Monday, April 14, 2014

Guest Post: The Writing Process of the outlandishly amazing Julia Mills!

Author Julia Mills and I hooked up when she was looking for a cover designer on her first book in the Dragon Guard series. It's an outrageously popular series that has taken the fantasy genre by storm, so I thought you might enjoy peeking into her writing world. After reading her post, I'm feeling quite forever indebted to her for her kind words about my writing. That always means a lot coming from someone who pens the most amazing stories! Enough from me though ... let's see what Julia has to say:

I was asked by the most amazing cover artist in the world, as well as a tremendously talented author, Linda Boulanger, to be a part of an author blog tour AND she let me hijack her blog!! I was lucky enough to have met Linda when I was looking for a cover artist for the first book in the Dragon Guard series last year. I had seen some of her work and it was love at first sight. She did NOT disappoint when designing my covers. Three books into the series and she still amazes me with her ability to bring my crazy descriptions of characters and stories to life. Then, I read her work and WOW! So if you haven’t read anything of hers yet…get on it! You will be as hooked as I am. Surprisingly, she thought y’all might like to know about my writing process. I think it’s a pretty cool idea since writing processes are as different and creative as each brilliant person that embarks on the incredible journey of writing anything and let’s face it…it’s pretty cool to find out how some of your favorite stories came to life.

So here is how it works. There are four questions and in my usually rambling, southern way I will attempt answer them all. Then you can follow the tag to keep the tour rolling.

Okay, here we go…

What am I working on? I have three projects going right now. Something that is not unusual for me. I tend to write a lot on one story and then take a little break and write on another. First of all, I am writing the fourth book in the Dragon Guard series, For the Love of Her Dragon. Each book in the series focuses on a certain Guardsman and how he meets the One the Universe has made for him. Although the couple is the focus of the book, each one includes all the members of the Force and gives the reader a great sense of family and community.

The second project is the beginning of the Knights of Blood series and as you can probably guess…it’s VAMPIRES! I love all things paranormal so this one is a lot of fun! It is also a little darker and very sensual.

Lastly, I am working on a YA/Paranormal with an incredibly special young woman that has actually drawn all the illustrations as well as a complete set of ‘my dragons’ from the Dragon Guard series for the book as well as creating all the characters. Elizabeth’s Guardians will focus on a young girl that has suffered loss and is now on the run from evil. Her guardians are none other than….DRAGONS! All proceeds will go the National Autism Association.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? The main difference between my books and others in the genre is the strong sense of community and family. All the characters are part of every book in one way or another. As a reader, I always get ‘involved’ with all the characters I read about and want to know what happened after their ‘starring role’ so when I began writing I decided to make sure they all stayed involved in one way or another.

Also, I have very strong female leads. They are not size zero, millionaire, stay at home girls. They are real people with real problems that have to learn to accept what fate has given them while maintaining who they are.

Why do I write what I write? This one is easy! I am a color outside the line, sky’s the limit kind of girl and my writing is the same way. I want to build a world where the reader really believes a man could turn into a dragon and that the Universe has made that one special person that completes him as no other ever can. Paranormal/Fantasy was not even a choice for me…I just started writing it. We all deserve a place to get away from everyday life. Reading has always been my escape and I want my readers to have that too.

How does my process work? Mine starts with a scene that runs on a loop through my head until I can actually ‘see’ it when I close my eyes. Kind of like that song you sing all day no matter how hard you try to think of something else. From there I picture the characters. What they look like, how they sound, who they really are and find a picture of what is in my head. I write the scene that is driving the entire book and then go from there. Sometimes it is the beginning of the book but many times it is buried in the middle and would seem like nothing more than a blip on the radar but is actually what spurred the whole thing.

The best example I can give you is this excerpt from Her Dragon to Slay…

The different textures of the skin along his massive shoulders she felt as she massaged the liniment into his beautifully battered skin soothed her as much as she hoped it did him. They tickled the pads of her fingers. There were patches of skin that felt softer on the surface but firmer underneath, almost like a scar but different somehow. She imagined him as a Guardian, a Commander of warriors, someone who had seen numerous battles, so in her mind it only stood to reason that he had scars. She didn’t even question where the image of him leading men into battle had come from. It was just a belief planted firmly in her mind, the longer her hands were on his body. She molded and massaged his massive muscles, his skin becoming warmer than its already elevated temperature and some of what she believed to be scars became more predominant. They seemed to take shape right before her eyes. As she focused on a particularly intricate set of lines on his back, she swore it resembled a large wing wrapping up and over his left shoulder. As she followed the line of that powerful wing it swooped down into a large powerful body with a beautifully massive wing coming out the other side. The longer she attended to his wounds, rubbing her hands over his amazing skin, the more intrigued she became by the picture taking shape right before her eyes. It was not until she looked towards his right shoulder that she was captured by the most awe inspiringly, majestic face she had ever seen. She met the creature’s eye and for a split second felt a caress all the way to her soul, a flash of recognition just like when she locked eyes with Rayne. It felt like the melding of souls, the calling of like to like.

From this description of his tattoo, the entire series started. Most think I am pretty crazy and they are probably right…lol…but I have a lot of fun!

I have had a blast talking with you and I hope it gave you a little insight into the wonderful world of my goofy mind!

Always remember…Believe in Magic! And Look for Dragons…They are everywhere!

Fate Will Not Be Denied!

Julia is tagging Sandra Love - YA Supernatural Author of the Broken Wing Series.
You can find Sandra on Facebook at:
Her writing process post will run on April 21, so be on the lookout for that!

Thank you so much, Julia! I loved learning about your writing process.
Readers, you can find Julia at
Her wonderful books are available at
   and at other book distributors.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Excuses and Covers Up

I desperately wanted to start this blog to talk about books, since books are pretty much my life. But, I've found that books are getting in my way ... book covers, to be precise. I'm almost afraid to count the number of covers I've designed lately. I know they are keeping me on my toes trying to keep up. And while I can't share them all either because of space or because they haven't been released by the authors yet, I thought I might share a few recent designs with you...

 I'll plan to share some of my designs from time to time, and I hope you'll plan to visit me at my Tell~Tale Book Covers site as well. I'm also on Facebook: