The Authors' Words: Award Winning Author, Julie Hodgson

The Authors' Words: 
Julie Hodgson 
Julie Hodgson is the author of many books for children - both novels and picture books.  Julie has travelled all over the world as a children's writer and storyteller - including writing children's pages in newspapers as diverse at the Kuwaiti Times and the Dumfries and Galloway Standard. Julie travels around Europe and further afield, where she is always on tour with her promotion of reading to children and visiting numerous schools. She speaks 3 languages, which aids her in communication with children from all walks of life. She now lives in Sweden with her husband John. Her motto is, “Always be the very best you can be.”

Julie Hodgson is one author I truly admire. Her children's stories are thrilling.

Hi Julie,  so glad to get this opportunity to speak with you on my blog. I have many questions your fans would love to know, which includes me!

What is Lilly Peppertree, Lilly's Spell about?
Lilly is about a 10 year old girl who lives in Pendle (Lancashire ) in 1612, witches are hanged at the hanging tree and fear about witches is rife.  Lilly Peppertree loses her beloved mother to what she is told is an accident, but after living with her grandfather for some time, Lilly begins to have dreams about her mom. These dreams prompt her to follow a verbal message left behind; find a crow’s feather and locate a spell book. Young Lilly also learns about the Dying Tree, where accused witches are hanged, and witnesses a witch trial in town where an obviously innocent woman is sentenced to death. Lilly then begins her own journey, making potions and fulfilling a destiny of non-evil witchcraft. But there is a girl in town who wants nothing more than to accuse innocent people of witchcraft, and Lilly meets some unexpected complications that threaten to tear apart what is left of her family.
When did the storyteller in you surface and you began writing them down?
I was 9 years old when I started writing short stories and poems in my note book.

How long does it take you to write and publish a book from your first idea to its finish?
About 18 months. 

How important has all you travels meant to your stories?
I have seen a lot on my travels, and it defiantly gives me ideas, I am a people watcher and gets many characters from the people I see in airports. restaurants etc.

Jodie and the Library Card won the your 2014 New Apple Award. Where does sit in your house?
In a glass cabinet at the back.. don't want to be a show off, but feel very proud of it.

What draw you to writing for children?
When I lived in Libya, English books were banned, so I wrote (in secret) books for the kids, it grew from there. I also worked for the times in Kuwait, two children's stories every week.

Do your books usually convey a theme or message? 
yes always.... to be kind, good, honest and steadfast..

Julie, do you write in any other genre?
Yes I wrote a crime thriller under my nome de plum. Approaching zero by R.T.Broughton

Tell us about some of your other books you want readers to know about?
I write in 2 languages, Swedish and English. Some of them are bilingual which is great for classrooms and libraries.

What was your ambition for your writing career to start with, and what is it now?
I just wanted to write..that was it.  and still is to this day
What advice would you give your younger self starting out?
Always persevere, never give up and believe in yourself.

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you? 
When I was little I read all of Enid Blytons books, I love the poetry of John Keats and Charles Dickens.

Who do you read?
I read a plethora of titles, from sci fi  to thrillers. I like reading Chris Kusnezski and anything to do with the knights templar's.

What is you next project?
My next project is to writs a Christmas story I have started and the next Lilly Peppertree. 

Thank you so much, Julie for coming on my blog. I'm honored!
Sincerely,  JD

Julie Hodgson latest book:

Lilly Peppertree, Lilly's spell:

Jodie and The Book of the Rose:

Jodie and the Library Card:



 The World Around The Corner:

The Mothaich:

Some of the Other Books by Julie Hodgson:  She who dares...Grins,  Juno and the Half -Man,  Juno and the Windwalker, As Sete Irmas,  Billy Bark A Lot, Earth Child, If I Had, In My Fathers Pocket, Polly Mae


Find Julie on:

My review of Jodie and  The Book of the Rose

Indie Authors: Where Do You Get Your Industry News? by Sabrina: I Pub News!

Indie Authors: Where Do You Get Your Industry News? by Sabrina 
Her blog post is at:

I read about half of these publications but thought you needed to see them all. After all, you might find things I didn't and post for me to read.
Sabrina also talks about Google alerts which I do as well posting her keyword list and way.
                                                                 ~JD on I Pub News

Sabina reports:  As an indie authorpreneur, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends, not only in self-publishing, but in the publishing industry as a whole.
Here are some sites and blogs that I read regularly. Some of them cover the publishing industry, including news, book deals, and job moves. Others give updates on the indie world, such as Amazon algorithm changes or hot book genre trends. And some speculate on the future of publishing, and how digital affects the way books are made and consumer. I’ve found them all useful and often fascinating:

Indie Self-publishers Account for More Than Twice The Number of Big Five titles: What Does Author Earnings Say to the Industry? by Porter Anderson

What Does Author Earnings Say to the Industry? 
by Porter Anderson
Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson has reported on the upcoming FW’s Digital Book World conference, March 7 to 9 in New York, where the mystery analyst, called,  Data Guy will present a keynote oration, Outside the Data Box: Taking a Fresh Look at ebook Sales, the Indie-publishing Market, and a Fast-changing Publishing Business.
As an author, I'm very interested in where indie self-publishers come down. So, this is what interested me from Mr. Anderson's article:
Author Earnings asserts that on Amazon’s bestseller lists, indie self-published titles account for more than twice the number of  Big Five titles.

