Archive for November, 2013

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Julie Luek



Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Julie Luek, author of that fun blog A Thought Grows.

Welcome Julie!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

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Julie Luek

Writing is my red sports car. As I approach 50 and the empty nest, I realized I needed to make a life change. I quit my career and took my dream-leap into writing. Two years later, I’m writing, finding a few successes, loving it, and still trying to find my direction a bit.

I mostly write nonfiction, freelance articles and essays. To say I do this for a living would be a gross misleading of the income I’ve earned. But I have managed to bring in a few paychecks and tuck them away.

I live in the mountains and love to be outside, hiking, biking or on the lake with my kayak. I bought a mandolin several years ago and am still trying to find the time to teach myself how to play. I hesitate to call that a talent. If you heard me play, you’d hesitate too.


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Here’s a picture of me hiking the 14er, called Sunshine Peak, near Lake City, Colorado.


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

You’d think this would be a simple answer, but not so much. When my son was in college, I took over his bedroom, painted the walls, took his stuff off shelves and added my own personal, girly touches. He has since graduated from college and is back, temporarily, in his bedroom, which means I’m booted out. Fortunately, I have an alternative space in the living room and work at an old secretary style desk that was my father’s when he was a boy. It’s not quite as roomy, but it works just great.

 office spaceJulie’s workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

The desk I usually use in my son’s bedroom is an old relic we found in an attic of a house we once rented (the owners gave us permission to take it). It’s a heavy thing and has been repainted many times but it’s nice and roomy with big drawers and serves me just fine.

Currently, as I said, I’m at an old secretary style desk with glass cabinets. It’s a pretty piece of furniture but not quite as functional.

summer desk

Julie’s summer desk


I need space for my computer, a container of pens and pencils handy, a few decorative items that remind me of my family, and I’m good to go.


3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Pens, pencils, my calendar, my computer and index cards. Otherwise I can be flexible about what is on my desk.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I have a couple things that my kids made me when they were small—a little shelf that my son made with my father before he passed away, and a ceramic container that says “Sing” on it that my daughter made for me in middle school, I think.

When my office is set up in my son’s room, I love my window view of the mountains and a few retro items I have like a funky (and ugly) brass lamp and my 70s era clock radio.


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I almost always have my pink thermos of green, mint tea on my desk. If not tea, I like to have water. Sometimes, if the wearies hit, I like a cup of coffee in the afternoon.

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This the view outside my usual office window (in the winter)

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

When I was a girl, I was a voracious reader. My favorite books back then were Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. Now I gobble up almost any book by Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, and Michael Perry.

Authors who’ve inspired me lately include: May Sarton, Brenda Ueland,and Joan Anderson—all nonfiction, lovely with words and poetic prose and rich with meaning.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

I’m the type of personality who does better with structure. I like to get up early and start my day with a quiet time of reading, journaling, praying and sipping my coffee. I put in a little time for social media mid-morning then like to take a workout break—maybe a hike or jog with my Wiemaraner, Blue. The rest of the day I like to spend on writing projects.

I don’t know that I have any unusual quirks or writing rituals. Maybe I need a few?


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I work on writing every weekday. I treat this like a full-time job and usually devote 8 hours to writing-related activities, whether it is writing a post for She Writes or my blogs, keeping up with social media, or working on an article or essay. I’m also involved with Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and help maintain their Twitter account and soon their blog.

Oh easy-peasy answer for distractions: the internet. I love my online writing friends and can easily fall into a chat with them and avoid the harder writing stuff.


4. Why do you write?

Gloriously, because I can. This is a gift I’m claiming later in life. I love words. I love playing with them and putting them together so they sound pretty and communicate meaning. I love when something I write evokes a reaction in a reader—a feeling they can identify with or an experience they can share.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

I keep a couple writing quotes on my desk by Daniel Pink :

“Writer’s block is bunk. It’s simply a sad excuse for not confronting the blinking cursor and your own inadequacies.”


“Muses are for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

And finally,

“Don’t worry about what other people think. And work harder. Persistence almost always trumps talent.”

I like these quotes because they remind me that writing isn’t just about some mystical talent. It’s about loving what you do, actually sitting down and doing it, and being focused and determined to make it succeed.



Writing Credits tGoogle+

t Blogs: A Thought Grows: Writers’ Interests  &  In Fine Company: Essays

Facebook t Twitter  t LinkedIn





Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Julie!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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So you know that big thing I’ve been working on all summer?

It’s finally here.

Yes I am a published author.

