Welcome to Julia Talbot's blog!

Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Friday, January 30, 2015

re-visiting an old story

Decided last month to take a few stories that had suffered from "I own the company and have to fill a hole for someone who dropped out" syndrome and re-write them.

This week I jumped into a fun, kinky historical called the High Class Highwayman. It just... ended. Mid-story. I clearly ran out of time at 21K and had to put it out when I had to put it out.

So I wiped the pseudo ending and started at 20K. I might get a novel length piece out of it, and I couldn't be more tickled.

It's good. It will be so much better as a whole story. I can't wait to delve into the whos and whys and then get the story out there. Spanking, sex, highwaymen, master criminals and secret bastard sons.


I do love it when reading an old story gets me something good!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Drive Your Truck is out today!

a long while back, my wife asked me to write a book based on the I Drive Your Truck video by Lee Brice. Click the song title to go watch.

Well, that book is out now! Like, today!

A 41000 word novella, it's a contemporary about small town cop Walt and Navy SEAL Garrison.

They meet at a funeral. Yep.

It's a little crass. It's definitely full of shit boys do. I love them, and I hope y'all do, too.

Here's a bit of it!

Chapter One

The funeral took two hours longer than Garrison Matthews had the patience to sit. The viewing made him want to chew his arm off, and the funeral service, with the color guard and honors and all, had him grinding his teeth. Oh, he did his part, wearing his dress uniform, standing and saluting at all the right times. They would take the body down to Las Animas later for burial, so there was no lowering the casket into the grave and all, for which Garrison was grateful.

He even teased Brandon’s fellow Talons about how Air Force sucked and Navy was so much better, blah-blah.

None of it made even the slightest dent in Garrison’s disbelief that his brother was dead.

He stared at the shiny black casket with the flag draped over it, knowing soon the flag would be removed so they could take the casket away. The color guard would fold the flag and hand it to Brandon’s widow, who Garrison was ashamed to admit he had just met today.

Crazy, how he could get compassionate leave for a funeral but not for a wedding. That said something about the damned military, for sure. He sighed, rolling his head on his neck. He’d been deployed for so long that Colorado seemed… shocking. Weirdly perfect and quiet.

Even when taps sounded for his brother’s salute.

He walked out to the cars with his family, hands loose at his side, his whole body numb, his brain spinning with all the things he didn’t get to say, all the things he never would now.

“You want to sit up front?”

Garrison looked at his dad, who looked old, the lines around his mouth and eyes dug in hard and deep. Brandon had gotten his eyes from Dad, though, the blue still bright, even though Dad was on the wrong side of fifty.

“Sure.” Garrison climbed into the front seat of the second car, next to the driver the funeral home had provided. Since there was no graveyard to go to, they had offered a funeral procession back to Kylie’s house, which felt small-town and bizarre. He would rather drive, but the family had to ride in the official cars, right? Brandon’s wife, Kylie, and her mom sat in the lead car, Kylie’s bright blonde head bent in sorrow for the loss of her husband and the father of her child….

Brandon’s wife was pregnant. The thought made bile rise in his throat, and Garrison swallowed convulsively against it.

“Do you get car sick?” the driver asked, eyeing him sideways when they pulled out.

“No. No, it’s just stuffy.”

“I’ll turn on the air.”

A blast of cold air hit him in the face, and the driver turned up the radio, the chatter of some talking head almost covering the sound of his mother’s quiet sobs.

Christ, he was going to explode before they ever got to the inevitable potluck supper.

The trip back to the house seemed endless with that stupid talk radio thing chattering on and on. It probably took ten minutes, but Garrison’s leg started jittering a few seconds into the ride, and by the time they parked he was rocking the car.

“Here, man,” Garrison said, handing the driver a twenty before he slid out of the car. He helped his mom out of the backseat, nodding at his dad.

“Are you coming in for the big feed, son?”

“As soon as I go change. Need to keep the uniform clean, huh?” He was staying at a hotel. His folks had sold the house years ago to buy a fifth wheel, so they’d driven back for the funeral.

“We’ll see you there, then.”

Garrison nodded, bending to kiss his mom’s pale cheek. Her lipstick, a bright pink, made her compressed lips look like tiny ribbons on her face. Her eyes were bloodshot, and he wanted to hug her, hold her tight, but he feared she might break. So he let her go and walked away, sliding into his rental SUV. He wanted to go take off his uniform and change into a decent pair of boots.

