Thursday, September 19, 2013

Author Julia Asel Thomas: Journal Writing to Enhance Fiction & A Giveaway

I’m delighted today to be a part of author Julia Asel Thomas’ WOW (Women on Writing) Virtual Book Tour for her new adult book, LOVING THE MISSING LINK.

Julia will be joining us to talk about ‘journal writing to enhance your fiction.’ In addition, thanks to Julia and the lovely Crystal at WOW I have a copy of LOVING THE MISSING LINK to giveaway to a lucky reader. Please see the end of the post for the details.

Here’s a summary of the book…

   LOVING THE MISSING LINK is a fabulous tale about love, success, hope and music. During the 1970's. Young Cheryl Simpson feels trapped in her small Missouri town. As her mother tries to help her find a way up and out, Cheryl begins to feel that it is all an impossible dream. She sees herself living a boring and dismal life for the rest of her days.
    Just at the moment when she is about to give up on happiness, she gets the opportunity to join her high school band. The band promises a connection with the world outside her town, but Cheryl does not see any future for herself in music. It is just a tool to get where she wants to go. However, Cheryl’s mother arranges for Cheryl to take private lessons with an accomplished musician, who helps her realize the beauty and awesome power of music.
    Still, Cheryl feels that small-town inferiority and finds it too hard to believe that she could ever be anyone special out in the “real” world. On the eve of a music contest that could help her earn a music scholarship, Cheryl begins to panic. Scared and feeling alone, Cheryl runs off with her high school sweetheart and gets married, leaving the band behind.
    During the next years, Cheryl and her husband make a life for themselves. Cheryl meets friends along the way who help guide her to becoming the woman she wants to be. She becomes interested in the arts again. All the while, Cheryl and husband Jerry face the challenges of homelessness, miscarriage and an extra-marital affair before an unexpected disaster brings Cheryl’s life crashing to the ground. Cheryl survives, with the help of her extraordinary friends and her life-long love for music. 

LOVING THE MISSING LINK, published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing, is available as a print (190 pages) and eBook at Amazon.

Julia joins us now the talk about journal writing.

Nearly every creative writing teacher, whether in a high school, college or community class, will tell you to keep a journal to enhance your fiction, poetry or other creative endeavors. It’s been my experience that most people start out with good intentions of filling up the journal with fascinating facts, ideas and observations. Somehow, though, it isn’t as easy as it seems. 

To me, journal writing is just another facet of the discipline of writing. I write down something every day. If nothing is hitting meLoving the Missing Link over the head with its uniqueness and importance, I still put something down. Like anything else, great habits lead to better results. 

So, what do I write about? The most useful entries in my journal are physical observations. I once saw a middle-aged man pacing on a four-foot stretch of sidewalk in downtown Wichita. His short steps and quick turns looked comical, and made me wonder what he was so anxious about. The image stuck in my mind, and I used that bit decades later while writing my first novel, Loving the Missing Link. Of course, it was a woman in my story and not a man, and it was in a trailer and not on the street. The comical image transported well and found a place in my story. 

Of course, I sometimes write about how I feel about my life, my community or the 6 o’clock news. These entries are helpful when I want to recapture a certain emotion to energize my writing. On the other hand, this is not a “feelings” journal – it is a writing journal. As long as I keep that in mind as I write, the material I end up with is more likely to be usable when I get ready to sit down and write fiction. 

Distinctive memories are also helpful to include. Unsettling or incomplete memories can jumpstart my imagination when other methods fall flat. The important thing I try to focus on is that the memories are not usable for fiction as-is. They are only a jumping-off place. They sometimes propel me to new and interesting premises for stories. 

Then, there are my specific writing notes. These are ideas that come to me, as they come to all writers, and often when I don’t have anything to write them with or on. In the beginning, I tried to write these ideas down on napkins, the backs of envelopes, or anything I could get my hands on. After losing too many promising ideas, I began to train myself to remember those ideas until I could type them into a document. I simply did it by trying over and over. Eventually it started getting easier. 

And now, let me say something about dreams. I have never used a dream in its raw form to write anything. However, the strange juxtapositions of images and feelings lend themselves well to lighting a creative spark. I keep a pen and a stack of paper on my bedside table just in case, because dreams tend to dematerialize quickly if I don’t get them down as fast as I can. 

Anyone can write haphazardly in a journal. As a writer, I approach it as a fun part of my job. Because, even though I am my own boss, and I am doing exactly what I want to be doing, I never get anywhere if I don’t hang onto my sense of discipline. Otherwise, I would be where I was years ago, wishing I could write, hoping I could someday write, and fantasizing that I was a writer. 

Julia, thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing this look at journal writing. It does take discipline to keep a journal, but at the same time I think it enhances your creativity. 

Julia Asel Thomas writes stories with vivid descriptions, authentic dialogue and revealing narration. Her debut book, Loving the Missing Link, presents the engrossing and moving story of a young, small town girl who grows up, lives and loves while trying to find a balance between despair and hope.

Like the protagonist in her debut book, Loving the Missing Link, Julia Asel Thomas knows small town life. However, Julia’s experiences were quite different than Cheryl’s. Julia is the middle child of seven children and the daughter of a church organist and a business manager. Growing up in the small town of Hamilton, Missouri, Julia’s family enjoyed a reputation as a bright and interesting family. Julia thrived on the quiet and carefree life she lived in that gentle place.

