This is a Book Too is HERE

Mel and I have started posting chapters of This is a Book Too–the sequel to our crazy, genre-less blog novel This is a Book from last year–and we are SO PSYCHED to be back in the game.

Like last time, we’ll be posting two chapters weekly (pending those petty real life distractions like “exams” and “work” and “sleeping”). Mel’s chapters, from pirate-ghost-zombie Rose’s perspective, will go up on Sundays. My chapters, from on-the-run assassin Mary’s perspective, will go up on Fridays (which means that–that’s right–the very first Mary chapter will be going up TOMORROW, Friday, January 24th, 2014).

You can read This is a Book Too (and its predecessor) on the official This is a Book series blog at thisisabookthebook.wordpress.com

Let the adventures, cliffhangers, and plot twists begin!

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday (“The End Where I Begin, Chapter Seven”)

IT. IS. SO. COLD.

Yesterday, with windchill, it was -15 out while I walked to class. If that doesn’t give you a solid idea of how cold it is in Michigan right now, remember that 32 degrees Fahrenheit is freezing. So it was 47 degrees below freezing. 47 degrees ABOVE freezing puts the temperature at 79. 32 and 79 are two very different temperatures. Therefore: -15 is not just freezing, but SO. SO. SO. SO. COLD. OHMYGOSHCOLD. (If my brain ever unfreezes, I’m transferring to somewhere warm. Like the University of Hawaii.)

But anyway, outside of that and the continuing mess with Amazon, I’m doing well. I went home over the weekend, at which point I got to annoy Sammy for four days straight (yay long weekends!) and see lots of movies (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a new fave) and work a ton on editing stuff, both for my critique partners and myself (I edited approximately 450 pages in three days–besides my brain being frozen, it is now also mush).

The winning option for this week’s Wordy Wednesday is “NaNoWriMo excerpt,” so here’s Chapter Seven from The End Where I Begin. 🙂

As always, a reminder that this has seen little to no editing and I’m still in the process of writing the novel, so there will be mistakes and inconsistencies and all that fun stuff throughout.

Read previous chapters:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

**********

Chapter Seven

“I told you she was crazy.” I don’t know why I feel the need to say the words, but I do. I want him to believe that Ramsey is the one who is lying, not me.

Why would Ramsey lie about something like that? The Identibands prove that we’ve known each other almost our entire lives. Saying it isn’t true doesn’t make the fact go away, as much as, believe me, I would like it to as well.

“I did not deny your assertion.” Dr. O’Brien’s shoulders are rigid and he still won’t meet my eye. I stare at him. Sweat glistens above his eyebrows. “We just needed to verify that you and Miss Carp were indeed once friends, in order to assure that the Identibands had not glitched. As you know, Miss Dylan, the system is not yet perfect. We are still working daily to improve it.”

“Of course.” I nod. The edge of the table bites into my palms, but I don’t dare unwrap my fingers from around it. They feel like they’re the only things anchoring me to the thin sheet of steel, to the Earth.

“Our records collected from the Identibands of the other students at New Capital High show that a majority of the students in all four years knew ahead of the Recruitment Assembly that Miss Carp wanted to attack you, as they all spoke of it with their classmates throughout the morning, beginning at approximately 0745. Do you know whether this was simply a rumor, or a verifiable threat?”

I hold back a laugh. “Well evidently it was a threat, seeing as she went through with it.”

Dr. O’Brien’s eyes flit up from the tablet then back down again—a quick, agitated movement that says he is not amused. “Do you know why Miss Carp chose the Recruitment Assembly—such an important day—to target you?”

“She likes to make her attacks as public as possible. The first time she went after me, back in May, we were standing outside New Capital High with half the student body standing around us as we waited to be let inside for morning classes.”

I remember the morning perfectly. I hadn’t seen her since school the day before, when we parted at the subway station around the block from NCH. She wished me luck with my chemistry homework and I reminded her we had an Español quiz in the morning. I took the steps down to the subway, to take the train out to the suburbs, and she began the walk to Portsmouth. It had already been over a year since my family moved to Riverhorn, but we still ate lunch together every day and I stayed at her house every Friday night to help care for her two little sisters while her parents pulled the night shift.

