Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Choosing: Rachelle Dekker

Today's a big day.

Rachelle Dekker's novel is officially on the shelves.

The Choosing.

It's the first in a trilogy. And I have the feeling that I'll be engaging in some serious sleep procrastination to read into the wee hours. (You can order The Choosing here, both print and digital).

Rachelle got a pretty compelling guy to interview her about the development of the book and what the journey has been like. He's written a bit himself. And he's related to her. As in her dad, Ted Dekker. Check out the interview here.

Congrats, Rachelle. Can't wait to now get to take the reading journey you've been writing.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pick the Pic: #amwriting

All right, team, needing some help here. One of the interesting aspects of writing are all the components along the way that aren't writing. The contracts and marketing decisions and social media planning and on and on. It's fascinating, it's sort of like extended homework, and there are lots of decisions and calls to make right now for a book that won't be on the shelves for another year or so.

Like this decision.

Which pic to pick to put on the cover.

The amazing Shannon Lafayette lent her photography skills to the first part of this equation, but now I could use your help. Which picture should make the cover? We're a house divided over here, so I'd love to hear your input. Just vote in the poll below and let me know! Is it option #1...

Julie Headshot option 1 banner.jpg

...or is it option #2?

Julie headshot option 2 banner

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Monday, May 4, 2015



We've gone from the above...

To this...


To somewhere here...



Happy, happy birthday, Twinkies. You have provided craziness, mess, joy, more mess, more joy and all kinds of hilarious stories. We love you each like crazy. You'll always be our babies!

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Thursday, April 30, 2015



So there's the student version of senioritis, that condition known as getting completely burned out on school with the graduation finish line in sight.

And then there's the mama version.

The mama version goes a little something like this...."I cannot, CANNOT, believe that my baby is wrapping up the whole high school thing."

With this possible adjunct as well: "How can my kid be graduating when I still pretty much feel like I was in high school last week?"

Denial comes in various levels...


We headed downtown a few days ago for Justus's senior portrait session with the incredible Shannon Lafayette.

Side note: Austin, Texas, you make the most amazing backdrop for portraits. No, really. I mean it. You do.


The homeschool senior experience is a little odd. Justus has been taking dual credit college classes the last two years. So he's a college sophomore finishing up his senior year of high school. Technically.

We of the Carr Tribe have a way of complexing things. Complexing. The verb form meaning to make complex. That would be us.


No class rings, no letter jackets...but there is this. In this next shot, he's wearing the vintage RayBans his dad received as a high school graduation gifts a couple three decades ago...





Sheesh. Maybe it's just me. But I think my kid is pretty cute.

And a ham.


And then there's this...


All in all, it was a successful Essence of Justus capture...photographically speaking.


Then there's that other phase of mama senioritis: the realization that your kid is not a kid.

He's a man.

Justus, so very proud of the man you are, of your compassion and humor and loyalty.

I love you, Baby Son.


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's All Beautiful

I was absolutely delighted to be invited into a conversation about identity, writing and womanhood by Rachelle Dekker. Rachelle is sparkling, funny, intensely creative soul whose first book, The Choosing, will be released in just a few short weeks. Rachelle is also the daughter of Ted Dekker, the NYT best-selling author whose spiritual and psychological novels have defined a genre. I'd love for you to hop over to Rachelle's blog to check out our conversation.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Tax Day Baby


This one turns 21.

Our McKenna-Jane.
Mickie-Jane when she was little.
MamaChenna to her siblings and friends, for whom she is the nurturer and listener.

Mick, your grandmother gave me specific instructions that you were not to be born on Tax Day. She was working for a tax prep firm and it was the weekend of your Uncle Dave's big formal. But in your quiet, unassuming way, you decided to show up anyway. Your big sister watched the whole thing and giggled with the most pure joy. Your daddy marveled at your dark hair and your crazy, unbelievable blue eyes. We went from a family of three to a family of four, a transition that somehow made the whole family thing seem even more real, more sweet.