When Julia was in high school, she earned a scholarship for a trip to Cali, Colombia as a foreign exchange student. The experience, although it only lasted a few brief months, had a profound influence on the rest of her life. After her time abroad, Julia realized in a very real way that, although customs may differ from culture to culture, the substance of human emotions is constant. We all need love. We all need to feel secure. We all have happy moments and sad moments. Back from Colombia, Julia become ever more interested in capturing these human emotions through music and writing.

After high school, Julia took a break before going on to college. During this time, she married her husband, Will. Will joined the Air Force, and Julia accompanied him to bases around the country, taking college classes in each town where they resided. Their two children were born in Las Vegas, Nevada, while Will was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. Married in 1976, Julia and Will are thrilled to celebrate each new anniversary and look forward to staying together for life.

Julia began writing fiction at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher gave her the assignment to write about “My Worst Day.” Julia took the opportunity to concoct every possible disaster a young child could face during the course of a normal day. The teacher loved her work and asked her to read it to the class. From then on, Julia wanted nothing more than to be a writer.

In 2007, Julia began earning her living by writing articles, press releases and website content for a number of clients. As she settled into a routine of working every day on her writing, the old urge to write fiction resurfaced. In 2012, Julia started with a story she had written in 1985 and continued it to create the story in Loving the Missing Link.

After Julia’s husband, Will retired from the Air Force, they moved back to Missouri and now live in Kansas City, Missouri. Find out more about this author by visiting her online at her blog, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Julia at Twitter by using the hashtag: #LMLThomas during her tour.


This giveaway is for one print copy of LOVING THE MISSING LINK for residents of the U.S. and Canada. If you’re an international resident, you can win an eBook copy instead.

To enter, just send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win Loving The Missing Link.” Residents of the U.S. and Canada can select either a print copy of the book or an eBook. Your message should include your name and mailing address for the print copy or the email address you’d like the eBook sent to. If you are an international visitor entering the giveaway, please include your name and the email address you’d like the eBook sent to in your message. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a copy of LOVING THE MISSING LINK will be 8 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, Sept. 27.


Monday, September 9 @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Wednesday September 11 @ CMash Reads
Get in on the giveaway for Loving the Missing Link and hear from Julia Asel Thomas with her guest post "Life Long Learning and Self-Education"  

Thursday, September 12 @ My Fiction Nook
Giveaway and guest post by Julia Asel Thomas today! She shares her debut work with Loving The Missing Link and speaks candidly offering insight in her guest post “Establishing a Writing Routine”. 

Friday,  September 13 @ Steph the Bookworm
Don't miss your chance to win a copy of Loving the Missing Link and hear what Stephanie has to say after reading this first published work by Julia Asel Thomas.

Monday,  September 16 @ All Things Audry
Get in on the giveaway of Loving the Missing Link and enjoy a guest post by author, Julia Asel Thomas with the fun topic of “Life Experiences in Fiction”  

Wednesday,  September 18 @ Selling Books
Don't miss today's author interview with Julia Asel Thomas and find out more about her debut book Loving the Missing Link!  

Friday, September 20 @ The Book Bag
The Spotlight at the Book Bag is none other than Julia Asel Thomas and her New Adult Novel, Loving the Missing Link (#LMLThomas); check out this great blog stop and get in on the giveaway!  

Monday, September 23@ Bring on Lemons
Giveaway and guest blog stop for Julia Asel Thomas, author of Loving the Missing Link - Julia visits the lemons to lemonade blog and shares her wish for music education titled: "Channeling the Spirit of Professor Harold Hill". Don't miss this stop and giveaway opportunity!

Tuesday, September 24 @ Words from the Heart
Join author, Julia Asel Thomas as she discusses "The Pros and Cons of Teen Marriage" and offers a giveaway and some insight into  Loving the Missing Link. Find out more about Julia and her first published book!  

Wednesday, September 25 @ Words by Webb
Hear from Jodi Webb as she reviews Loving the Missing Link by Julia Asel Thomas - don't miss this great giveaway and insight!  

Thursday, September 26 @ I’d So Rather Be Reading
Join Julia Asel Thomas, Author of Loving the Missing Link as she blogs about "Choosing Your Words Carefully: a guide to finding the best verbs for your purpose" and don't miss this giveaway of her newly published work!  

Tuesday, October 1 @ Mom-E-Centric
Julia Asel Thomas, Author of Loving the Missing Link offers a giveaway opportunity and shares her insight on “Finding Realistic Hope” this is something we can all benefit from; don’t miss this tour stop!

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you keep a journal? If so, do you use a print format or online version?


  1. Excellent guest post Julia and thank you Mason Canyon for hosting this WOW! blog tour. You ladies are fabulous!


    1. Crystal, it's always a pleasure and fun to participate in a WOW Blog Tour.

  2. Julia, thanks again for joining us. I enjoyed your thoughts on journal writing. Wishing you much success.

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Julia.

    Julia - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Journaling can be a really useful tool both for daily writing discipline and for exploring a topic. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Mason:
    Thanks so much for welcoming me so warmly to your blog!


    So glad you enjoyed the post. Sounds like you already had a good handle on journaling, as many writers do. I hope I encouraged other writers, especially those new to writing, to use those random observations and thoughts in a productive way. Have a great day, Margot!

    Crystal: Thanks for setting up this blog stop. Wise choice indeed!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.