That morning, though, Ramsey looked different from how she did the night before. Her tawny hair was loose and unbrushed around her shoulders, and dark bags hung beneath her eyes. She looked at everyone around us like she thought they might attack her, all the students in their matching navy blue pants and button-down shirts.

Our conversation was peculiar. She kept asking me what was wrong, and grew angrier and angrier when I didn’t know what she was talking about. Then she grabbed my wrist, I yanked it away, and we haven’t spoken since.

I wonder how Ramsey is now, locked up somewhere in this building. I wonder if she’s scared or cross or if she just doesn’t even care anymore or—

—No, I will not be sympathetic towards the Ram. She doesn’t deserve it.

I concentrate on Dr. O’Brien’s tablet as I speak. “So, a couple weeks after her first confrontation with me, she attacked Brad Jennings during the county tennis match—Ramsey and I used to play doubles together, but then after our argument she switched to singles. Brad didn’t provoke her in any way, but she threw a tennis racket so hard at his stomach he had to forfeit the match because he was throwing up so much. Students still make fun of him for it. She always chooses as public a location as possible, in order to better humiliate her victim.”

“Interesting.” Dr. O’Brien taps away at his tablet.

I glance round the office for a clock, but don’t find one. I’m about to ask if I could have the time, or at least know how much longer he’ll need me, when he catches me in a stare and holds my gaze. My fingers tighten around the table.

A single drop of sweat trails its way down the side of his face, although as far as I can tell his office is actually unnaturally cool, not warm. Another one of the expenses the Clinic can afford that the rest of us cannot is to control their temperature down to a tenth of a degree, so the temperature in here is his decision, and it’s definitely cooler than what I’m used to. I don’t know how he’s hot enough to sweat.

He dabs away the drop with the edge of his lab coat sleeve. “Now, we must discuss what occurred directly before Miss Carp’s attack yesterday.”

“Okay.”

“We invited you to join the Clinic.”

I wait a second for him to go on, but he doesn’t. He raises his eyebrows at me and I blink. His lips are pressed firmly together. Another second passes. I open my mouth. “Um. Yes?”

He leans towards me as another drop of sweat snakes down his cheek. It slips from his chin and drops to his knee. He braces his elbows on either side of the tablet on his lap. “Do you know why, Miss Dylan?”

I shrug for what feels like the hundredth time. One side of my mouth lifts almost of its own accord. “I guess because you decided I would be a good candidate?”

“Now is not the time to be smart with me.”

My lips fall back in a frown. “I’m sorry. I was not trying to be.” I stare at my lap. “I just don’t understand why you’re asking me this.”

“Of course.” His tone is kind, but his eyes are hard and unblinking. “Let me explain: While we have surely been monitoring you since you were small because we thought you could become a beneficial addition to the Clinic someday, we had a very particular reason for choosing to recruit you one year early. You are not meant to be a traditional recruit.” A flash from my Identiband catches my eye, but I ignore it this time. I keep my attention on Dr. O’Brien. “You see, Miss Dylan, the Fifth Reality recently encountered—well, I guess you could call it a case of glitching.”

“Like you were worried about occurring in Ramsey and my Identibands?”

He flinches but does not lean back. “In a way… yes.”

“Wait.” My grip on the table tightens until my fingers are numb from loss of blood. “How can a reality glitch? We’re real, we’re here. The Quantum is a natural phenomenon. It’s not like we’re a piece of technology that can break.”

Now he does lean back in his swivel chair. He pinches his eyes closed, takes a deep breath, and holds himself in that position. It looks painful.

I raise an eyebrow. “Doctor O’Brien?”

He exhales, then inhales again. He opens his eyes and some of the pain leaves his expression. “Let me begin to explain by asking you a question. Tell me, Miss Dylan, when did Miss Carp begin acting strangely?”

“About four months ago. In May. The day she bruised my wrist.”

“May 16th, then.” Dr. O’Brien nods to himself. My Identiband is pinching my wrist again, but I don’t want to take my attention off the conversation to shift it. “Miss Dylan, explain how the Quantum works to me.”

