Monday, February 3, 2014

20 Inspired Openings: Artistic Bravery by Julie Musil

Julie Musil is the debut author of the modern day Scrooge retelling involving a boy and an arson investigation in THE BOY WHO LOVED FIRE, which released on January 9th in ebook format, and January 22nd in Paperback. We are so excited to have Julie here today and to help spread the word about her brand new novel!

Artistic Bravery by Julie Musil

I live in sunny Southern California. On January 2nd, my sons and I drove to Santa Monica on a warm day of blue skies and calm surf. We rode bikes and scooters to the Santa Monica pier. We mixed with the eclectic crowd, including many Michigan State fans wearing green Spartan shirts. Their team had just won the Rose Bowl.

In the afternoon, a woman set up speakers and a microphone on the pier and began singing Disney princess tunes to passersby. She had a beautiful voice. I marveled at her courage to set up an impromptu stage on the pier and sing her heart out in front of strangers.

I watched the crowd. Some people stopped to listen. Some people dropped money into the hat on the ground in front of the singer. Most people were indifferent and kept walking, as if she was just another L.A. performer.

There was one heckler. He was a 20-something guy who loudly imitated this singer as he walked past with his friends. The woman appeared to ignore him and kept singing. Did she hear him? Did she think about him later that night after she’d gone home and put the speakers and microphone away? Did she let him get under her skin? I still wonder.

It reminded me of brave authors who share their work. Whether it’s putting it out there to critique partners, agents, or editors. Whether their work is traditionally or indie published. It takes artistic bravery to write from the heart and put a labor of love out there for others to see.

Some readers will adore the book. Some will tell their friends about it. Some people will be indifferent to the achievement, as if it’s no big deal at all. And there will be hecklers—those who’ll take a swipe at the artist who dared to bare their soul with words.

The hecklers can’t stop us. We must toughen our skin and deflect the negativity. We must write for the readers who will someday read our words and be touched. We must write for the readers who will see themselves in the characters we’ve created. We must write for the readers who will stay up way too late in order to see what happens next. We must write to entertain.

Just like the singer wasn’t singing for the heckler. She was singing for the rest of us who appreciated her voice. She was singing for my sons and I, who stopped to listen. She was singing for the strangers who were glad she’d shared her talent.

Dreamer. Introvert. Artist. Whatever creative types are called, there’s one thing I know for sure: it takes artistic bravery to create. It takes even more artistic bravery to share that creation with others.

As we dive into 2014, I hope you’ll embrace your own artistic bravery. I hope you’ll write from the heart and dare to share that work with others. Ignore the hecklers, embrace those who appreciate what you’ve created, and be proud of yourself.

About The Author

Julie Musil writes Young Adult novels from her rural home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and three sons. She’s an obsessive reader who loves stories that grab the heart and won’t let go. Her novel The Boy Who Loved Fire is available now.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

Manny O’Donnell revels in his status at the top of his high school food chain. He and his friends party in the mountains on a blustery night, sharing liquor and lame ghost stories around a campfire. The next morning, as a wild fire rages in those same mountains, Manny experiences doubt. He was the last of the drunken crew to leave the cave, and he’s uncertain if he extinguished the flames. Within hours, he becomes the number one arson suspect.

Santa Ana winds + matches = disaster. You’d think he would've learned that the first time he started a fire.

As he evades a determined arson investigator, Manny, a modern-day Scrooge, is visited by ghosts of the past, present, and future. He’s forced to witness the fate of his inadvertent victims, including Abigail, the scarred beauty who softens his heart. Manny must choose between turning around his callous, self-centered attitude, or protecting his own skin at the expense of anyone who gets in his way.

Amazon | Goodreads


  1. True. We can't please everyone. That is a hard fact to digest and accept, but it's just another step closer to personal writing success. Great post, Julie!

  2. To the awesome ladies at AYAP, thanks so much for hosting me today!

    Sheri—I try hard not to be a pleaser, but by golly I am. I have to force myself to remember we can't please everyone.

  3. Sometimes, it's good to get a reminder that we as writers aren't the only ones dealing with "certain individuals". Seems she played on and kept going despite the heckler and for that, I thank her and you for sharing this as a reminder to strive on despite.

    1. Angela, I definitely felt a kinship with this woman. She had a lot of guts.

  4. Excellent post and I can't wait to read your book; it's next up on my kindle :)

  5. I love this post, Julie! Thanks for sharing. xoxo

  6. Great story about the singer. I'm always amazed by that kind of personal courage. I love the premise of The Boy Who Loved Fire and hope to read it soon. Thanks for an interesting post.

  7. This is so true! I enjoyed your story about creative bravery, Julie. It's definitely a courageous thing for a writer/singer/artist to put their work into the public eye.

  8. Ooh, this is wise advice to remember!

  9. Clara—Thank you!

    Rosi—Personal courage…you nailed it! Yes, it takes a lot of guts to set up and sing in front of strangers.

    Carol—I suppose I related to her, knowing how much courage it took for her to put it all out there like that.

    Nicole—Thank you!

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
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  11. So true that not everyone will like our books. But to be an author we have to be brave enough to share our work anyway. Thanks for the inspiring pots.

    1. Natalie, the pleaser part of me wishes that weren't true, but it is. When the time comes for negative reviews, I try to remember the brave woman on the pier!

  12. Nicely worded, Julie. I often stop and marvel and the tenacity, bravery, and sheer determination of those who publicly pursue their dream, or at the very least, put their passion on public display. We all know the naysayers are out there, and we all know to let them say their nay. It's their voice versus our passion and pride. Let them "nay" long enough and they be mistaken as horses!

    Thanks for this.

  13. What a beautiful story, Julie, thanks for sharing!!

    1. Traci, it's my pleasure! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Julie you always amaze me with the way you see heart in everything. Bravo for artistic bravery.


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