In that quiet, unassuming way, you've continued to make your way, embracing and changing the dance world, leading through calmness, steady and kind. You are the best audience for your siblings' comedy routines, the kindest listener to your friends, the joyous daughter of the God you serve.

You've been one of the most mature people I've ever known for a long time, and now, your two decades plus a year have finally caught up. We love you, Mickie-Jane. Happy birthday!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do...


Sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful social media handle...

It was late 2007 when I started thinking that a blog might be just the thing to give me a creative outlet while still adjusting to living in a new city with newborn twins, which now had our kid tally at 8. Eight children, new town, few friends, lots of laundry, lots of adjustment.

I had sent out a weekly news email for quite a while to all the extended family so the idea of collecting our little life stories throughout the week and making them electronically available to friends and family through the platform of a blog sounded like something right up my alley. My dad helped set me up with my own new shiny laptop, I made myself a blogspot account and got ready to write.

Twenty years before, in my pre-kid radio and television days, some level of privacy had been important to me. Several of the deejays and anchors I worked with all had pseudonyms. I liked the idea that using a different name could afford me some space and so I went by Julie Michaels on air. It was a cutesy little nod to this guy that I was seriously dating at the time. The guy I went on to marry.

Fast forward to this new blog thing and I figured that I would follow the same precept. I hunted around for a cute moniker that would encompass our family life but wanted it to be something a bit pithy.

'Octamom' was born.

Many of the blog friends I met in that early blogging season also went by created names that were handles to their interests and season of life. Octamom fit me just fine and I opened my Twitter account, email and a slew of other things under that name.

blog header fall

And then...

A gal out in California gave birth to octuplets. And the media pretty much highjacked my cute little name. No matter that the addition of this gal's octuplets combined with her other children made has a mother of 14. The media latched on to the Octamom/Octomom name with determination.

spring header edit3

At that time, I was contacted frequently about selling my octamom domain, about giving over the rights of the name on a variety of social media platforms. I really figured all the hubbub about the California mom, Nadya Suleman, would soon die down, and I would go back to enjoying my clever little blog name without the interference of pretenders or interlopers.


Yeah no.


valentine header

The media frenzy only became more intense. I had people coming to the blog and to my social media accounts mistaking me for the other gal and freely giving their opinion about her lifestyle and parenting choices. I had all kinds of identity confusion occur in the two or three years after she made her appearance on the national scene. On the plus side, I had people come to the blog looking for the other gal who stayed and became dedicated readers and web friends. On the minus side, it was a little messy having my blog and social media identity wrapped up in another person. But I really liked my Octamom name. I really wanted to keep it. And I'd had to fight for it. And by rights it was mine.


So I stayed the course.

jan backgrd1

When my agent and I first starting getting my first iteration of a formalized book proposal out there almost four years ago, there was certainly conversation, concern and fascination with the Octamom name. One publisher bluntly told my agent that the Octamom would have to change, based on all the negative press that was swirling at the time. Time passed, we reworked the proposal a couple of times, the Nadya Suleman story began to die down.

My Octamom name remained in place.

xmas header

Until now.

It's time.

Now that my book has found a publishing home, now that I'm thinking through what I hope to communicate to people, seeing that the Octamom name still has baggage and assumption and nuance tied to it, well...sigh.

It's time.

When you've got smart people around you like Rusty Shelton at the Re:write Conference telling authors to use their names and when you find yourself explaining again for the umpteenth time that you're not 'that octomom' and when your agent lovingly, gently and firmly tells you to lose it, well, then you know.

It's time.

So you'll notice a few changes around my web world. My Twitter handle is now JulieLylesCarr. And with some patience and multiple phone calls to my domain name providers and some interesting little coding changes, Octamom.com is now JulieLylesCarr.com ~~even if you type in the old name. My author page on Facebook will be changing as well...things like name changes take a little longer in the FB world.

And for all you writers out there, take a page from this gal; awesome, catchy blog and website names are awesome, but the moral to the story is you never know when someone might have octuplets and highjack your name. Just sayin'.

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