“You want me to explain the Quantum?” I stare at him. “The Quantum is the Quantum. It’s everything. The all-encompassing term for every version of the universe, held together by the Thread of Reality.”

“Yes, yes, very good. But how does it work?”

“I don’t—”

“Would it help to draw it?”

I open my mouth, close it, then open it again. “I guess?”

“Very well, give me just a moment.” He places the tablet back on his desk and walks to a cabinet with a wooden door. While he rifles through it, I uncurl my fingers from the steel table and place my hands in my lap. Fiery lines with paler skin on either side of them separate my palms in half. My knuckles are nearly white.

My jaw aches. I don’t want to know what color that is.

Dr. O’Brien slips a crumpled, blank sheet of paper out from under a stack of books and passes it to me, along with a book to write on. He pulls a pen from a cup on the counter.

“Now, Miss Dylan.” He stands beside me and taps a practiced finger against the paper. “Explain to me how the Quantum works.”

I stare at the blank paper, nothing but a matching blankness in my mind. I uncap the pen and place the tip against the sheet. My Identiband flashes—holds the strange color for a good half a second this time—and I blink, shake my head.

I open my eyes and the color is gone. The lights are all a perfect, bright green. Out the corner of my eye, Dr. O’Brien doesn’t appear to have noticed a thing.

I look back to the paper and draw a circle. “This is us. The Fifth Reality.”

“Good, good. Go on.” Dr. O’Brien folds his hands behind his back and smiles just barely.

“We are just one reality within the Quantum. The Quantum is large; constantly expanding. Lately we’ve been adding one new reality a year. Our existence is spread throughout each reality, so that while each of us exists in the Fifth Reality, another version of us also exists in the Fourth and the Sixth and all the rest. The realities all exist linearly—in a straight line. So the effects of what happens in the reality here,” I draw a circle on the paper to the left of the one that represents us, then an arrow pointing to ours, “can affect what happens here. And what happens here, to us, can affect the reality after ours.” I draw a circle and another arrow to the right.

“That is correct, Miss Dylan.”

I look up, pen still pressed to the sheet. “Is that enough, or would you like me to go into more detail?”

Dr. O’Brien steps back to his chair and sits. He passes the back of a hand over his forehead—more sweat. “That is plenty. I only had to make sure that you understood the basics of the Quantum in order to ensure that you will understand the severity of what I am about to tell you next.”

I swallow. “Yes?”

“You are aware of the effects when a new reality comes to existence. Certain members of our society experience dizziness, nausea, or disorientation as another version of them is born. It was worse when our reality was younger, and thus the new realities were held closer to us by the Thread of Reality. However, as you have so aptly mentioned, this is not the only time one reality will affect the others.”

He holds out his hand for the paper and I slip off the edge of the table. I hand it to him and hover beside him as he stabs one finger onto the sheet—the circle that represents the Fourth Reality, the one before ours.

“What happens in this reality can affect what happens in this one.” His finger follows the arrow to the Fifth Reality.

A plummeting feeling free falls through my stomach. I do not think I will like where this goes.

“On May 16th, Miss Ramsey Carp woke up suddenly much different from the person she was the night before.”

Oh my goodness.

“Somehow, something major has happened in the reality before ours in the Quantum. And because of that, your friend’s personality has overlapped with that of the Ramsey Carp from that reality. Thus, Miss Carp was correct, from her personal viewpoint, in telling us that she had never spoken to you before last May. Memories from the Fourth Reality Miss Carp easily could have muddled her memories of this reality when they crossed over—and it’s possible the Fourth Reality versions of the two of you have never even met, yet alone spent time together as the two of you in this reality have.

“As far as Miss Carp remembers, it’s possible she truly does not know you at all.”

**********

75Here’s looking at you, weather.

I feel like I haven’t asked in a while, so, Reader Dearest, how are you doing? Got any good classes? Interesting stories to share? I’m all ears.

Be on the watch for new chapters of This is a Book Too going up on the official This is a Book series blog here.

