Thursday, October 8, 2015

What Are You Working On ... Julia Park Tracey?

I (often) complain of being swamped (especially at this time of the year) with a college teaching gig and my writing-marketing world, and then someone comes along who wears so many hats I don't know how she knows which to put on when. Here's a post from Julia Park Tracey. Enjoy!

Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author and blogger, with recent work on Sweatpants & Coffee, Salon, Thrillist, Paste and The Mid/Scary Mommy. She is the author of the Veronika Layne mysteries and the novel Tongues of Angels; two women's history books and a collection of poetry. Read more at

 I’m busy! Booktrope has just released my second mystery, Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News, of the Hot Off the Press series. With a new release there is always a lot to do, from ensuring local bookstores have the book, to checking up on reviews, alerting the local media, and hosting a launch party. I have also sent books through the mail to reviewers, and entered the book in a few online contests. The work around releasing a new book usually takes about three months before simmering down.

I’m a freelance journalist, so I usually have deadlines and stories to work on. Currently I am reviewing a book and interviewing the author for an alternative newspaper. I just finished writing up a series of food reviews for a holiday feature on specialty foods. I get to taste them, and that was scrumptious; I tasted Meyer lemon marmalade, hot-sweet chili jam, lemon-herb pita chips, two flavors of hummus and some olives, artisanal marshmallows, whiskey-pistachio brittle, and two flavors of granola. I have written about cocktails, coffee, tea, oysters, hot chocolate, organic/vegetarian fast food, and most recently, a huge variety of coffee ice creams. I love that kind of reporting, but I need to do some crunches. I also review theatre productions and am going to see Nunsense this week, with a review due Tuesday.

I spend two days a week doing some in-house work for a newspaper plus the social media for that paper; some of the work I can do from home and other tasks I perform in-office. I don’t report the news, but I format and edit press releases and articles that come in, and make corrections on proofed pages. All of these separate tasks add up to a steady income stream that allows me to pay the bills while I write non-paying stuff, like poetry or research.

Alas, poetry doesn’t pay (much), but it is very satisfying. I am the Poet Laureate of my city and I volunteer a lot in classrooms and local groups to talk about writing and books. I just participated in a read-athon to highlight banned books last week; this week I have a meeting to plan a children’s poetry contest next summer. None of these activities are paid, but they are very satisfying.

And then there’s my current mania – family history. I am in the midst of looking deeper into our roots and have uncovered a few mysteries. One of these, about my great-great-grandfather, who was an Orphan Train child, we’ve just managed to solve. He wasn’t an orphan after all, and his mother wanted him back, but it was too late. I think this will make an excellent novel some day. It’s esoteric stuff, but I really enjoy it, and it pays huge dividends in teaching me about my heritage and giving me ideas on what to write next.

Send me an email at if you have questions about my current work. I’d love to chat about writing with you!

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