“What has changed,” the report tells us, “is the degree to which Amazon’s overall Top 20 bestsellers, and even the overall Top 10, have come to be dominated by self-published titles from indie authors—nearly half of which were not priced at $0.99 but rather ‘full-priced’ sales at prices between $2.99 and $5.99.”
From the February 2016 Author Earnings report
From the date on which “our spider ran,” in Guy-talk:
  • Four of Amazon’s overall Top 10 bestselling ebooks were self-published indie titles
  • Ten of Amazon’s overall Top 20 bestselling ebooks were self-published indie titles
  • Fifty-six of Amazon’s overall Top 100 bestselling ebooks—more than half—were self-published indie titles
  • Twenty  of Amazon’s overall Top 100 bestselling ebooks were indie titles priced between $2.99 and$5.99
The most interesting question for us at this juncture is just what the trade publishing management attending DBW will make of this. Can it be that the “legacy” industry is being outclassed so substantially by “indie published” authors—the self-published sector?
Indeed, of interest to everyone, the report goes on to submit that it can tell us “how many ebooks a day is actually selling.” I quote the report:
As of mid-January 2016, Amazon’s US ebook sales were running at a rate of 1,064,000 paid downloads a day…
Total: 1,064,000
  • Indie Self-Published ebook KU full-read equivalents    155,000
  • Indie Self-Published regular retail ebook sales    293,000
  • Small/Medium Publisher ebook sales     204,000
  • Amazon-Publishing Imprint ebook sales     115,000
  • Big Five Publisher ebook sales     244,000
  • Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher ebook sales   53,000
Where the partisan nature of the Author Earnings effort always surfaces most clearly is, logically, in its claims about indie-author earning power, that original two-year-old agenda, “the pie chart that interests us the most,” as the report puts it. Here it is:
From the February 2016 Author Earnings report
Ebook sales on, Data Guy tells us “are generating $1,756,000 a day in author earnings. But less than 40 percent of those author-earnings dollars—from the largest bookstore in the world—is now going to traditionally-published authors. And less than a quarter is going to authors published with the Big Five.”
What follows immediately is the bone that Author Earnings always wants to pick with the industry, with the Authors Guild, and with standard reporting methods:
“Is it any wonder that the traditional publishing media and historic author advocacy groups are reporting declining ebook sales and shrinking author incomes for their members? We humbly submit that, for author earnings, these organizations are looking in all the wrong places. $140 million a year in Kindle Unlimited payouts is going directly to authors, and yet that enormous sum of income is somehow uncounted by traditional author surveys. And as we are now able to measure, that sum is only the tip of the iceberg. There is also a vast swath of the market not being reported on at all, along with a whole host of authors not paying dues to author advocacy groups and simply going about the business of earning an income with their art.”
This is the language of self-publishing as what some of its champions call the “shadow industry,” a creative corps that cares nothing for the customs and concerns of the industry, and yet seems never to tire of carping at the establishment. It’s always worth noting that even some of the most-honored self-publishing bestsellers have taken contracts when offered.
And as anyone familiar with negotiating basics knows, by framing its results in ways that call out “the other side”—in this case, traditional publishing—Author Earnings repeatedly has hobbled its own efforts to widen the discussion. Rather than simply present an interpretation of the market and let that interpretation speak for itself, the material is served on a bed of right and wrong. Eyes glaze over, chips remain on shoulders, collegial exchange seems hard to come by.
For the first time, Author Earnings expands to print sales, and there, the Big Five are allowed a 47-percent dominance of daily revenue to authors from print bestsellers. The chart:
AE chart 3
The commentary that goes with this one:
“It’s interesting to note here that the Big Five hold less than a quarter of print bestseller slots, and their unit sales, dollars, and author royalties are less than half of Amazon’s print business. This is a greater percentage than any other publishing type, but it again stresses the need for balance and perspective when the top publishers’ numbers are taken to represent the whole of the industry; they don’t even represent half of online sales in the format they are supposed to dominate. And self-published indie authors, who are already taking home 14 percent of online print author earnings, have captured a significant share of the author dollars from online print sales.”

