Thanks for visiting! I’m Julie Sondra Decker, author of fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult novels. I use this site to provide information about my work, blog about writing and publishing, give and get advice, distribute my latest news, and chronicle all the ups and downs of being a writer.
There’s lots of information here about my existing projects, upcoming projects, and writing-related philosophies and opinions. Please feel free to comment, contact, follow, or suggest anything you like.
This writing blog occasionally links to content I’ve created offsite. Please be aware that much of my pseudonymous content will not link back here. Thanks!
I get a lot of questions from aspiring writers about what kind of education they “need.” This is my answer, with a little bit of reflection about the purpose of a career. Maybe I’ll say something that speaks to you.
The pan-ivy queer conference IvyQ, held this time at Princeton University, invited me to be a speaker this year!
My workshop, entitled Inclusivity and Asexuality: Examining Asexual Participation in Queer Spaces, was held on Friday, February 7. In my afternoon workshop, I spoke to a small crowd about discrimination and prejudice and how it affects asexual people differently than it affects LGBT folks, and discussed how queer spaces can be more inclusive to asexual people and how asexual people can be more aware of the reasons behind opposition to their inclusion.
My program extract:
I really enjoyed talking to a few other asexual people and queer asexual allies, seeing the LGBT space on the Princeton campus, and meeting people who were actually familiar with my work! My asexuality workshop wasn’t the only slot on asexuality, either; David Jay was there as well, presenting a similar workshop the day after mine. (We didn’t get to see each other, though.) I was also lucky enough to be in the neighborhood of two of my writer pals, and got to meet both of them.
Yung Huang and Ronan O’Brien were the two volunteers who assisted me personally several times each and put up with my inability to find my way to anywhere, and even got me swanky shuttle service and a really beautiful, comfortable hotel room. The only thing that could have made the trip better was that the weather was too cold for my wimpy Florida self—there was snow everywhere!—and I didn’t get to record my presentation. All things considered it was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I was part of it.
I’m so excited! As a mentor in the Pitch Wars contest, I was tasked with picking one author out of the slush to prepare him for the agent round, and that I did. I read his book, massaged his pitch, and released it to the wild.
That book got one request from an agent during the bidding window, and she asked for the full manuscript.
Two days later, she offered representation.
My mentee signed with her today.
My Pitch Wars mentee–now known as Whitney Fletcher–is the newest client of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency. He has entrusted his urban fantasy–working title, QUEEN OF SHARDS–to the capable and enthusiastic Lana Popovic. And it was all made possible by little old meeeee, and Brenda’s Pitch Wars contest. Huzzah! I’m so proud of him.
My new video covers five reasons why I recommend against creative speech tags used in place of “said” and “asked.” I make my case for why conversations between characters should stand on their own without the tags or adverbs combined with the tags competing for attention against the actual conversation.
I’ve been notified by my publisher that a pre-sales meeting with my book’s distributor led to a decision to change my title. This is pretty common in the publishing world, and not at all a bad thing in my opinion.
My new title: THE INVISIBLE ORIENTATION: An Introduction to Asexuality
I think this title does a much better job hooking audiences and encouraging them to buy the book than did my original title, So You Think You’re Asexual: An Introduction to the Invisible Orientation. It’s a much more inclusive title and won’t make interested non-asexual people think they’re not the audience for the book.
Here’s a new video discussing a little bit about my process from getting my first offer of publication to signing a publishing contract. It’s brief, but I just give you an overview of what it was like to receive multiple offers, deal with negotiations, and sign with a publisher, and a little about what happens after that. Enjoy!
After receiving over 70 applications from prospective mentees in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest, I have chosen my team of one mentee and two alternates. I wrote over 40,000 words of feedback and critiqued every query letter and set of sample pages that came into my inbox, but when all was said and done, there could be only one.
Congratulations to C.B. Whitney, whose urban fantasy QUEEN OF SHARDS sucked me in with its ex-valkyrie protagonist and its mythological fantasy with heart. He is my main mentee and I will be reading his entire book, shining up his query letter, and helping him craft a short pitch for the agent round of the contest.
Congratulations also to Ryan Glover and Jessica Harvey for becoming my two alternates. Ryan is the author of MCTAVISH, an urban fantasy about a very odd military academy that turns out to guard an otherworldly secret, and Jessica is the author of GYRE, a New Adult contemporary fantasy containing Atlantis myths and a hip protagonist with teleportation powers. I will be helping them with their short pitches for the alternate showcase.
The contest was so fun. I managed to trick my main mentee into thinking I wasn’t considering his book until he saw his name on the list. You can read the full story about how I tortured the poor guy–and all the fun we had–on my more whimsical version of the story on my blog.
More than forty mentors have volunteered to accept applications from aspiring authors. We have posted our wish lists and mine is posted over on my blog (if you didn’t know, my Blogspot author blog is chattier and more active; this site primarily posts the biggest news and milestones).
Authors who are trying to get an agent will read our bios, find mentors who are accepting what they write, and apply to us on December 2. We’ll pick an author (and a couple alternates) and help them refine their pitches and spit-shine their manuscripts.
I hope I get to meet some amazing authors, and I’m anticipating some great opportunities for whoever becomes my mentee.
An interview with me was posted on the DiversifYA blog today. DiversifYA is all about providing resources for authors to make their young-adult fiction diverse and sharing perspectives about what it’s like to live with different experiences.
I submitted a suggestion last month volunteering myself as an asexual interviewee, and Marieke Nijkamp accepted my offer and sent me her questions. Marieke told me she’s gray asexual herself (an orientation that usually suggests being somewhere between asexual and non-asexual), and she discussed it in a roundtable shortly before my interview posted, so that was a nice connection!