An hour later some lady he didn’t know let him into his sister-in-law’s house. Garrison knew it was Brandon’s house too, but he’d never been there, had never seen Brandon there, so it didn’t seem like his brother’s house. Not a trace of Brandon’s spirit lingered there, not for Garrison.

His folks stood just inside the living room, along with Kylie and Kylie’s mom, Sharon. He kissed cheeks and shook hands, but he didn’t know what to say, what to do. He wanted a cup of coffee and maybe a piece of bread or something. Surely there would be bread.

“I need to talk with you for a minute once it slows down,” Kylie told him, grabbing his sleeve.

Garrison stopped, staring down at her face, which he’d seen in countless pictures. Kylie had always stood next to Brandon in those photos, her pointy chin and mischievous green eyes making her look like a very feminine elf. Now she just looked tired, the half circles under her eyes etched deep and dark.

“Just holler when you’re ready,” he agreed, hoping whatever she might ask was something he could do. He still belonged to the Navy, and Colorado didn’t exactly have a port he could get himself reassigned to.

“Thanks.” She gave him a tired smile before turning back to greet a dour-looking woman who smelled like old lady perfume, all roses and alcohol.

He wandered into the dining room, where a neat row of casseroles and salads sat under the ugly chandelier. Brandon had told him about that chandelier, about how as soon as he got back from deployment he was going to change it for the one Brandon and Kylie had picked out at Home Depot. The stupid thing was sitting in the garage.

“What the hell is that smell?” The deep voice came from off to his right, and Garrison turned slightly to see a tall man with dark blond hair and clear green eyes, his skin tanned and scored with laugh lines.

Garrison sniffed, his nose wrinkling. “Uh. Cabbage? Smells like dirty gym socks.”

“In hell.” The guy grinned a little and held out a hand. “I’m Kylie’s brother, Walt.”

“Brandon’s brother. Garrison.”

Sympathy flashed in Walt’s eyes, the lines next to them crinkling up, but not with a smile. “I’m so sorry, man. Brandon was a good guy.”

Find it here! On sale for more than a dollar off!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday, Monday

spent the day doing tax work for the old version of TQ. Blah. I hate 1099s. Almost ready to print, though, so tonight I eat tater tots and sit on the couch to catch upp on CSI.

I subbed a bunch of stuff last week, and have a new Minerva Howe at beta, the sequel to Chosen Wolf. Can we say HOT? OMG y'all. So fun.

I need some caffeine and a shot of CSI



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Snippet of WIP for Snippet Saturday

A bit from my WIP for DSP

Okay, so this was when he wished he ate better. Oh, he wasn’t lumpy. No, he was too skinny, his ribs jutting out a bit. He forgot to eat, and God knew he used to scoff at people who said that. Then he’d done his intern years.

“Mmm.” Nate touched his skin, stroking his collarbones, then his nipples. “Pretty.”

The nipple thing made his toes curl. No one had every touched him there except maybe him when he bathed, and the sensation surprised him completely. His cock jerked, his hips pushing up.

“I know, right? So sensitive.” Nate plucked at them again, squeezing each bit of flesh between his thumbs and forefingers.

“Fuck!” He arched, his whole back lifting off the floor. “Nate.” There was no way he was gonna humiliate himself by coming from this, but God, it felt good.

“Not so fast,” Nate said, seeming to read his mind. “Need to get your jeans off, too.”

“Please.” Was he begging? Dusty was pretty sure he was begging.

Nate skittered back and undid the button on Dusty’s jeans, then began tugging them down. “Come on, Stubborn fucking cloth.”

Dusty tried to help, but he just got more tangled up, and he burst out laughing, nerves getting the better of him.

“Shh.” Nate kissed his mouth, the position awkward, but the contact perfect, calming Dusty down. “That’s it, man. Just breathe.”

“I’m trying. You know how much I’ve done this, right?” He held up a hand, fingers and thumb forming a round, the zero obvious.

“I know.” Nate paused, smiling at him, looking right into his eyes. “I’m fucking honored, man. I am.”

“Just be here with me, okay?” He touched Nate’s cheek, feeling the stubble there, rough at the end of the day

Copyright 2015 Julia Talbot XXOO


Friday, January 23, 2015

Freaky Friday

My F key is going out on this comp...