Allow me to share with you a press release. :)


story sprouts book cover


Contributing Authors Create Submissions During One-Day Writing Workshop, Included in Book


Torrance, CA – This summer, 19 talented children’s book authors accepted a challenge to workshop, write, revise, polish, and submit two stories – in public, under the pressure of a six-hour deadline, with the promise of publication. On October 29, 2013, their work will be revealed with the global release of Story Sprouts: CBW-LA Writing Day Exercises and Anthology 2013

In a revolutionary new approach to writing and publishing, the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles turned convention upside down with Story Sprouts: CBW-LA Writing Day Exercises and Anthology 2013.

A fresh take on an old classic, the Anthology uncovers the creative process in its raw form, celebrating the seeds of story generation. Framing the authors’ contributions are the 10 writing exercises that guided them along their journey, as well as tips and techniques shared at the workshop.

“First time writers often dread writing query letters because they fear that they lack the credentials to make their author bios stand out,” said CBW-LA President and Founder Nutschell Anne Windsor. “Our goal for the Workshop and Anthology was to give our members their first taste of publication, giving them the confidence to pursue their writing careers. For workshop participants who have yet to achieve their dreams of becoming a published author, Story Sprouts will be the first of their many achievements, and something that will inspire them to keep on reaching for their writing dreams.”

Guided by the writing exercises and handouts, anthology authors produced two pieces. One revealed insights “On Writing” and the other was a fictional piece based on a photo prompts. Submissions range from poetry and narrative essay to flash fiction and picture book manuscripts.

The innovative publication is in line with the non-profit organization’s values – support and education for writers, amateur and experienced alike. By including the workshop prompts and advice, writers of all ages, levels and ability may follow along from home and enjoy an experience similar to workshop attendees. At the same time, the Anthology serves as a launching pad for new faces in the kid lit industry.

Some of the author names will be familiar to Hollywood and literary insiders. Contributor Abi Estrin wrote the animated adaptation of Ben Hur and produced several episodes of On the Road in America. Contributor Donna Marie Robb’s stories have been published in several literary magazines and she her children’s book reviews have been published in the School Library Journal.

The mix of familiar faces and relative unknowns is an encouraging sign for the Anthology’s producers, who sought an experience that would transcend expertise and touch upon the passion that creative spirits share.

Windsor and CBW-LA Publications Editor Alana Garrigues produced the Writing Day Workshop and Anthology with the assistance and support of the board of directors.

Windsor drew on her experience as an English teacher and her passion for the world of children’s literature to determine the format of the workshop and lead the participants through their exercises. Garrigues, a freelance journalist and creative non-fiction author, translated the workshop into a narrative form and edited the 38 manuscripts included in the book.

The two are already planning the group’s next Writing Day Anthology workshop, tentatively slated for May 2014.

Book reviewers may request a complimentary review copy by contacting Windsor at Story Sprouts will be available through Amazon, Kindle and iBooks or at Booksellers may contact Windsor to inquire about carrying the book.


About CBW-LA

The non-profit 501(c)3 CBW-LA was founded in 2010 in Torrance, California. CBW-LA provides education and inspiration for published writers and writers on the road to publication. We provide a venue to share knowledge and information between writers, members of the publishing industry, educators, libraries, and other members of the Los Angeles community involved in promoting children’s literature and literacy for children.

CBW-LA members and guests enjoy affordable monthly writing workshops and seminars, monthly critique sessions, industry tips, a quarterly newsletter, online forums and a supportive, nurturing environment to improve their writing skills.

For additional information, visit or



Please note: Book cover image, workshop photos and editor photos available upon request by email or phone call to Ms. Windsor. Review samples available in .mobi and .pdf digital format. Print also available. To schedule a media interview, contact either Ms. Windsor or Ms. Garrigues at the contact information provided.

CBW-LA Social Media     Facebook:               Twitter: @CBWLA

Find out more about Story Sprouts at


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Spotlight Week Giveaway Winner: Wig in the Window

This month for my Spotlight Week, I reviewed the fun MG Mystery WIG IN THE WINDOW. I also featured an interview with the series’ awesome author KRISTEN KITTSCHER.

To cap it all off, I held a giveaway for a SIGNED copy of WIG IN THE WINDOW.

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And now it’s time to announce the winner of the said giveaway.

Congratulations, Medeia!

I’ll be emailing you in a bit to tell about how to claim your very cool prize.

As for the rest of you wonderful people, I hope you have the happiest of weekends!

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