Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Out and About with Julie Bellon

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Doing PR for a new book is really fun. I have had such a wonderful time over this past month and met a lot of great people as I’ve been interviewed and reviewed. For instance, I was on Channel 2 News at Noon a few weeks ago, and as Mary Nickles stood beside me, interviewing me, my only thought was, wow you are tall! I mean, I’m a tall woman myself being five foot nine, and she literally towered over me and she was wearing flats! Since I usually see her sitting behind a desk, I guess I just didn’t realize her height, but yeah, she was tall. (I found out this morning she played professional volleyball. I can totally see why!) She was also extremely nice and felt really bad for mispronouncing my name on air. (A lot of people say it like Bell-un, but it’s really more like Bull-lawn. It’s French so most everyone gets it wrong. I’m used to it now.) I was just excited to be meeting Mary Nickles!

I was also afraid my mind would go blank during that interview and since we were on live TV, if it did go blank, that would be bad. So we’re breezing through the interview and then at the very end, Mary says, “And where can people go to buy your book?” and I immediately said, “Seagull Book, Deseret Book . . .” and then my mind sort of blanked. Where else could they buy it? So I looked at her and just said, “And anywhere else great books are sold.” My husband thought that was the best part of the interview because it was funny, but I was just glad I didn’t look as silly as I could have!

Which reminds me, I did a podcast with the LDSWBR and while I was having a great time doing that interview, Shanda turns to me and says, “Since your book takes place in Paris, do you speak French?” And I do speak French since I took six years of it in junior high/high school, and two more years of it while I was at BYU, and have been to Quebec and Paris to try it out, so I said, yes I do. And then she asked me to say something in French, while on the air, and honestly my mind blanked. I couldn’t think of anything to say in French! I finally thought of something and said it, but then she asked me to say a particular word and I could not think of it. I felt really dumb! As soon as I got in the car to go home I remembered it though, and I wanted to run back in to the podcast and say, hey, can I say it now and have you edit it in? But of course I didn’t, and now I think of that word often. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Or maybe things like that only happen to me.

I also had an incredible triple launch party with Annette Lyon, Sarah Eden, and myself. Wow, what a night! We had three great books to launch, and honestly, we had a ton of people come, with lines of fans and amazing prizes, it was awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better booksigning. Even the staff at the Deseret Book we were at were telling us it was one of the best booksignings they’ve ever had. And just to give you a heads up, Sarah Eden is hilarious. She just has these zingers that had me laughing all night long. And her book, Courting Miss Lancaster, was really well done as well. I love Jane Austen, and Sarah’s book (which is a regency romance) has just the right amount of humor, emotion, and great connections with characters that kept me turning pages. I’m just now starting Annette’s Band of Sisters, and am really enjoying it so far.

I did have a very surprising thing happen to me at that book launch, though. There was this lady sort of watching us, and I thought she must just be shy because she didn’t approach, but then a few minutes later, she came behind our table and put her hand on my shoulder. I looked up, and she said, “Do you recognize me?” I hate it when people do that because even if I do recognize the person I most often forget their name (I know, I know, I feel dumb. I’m sorry! I meet a lot of people!) and she sort of looked familiar but nothing was coming to mind. So, in order to save face/further my humiliation, I guessed the name Tammy, because she sort of looked like my friend Tammy whom I haven’t seen in a while. This woman shook her head and said, “No. I’m your cousin from Washington!” Man, imagine my embarrassment not to recognize my own relative, never mind the cousin that I spent most of my summers with as a teenager! (In my defense however, I hadn’t seen her in over twenty-two years, when we were both much younger.) She had come to surprise me at my booksigning and brought her husband and daughter with her to meet me. But after that odd start, it was definitely a great reunion.

My book PR has also included my charity, Water for Warriors and I have met some amazing people doing my Water for Warriors project. The men and women that I'm working with at Operation Care and Comfort (part of the Red Cross) work tirelessly to get our troops care packages from home to help their water taste better, to give them something to look forward to and most of all, to let them know they are not forgotten and their sacrifice is appreciated by the American people. It is such an honor to be part of them and helping our soldiers. If you would still like to help me spread the word and be entered in my contest for helping or donating, then this is the last week to do so. Tweet, blog, or link to my website that has more details on Water for Warriors, or make a donation yourself, then email me at to tell me what you’ve done and I will enter you to win an autographed copy of my book, a copy of the DVD One Good Man, or the opportunity to name a character in my next book. Your help is greatly appreciated!

The next wonderful PR thing I am doing is the Celebrating Sisterhood event this weekend. I will be booksigning on Friday evening at the Provo Seagull on University Parkway from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and then at the South Jordan Seagull on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and then at the North Sandy Seagull from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. This is a fun event before Conference weekend with lots of prizes and authors to meet and I know you won’t want to miss it! Plus, I’d love to meet you (just don’t come up and ask me if I recognize you!)


At 3/25/2010 12:07 PM, Blogger Deb said...

Have you ever been ask to give a closing prayer in Relief Society and paid special attention to the lesson so you can incorporate the message, but as soon as you open your prayer ... your mind goes blank, and after a generous pause waiting for the spirit to back you up, you end up sounding like you belong back in Primary? That's me! If I don't have things written down, I'll forget my own name-when I'm embarrassed, which is usually all the time if I out in public.

My brain must secrete some mind-numbing hormone when I'm under pressure that prevents simple recall. I’ve even forgotten names of people I’ve known for decades when I’m trying to introduce them to someone else. Yet I can pull long forgotten names out of thin air-once I’m not trying so hard to remember them. (This amazes my husband. He can’t do it.) I’ve gone to classes totally ready for important exams, but once I sit down with my pencil in hand, my mind with go completely blank and panic sets in.

I truly thought this was an inherited trait, and I blamed my poor mother all these years for cursing me with my terrible memory. But if a successful writer like Julie Bell-lawn (grins) can admit to it, then I’m not destined for that tiny room with no windows where even the most courageous visiting teachers are afraid to enter.

You sounded like you had a wonderful book signing. I wished I could have attented, but driving up from Yuma is a bit out of our budget right now. Good luck with your Water for Warriors drive. What a great project to put your efforts into.

At 3/25/2010 6:28 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Julie, congrats on all these fantastic events! I'm so glad to hear that the launch party was such a success.

The phrase "Do you recognize me?" should be illegal. I wouldn't have recognized a cousin from 22 years ago either, especially so completely out of context!

At 3/25/2010 7:04 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

You've been one busy girl, Julie! I'm glad that you got to see your cousin and hey, it's been a while, right? People change. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Congratulations on all the excellent PR and it was great to see you at the triple launch! Au Revoir! ;)

At 3/26/2010 12:13 AM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

That has happened to me a lot--the more I go to conferences, book signing, blog events, and such, the more people I meet, and if I run into them out of context, heaven help me. There's no way I'll recognize them!

Congratulations on your successes! I look forward to reading your book AFTER I'm done reading Whitney finalists!

At 3/27/2010 5:57 PM, Blogger UTMomof4 said...

Sounds like you had a super busy weekend. Are you going to be at any of the Deseret Book Ladies night events next Saturday night?


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