A self proclaimed wise-ass, Award Winning Author, Jeff Lee

A self proclaimed wise-ass, Award Winning Author, Jeff Lee IS ALSO
Jeff Lee
an award-winning writer of humorous ads and
 commercials. A former Army cook who is still considered deadly with a spatula. And, YES, a wise-ass who, one of these days, is going to get his.
Jeff worked for more than thirty years as  a copywriter and creative director for some of the advertising industry’s most recognizable agencies, winning numerous awards for his creativity. His books are full of Humor, Comedy, Crime, Murder, Mystery and contains some of the most hysterical sex scenes ever written. 

Hi Jeff!  Thank you for being on my blog today.
The advertising business is a high pressure job. How did that prepare you for writing books?

I spent more than forty years writing humorous ads, commercials, outdoor boards and Lord knows what else. And, it was a great training ground for what I do now. I learned how to work against the pressure of a deadline; how to be funny on command; how to make sure that each and every word works – in other words, how to write without a lot of fat. I also learned how to defend myself and my work to people who either didn’t get it, or wanted it written their way. In short, working as an advertising copywriter taught me how to write fast, be really good at working with words, funny as hell and fearless when it comes to my work.

What brought you to the point where you decided to write books?

Every copywriter I ever knew had a desk drawer or a carton at home, stuffed to overflowing with short stories, plays, novels and screenplays they’d written, and I was no exception. Being a copywriter, winning a lot of silly awards and then becoming a creative director made me hungry to write my own stuff. To tell my own stories. If you’re a copywriter, sooner or later, you find you want – make that, you have – to paint on a larger canvas.

Early on, what author or authors influenced you?

I was a voracious reader; used to devour books. So, my list of favorite authors could probably fill pages. But here are the ones that come to mind first. Top of the list has to be William Goldman; the man is the god of putting characters, words and stories together. Among other things, he’s responsible for writing Boys and Girls Together, Magic, Marathon Man, No Way To Treat a Lady, Soldier in the Rain, Harper, and probably twenty other books, INCLUDING The Princess Bride. Plus the screenplays for any of these that became movies, along with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He’s also rumored to have script doctored Goodwill Hunting. ‘Nuff said. Other writers? Let’s see. Anything by Michener. Joe Heller. Leon Uris. James Clavell. Yes, even Ian Fleming. John Fowles. Dan Greenberg. Ludlum. Trevanian. Raymond Chandler. Dashiel Hammet. Faulkner. Michael Crichton. Some Hemingway. And God knows, there’s a lot more. Looking at the list, I’m obviously a sucker for great characters and a good story, told extremely well.

Does being a wise-ass pay off?

In what way? As a copywriter, it earned me a shelf full of silly awards for my alleged creativity, as well as the raises and promotions that went along with them. As a novelist, it might not have earned me much money yet. But my wise-ass nature has earned my books nothing but 4 and 5-star reviews, with pretty hard-boiled reviewers gushing about how funny my books were, and how they can’t wait for the next one to come out. And I’ve got to tell you, reading a 5-star review from someone who’s laughing so hard they can’t type is so damn gratifying it puts a nice warm glow on a meager sales day.

Are there parts of your life that are in your stories?  

Not really. That’s the way the guys at Witness Protection want it. So, who am I to argue?

How did your story, Chump Change, which is about "Fish” Fishbein," a bounty hunter and repo guy in La-La Land come about?

Hair of the Dog, the second book in my Adventures in La-La Land series had been out for about six months or so and was getting all 4 and 5-star reviews. Then my publisher announced they were going out of business. Which royally pissed me off and left me wondering if I even wanted to write another book again. About six months after that, all of a sudden, I was hungry to write another book for the series. And this time around, I got really ambitious. It was going to feature four times as many villains, a lot more murders and be funny as Hell. Then the thought occurred to me, what would happen if someone stole a small fortune in small change? Like, an armored car full of quarters. Which would be almost what the city of Los Angeles used to rake in from their parking meter racket. The rest is history. By the time I finished the first draft I had a gang of un-wise guys; a corrupt televangelist and fledgling porn producer; his wife and co-minister, who was nuts about winning toddler beauty pageants; her brother, the city of L.A.’s Parking Meter Czar; a defrocked talent agent; a porn shoot gone hysterically off the rails; a marching band full of naked Roman zombies; and a porn star who talked like Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes. Oh, and a slow-speed freeway chase involving a repo’ed Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile and the armed and dangerous deadbeat who owned it. But please, don’t give away the surprise middle.

Tell us about, The Ladies Temperance Club's Farewell Tour?   

