Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway of Julie Reece's Crux

**Happy Dance**
Yup!  It must be blog tour time if I'm doing my happy dance...
 so you know I'm super excited.
It is my extreme pleasure to introduce to you our guest author,

Julie Reece!

Yay!!!  Woo hoo!  **Claps Madly**
If you're a regular follower, you know how much I love Julie's writing.
If you're new here (or need a refresher), check out my reviews of Crux & Tidal Whispers :)
Yesterday was the big release day of Crux.  Julie's blog has lots of info about that, so click here and check it out ... but come back quickly because
not only do we have a chance to get to know Julie better through her guest post,
we also have **squeals excitedly** a two part giveaway!

Winner 1 wins CRUX in ebook form
and Winner 2 (US only) a  cool prize pack of swag!

Crazy wonderful, huh?!?

So, first let's have Julie tell us a bit about herself...
Born in Ohio, I lived next to my grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

I struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. I spent much of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) I fought dyslexia for my right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and I won.

Afterwards, I read like a fiend. I invented stories where I could be the princess... or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? Later, I moved to Florida where I continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (my mother called it lying) and sharing them with my friends.

Then I thought I’d write one down…

Hooked, I’ve been writing ever since. I write historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. I love strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. My writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. I say, if you write, write on!

In considering what to ask Julie to share with us today, I had read this bio and found that she, like my younger brother, has dyslexia.  Being a topic close to my heart, I asked Julie if she would kindly share more in depth about her experience.

Now onto an incredible and special post by Julie Reece.

Good morning everyone, how’s it going? :) I’m really happy to be here and pleased to talk about what’s on my mind today.

When the subject of my dyslexia was mentioned as a blog post topic, I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I mean, school was a painful time in my life for a lot of reasons, but my learning disabilities played a major role. Am I over the memories, the pain and struggles of being labeled dumb or different from most of the students I went to school with? I think I’m getting there, and writing has helped more than I can say.

I’m no expert on learning disabilities, so I checked out some folks who are. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke gives the following definition for dyslexia:

"Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read.”

The World Federation of Neurology defines dyslexia as "a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction.”

Oookay. Fine for you, Mr. Fancypants, but back when I was in school, many disabilities weren’t identified or addressed. No one told me why I was different. Teachers in my class divided readers into three groups according to skill level. They unsuccessfully tried to cover the divisions with less than clever names like, ‘The Tigers’, ‘Wild horses’ and ‘Lions’ reading groups. It was years before I understood disabled doesn’t mean stupid. It took the kids in my group less than five minutes to realize, Lion stood for Leo, as in, “Leo the late Bloomer’ type Lion. Now it wasn’t the teachers fault, but our classmates promptly pronounced judgment on us which lasted the rest of the year. The emotional wounds for much longer.

Much later, as more came out about learning issues, I began to identify myself in things I’d hear adults say … things like: dyslexia symptoms include letter reversal or mirror writing. Hmm, check. Person is easily distracted by background noise. Yeppers, that’s me again. Child has difficulty segmenting words into individual sounds, or are seriously poor spellers. I’m waving my arms wildly, people. Me! That’s all me! Individual tends to omit or add letters or words when writing and reading, or by writing that does not seem to match their level of intelligence. Well, that clinched it. I harbor the same strong suspicion I am ADD and have one or two other learning issues as well.

So now what? Would I ever read? Well, I reasoned, I wasn’t dead. There are worse things and I loved stories and make believe and wanted to read. Oh, I wanted it so badly. I longed for the privilege of entering all the secret worlds closeted inside the pristine white pages of the books that lined my classroom shelves. Who cares if dialing a rotary phone gave me hives? So what if I couldn’t read a traditional clock face until the seventh grade? I was going to read, darn it. And I’ll do it myself, thank you.

I don’t know what they do to help dyslexic kids nowadays. When I was in school, one teacher, one, seemed to care. She plunked me in a chair, stuck headphones on my tiny head, put a book in my hands, and told me to read along with the narrator until I ‘got it, dummy’. I overlooked the name calling, grateful there was a way out—and I took it.

Hard as I try, I can’t remember the name of the teacher’s aide who helped me—the one who decided to care about a little girl who couldn’t read. Nor can I identify the melodramatic narrator of the books I devoured. He taught me literature was every bit as exciting as I’d dreamed it would be. My throat closes a little as I think of them. I owe them a debt. They started me on my way.

So where am I going with all of this? I guess I just want to say, if you’ve stuck out in a negative way, for any reason, learning issues or otherwise, you can probably relate. And despite the fact that I don’t know you, if you’ve been wounded or struggle, I care. I’d love to see you shake it off and get free. Be free of both the thing that hurts and the people who judge. For me, I decided not to carry a chip on my shoulder and turn bitter. There are better ways to live life. In the end, even when my situation seemed insurmountable, I chose hope. You can, too. I believe in you.

Wow.  Thanks so much for sharing your incredible story with us.  I've read this post a few times now and get teary-eyed each time.  As an avid reader, the idea of struggling to read is like struggling to breathe, the stuff of nightmares.  I appreciate the words of hope you've shared with us! 

So onto the giveaway ... You ready?
Just fill out the rafflecopter form below (click here if it's playing hide n seek)
and remember, while the ebook is an international giveaway,
the swag portion is US only
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I just loved Julie's book! I already have the ebook but would LOVE the swag!!! Julie is an incredible writer! Great interview!

  2. Hi guys!

    I just want to thank Danielle (lovely person btw) for all the nice things she said about my book and for having me on her blog today. :) She's awesome sauce people.

    Thanks so much everyone for stopping by! I hope you win and I really hope you like my story :) If you like characters that bound heedlessly into dangerous situations with really hot guys for company, I think you might, lol.

    Great to meet you, and thanks again for your support! :)

  3. I have the ARC, but I would love the swag as well! I loved Crux! It sucks you in and doesn't let go. If you haven't already entered, get on it! Best book I've read this year, no lie!

    And Julie, I feel ya girl! You are an ispiration. I think I have a better definition for dyslexia though.

    "The real truth is that there is a GIFT within each dyslexic individual. This gift is found in the dyslexic mind. A mind of boundless imagination, creativity, and invention. In fact, many of our culture's most talented individuals are dyslexic, as is true for many of the pioneers in technology, physics, and art.

    Although many recognize this gift, they don't realize that their own multi-dimensional thinking style is CAUSING difficulty with the written word. To understand this is the key to overcoming Dyslexia."

    This comes from the New England Dyslexia Solution. http://ne-dyslexia.com/index.html

    I have come to understand that my Dyslexia helps me to see the world in a slightly different way than most people. This is truly a gift. I'm glad there are more tools available for children now than when I was in school, and I am happy to see the viewpoint changing.

    1. Well said, Christy. Woot! That's a beautiful way to define what happens in the mind of a dyslexic. I love that people are all unique, and see with subtle variances. Makes life good and I know it broadens my mind, for sure! :)

      You're awesome!

  4. Book looks amazing. Thanks for hosting the give away.