Dear Diary,
I got my braces off today!
And I met the cutest boy!

Ah, diaries. Repositories of our dreams, rants, triumphs, heartbreaks, darkest fears, delicious secrets, fragments of Styx lyrics... well, that was my high school diary, anyway. My high school diary reads like a collaboration between Sylvia Plath and Marcia Brady. Admit it—yours probably wasn't much different!

Just for fun, I thought I'd use this section as a sort of "day in the life of a first-time author" —I'll update it from time to time with pithy commentary and riveting glimpses into my life (feel free to roll your eyes right about now). And be sure to visit my blog (see below) for other more of that pithy commentary (this page may morph into the blog entirely in the future—I'll keep you posted!)






February 5, 2006

Five of the Fog City Divas descended upon Barnes & Noble in the Tanforan Shopping Center in San Bruno last weekend to talk about writing, brag about and make fun of each other, and sign our vast collection of books (well, I only have two so far, but the rest of these babes boast quite a library between them). Babs Freethy and I are over there to the right, and and below, from left, we have Candice Hern, Kate Moore, Carol Grace, Barbara, our faithful blogger, Isabel (who took these photos), and moi. Oh, and some unidentified guy who's pretending to be browsing the shelves behind us when he's actually clearly hanging on our every word (and who could blame him?). I'm not sure whether you can see it clearly or not in the photo below, but for some reason there are about fifty beverages on our table. All that talking and chocolate makes a girl thirsty.





November 4, 2005

For Halloween, my nephew Sam dressed up as a monkey, which is kind of like saying, "For Halloween, Julie Anne Long dressed up as an author." In other words, Sam is a bit of a monkey, despite the fact that he hasn't shown any signs of developing a prehensile tail. (Personally, I've always thought a prehensile tail would come in handy. It would make reading on the bus easier, for example—I could hold a book in my hands and hang onto the overhead bar with my tail. But I digress). The monkey outfit wasn't voluntary, however, because so few things are when you're Sam's age, the age where your mom is allowed to dress you up however she freaking pleases. And Sam protested mightily at first. Much wriggling took place. As you can see from these photos, he steadfastly refused to wear the monkey feet of the costume, so he's wearing sneakers instead. A small triumph for the pee wee.

His mom, my sister, tried to get him to hold a copy of THE RUNAWAY DUKE while he was posing, but Sam just wanted the phone. I love these photos, because it looks like he's trying to decide who to call to get him the hell out of that outfit, and he's finally all smiles when he's able to make that crucial call. Actually, he eventually warmed to the costume, because it was cuddly, and because everyone made a HUGE fuss over him, and no one in my gene pool has ever objected to having a huge fuss made over them.

As for me and Halloween: In general, I'm a whimsical person, but even in my wild youth my approach to dressing for Halloween was all about vanity and practicality: e.g., 1) Will I look foxy in the costume? and 2) Will it be easy to get in and out of when I have to go to the bathroom at a party, or will it take 30 minutes? Will it itch or chafe? Will it rub off? This year for Halloween I dressed in pajamas and crashed like a big flannel boulder and slept and slept and slept, because I had just finished off a series of up-at-7-in-the-morning-in-bed-at -3 in the morning days working on a final round of revisions for BATS. It was a bloody good sleep, too. A well-spent Halloween.




August 31, 2005

And here Toni Blake and I vamp on Rita night in Reno at July's Romance Writers of America conference. You'll notice my hands are conspicuously empty of Rita statuettes, which would be because I didn't actually win one. This is probably fortunate, in that I lost my bullet- point thank-you speech (written on a napkin—I think I might have accidentally swabbed lipstick with it) right before the ceremony,

(Photo by God knows who. I stole it from Toni's site)

and watching me try to wing it, sweating and stammering in a stream-of-consciousness way up there on stage ("ummm...I'd like to thank my ed-ed-ed-itor...and Santa Claus...No! I mean—"), would no doubt have been a trial for those present.

And it was extraordinary to even be nominated—surreal, in fact. I hope it happens again some day. In preparation for that moment, I'll do curls with my ten-pound weights so I won't topple under the weight of the statue when I carry it back to my seat. Both Karen Rose and Lani Diane Rich let me hold their Rita's, which is how I know how hefty that sucker is.

Rita evening was many, many things, including unforgettable, gorgeous, interminable, and challenging to the necks of those down front who spent the evening tilted back to look at the stage, and it was a joy to share it with so many good friends. We laughed a lot. Sometimes even in the right places.

O n the whole, the best part of the conference is reconnecting with friends and making delightful new ones. Thanks to Emily Hixon of Levy Home Entertainment and her stories of flying monkeys, conga lines and hand-licking (don't ask), I nearly fractured a rib laughing at the Warner dinner. The food at the Steak House (It's actually called that!! But I had the salmon) was amazing...and the dessert slices of cake were about as big as my head. (And yes, I ate all of my cake). Warner author Michelle Rowen took that photo up there, and as it's a rare photogenic moment for me (author Susan Crandall always looks lovely) I decided to include it here in the diary. However, you won't be seeing the one of me, Michelle and Megan Crane, in which, frankly, I think I look something like an Elvis impersonator. At least you won't see that photo on my site.





