Revisiting My Childhood Dream

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Julie Howard sharing her creative journey and new release, Spirit in Time.

Here’s Julie!

Briefly describe your first act.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. Nothing else appealed so when I went to college, I was faced with a dilemma: what major would best enable a writing career? English came to mind, of course, but journalism was more practical as far as earning a living while writing. My first act, then, was as a reporter and editor for a variety of newspapers in California, Nevada and Idaho. I loved this career even more than I expected, not just because I could write every day, but also because the people I interviewed were fascinating. I interviewed celebrities, company CEOs, and average people who ended up in extraordinary, newsworthy situations. I learned a great deal about human behavior – from kindness to deception.

What triggered the need for change?

Oh, the ‘80s and ‘90s decades were great for journalism! Newspapers had plentiful staff to tackle issues of the day and all I had to focus on was good, solid reporting. The technology changes came swiftly and complicated my job. Layoffs began in earnest and about one-third of newsroom staff were suddenly gone, meaning I needed to do even more. Frankly, the joy of working in the newspaper industry disappeared and I began thinking more and more of my childhood dream of being an author.

Second acts can take a lot of time and planning. I knew what I wanted but didn’t quite know how to get there. With two kids soon heading to college, we couldn’t afford for me to quit. But I tinkered with fiction here and there in my (very) limited spare time. I realized that fiction-writing was much different from non-fiction. There was point of view, voice, story arcs, plot, character development, and so many more things to learn. It took me a few years to make the transition.

Where are you now?

I have seven books published and am hard at work on the eighth. I have several more books in mind and can’t imagine ever doing anything else.

Do you have advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act?

Starting a second act can be scary. Who knows whether you’ll succeed? But what if you do? Even the effort is an achievement. Not everyone even gets a chance, or pursues a long-burning dream. Don’t expect success right away, stay the course and be patient.

Tagline: Time is not on her side.

Blurb

Time travel isn’t real. It can’t be real. But ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester discovers otherwise when an enigmatic spirit conveys her to 1872 to do his bidding.
Jillian finds herself employed as a maid in Sacramento, in an elegant mansion with a famous painting. The artwork reveals another mystery: Why does the man within look exactly like her boyfriend, Mason Chandler?

Morality and sin live side by side, not only in the picture, but also within her. As her transgressions escalate, she races the clock to find the man in the painting, and hunt down a spirit with a disconcerting gift.

But will time be her friend or foe?

Excerpt

“Are you a ghost?” A young girl stood where the guard had been only minutes before. She spoke matter- of-factly, her dark eyes alive with curiosity.

The house was still whole, she was alive, and the world hadn’t ended. Jillian scanned the room for damage, then blinked. This must be a dream. The long dining table—bare just moments ago—was now laid for a meal. Glasses sat upright, forks and spoons lined up in perfect order, and a tall flower arrangement appeared unscathed. A crystal chandelier above the table remained perfectly still.

The guard and Asian man were nowhere in sight.

The girl, dressed neatly in a calf-length white pinafore embellished with pink ribbons, didn’t appear rattled by the cataclysmic jolt.

“What happened?” Jillian asked, still crouched on her knees. “Are you okay?”

“You don’t belong here. Mother will be angry.”
Even though the floor had ceased to shake, the roiling continued in her head. Might this very real looking girl be a spirit? Most apparitions wavered in some manner, their appearances paler and less there than the tangible world around them. This child appeared solid in every way, from the tips of her shiny chestnut hair to the toes of her lace-up black shoes.

Buy/Read

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About the Author

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series, and Spirited Quest. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write.

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Top 10 Ways to Embed Carrots Into a Recipe

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Julie Howard. Today, Julie shares tips on embedding carrots into recipes and her novel, Crime and Paradise.

Here’s Julie!

Okay, this is a strange topic. But Joanne has this “top ten” list theme on her blog, and this came immediately to mind.

I love carrots. I love my children. But when my kids were little, they didn’t like carrots. As any good mother would do, I tricked them at every opportunity into eating plenty of these vitamin-laden vegetables. Over the years, I became an expert into sneaking carrots into recipes.

My children are now grown, but I still sneak carrots into a variety of dishes where they wouldn’t normally belong. Now I deal with a husband who hates cooked carrots, so I’m still up to my old tricks.

1. Chili – I dice them up and toss them in. They get soft during the hour or so the chili is on the stove or crockpot. With all the other strong flavors in chili – from garlic to red peppers – the carrots add a delicious hint of sweetness.

2. Enchiladas – Chicken enchiladas with a verde sauce is my favorite, but I love adding a hefty variety of vegetables to the mix. My enchiladas are 2/3rds veggies to 1/3 chicken, and of course I never forget the carrots.

3. Zucchini or pumpkin bread. It’s easy to add a little extra veggie to these breads, and grated carrots keep them moist.

4. Lasagna – Same as enchiladas. I dice them up, give them a quick saute, and sprinkle some in. I love adding a few extra veggies to lasagna, even zucchini or spinach. I’m careful not to overdo it though as too many veggies can make your lasagna watery.

5. Potato latkes – I don’t make these too often, but when I do, I grate some carrots in. They add a nice color to the savory pancakes and a bit of sweetness. I’m not sure why more people don’t do this.

6. Smoothies – You need to cook the carrots first so they are soft and will blend well into the rest of your ingredients. I’ll make a fruit smoothie and add in a carrot for extra vitamins, and you’d never know it was there.

7. Salads – I’ll grate a raw carrot and add to a salad. Those tiny orange tendrils add a beautiful color to a green salad without overwhelming the flavor.

8. Stuffing – This isn’t weird at all! I’ll microwave a carrot until it’s soft, dice it up and add it. Stuffing can be so bland so it’s just begging for some variety – like some carrots!

9. Jello salad – I’m not the first in my family to trick kids to eat carrots. My mother added shredded carrots to Jello salads all the time. This is a tried-and-true way to get kids to eat their vegetables.

10. Carrot cake – I’m going end this on a sweet note. I love carrot cake, a dessert that is unabashedly carrot-based. I learned quickly not to call it “carrot” cake when my kids were little. Anyone want some cake?

Voila! And eat your veggies.

Blurb

Meredith has been uprooted to the middle of nowhere with two kids and an abusive husband. After she fantasizes about ways to kill him, he ends up dead. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and this small, isolated town.

Can Meredith make this place a new home for her family, or will the real secret behind her husband’s death send her away for good?

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About the Author

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Now she edits an online anthology, Potato Soup Journal, and spends many delightful hours writing her books.

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