Author Branding on First Draught Tomorrow!

A quick reminder for you that First Draught is coming up tomorrow at 8:30 PM EST! Alexis, Mary Chris, and I are very happy to be welcoming Laura von Holt and Amy Jo Cousins on for a discussion about building your author brand. We'll talk about why branding is important, how you should go about creating your online and in real life presence, and why it's important to start now even if you don't have a book out. RSVP to our live event to be sure you don't miss a minute of our live conversation. If you can't make it on Tuesday, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel or check out our brand-new First Draught website!

Laura Von Holt HeadshotLaura von Holt is a marginally famous writer and performer from Hawai’i who lives in New York. She writes paranormal romances about mermaids, and literary fantasy about the dark side of fairytales. She is also a Pulitzer-nominated playwright and the Co-Artistic Director of Little Lord, a Brooklyn-based theater company. Laura is best known as her pinup and performance artist alter ego, von Hottie. When Laura is not on the ground, she is in the air as the sparkly half of the international aerial comedy duo, Flaming Mermaid Broken Star, which creates and performs "stunning feats of how-dare-they" on the regular.

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Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Fun facts: Amy Jo can get back into a kayak in the open water if she falls out of it, taught herself and her son how to say I love you in seventeen languages, and once ran the table in a game of eight ball.

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First Draught

larger logoI feel as though every month I sit back and say, "I can't believe another First Draught is already here!" This month is no different. Seriously, where is the time going? For October, we will be discussing pulling out that old, abandoned manuscript, ripping it apart, and revising it. Both Alexis Anne and Mary Chris Escobar have taken a forgotten draft through to publication, so catch the chat for all of their tips, tricks, and advice!

RSVP here to make sure you don't miss the live chat Tuesday, October 7th, at 8:30 PM EST!

One Week in Love

OneWeekInWyoming-1600x2400August is coming to a close, and that means that the release day for One Week in Wyoming is getting closer too! On September 9th, you can get your hands on the sexy contemporary anthology featuring four stories by Alexis Anne, Audra North, Alexandra Haughton, and myself. Until then, we have a new website for our One Week in Love series of books. Stop by, watch our welcome video, peruse some blog posts, and say hello!

VIDEO: So You're Going to RWA 2014!

RWA is less than two weeks away (at least for those of us arriving on Tuesday), and I couldn't be more excited. At this point last year I was pretty deep into a month-long freak out about what to wear, who I would meet, and whether anyone would eat dinner with me. Turns out my clothing was fine, I met some women who have become my closest friends, and I never had to eat alone if I didn't want to. First Draught is doing a couple videos to get you ready for RWA. Right before the 4th of July we tackled our first about why you would even want to pony up all this cash for a conference. I also hope we put some newcomers at ease, letting them know that people will be friendly and want to talk to them. If anything, you can all come and talk to us!

This is the video of that first chat:

Next Tuesday, July 15th, we're talking about the practical side to RWA14. We'll go over what you should pack, how to handle your schedule, and why you should definitely hit up the hotel bar after dinner. You can RSVP to the live video chat by clicking on this link (and that's where you'll find the archive video too).

We hope to see you Tuesday, and if you're new and going to RWA know that it's going to be a great, overwhelming, inspiring experience.

VIDEO: Everything You Wanted to Know about Critique Partners (But Were Afraid to Ask)

There's something about the start of the summer that always sends me into a flurry of activity. This year between an international family move, a college reunion, and a friend's wedding all of of my energy focused on traveling. Unfortunately that meant letting some things go by the wayside. I was in London the week that I would normally tape First Draught with Alexis Anne and Mary Chris Escobar, so when we reconvened on June 3rd we decided to give you a nice, long video discussion. We tackled all of the questions we commonly get about critique partners. How do you get one? How do you keep one? When is it time to let your CP go?

If you have any follow-up question we'd love to hear them! Just leave a comment here or tweet us.


It's time for another chat with the First Draught ladies! Alexis Anne, Mary Chris Escobar, and I will be debating the merits of planning or writing off the cuff.

When: Tuesday, March 4th, 8:15 PM

Where: Check out our Google On Air page ahead of the chat and leave us a comment about your writing style.

So what are you? A plotter or a pantser?

VIDEO: The Balance Myth

Happy belated new year everyone! I took some time away from blogging and writing to be with family, but now I'm back at it for 2014. Of course, that means figuring out how to fit writing in around a very busy season at my day job. That makes the most recent chat that Alexis Anne, Mary Chris Escobar, and I did particularly topical. Check out our Google Hangout talking all about the myth of balance in a writer's life and whether we think male authors ever get asked how they "do it all."

As always, I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment about balance, writing, or your goals for the new year below. You can also reach out on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Happy writing!

VIDEO: NaNoWriMo Day 22

Day 22 is here, and I'm back on track (thank goodness)! NaNoWriMoers, how are you guys doing with your own challenges?

This is the hero chat with Alexis Anne I mention in the video. And here's a link to the heroine chat too.

As always, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Happy writing!

VIDEO: NaNoWriMo Day 15 (A Little Late)

Day 15 of NaNoWriMo has come and gone. I recorded this video yesterday night to talk about discouragement, stepping back from your book, and why burlesque dancers might help me find a creative kick again.

The burlesque club I went to is called the Slipper Room on Orchard and Stanton in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The dancers are incredible. You get everything from traditional strip tease to aerialists to performance art. Here are just a couple photos I snapped while I was out.

Rosabelle Selavy, burlesque, Slipper Room, aerial, trapeze

Emily Shephard, fan dance, burlesque, Slipper Room

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter! I'm also sharing writing inspiration at Tumblr and Pinterest.

If you're doing NaNoWriMo too, just search for Julia Kelly to add me as a writing buddy (and keep me honest!).

Happy writing!

VIDEO: NaNoWriMo is Here!

It's the first of November and that means all across the country crazy writers are saying yes to NaNoWriMo. The rules are simple: write a 50,000 word book in November. It sounds impossible, but it's definitely doable (although a challenge)! I want to invite you to join Alexis Anne*, Tracie Puckett, Lashell Collins and me as we write messy first drafts of the books that will (hopefully) eventually wind up on your shelves! Every once in awhile I'll post a video about my progress. Here's the first one:

*Alexis already has a NaNoWriMo first day video up on her blog. Check out how bright eyed and optimistic we are on Nov. 1. Hopefully we're still feeling that way by the 15th...