July 24, 2005

Because I have a long, long list of little things to do before the conference (buy pantyhose! get waxed! figure out how to use that bizarre little FREE digital camera Comcast sent me!) and because I've discovered that my reservations at the Reno Hilton are, shall we say, slightly screwed up in an ulcer-inducing way (Mercury retrograde, anyone??), and because I need to be working on my revisions for BATS, and because I feel that familiar "OMG-how-am-I-going-to-accomplish all of this before Wednesday?!?" knot growing in my stomach...I thought I'd update my diary. LOL. I find it strangely soothing. See, already I'm more relaxed. Over there to the right we have my 1950's vintage Rita gown, which should continue to fit as long as I don't eat anything between now and the evening of the ceremony (Saturday the 30th). I'll bring safety-pins just in case I can't zip it by then, for that ever popular Grace Kelly-meets-Nancy-Spungen look (google Sid Vicious if you don't know who she is).

The conference promises to be a mile-a-minute blast, and I'm v. excited. But they don't have coffee makers in the rooms!!! Hands up to cheeks in horror! (I'm a tea drinker, but still, the water has to get hot somehow!! Yikes! (add to list: get teeny coffee maker).

no eating between now and the 30th!



March 7, 2005

And here we have photos from two events, one in a very, very dark place—the Starlight Room of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco—the other in a very, very bright place, right beneath the skylight at a Waldenbooks author event at the Northgate Mall in San Rafael. The Starlight room event was the kickoff party for the San Francisco Writer's Conference, where Candice Hern, Jackie Ivie and I were the Romance Panel. A drink called The Bestseller was created in honor of the conference—it was, I believe, comprised of Vodka, grapefruit juice and Campari, but it tasted like Vodka, Vodka and Vodka with a splash of Vodka and a Vodka twist. I took one sip and water started pouring out of my eyes. I'm such a wuss when it comes to drinking. But I finished least I think I did...everything that happened after that first sip is a little fuzzy, for some reason...

The bright booksigning was hosted by Waldenbooks at Northgate Mall in San Rafael and was a lot of fun—
more than two dozen Bay Area authors participated, but since I was just learning how to use my camera phone, the only decent photo from that day is the one over to the right—and author Diana Dempsey took it.

Jackie Ivie and Julie Anne Long do their best to squish
Candice Hern in the Starlight Room of the Sir Francis
Drake Hotel in San Francisco

Yours truly and author Barbara Freethy at the Waldenbooks
signing in Northgate Mall, San Rafael.





March 5, 2005
Why a baby, you ask? Well, just look at him. He's so freaking pretty. That's my nephew Sam, and he's a year old now, and he's pretty much the best baby ever. Between Sam and my cat Domenic and my new camera phone, this site could easily become For your sake, I'll exercise moderation.

Sam, the best baby!



September 14, 2004
Ah, diary. I've criminally neglected you, but I have an excuse: a life! A full-blown blizzard of a life! In fact, if it wasn't for Febreze, I would never do laundry. (Yes, I realize Febreze doesn't actually clean your clothes, but just be grateful there's something out there for first-time authors who don't yet have servants and who would prefer not to reek). My worlds are all colliding: first book, second book, promotion for both, emails, day job, grocery shopping, plumbing, bronchitis, etc.

Obsessing about my Amazon ranking also takes time. See that little number over there in the bottom right corner of the Amazon graphic? 177?? That's the highest I've seen THE RUNAWAY DUKE!! Which is kind of amazing, actually. Now, mind you, that number doesn't actually really tell me's just a comparison of how well the book has sold in a given hour on Amazon compared to all the other books on Amazon...but just TRY to stop looking at that number once you start!! I defy you! It's like bloody E-Bay!! I've been forbidden to look at the ranking anymore by people who care about me (and whom I've irritated beyond words by flying into Amazon raptures or sinking into an Amazon slough of despond, often in the span of a couple of hours). So I've stopped. HONEST. Ahem....

I'm finishing up revisions on TO LOVE A THIEF—and I WILL update the website with a little description of the story and the final cover, etc., as soon remember exactly how I intended to set up that web page to begin with. LOL! I also have some photos from various signings, etc., that I need to add to my gallery. I'm thinking...October, at this point. Meanwhile, if someone races past you in a cloud of Febreze, you'll know it's head full of revisions and new stories, a bus to catch, a cat to feed...

how a single, first-time author does laundry

my self-worth-o-meter, aka

Tthis is the train I catch in the morning to
go downtown. In this photo, it's going
into the
first of two tunnels. Sometimes it goes
into the tunnel and stops there inexplicably for a
long, long time.That usually heralds the beginning
of what we san franciscans like to call "a bad day."