 

~Julia

Wordy Wednesday (“Peter Pan”)

You know, I always have so much I want to tell you, and then the instant I open a new blog post I forget and my brain just goes like, “Blahhh… words… wasn’t there something I was supposed to remember to say… blahhhhh blah blah blah blah… on well… blah… give me a caramel apple… whooo.”

Yeah, I’m blanking pretty hardcore at the moment.

But what I do remember: It’s Wednesday, so this is a Wordy Wednesday post. And this week’s Wordy Wednesday is a song I wrote around the time I graduated high school. I got really nostalgic and sappy my final semester, and this song basically describes what I felt like when I met some of the theatre kids from the class that would be freshmen the year after I graduated (aka: REALLY sappy). Looking at them was like looking at myself four years earlier, and it was the weirdest, most Twilight Zone-ish feeling I’ve ever experienced.

**********

[C, G, Em, D]

VERSE1

Hey there, little girl, with the braces on your smile

You’re so lucky, don’t you know, you get to be here for a while

I remember you calling my name, like I was a celebrity

Well, being a senior, graduating, isn’t all it cracked up to be

I’ve seen that look on your face before

Like you are waiting for someone to open the door

And you’re scared of being lost, and you’re scared of being alone

But you’re happy now, ’cause you’re finding a new home

CHORUS

Right now you’re at the beginning,

but the pages turn pretty fast

and someday you’ll have to let go

because today’ll be in the past

And I know it sucks, and I know it’s mean

And I know you feel stuck in between

But just remember as much of everything

as you can. Then fall in love with Peter Pan.

VERSE2

Hey there, little girl, just happy to fit in

Don’t forget who you want to be, for the sake of pleasing him

And just ’cause it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s always right

Don’t worry, not for now, it’s not goodbye at closing night

I’ve seen that look in your eyes before

I’ve said the words that you can’t ignore

And I’d give anything, to be in your shoes

You don’t know what you have, until it’s something you will lose

[Repeat CHORUS]

BRIDGE

Those four years are going go by faster than you think

One second you’re making friends, then it’s all gone in a blink

And you’ll cling to the memories, the bad ones and the good

Thinking of all the things you’d relive, wouldn’t change them if I could

[Repeat CHORUS]

**********

59

 

 

~Julia

Oh, PS. I just remembered one of the things I was supposed to say: THIS IS A BOOK has a new home–it’s very own website! And Mel and I are holding a contest to draw our logo (a squish)! Make sure to check it out and enter your drawing: http://thisisabookthebook.wordpress.com/

This Is a Book: Character Polling

Here we finally are! The rules of this next round in our character creation contest for This Is a Book are simple. Just read over the descriptions everyone submitted over the course of the past few weeks–pasted below–and then vote for up to three of your favorite characters, using our handy little voting widget at the bottom of this post. Just make sure not to vote for your own, because that would be rude and unfair to everyone else’s brilliant creations. I’ll be back later with an official ending date to the voting period, but for now know that you’ve got at least a week from today (Monday, May 20th).

Got it? Good. 🙂 Let’s get started.

**********

NAME OF CHARACTER: Mr. Squeaks
TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Telepathic Mouse
SPECIAL ABILITY: Can communicate telepathically, cause explosions and start small fires with her thoughts.
PLACE OF ORIGIN: The dumpster behind the deli on Walsh St.
DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Friendly, outgoing, sociopathic. Favored method of torture involves flooding victim’s minds with images of a scantily clad Dick Cheney. Has total control over rodent brethren. Likes to eat discarded Toaster Pastries.

 

NAME OF CHARACTER: Lewis James Frogg
TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Super Hero

SPECIAL ABILITY: Has super strength on Monday, can fly on Wednesdays, has x-ray vision on Friday. He has no idea why. It may-or-may not be discovered that his apartment was built over a buried nuclear waste drum. His control over these powers is hit-or-miss. He finds it easier to control the powers while listening to opera music or after meditation. He hates doing both of those things.

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Queens, New York

DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: He just received his powers and is very keen on figuring out how they work. His ultimate goal is to become an honest-to-god super hero, but he’s not really sure how yet. He enjoys: reading comic books, cheering on the Yankees, playing pac man on his phone (he’s on level 78), Brisk (what, it’s good!) and M&Ms. He’s got brains and bravery down pat, but his brawn is a little bit to be desired. He’s kind of on the nerdy side. Looks great in glasses but insists on wearing contacts.

