Five for Friday

#5forFriday: 'Night Games,' Blondie, and Morris Dancers

A quick #5forFriday this week as I'm in the middle of writing the first draft of The Allure of Attraction, the third book in my Matchmaker of Edinburgh series. 1. I'm loving the iTV mystery The Loch. It reminds me of Broadchurch, just set in the Highlands and without a very pasty David Tennant (a shame I know). I'm not sure when it's out in the U.S., but it's a good one to keep an eye out for.

2. I blew through Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire by Carolyn Dyhouse this week. Dyhouse looks at the men who have been deemed desirable throughout the early 20th century in movies, romance novels, and more. If you're interested in history, gender, and sexuality, it's a fun read.

3. I run around Hyde Park, and I've recently been seeing lots of signs for the British Summer Time concert series which kicks off in the concert tonight. While Phil Collins is the first headliner, Blondie's got second billing so I've been listening to Heart of Glass, The Tide is High, Call Me, and Sunday Girl all afternoon.

4. Alexis Anne's new book Night Games is now out! She's writing a lot about baseball these days and while I know it's not specifically to make me happy it does have that very nice side effect.

5. On Wednesday night we were randomly visited by Morris Dancers. Well, they visited the pub across the way. It made for an...unexpected night.

#5forFriday: New Shows, Jazz, and Wonder Woman

Another week's gone by and I'm feeling more settled than ever into London. Here's a look at five of my favorite things from last week: 1) A brand-new book from a good friend! When I met fantasy author Nigel Henry two years ago he was just wrapping up his Demons of Sedona series and starting to think about writing this kick-ass monster fighting high school girl named Ria. Well, I'm happy to say that Ria's Web of Lies is now out at digital retailers everywhere and looks fantastic! I've got this one loaded up on my iPad, and I'll be diving in this weekend.

2) This week I handed in the developmental edits on my book The Look of Love which is due out in October. After a couple back-to-back deadlines, it'll be nice to have a little free time to work on book 3 in the Matchmaker of Edinburgh series, The Allure of Attraction, before the craziness of RWA Nationals kicks off in late July.

3) I managed to unintentionally sync my move to the U.K. with the start of several new shows airing here on iTV. This week alone I've watched the first episodes of The Loch, Fearless, and Riviera (plus plenty of the half hour soap Emmerdale). It's been a great switch off for my brain after long days of editing and rewriting.

4) I've been listening to a lot of jazz as I work this year and this week I've been on a Lester Young kick. Give his dreamy version of "I Can't Get Started" a listen:

5) I'm finally seeing Wonder Woman this weekend! I'll be heading up to Oxford for a visit with my sister and her Scottish fiancé, and we're all excited to pile into the theater and watch it (a week after everyone else, but we're just helping keep the box office healthy).

#5forFriday: London Living

It's been a couple weeks since I've done a #5forFriday because things have been a little hectic what with moving countries and all, but I'm settled in and back! 1) I'm living in London! After what felt like months of preparation and waiting, I finally arrived, jet lagged and slightly disoriented in my new city. More than a week later, I'm mostly settled in and enjoying exploring my new city.

2) I turned a book in! The second book in the Matchmaker of Edinburgh series hit my editor's inbox yesterday afternoon. I celebrated by pouring myself a big glass of wine and watching the British soap opera, Emmerdale.

3) I got interviewed! C. Steven Ellis from The Writer's Mind interviewed me just before I left for London, and now the interview is live. You can watch it on YouTube or download the episode on iTunes.

4) I'm reunited with my dogs! Nick and Nora, my family's bichons, have been the stars of my Instagram and Instagram stories for the past week. They even helped me edit — sort of.

Someone decided to read over my shoulder while I edit...

A post shared by Julia Kelly (@juliakellywrites) on

5) I went dancing! I've been a swing and blues dancer for more than ten years and that means that no matter where I am in the world I can always find a friendly community of people who love blues. Since I only know a few people in London, I took myself out dancing on Tuesday and met a great group. Not a bad way to kick off my first week in a new place!

#5forFriday: New Covers and Spring Days

It's been a bit since I've done a #5forFriday post because I've been off writing all of the books for you guys (seriously, I've written like 40,000 words in the last 10 days). In honor of getting over the hump of book 2 in the Matchmaker of Edinburgh series, I'm bringing #5forFriday back. Here we go! 1) I got to reveal the beautiful cover for my upcoming Scottish historical romance, The Look of Love, this week. If you missed it, here are all of the details, plus this is the cover. 😍

2) Last Sunday was the first hot day of the spring here in NYC, so I headed to Washington Square Park with Laura von Holt and her friend and business partner Luke. True to New York, there was a flash rainstorm, and we wound up having to run for cover under a twee blanket along with the tipsy picnickers next to us who kept yelling "Save the vodka!" and "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"

3) I've been reading down my TBR pile and last week I blew through Adriana Anders' Under Her Skin. It was wonderful, and I highly recommend it with the caution that if you've got triggers for partner abuse you might want to proceed with caution. Look for a longer post about what I've been reading coming soon.