RIGHT NOW FREE ON Kindle Unlimited
A dozen or so years ago, I had a partner and we owned a small ad agency. One of our clients was this huge association for trailer and RV oowners. It was like the triple A, but with a social side. I used to love to sit with the executive director and hear stories about some of the shenanigans that went on at their yearly member jamborees and conventions. I mean, nothing could fire up a night of X-rated hootin’ and hollerin’ like a heavy storm, a rain-soaked field stuffed with a couple of thousand RV’s and trailers, hundreds of liquored-up WWII and Korean War vets, and thigh-high mud. Which started me thinking up a story about three BFF’s, a humongous RV, gallons of Chardonnay and a magical mystery tour around the western US. Along with a quest to find the perfect place to bury the body of the waste-of-skin boyfriend of one of them, who’s frozen solid and stuck in a big freezer in the belly of the rig.

Do your books usually convey a theme or message? 

Not really, other than L.A. can be a hugely entertaining and funny place in which to live. And, if you think your life is a couple of clicks past nuts, check out what Fish Fishbein, my series MC has to deal with on a daily basis throughout the Adventures in La-La Land series.

Writing a book is one thing, when did you start looking to get your work published?

I finished the first draft of The Ladies Temperance Club’s Farewell Tour during the summer of 2005. Then I started sending out query letters to every literary agent I could find. Six years later, I  had amassed a collection of more than 500 rejection letters. Most were form letters saying, thanks, but I don’t work in your genre; or, I only represent non-fiction; or, I love your book, but don’t know any editors who work with comedy; or, you’ve got such a unique voice that I don’t have a clue how to sell you, or to whom. And, that doesn’t include the hundreds of others, who never bothered responding in the first place. So, in 2011, I said the hell with the “publishing” industry and put my book up on Amazon, as an eBook.

What was your ambition for your writing career to start with and what is it now?

There are two things I’m extremely good at and passionate about: cooking and writing. And there’s no way in Hell I’m ever going to open a restaurant. I mean, that way lies madness. I love to write and keep people entertained. That’s my ambition. The more, the merrier.

Who do you read?

Funny, between first drafts and a ton of editing, then all the administrative foo-fah that goes into constantly marketing and supporting my work, I don’t even have time to catch a bad reality series on TV, let alone read. The last book I read was several months ago, titled MASTERED. It was written by K. L. Silver, a very good friend of mine, who’s a damn good writer and works primarily in erotica. Aside from my own work (I do dozens of polish drafts before I publish anything), that’s the list. And here you probably thought that being a writer was all about A-list parties, hanging out with other celebs and either getting hammered with Capote and Hemingway, or tearing across the country with Kerouac in a hot sedan full of blondes, burgundy and benzedrine. As if…

What advice would you give to your younger self?

1. Sit up straight, clean your plate…and keep your eyes and ears open. Because you never know where or when you’re going to see something or hear a line you’re going to want to use in a book.
2. Don’t write to please other people. The world already has plenty of Ian Flemings, Steven Kings, Woody Allens and Ludlums. And it doesn’t need – or want – another one. Find your own voice, your own unique way of telling a story. And once you’ve found your voice, never, under any circumstances, let it go.
3. Pay special attention to anyone who’s ever pissed you off, let you down, made you feel crummy about yourself, turned you down for a date, or given you an STD. Because as a writer, you’ll get to have the last word and the last laugh. I’ve written four books and am working on my fifth. So far, I’ve murdered an ex-professor who hated my guts and a former close friend who tried to rip me off, and made countless horses’ patoots out of other former friends, dates, bosses, drill sergeants and even a relative or two. Lemme tell you, it’s good to be the king.

Jeff, you have two other books, what is happening with them and will readers get a chance to read them?

When my publisher went out of business, I had two books with them, which were selling on Amazon. Hair of the Dog and Bird Boy. Since the publisher had put them up, their Amazon pages immediately disappeared, along with their pages on GoodReads and every other online EBook seller. I’ve gotten the rights back to both books, and in my spare time, I’m getting them in shape to re-publish. This time around, I’ll be self publishing them.

What are you writing now?

I’m about 20,000 words into the first draft of Fish Fishbein’s next big Adventure in La-La Land. Since he and his two assistants are heavily tattooed Harley riders, the best place for them to find a murder victim has to be in the middle of the biggest, loudest, druken-est biker rally on the planet. Yup, fasten your seatbelts. The boys are off to Sturgis.

Where online can people find you and your books? 

Here are the links to find my books:

Farewell Tour’s Amazon link:
Chump Change’s Amazon link:
Face Book Author Page:
My Website:

We're at the end of our interview. I want to thank  you,  Jeff for being here.  I SO enjoyed talking with you. Such fun.

My pleasure, JD. I had a huge amount of fun doing this interview. ~Jeff Lee

Again, Jeff Lee's Website is :

Animal Lovers here!

JD's Artwork!
Jd (Jan) Holiday's itemsGo to Jd (Jan) Holiday's photostream