 

 

NAME OF CHARACTER: Is

TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Being verb

SPECIAL ABILITY: He allows others to grammatically exist. He is a verb of being.

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Linguistics

 

NAME OF CHARACTER: Dustan
TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Young macho man. His good looks and suave personality catch the women (that is until they get to know him and discover his, um, problem)
SPECIAL ABILITY: He has an embarrassing problem… he sweats profusely at the slightest stress, soaking his clothes and its so bad it pours out of his face and arms and he literally rains down onto the ground (see the irony – name is like dust/dry and he rains).
PLACE OF ORIGIN: Arizona
DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Dark, slightly wavy, shiny, thick hair. 5’10″, slender yet muscular. Wears cool dude clothes. Is stuck on himself. He saunters around like he’s God’s gift to women and doesn’t understand why they get turned off by him after they were initially so interested. He’s frustrated, but keeps trying the same tactics. But time after time, his stuck up personality and his sweating problem turn them off once they get to know him.

 

NAME OF CHARACTER: Spiffy

TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: A buffalo-man

SPECIAL ABILITY: Can make very long sentences that are actually grammatically correct. Also, can stampede over anyone. Ever.

PLACE OF ORIGIN: The Wild Plains

DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Very hairy. Also, a bit of a bully.

 

 

NAME OF CHARACTER: Elane Erica Levine

TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Shape-Shifter

SPECIAL ABILITY: Can transform into any inanimate object with a female gender in the French Language due to her French Family roots. Transformation takes effort and often over-exertion makes her very, VERY cranky.

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Brooklyn

DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Oldest of five siblings, keeps her powers a secret, looking for adventure. Has a passion for: Graphic novels, Mozart and Metallica (not at the same time), hoodies, popcorn, Pranks, gaudy earrings, cute girls (as if a magical power wasn’t enough to hide), and Diet Cherry-Vanilla Dr. Pepper.

 

 

NAME OF CHARACTER: Schnezz (Or Schnezzie, if you’re trying to be cute)

TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Human dude

SPECIAL ABILITY: NOSE SO GLORIOUS THAT WHEN HE SNEEZES SOMEONE DIES AT ITS RADIANCE

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Russia

 

NAME OF CHARACTER:Kra
TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: A badass monster
SPECIAL ABILITY:Being a badass. And being an annoying know it all that eats people when they say something dumb. And being a badass.
PLACE OF ORIGIN:Atlantis
DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: She thinks that killing people might make them like her. But it doesn’t. It just makes people dead.

 **********

Thanks, and remember to read new chapters of This Is a Book, every Thursday on this blog and Sunday on Mel’s!

 

~Julia

Just so you know…

Mel and I are officially postponing posting the next two chapters of This Is a Book until next weekend (and there will likely be another couple of weeks coming up here that we can’t post during either, due to fun writing shenanigans in everyone’s favorite city-nicknamed-after-a-fruit), so we’re really sorry but we hope these delays won’t stop you from reading. We appreciate all the support we’ve been getting with this crazy, wacko story, and we can’t wait to get back into the groove of writing it once we’ve got a smidgen more free time again.

Thanks for sticking with us!

~Julia

Facebook Page, and Other Such Things

Hey there! So I’m currently at home for spring break, busily revising novels and watching too many movies and plays (I’m literally seeing one or the other every single day over break–this is like Julia Heaven), and I’ve got some exciting news to share with you. So without further ado, here we go:

  • Mel just posted Chapter Seven of This Is a Book on her blog. Check it out here.
  • Requiem–the last novel in the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver–is coming out this week!!! AND I AM SO EXCITED. Ever since I got to read Requiem as an ARC a few months back, I’ve been dying to gush about the book to you, but I knew I couldn’t say anything until the book was actually released. AND IN A COUPLE OF DAYS I WILL FINALLY BE ABLE TO. So be watching out to a review or something sometime in the next couple of weeks!
  • I made a Facebook page! I’m going to be using it to put out smaller updates than what I’d talk about on here, but still very fun stuff, so I’d love for you to like it. 🙂 Thanks!

