Friday, December 31, 2010

And..... I'm back!

Sorry for the unexceptably long absence... studying, paper writing, finals, graduation, moving, Christmas and studying for the bar have kept me unaviodably detained for the past several weeks. But I'm back and kicking!

Today, I finally got my book out again for the first time in what felt like MUCH too long. It was weird scrolling through the pages of all that writing... it was a moment of rediscovery. I realized how much I missed writing and how much I missed my book! People keep asking me about it and I feel bad that I don't have any major updates. I have no excuse except that I've been just SO busy. Which is totally a lame excuse, right? Everyone gets busy! The thing that sets apart those that succeed from those that don't is MAKING time to MAKE it happen. Which is what I plan on doing. Unfortunatly, I still won't be able to devote astronomical amounts of time to this project, as I'm taking the California bar in February... HOWEVER... I do believe I should be able to scrape up AT LEAST a few hours every week to work on it. With any luck, I'll be up and rolling again in no time!

Mucho more updates to come!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Really, truly... the last Query Revision (I hope)

I know I've posted SO many other query letters. But I really feel like this one is the last revision. And regardless if it is the "last" revision, it is undoubtedly the BEST revision thus far. Last night I had hubby help me "polish." Might I say that hubby is quite brutal when he edits. He has the sensitivity of a seldge hammer. I always have to mentally prepare myself before asking him for editiorial help. Even then, I still usually end up defensive.

BUT... I have to admit that despite my bruised ego, he DID add some invaluable advice, and we managed to pound out a really polished letter, which I think is going to work VERY well. (Fingers crossed).

Dear Agent:

I recently completed my first novel,
Keepers of the Flame, the first in a trilogy to come.

In 2008, I graduated from Brigham Young University as a History Major. I am now a third year law student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Like George Orwell’s
Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Keepers of the Flame explores the potential demise of a nation, as a few brave individuals struggle to right the wrongs of a power-hungry government. It follows the lives of the Halls, an influential government family, as they are torn apart by the political turmoil rippling through the U.S. government. At the heart of the conflict is Elias Clymer, an expert politician with powerful sway in Congress. Facing little resistance, Clymer and other congressmen scheme to overthrow the government; only a few are left to stand against him. Senator Thomas Hall is one such person.

Unbeknownst to Hall, the problem reaches into his own home. His oldest son, Marcus, is seeking to establish a place in Clymer’s new regime. Meanwhile, Hall’s other children, Ethan and Vanessa ("Essie"), join an underground movement set on restoring the values of freedom and liberty. In a desperate fight to stop Clymer’s plan, Ethan and Essie become entangled in an epic battle to save the country they love.

Because of the tumultuous political climate of our day,
Keepers of the Flame will reach a large audience that surpasses the normal boundaries of genre. I especially hope to generate interest among the YA generation, whose increased political enthusiasm was highly influential in the 2008 presidential election.

Enclosed are the first three chapters for your review. The completed work is approximately 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you further.

Most Sincerely,

Julie Tuovi
December 2010 J.D. Candidate
University of Nebraska College of Law

Monday, November 1, 2010

Outloud Readings... ick!

This weekend I accompanied hubby on a business trip out west. We stayed with his parents and had a lovely little weekend visit! While we were there, despite my strong protests to the contrary, hubby and in laws decided to start reading my book out loud. I'm not sure why I rejected this activity so soundly... I suppose its for the same awkward, uncomfortable reason people don't like hearing their recorded voice played back to them. It just feels/sounds weird! And although I've read sections out loud to myself before (for editing purposes, etc.), I've never actually had someone sit down and read my book from page one just for enjoyment purposes.

I have to admit, that although I couldn't stop laughing awkwardly to myself for the first five minutes, after I realized they actually LIKED it, I started to enjoy it myself too. We ended up making it through a good 7 chapters! The rest of the weekend, my mother in law kept pestering us to read more, while my father in law kept trying to get hubby to divulge intricate future plot details to him. I was pleasantly surprised to get such a good reception on the first out loud read through!

On the way home, hubby and I hashed out more plot details on the plane. We came up with some really good stuff that got my mind reeling! I can't wait to get some of the ideas out on paper... and although he doesn't want me to, I'm probably going to have to dedicate the book to hubby. Without his support and willingness to hash out potential ideas with me, I fear that I would over-think the whole thing and it would be nothing more than a hot mess.

Many thanks to you, hubby! I sure love you!