May 10, 2004
Hurrah! the ARCs for THE RUNAWAY DUKE arrived. They're so beautiful. They look just like books, bless their little hearts. Heck, I guess I really am an author. And my job is to find homes for all of them, just like kittens or puppies. Just kidding! I'll be sending them to reviewers and book groups. Send me a note if you're one of the above and would like to see one.

free to a good home... please be kind.



April 31, 2004
I finished TO LOVE A THIEF (my second novel) and hit the send button. Now all I have to do is wait in abject terror for my editor to read it and render an opinion... or many, many opinions. Remind me again why I wanted to be a writer...? LOL!

terror, anyone? cue the theme from "Jaws..."


  April 10, 2004
Everyone should experience an audience as warm and receptive as the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the RWA—God, we're such a great group. :) Today was our panel discussion on "Breaking In/Breaking Out of Publishing," where four of us—Candice Hern, Jennifer Skullestad, Shelley Bates and moi—expounded on our experiences in the trenches to date. I had a wonderful time, and it was great to have both my agent, Elizabeth Pomada, and her partner Michael Larsen (Elizabeth was on the panel, Michael in the audience) present, too. I even won the bloody raffle!! LOL!! I never win raffles. Maybe it was because Michael bought the tickets and split them between Elizabeth and me.

The city might be foggy and cold, but the
SF RWA is warm and wonderful.

I even won the raffle!! A first in the
annals of JAL history.

April 7, 2004
Today my old friend Kevin Wing and I returned to Ohlone College to speak to Bill Parks' (our former Journalism advisor) Mass Media students about life after cutting classes at Ohlone. :) I'm so proud of Kevin— he's been a reporter, an anchor or an assignment editor for just about every major news station in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he has two Northern California Emmy's. His latest project is a documentary for the Travel Channel: Catchawave. As for me—well, you all know what I'm up to these days. :)

Kevin and I were editors together on the Ohlone College Monitor, and we used to drag the paste-ups off to the printer at 3 a.m. every couple of weeks, after littering the staff room with Tab cans (GOD, I loved Tab back then) during layout. Truthfully, we were a little rambunctious— I used to come home with pieces of headlines accidentally waxed to my elbow, forehead, backside, etc.—but always tediously diligent. It was a little eerie being back: I saw ghosts everywhere (well, you know, not actual ghosts). The library where we once found my old boyfriend Shawn fast asleep in a puddle of drool (he'd been missing for a few classes, we sent a search party out) ...the pond behind the cafeteria where a few peacocks magically showed up one was nice, actually. Ohlone backs up against the Fremont Hills, so it's quite lovely. Mountain lions have been known to come down to take a sip out of the fountains at night.

And as it turned out, Bill's students had some great questions about romance writing, although none of them claimed to want to write a novel, if you can believe it (or maybe I scared them). Thank you in particular to the guy with the glasses in the front row, whoever you were, for grilling me. You woke me all the way up. (I was up at 5:30 a.m. to get to Fremont in time, and anyone who knows me will know what kind of shape I was in). And thanks to Bill for inviting me—it was great to see him again.


the pond behind the cafeteria at Ohlone.
(scene of much goofing off once upon a time.)

Kevin has two of these.
(not his actual Emmy)


thanks for grilling me, whoever you were!


March 15, 2004
Possibly the best Monday I've ever had!! I arrived at work to an an email from my editor at Warner, Melanie, sharing the fabulous news about THE RUNAWAY DUKE'S early review from Romantic Times BookCLUB magazine. It's still early, yet—I suppose it's possible someone will hate the book and say so, at length, in print, at some point. LOL! But RT...Wow. I'm thrilled and humbled and hopeful and worried (I'm a Virgo, after all, which means I'm pretty much always worried).

Melanie sent along the preliminary cover art for TO LOVE A THIEF along, too— and it's GORGEOUS.

La la la! Life is good. I love everybody today, even that homeless guy on Market Street who asked me politely if he could see my underwear. ("Sorry—not today, buddy.")

a draft of my next cover

Not today, buddy!

March 11, 2004

Tonight I ate tuna out of the can with a fork and feverishly typed a section of my second novel, TO LOVE A THIEF while the cats fixed me with long, indignant stares.
To quote my friend Kevin, what is it with cats and fish? Have I mentioned that the life of a first-time novelist is very, very glamorous? My diet and my housekeeping and my wardrobe have all gone straight to Hell. LOL! Wait, there's something I forgot to do...what was it, what was it... Oh yeah: marry a rich indulgent spouse! LOL! But the book is going pretty welll, so far, I think. Deadlines are my friend. (Repeat, as a mantra.)

dinner tonight
(the cats were jealous)
February 20, 2004

Today my sister gave birth to the best baby EVER. He's a little early, but then again, impatience runs in the family. He's also extremely beautiful, and I'm not just saying that. Honest.

beautiful sam
(he's not actually orange in real life)