Well, that’s it for now I guess (I’m sure there’s something else I’m supposed to be telling you that I’m just forgetting), but I’ll talk to you soon! Have a great week!

~Julia

Meeting Ally Carter

So, some very awesome and important things happened this past weekend, and I wanted to tell you about them. 🙂

A) I have this thing I call my Top Six List, which is basically a list of my six favorite living authors. They’re writers who I not only enjoy the work of, but also admire as people and hope I’ll have the opportunity to one day be like. This Friday, I got to meet one of my Top Six for the first time ever– Ally Carter, the author of the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society young adult series.

I got to ask her a question during the Q&A portion of her book signing, and then talked to her while she signed my books. She complimented my dress and joked about sneaking me out in the trunk of a car after the event, since I was in enemy territory (it took place near Michigan State University–I go to the University of Michigan). She was the nicest, most down-to-earth and considerate author I’ve ever met, making sure that every single person at her signing felt special and like she cared about them individually (and there were A LOT of people there).

If I’m ever lucky enough to have a book signing someday, I hope I can be as sweet and considerate as Ally was. Meeting your idol is one thing–meeting your idol and having her be just as great of a person as you’ve always imagined is something else entirely. I can honestly say that it was one of the best evenings of my life. 🙂

IMG_0131

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B) My high school theatre company won the competition they were in!! The company hasn’t won since before a good number of the students currently in it were born, so it’s a really, really big deal, and I’m so proud of them. 🙂 I’m also sad, of course, that I’m no longer a part of the company, since these totally awful things called graduating and growing up happened, but you know what? I had my time. It’s theirs now. And I am so, so, so proud and happy for all my friends who were a part of the play.

C) And, last but not least: If you haven’t already, make sure to go read Chapter Three of This Is a Book–the genre-bending novel I’m co-writing with my friend Mel–over on her blog here. We’re having so much fun writing this story, and we hope you’re having fun reading it too!

… So that’s it for now, and I’ve gotta get back to procrastinating from my Spanish project by glaring at it over my lunch, so I’ll talk to you later. Have a good week!

 

~Julia

This Is a Book: Chapter One is Up!

Just a friendly reminder to go read Chapter One of This Is a Booka genre-bending novel that I’m currently co-writing with my friend Mel–over on her blog, The Ultimately Useless Stories of an Average Teenager:

Follow this link link link!

And don’t forget to check back at Julia the Writer Girl for Chapter Two this Thursday! It’s going to be bundles of fun, I swear. 🙂

 

~Julia

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!

Hey there, you awesome reader person you! I’m here today to let’cha know about a super cool, super secret new project that a friend of mine and I have been working on for quite a while now and are very excited about. (Okay, so we just decided to do it last night, but whatever–that’s like a decade in house fly years and we really are excited about it, so let’s just let that one slide, right?)

Welcome to This is a Book: a novel collaboratively written by Mel of The Ultimately Useless Stories of An Average Teenager and myself that spans so many genres and tropes and never-see-them-coming-because-even-the-authors-don’t-know-they’re-coming plot twists that it’s too big to post on just one blog. So we’re posting it on two.

From now until either the novel ends or we do (we’re pushing for it to be the novel that kicks the bucket first, but you never know with all these crazy weather patterns and the fact that the University of Michigan hasn’t given a snow day since 1978), Mel and I will be posting the chapters on a biweekly basis–Sundays on her blog and weekdays on mine (I’m thinking Thursdays, but we’ll see what happens with Spanish). Mel’s a fantastic writer and absolutely hilarious, and she uses her blog to mainly talk about all the crazy “average” stuff that happens in her day to day life, so you should definitely check her out.

Make sure to follow this lovely link on over to Mel’s blog and read the first chapter of This is a Book, going live on Sunday, and check back for Chapter Two showing up on Julia the Writer Girl sometime later this week! (That is, if I don’t drown under my pile of homework first.)

Talk to you soon!

 

~Julia

PS. I know it’s only February, but what do you think of the new spring blog theme?