I'm now looking forward to graduation in a month and a half or so... then I'll have much more time to devote to the book and publication process. I would so love to just sit and do nothing but book for a while, but a girl can only do so much while trying to study for the last semester of law school! You'll have to give me a pardon for slacking off on my book so much this semester. I vow to do better come January!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yes, a Pity Party

When I started this blog I wanted to promise myself I wouldn't use it as an avenue for frequent pity parties... "oh woe is me" "I'm not published yet" "wha, wha, wha" I didn't want to be be one of those glum schmucks who complains about not getting her way and how "its so hard... blah, blah, blah." Cause, of course its going to be hard, right? Right. But since no one is currently following this blog anyway, and because I'm super stressed out right now, and damn it, because I HAVEN'T FREAKIN' COMPLAINED IN SO FREAKIN' LONG ITS RIDICULOUS, I'm going thoroughly enjoy eating this really-bad-for-me Nutter Butter bar right now and have a pity party.

[Pity Party Rant Content has been typed, screened, censored and deleted.]

I'm going to go eat another Nutter Butter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Probably my Favorite Cover to Date

A modification of an older cover, but still probably my favorite one to date, hands down! What do you think?As a side note, my photo editing skills are obviously improving ( :

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Big Gulps, eh?

My aunt (the amazing former New York City editor), is editing portions of my book right now. The other day, I got a facebook message from my uncle saying he had some material to send me and wanted to know my address. I gave it to him, delighted that I was finally going to get some feedback! It'd been so long since I'd heard from my aunt, that I thought she'd forgotten about me.

Not so.

My uncle informed me that it was his fault it was taking so long to get the material to me. He said he was supposed to send it earlier, but was "trying to spare me" a little longer. Apparently my aunt is a brutal editor. He said he gets walloped every time she edits his work.

Big gulps.

Yeah, maybe now not so much "delighted" that my stuff is being returned to me as "dreading". Is it too much to ask that she might have something GOOD to say about my work?? [Fingers tightly crossed]. Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Writer's Market

My aunt used to be a big-time editor in New York City. Unfortunately, it was so long ago that she doesn't have too many contacts left, and the contacts she does have are mostly for nonfiction books. However, she does have lots of good advice. Last time I saw her she suggested joining Writer's Market. Writer's Market is an online resource that you can subscribe to that will give you access to thousands of agents and publishers. It also helps you keep track of the submissions you've sent, gives helpful articles and updates on how to get published, write the best query letter, etc. Last year I bought this HUGE book of agents and publishers for 2009, but of course, print material gets outdated each year. I'm excited about Writer's Market because--as an online resource--gets updated frequently. I'm now in the process of updating my submission list. It'll be nice to have that kind of information all online instead of having to flip through my ratty notebook for all my agent information! Yay for technology!! Now to start all that work of sending out another wave of queries... oh the joy of rejection ( : haha.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Query Revamped

At the suggestion of Albert Strickland, I've significantly shortened my query. Although dear Professor Dooling suggested a long, extended 3 pg. query, Albert said it would be much better to shorten things, as agents and publishers are short on time and probably wouldn't read anything lengthy. I thought that sounded like pretty good advice, especially considering the advice came from one of Albert's "people" who is definitely "in the know." So acting on this advice, I've produced for you my most recent (hopefully) "eye-catching" query....

Dear Agent:

I recently completed my first novel, Keepers of the Flame, the first of three in a trilogy I hope to complete.

In 2008, I graduated from Brigham Young University as a History Major, where my capstone project was Colonial Women: Debunking the Myth of “Oppressed” and “Unrepresented.” I am now a third year law student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln where I am President of the J. Rueben Clark Law Society.

Keepers of the Flame, is an intense political thriller. It follows the lives of the Halls, a powerful U.S. government family, as they are torn apart by politic turmoil rippling through the government. At the heart of the conflict is Elias Clymer, an expert politician with a powerful sway in Congress. Facing little resistance, Elias and other corrupt congressmen scheme to overthrow the United States government; only a few are willing to stand against him. Senator Thomas Hall is one such person. But despite Thomas Hall’s efforts to restore justice in Congress, his efforts are in vain.

Unbeknownst to Thomas, the problem is much closer to home. His oldest son, Marcus Hall, is seeking to establish a place in Elias's new regime. But Marcus’s siblings, Ethan and Vanessa ("Essie") Hall are fighting back. They seek to join a nation-wide, underground movement called the Constitutionalists, whose primary focus is to restore the fundamental values of freedom and liberty. Amidst mysterious deaths and suspicious rumors, the two siblings discover Elias's shocking plan to murder thousands of American lives. In a desperate fight to stop the plan, Ethan and Essie become involved in a fight that will change the very fabric of their lives forever. Like George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Keepers of the Flame explores the potential demise of a nation, as a few brave individuals struggle to right the wrongs of a power-hungry government.