You have no idea how often you use your F key until you start to lose it.

Here's something freaky from our house.

Aaaaand here's a bear, since that's what I'm working on

Also, Drive Your Truck is up at Amazon or preorder!



Monday, January 19, 2015

Writing in More than One Genre

I was following links recently, reading reviews of mine and my wife's books. I know, I know, never read reviews, even if they're not yours. Still, I was curious to see what people were saying, especially since the ones I was reading of mine were for an old book that had recently gotten some new attention.

One reader said, of a historical, that the book was fine, they just didn't like historicals.

Instead of getting hysterical, as I am wont to do, and screaming, "It's clearly marked as a historical! Why would you do that?" I got to thinking how this is what happens when you write more than one genre, in our out of romance. I write contemporary, paranormal, historical, western, and then drill down to m/m, f/f, menage and more. If you're a fan, you might buy a book just because it's me, (flattering!) and then find out you don't love the theme/genre.

Hey, it could be worse, I could be my wife, BA Tortuga, who gets accused of letting her best friend Sean write her books when she does BDSM, and who also writes non-romance horror O.O

What I'm saying is as a writer, I have to understand that a reader can read one of my contemporaries and love it, and grab the next book and go, ah man, that has spanking! Hated it.

This is what I get for writing in more than one genre, and I remind myself that I should be grateful for it. The ebook age has really allowed authors to explore what they love to write. Back in the day of the big six only, you often got pigeonholed into one genre, and if you switched, it was a huge career move.

Now it just leads to an occasional baffled reader, and that's okay. We all love what we love.

So, do you read in more than one genre? Will you follow an author to an unfamiliar one just because it's their book?




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Don't wait for perfection

"If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word." (Margaret Atwood)

Yes. This. If I wait for my first draft to be perfect, a la Mozart, I will never publish anything. If I wait until every typo and comma splice is perfect, I'll be waiting forever. I want to get books out there, so I have to balance my need for all my books to be perfect with the ability to let go and just send them out to the world.

I was recently chastised in my no longer day job for sending an email that had one typo and one missed capital letter in it. The author who took me to task in a rather nasty manner for it said as a publisher I should communicate in a more professional manner, and that sloppiness made her worry that I did poor work. Now, to be fair to me, I was out of town, wanted to make sure she knew I had gotten her email, and slap-dashed a response from my iPhone. Did that make her wrong? No. As an author, words are my business, just as they were as a publisher. I should absolutely strive to be professional, and to put my best work out, whether it's a submission email, a manuscript, or a blog post.

However, we have to forgive ourselves if there's a typo or a mixed up there and their. (Ahhhh. One of my peeves.)

We also have to stop futzing with our work so our publishers can make a final copy. The line edit stage is not the time to add 40K. Not kidding. Don't do it.

Most of y'all probably know how I hide in November from the ubiquitous Nanowrimo. I do that monthly, maybe more if I'm on a lot of deadlines. I get tied of the endless word counts and freaking out and cheering. Ironically, though, it was Nanowrimo that taught me to write. Just write. Don't stop to edit, don't worry if things go off the rails. Fix it afterward. If you wait around for perfection, that book will never get done.

I embrace that now. Maybe a little too much if you listen to my editors. (smirk) But sometimes you have to go for it. So go for it. Love your imperfections. Then get a good beta reader who can stamp them out for you!



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

my to do list hates me

I was supposed to post an excerpt to Drive Your Truck yesterday.

Instead I went to the foot doctor and got out of the walking boot O.O


Boo for the to do list though. And boo for me not being able to find my final galley darn it.

So, here, have a hot dude.



Friday, January 09, 2015

Why is self-editing so hard?

Hey, y'all!

It's been a busy holiday season for me, not just as a person, but as a writer. I've been looking at edits, proofs, galleys, and marketing documents, and one thing has become painfully clear.

It's almost impossible to edit yourself and do it well.

I have to admit, one of the files had been through two beta readers, and it was still not up to what I want a MS to look like when I turn it in for submission.

So, why is self-editing so hard?

1- Objectivity- it's hard to be objective about your work. Come on, admit it. When we get even a super positive edit from someone we rant and rave about how the editor just didn't get what we meant! How dare they! Then, if we're professional, we suck it up and make changes. Still, it sucks, and that's why we can't do it ourselves. On the flip side of that coin, we can read it and fiddle and fiddle and make changes and never turn in the file. At some point, we have to stop making those changes and let the words go.

