my Wild Crime series came immediately: what would happen if a woman didn’t want to move to such a remote location? What if her husband didn’t want her around anymore? What if she believed her only escape plan was to kill him?

Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

For mystery/suspense, I think plot has to come first. I start with the murder – the hows and whys – and go from there. The romance comes from the characters as they react to the plot and, of course, each other.

What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Structured, obsessed, happy.

Julie, the Gal 

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

Hmm…unusual. I don’t know how unusual this is, but I started kindergarten when I was three years old. I was already reading so my parents thought I should get started on math and the rest of it too.

Who was your first love and what age were you?

Chuckie Hutchins in the third grade. He was SO not interested.

If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….

I think any day when my kids were little – maybe three and four. I loved it when they were that age and every day was so fresh and exciting. Hey, that would mean I’d be in my twenties again too!

Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?

Definitely boxers.

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?

I suppose the hair dryer could go away. I’d just cut my hair a little shorter. It would save so much more time in the morning.

What three words describe you, the person?

Soft-spoken, determined, patient

If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

I wouldn’t dare sing in public. Trust me, not a good idea.

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together?

The kids from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I would love to climb through a wardrobe with them and emerge into a fantasy world.

 

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

I love the Actor’s Studio too!

Favorite sound – Leaves rustling in the autumn

Least favorite sound – Someone leaning on their horn in traffic

Best song ever written – Itsy bitsy spider. Always got a giggle out of my kids when they were little.

Favorite actor and actress – Ralph Fiennes and Maggie Smith

Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Eleanor Roosevelt, but how could I live up to such a strong woman? She was before her time in standing up for women’s rights and basic human rights.

What turns you on? The simple kindnesses people offer to one another

What turns you off? Casual cruelty

Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “It’s bigger than you think.”

What’s your version of a perfect day?

I wake early and watch the sun rise with my first cup of coffee.

 

 “Crime Times Two”

When divorce is out of the question, can murder be forgiven?

Meredith knows three things: First, the man in the library begged her to help him. Second, he was afraid of his wife. Third, now he’s dead

While the evidence first points to a natural death, Meredith is certain there’s more to discover. People are tight-lipped in this small mountain village, and the man’s wife isn’t talking either. Then a second death occurs, with remarkable similarities. It’s time to talk about murder.

As a slow-burning relationship heats up in her own life, Meredith struggles with concepts of love and hate, belief and suspicion, and absolution and guilt. Nothing is clear cut…

She must decide: Is guilt, like evil, something you can choose to believe in?

Excerpt 

Jowls quivered under the man’s weak chin, and Meredith noted the stained and frayed shirt of someone who spent a lot of time alone in dark rooms, sending out a better version of himself into the virtual world. His eyes were anxious and beseeching at her as though she should have a clear understanding of him and his life.

Somehow, over the past hour and a half they’d been sitting next to each other – him playing video games and sharing his life story and her ignoring him the best she could – she had become his confessor and friend.

Meredith gave him what she hoped was an impartial-though-quasi-friendly smile. She reached for her purse and papers and rose from her chair. “Well. Nice talking with you.”

The man was lost in his own train of thought and seemed only slightly aware that Meredith was leaving.

He shook his head, morose.

“To make a long story short,” he summed up, “I think my wife is trying to kill me.”

Buy Links:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo //

And as a special treat,  Book 1 in the Wild Crime series, Crime and Paradise, is on sale for one more day (through Oct. 18) for 99 cents.

Amazon

 

A little more about Julie:

Julie Howard is the author of Wild Crime, a mystery/suspense series. The series follows Meredith Lowe, a young abused woman figuring out her life after her husband moves them to an isolated valley in Idaho. After he is murdered, all the evidence points to her. Then she finds all is not as it seems in this small Idaho town.
The author is a former journalist and editor for a number of publications, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Sacramento Bee. She manages the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write, is editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and has written a number of short stories.

You can find Julie here:

Website // Facebook // Goodreads // Amazon

DRAWING! Julie Howard is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, comment on this post and then give her Facebook page a Like. I’ll announce the winner on my Facebook page on Monday, Oct. 22. https://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Peggy here: Julie, I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and letting me, and everyone else, know a little about you and your books. They sound wonderful and intriguing….as do you!

 

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