4) Now that I've finished all of the Great British Bake Off, I asked Facebook for recommendations for a new low drama/high entertainment show to watch while cooking and got a LOT of responses back. You guys have plenty to say about TV shows (especially British ones). Looks like I have a lot of show watching to do.

5) This is my second week of being a full-time writer, at least for the time being, and I'm continually amazed by the wonderful support of friends reaching out. It's an odd thing to go from working a day job and being a writer to just focusing on fiction. The way you structure your entire day changes, and what you feel like you should be doing vs. what you actually should be doing also shift. The people checking in on me to offer support and make sure I'm doing things like taking lunch breaks has been really touching.

#5forFriday

Here are five things making me happy this week: #1 I ran my first race on Sunday! It was a nice, low key 4 miler in Central Park that my friend Jena suggested might be a good way to get into organized runs.

"I can't feel my cheeks any longer."

It was brutally cold that morning, and it took awhile for my legs to warm up and I was freezing before and after the race. (But not during the race. I was just really sweaty then.)

Unnecessarily intense race photo in which I promise I'm thinking, "Dear God when is this over so I can take a nap?"

No worries! I'm happy to say I beat my goal time and had a blast. The chicken and waffles at Amy Ruth's in Harlem afterwards didn't hurt either.

I'm already looking ahead to my next race in March and am thinking about signing up for a half marathon. (This is probably all your fault, Mary Chris.)

All bundled up at the finish.

#2 On Monday I met up with Laura von Holt and we headed over to Lady Jane's Salon for the big eighth anniversary/Valentine's Day reading. It was her first time being there, so naturally Laura won a stack of books in a raffle and was fed champagne and brownies.

#3 This article about black fashion designers is a must read for anyone interested in fashion history.

#4 I've really been struggling with the pacing of this historical I'm writing right now, but ripping the structure apart with help from Gwen Hayes Romancing the Beat on Saturday was hugely helpful. I feel like I've had a breakthrough on this book all thanks to her story structure.

#5 And finally, thank goodness for the Second Avenue Subway which got me to my day job in the middle of a snowstorm on Thursday without my old 3/4 mile walk to the other subway station in the neighborhood. It's the little things.

#5forFriday

A super quick #5forFri from me today because this is so late! #1 I've had a good run of writing days all in a row, most of them hitting or exceeding my writing goals. As any writer will tell you, building up that kind of momentum is huge.

#2 My brilliant sister has gotten her book review website off the ground in a big way! She's a speed reader, so she's already got a bunch of review up on I Should Read That, and her Instagram game is solid. (There are plenty of cats with books pictures to enjoy.)

#3 Last weekend I indulged and bought myself a JBL Clip 2 wireless bluetooth speaker to finally replace my old speakers that died years ago. I've been happily listening to a lot of KUSC but also rediscovering much of the jazz I danced to when I was in college and a serious swing dancer. Sydney Bechet, Count Bassie, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker.

#4 I'm running my first race this weekend — a short 4 mile loop in the park.

#5 This dance to that Ed Sheeran song I can't get out of my head. (H/T my friend Sonia) And that's all for me! What are your five favorite things from this week?

Five for Friday (With Kitties)

Last week I told you I'd be sharing this five things I've loved over the past seven days. Here's this week's edition: 1. If you've been reading my blog for awhile you might have noticed things look a little different. I've rebranded to reflect my new pen name for contemporary romance: Julia Blake! I'll still be writing historicals as Julia Kelly, but this will help make it really clear which genre you're going to get when you pick up one of my books. (PS You can check out what'll be coming out from Julia Blake thanks to this preorder which just dropped in price from $4.99 to $1.99!)

2. Hidden Figures. Do yourself a favor. Buy yourself a ticket and treat yourself to a really enjoyable, positive movie. It was exactly the story I needed to see with everything swirling around in the world right now.

3. This excellent post from Cara McKenna on using the 28/40 method to create dynamic heroes (and yes you can absolutely use it for heroines).

4. I'm a RITA judge so I'm working my way through a stack of six books in several different categories. I can't actually name check the author or title, but I'm practically bursting because I read an AMAZING RITA-potential book and I can't talk about it at all! One of these days, long after the RITAs are awarded, I'll slip it into a recommendation list and spread the good word and no one will know. How sneaky!

5. And finally, this photo of my sister and her boyfriends' cats looking very judgmental.