In our current political climate, Keepers of the Flame will appeal to a large audience. Unlike many political thrillers, this novel originates in what’s happening today in Washington D.C., where upheaval and scandal are all-too-familiar occurrences. My extensive background in history combined with my current legal education makes a powerfully lethal combination for a political thriller. With my ability to weave history and politics into an exhilarating storyline, Keepers of the Flame will reach past the normal boundaries of genre to every type of booklover.

Enclosed are the first three chapters for your review. The completed work is approximately 100,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you further.

Most Sincerely,

Julie Tuovi
December 2010 J.D. Candidate
University of Nebraska College of Law

So... what do you think? Would you want to read this book?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Random tid bit

So I like to stress myself out. I do, really! But its not like I do it on purpose... no... its much more sneaky than that. What happens is I fool myself into thinking I can take on the world, Superman style. I basically try to do everything, I mean, life is a buffet baby and I load up my plate! You'd think I would have learned after high school--or college at the very least--that I can't do it all, but no, I still haven't quite got the message. So unfortunately, sometimes trying to find time to write can be difficult. Recently I have zealously guarded Thursday and Friday mornings as my "creative therapy." I don't have class until the afternoon, so I have a couple hours each morning of uninterrupted writing time! Its divine! The hustle and bustle of starting a new semester is finally starting to wind down, so I'm hoping to find more blocks of time to fill with book writing "stuff," but until then, I'm impatiently looking forward to tomorrow morning!!

Friday, August 27, 2010


My sister said my new reading glasses made me look "smart," as in... like... I guess didn't look "smart" before. Soooo.... I decided, why not? I'll fool a few people on my book blog and change my picture. Maybe with my new smartie pants glasses I'll be able to fool everyone into thinking that I'm, well, "smart!" Haha!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Lunch with Al

So I met with this author guy like a month ago for lunch. And you're probably wondering why I haven't posted anything about it yet... I wish I had some fabulous excuse to give about a book contract in the making and all my time being completely consumed with the demands of suddenly becoming an overnight celebrity... but you five people that read this blog already know me well enough to know that that is certainly NOT the case! Ha! Really all I've got for you in the way of excuses is the normal everyday: life got busy. School started... new classes, 18 credits, last semester of law school, preparing for the bar... on and on! I've just been so frantic trying to breathe lately that I haven't had any time to focus on any sort of book stuff. But as I'm starting to get into the groove of my new schedule, I finally find myself with a bit of time to give an update on a very enjoyable lunch I had with a Mr. Albert Strickland!

My first impression of "Al" was: what a sweet guy! ... and nothing changed during the course of lunch. Albert was nothing but smiles and niceness all from the moment he shook my hand to greet me until we walked out the door laughing. It was probably one of the most enjoyable lunches I had all summer! He talked and talked and asked me all sorts of questions about my book and my progress, gave advice on how to catch the attention of agents in my query letter, and told the most outrageous stories. He had an air of genuineness about him and was completely engagning and entertaining.

Albert has a book--his first novel--coming out sometime around Thanksgiving. Its being published through Random House. I've had the privilege to read a few of the chapters and must say it sounds fabulous! As soon as it comes out and I've had time to read it, I'll be certain to post a full review on my blog! Anyway, Albert's novel is sort of the reason that I was able to make contact with him in the first place. He was doing a piece of writing on the technology used in Oral Surgery offices when he met my dad. He interviewed him and was fascinated over the high-tech equipment my dad uses and eventually they got to talking about some of the other things Albert was working on. Surprisingly enough, Albert's book is somewhat of a government conspiracy novel too, and when my dad heard this he mentioned that I was writing a similar novel (although the time periods and story lines for our two books are completely different). Albert was delighted by the sound of my book and told my dad to have me send him some material. I did so and over lunch he was nothing but positive about my story line, the flow of my chapters and accuracy in implementing real life bits of history into the book. I asked him for advice on how to make it better and gave me a few spectacular things to add to my novel--little bits of sparkle to make my novel shine. He also suggested a few changes to my query letter and promised to send me a list of agents, publishers and editors in New York he thinks would be interested in my type of novel. He already sent some of my work to his "people" at Random House and said he'd let me know if they get back to him about it.

Needless to say it was a fabulous meeting that left me glowing for the rest of the weekend! I left with lots of excitement to get home and hit the ground running again on that road to publication. Everyone needs a good pick-me-up now and again, and I definitely found that in Albert Strickland!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'm having lunch with an already-in-the-making author tomorrow. I sent him some of my material way back in the day and we're finally meeting to go over it! I'm pretty excited... but very nervous. I keep telling myself that he wouldn't even bother with lunch if he thought I was a hopless cause... right?