2- Distance- In the book industry, we rarely have time to really set a book aside for 3-4 months and then come back to it when we have distance. If we're trying to make even a partial living at this, we're writing to deadline. So, we never get enough distance to see the mistakes we make.

3- Familiarity- As writers, we know what we mean. We know our own words. We turn a blind eye to our bad habits. That's why they're bad habits, right? We overuse words and phrases. It's tough to edit them out when we love them.

So, what do we do to get past our lack of clarity about our own work?

Get beta readers. Good ones. If someone isn't a good one, well, you can be nice and let them read, but don't depend on them. If you're self publishing, put aside money to hire an editor freelance. If you can't afford that, then change the format. Seriously, make a PDF of the file and read that. We see different things in different formats.

Read it out loud. I especially espouse this with dialogue and with marketing materials. Blurbs. Read them aloud. If you stumble, change what you tripped over.

Put it away. Even if it's just for a week. Don't poke at it like a sore tooth. Go dancing. See a movie. Come back to it with fresh eyes.

Make notes as you write. Names. Hair color. The dog's name. Refer to this list on your read through. Do a search for hair and eyes and tall and such to make sure they're consistent for each character.

Finally, admit that sometimes we let embarrassing mistakes happen, and pass by us, and send that MS in. Self-editing can only take you so far. Even if it is so darned hard to figure out, you do the best you can and move on.



Wednesday, January 07, 2015

catching up on the important stuff! Books!

Man, I am so far behind on promo. I know, I said promo and a lot of folks will tune out, and that's okay. It's a bombardment.

Still, I'm pretty proud of some of my recent accomplishments.

elemental ops 4, Vanished, is out at Changeling Press. It tells the story of Shannon, the team medic, and Gig, team techie. More dragons, more plot, hot, if awkward and silly, sex! I love my dragon boys, which is why I'll do an offshoot series this year starting with Chino, the one El Ops member who didn't find his dragon at Keon's compound.

Find it here at CP, and here at ARE. Also at Amazon now!

I have a couple of re-releases out from my self-pub imprint Turtlehat. Offerings is a historical Roman m/m and A Pirate's Paradise is a time travel pirate historical. Offerings is here at ARE and also at Amazon. Pirates is here on ARE!

Finally, I have a book up for preorder at Dreamspinner. Drive Your Truck is a 40000 ish word novela, one of the longest books I've written in about three years. I'm so proud of it. It's a contemporary about a cop and an ex-Navy Seal who hook up at a funeral. Seriously. Woo. There's a basset beagle mix, a pregnant sister and sister in law (she married the Seal's brother and the cop is her brother!) and all sorts of reckless behavior. It's out the 28th. Get in there get it now. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5988

I think that catches me up! Woo.

Hugs all around



Monday, January 05, 2015

Goals for 2015 Q1

I was going to goals for the year, but I gotta tell y'all, that paralyzed me. So, for first quarter, I need to get the Changeling story in this week, the RSP story in by the end of the month, the DSP release party done, and get through final proofing on Samhain...

Wow. I sound like a published author, huh?

Then? I need to get the dogs to the vet, get the dental insurance figured out, get to the DSP meetup in March, get my 10k steps every day, drink water...

You know, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Five hundred years ago, I think people just wanted to make it to the next season and get their crops in or out or whatever. Now we create that kind of stress for ourselves artificially. Thumbs are not what set us apart, y'all. It's being unable to just sit still and stare all day or graze or what have you.

Grins. I want to make art, too. I have dolls and spoons and witches and clay and gourds and...

That's the fun part, huh? Making shit.

As BA would say, "It's what we do."



Saturday, January 03, 2015


Change is hard for me. I tend to be a control freak, and I plan years in advance. When I go on a trip, I spend weeks researching gluten free food and places to buy yarn. So when I'm not in charge, it makes me a little nuts.

My life is all about change this new year, and I can't sleep. My belly aches and I have terrible joint pain. I want my mom. (Sadly, she passed away years ago.)

On the good side, I have a huge amount of time to write, promo and make art. I love to make art, even if no one ever sees it.

Now, if I can just make it through April without all my hair falling out...

What kinds of changes are happening for you this year?