Eesh. Nerves. Many nerves.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Option Atlantris likely

So this week I sent five packets of sample book material to my new author buddy. The plan is for author buddy to read and review my material and pass said material on to his "connections" in the literary world. After that, the plan is a bit hazy. It could go one of two ways... the first, I never hear back from either author buddy OR any of author buddy's said connections. This option definitely has the greater likelihood of actually happening.

The second thing that could happen, is that defying all the odds, one of author buddy's connections will miraculously pull through and contact me about my book! Sadly, the actual likelihood of this happening is slim to none... I would guesstimate it having a 98.742 percent chance of failing. In fact, it's probably safe to say that scientists have a better chance at discovering the lost city of Atlantis than this actually happening. (Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly on that one...) However, looking on the much more brighter side, this IS better than the 99.9 percent chance of rejection I have at just about every literary agency I've sent my stuff to so far!

Progress, people, that's what this is all about!

By the way, without disclosing any names or other identifying factors, I found out that this particular author actually has connections to friends in high places in the literary world. For some reason, I didn't think the connections would be that great because my dad met him in my home town (and really, its pitifully small compared to the literary hub of New York City). But surprisingly, his book contract is with a VERY large, well-known publishing agency. Lets just say that if by some miracle I happened to get a book contract with this particular agency... well... there's not much further up I can go! I'd be thrilled!
Needless to say, fingers still crossed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Awesome Craptastic Cover

My favorite one to date!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So much bad, and then WHAM! Good news!

Yesterday, during a highly anticipated America's Next Top Model season premiere par-te (yes, law school girls are still girls... we love our drama!), I get a lovely call from my dad. I ALMOST didn't answer it. After all, its a girl party, and guys are most definitely NOT allowed at a girl party! But since I don't get random calls from my parents very often, I decided to give it a whirl.

Boy am I glad I answered it!!

Long story short, my dad meets this guy in his office who is doing some kind of article on Oral Surgery. They get to talking and my dad finds out he's a publisher. Then they get to talking some more and my dad mentions that I wrote a book and how I was trying to get it published. The guy then offered to read some of my stuff and pass it on to 5 or 6 more publishing companies that he has connections with.

[pause here for jumping up and down ecstatically!!!!]

Had my friends unexpectedly interrupted my conversation at that point, this is what they would have seen me doing!

But after I had my happy joy jumping session, I brought myself back down to earth and tried to sound like a professional as I finished the conversation up with my dad (not an easy feat!). And now, after a good night's sleep, I am trying REALLY hard to not to get overly excited about this. I keep telling myself, "Julie, it might be nothing. Julie, it might be nothing." After all, this guy hasn't read ANY of my work, and truthfully, when it all comes down to it, he might hate it. So I don't want to get myself all pumped up for a dead end lead..... Still, its hard NOT to get excited! Manuscripts with referrals have a MUCH better slush-pile-survival-rate than those without. Meaning, if this guy actually LIKES my book, and gives me a good referral, the chances of my manuscript getting published shoots up like a rocket!

So when push comes to shove, the bottom line of all this is that the life of my book is ridding on this one guy's opinion of my writing.

Nerve wracking? You bet!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


...18 and counting.

But on the bright side, other new authors are doing great! I'm almost finished with Amy Greene's debut novel, Bloodroot. Fabulous read. Go her. I'm feeding off her new author vibes, send 'em my way, Amy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


17 and counting.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Patience, oh how I loathe thee

15 rejections to date.Ouch. Might as well stab me and rub lemon juice in the wound! I'd be lying if I said that my heart doesn't sink just a tad bit, every time I see an envelope in the mail box addressed to ME in MY handwriting. Those depressing self addressed stamped envelopes always mark the assurance of yet another literary rejection.

Oh yeah, and I got THREE today... just in case anyone was wondering.

But then again, I suppose I can't complain... I'm really just impatient.Oh patience... how I loathe thee. Thou art the worst of all the virtues, highly despised above all others. But, oh patience, the lack of thee acts as a vice upon my heart, ensnaring my senses and skewing my reality! How I hate thee, patience! How I loathe thy very existence!

There isn't really anything I should be worried about....yet. I suppose in the real world--like anything else worthwhile--publishing is a PROCESS. It takes time. Writing and publishing a good novel doesn't happen overnight. Alas, Stephenie Meyer really was a novelty after all. In the real world, hot, sexy vampire novels don't just magically appear in print after a week (okay, so it was three months), or sell like hot-cakes in the aftermath. Still, regardless of the incredibly short time it took her too get published, and however ABNORMAL that time period was, it sure as heck doesn't keep me from feeling incredibly JEALOUS that my book hasn't sold as fast (oh wait... it hasn't sold at all!!) Shoot, there go all my hopes and dreams making millions on opening weekend.

Life's a drag.

Then again, maybe if I added a unearthly, god-like man with smoldering golden eyes and a hard, marble-like chest into my book, it would sell in three months too.... note to self: add Edward's twin to my political thriller. After all, who says hot guys aren't in politics?!

So while I'm busy re-writing my novel to include a man with non-existent beauty, charm and sparkly skin, I find myself at a cross roads. A point at which my dreams are being challenged. Unlike our beloved and well-known divine vampire writer, the windows of heaven have yet to open up to accept my book as a renowned piece of literary prowess that will live in the pages of history forever. Instead, as I sit here struggling to move forward with continuous optimism, I must ask myself if I will continue to move on this path. After all, the choices are simple. Will I take the easy, well-traveled road, forget about my lofty dreams and come slamming back down to earth with cool indifference? Or will I make the most out of the hard, road less traveled, and fight like the devil with a vengeance to keep my head in the clouds with my dreams?

Fear not, fluffy cherubic-like clouds, vast amounts of open blue sky and brilliant bright sunlight... my place is still with you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Retrieved from a fortune cookie during a delicious meal of greasy Chinese food, a little slip of paper told me this:

Start believing in your dreams, others will catch the fever.

Well I'm believing.... anyone else catching on?!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The day before yesterday I got a fabulous text from my little brother, who proclaimed his anger at me for "leaving him hanging" at the end of my book. And--after having stayed up staying up late into the night reading--how upset he was that he'd have to wait a whole year or so for the sequal to come out.

[insert jumping for joy here...]

I'm sorry, I know he's my brother, so his compliments have to be taken with a grain of salt, but I just feel like beaming every time someone finishes my book and loves it! I know I have work to do, and that the manuscript is a work in progress (and probably always will be up til the moment it is sent to the printers) but its so rewarding hearing positive feedback. It's definitely a much-needed moral booster!

On another note... I sent about 10 query packets out yesterday at the post office. I like sending snail mail queries, because although they take longer and cost more in postage and printing, I'm more likely to get an actual response (be it positive or negative) than I am if I send an email query. You'd think it'd be easy for agents to hit the "reply" button and send back a quick rejection email, but I suppose things aren't always what they seem. Through this process, I've discovered that email querries are very "iffy" on the responses. In contrast, if you include a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with a snail mail query, you're at least guaranteed a standard form rejection letter in return, which I believe, is MUCH better than scanning your email everyday, wondering if you're being rejected or ignored by agents!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Recession Blues

I just heard from my Entertainment Law professor/bonifide-in-house-novelist, Richard Dooling that the publishing and entertainment world is TIGHT right now. Apparently the recession is effecting even the celebrities ( : Boooo. While this bit of news makes me feel better that I haven't recieved any nibbles on my book yet, it doesn't help at all with my impatience!

Economy... start looking up, please?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nothing new to report...

So I realize that having a vacation and time away from school should mean that I have MORE time to blog and do the other useless, non-responsible things in life... but alas--as I'm sure is the case with many people--time away from "life" basically equates to "time away from everything" for me. I have this outstanding inability to want to do anything--even get out of bed before noon--when I have big month long Christmas break out of school. Its pathetic, really, I'm well aware. I suppose I'm just the kind of perosn that can focus on many things at one time, but can't handle having NOTHING to do! Alas, its a curse! Hence, the blogging silence for a month. I'm sorry, dear fans (if, indeed you're even out there at all) I was enjoying a much-deserved month long break from law school!

However, the good news (if you can call it good news) is that there is nothing new to report! Oh sure, I recieved a few more rejections... brining the running rejection total up to mere hinky dinky 7... but other than that, all is silent on the home front.

I do have to say that I get rather sick of all this waiting (oh, didn't anyone ever tell you?? I'm not a very patient person!) It's just horrible not knowing whether they aren't responding because they haven't actually read my material yet, or they just rejected my stuff without bothering to tell me. It's quite frustrating at times. I wish they would just reject me and be done with it so I can move on to bigger fish! But no such luck in this industry, I tell you!

So as time continues to tick away in this wonderful waiting game, I just wanted to wish you all a belated happy new year and to tell you good luck with all your well-intended new years resolutions! Mine will be to blog on this site more often... we'll see how long THAT one lasts...