Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CRIMINAL by Terra Elan McVoy, now out in paperback!

I LOVED this gritty and raw book by Terra Elan McVoy! If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, be sure to pick up the paperback version this week.

Terra Elan McVoy's Criminal, Out in Paperback!

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing. So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime—a crime that ends in murder—Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him. But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about? Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

Beyond the Book: Terra's Thoughts

In advice to writers, Stephen King says, “Write the truth.” Ernest Hemingway also famously said, “Write what you know.” My thesis director and writing mentor, Mark Winegardner, went further to say, “Write what you most want to understand.” It was this thought that motivated me to start writing Criminal. In 2011, I heard about a murder case in which a young man was accused of killing one of his girlfriend’s parents, out in broad day. When I discovered he had an accomplice—another young woman with whom he’d also been romantically involved—I was even more intrigued. “Who would do such a thing? And why?” Of course I was thinking of the shooter, but really I was most perplexed by the second girlfriend—the one who allegedly helped him do it. Who was she? Why did she go along with it? Did she know about his other girlfriend? And what happened to her after the fact? Reading helps us to imagine things we haven’t experienced on our own, and to, ultimately, empathize with our fellow humans. In writing Criminal, I aimed to explain to myself—and to therefore understand—what it would be like to be a girl very different from me and most of the characters in my other books: someone without resources, without confidence, without an education or good family, and often without hope—so much so that she’d participate in such a horrible crime. The result of my imaginings (and my research) is in this book. I didn’t write it to justify, or excuse, any kind of criminal behavior in the slightest. Instead I hope that in doing so, my readers and I can get closer to understanding that people who make terrible choices like this are more than just the results of their crimes.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A New YA by Jeri Smith-Ready!

This Side of Salvation

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure:  The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined… 

What Others Are Saying:

“THIS SIDE OF SALVATION is impossible to pigeonhole. It’s a mystery, a love story, a tale of friendship, of prejudice, and of a family overcoming tragedy…Jeri Smith-Ready has her finger on the pulse of American youth.” — Printz Honor winner and NYT Bestseller Elizabeth Wein

“This is a frighteningly realistic story that delicately handles the issues of religion and family—an emotional mystery sure to be popular and perfect for discussion.” — VOYA, **Highlighted (Starred) Review**

“[A] smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self—while never being heavy-handed.” Booklist, **Starred Review**

“This book has some of the best written, strongest, and most satisfying character dynamics that I have read in a long time...There are no extreme moral rights and wrongs in this book. These people just are, and they work, and they make this story beautiful.” — Bibliopunkk

Giveaways Galore!

Jeri has two ongoing giveaways to celebrate the release of This Side of Salvation.

Join the Rush swag fest: free EXCLUSIVE swag for everyone who orders TSOS on or before Monday, April 7.

Superfan contest (March 31 – April 9): share the TSOS characters’ “trading cards”  on your social networks to earn points. Biggest Superfan wins the grand prize, but there’s a chance to win a book and a gift card every day you play!

Here's the first day's card, featuring the main character, David Cooper:

Cat blogging meets book birthday!

Meet Misha and Twinkle, the real-life inspiration for the cats of This Side of Salvation, on PulseIt, the official site of Jeri's publisher, Simon Pulse.

Order the hardcover:

Order the ebook:

Find Jeri

Visit Jeri's website, or follow her on one of these sites:

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cover Reveal! MY SOON-TO-BE SEX LIFE by Judith Tewes!

I'm always SUPER excited when an author-friend has a new book coming out, and even MORE excited when I've had a chance to read an early version to find out just how awesome it is! That's the case with this new book by Judith Tewes, and I get to be a part of revealing her fabulous new cover! (Don't you love cover reveals - seeing how an artist comes in and envisions the book?)

Anyway, without further ado...coming very soon from Bloomsbury Spark, here is the beautiful new cover for MY SOON-TO-BE SEX LIFE!

About My Soon-To-Be Sex Life: Charlie is down to her absolute. Total. Last. Resort.

Despite a thoroughly comprehensive list of potential cherry poppers, er…suitors, and careful plotting, Charlie is three weeks into her devirginzation campaign, still untouched, and getting desperate. In the movie of her life, this aspiring screenwriter is giving herself a PG, for please, get some.

Her project goes into freeze frame when her mom checks herself into rehab and packs Charlie off to live with her estranged, or just plain strange, grandfather, Monty. How is she supposed to get a date when she has to go pick up his Depends? 

Enter Eric, a hot rehab grad on the road to redemption, and the only one who can make Charlie rethink her strategy. The more she gets to know him, the more convinced she becomes that is the one, and not just another to add to the list of people who will abandon her.

In this hilarious and heartbreaking story of one girl’s detoured road to womanhood, Charlie’s list develops a life of its own – right when she realizes there’s so much more to lose.

About Judith Tewes: Multi-published, award-winning author, screenwriter, and playwright, Judith Tewes resides in small town Alberta, where she: writes, sings, plays bass guitar in an all-woman band, walks her three crazy labs, and suspects she's living the life of a superhero's alias. A commercial writer writing under several pen names, Judith’s work includes: paranormal, steampunk, and contemporary young adult fiction, as well as thriller, horror, and dramatic comedies for the stage and screen. 

Social Media Links:
FACEBOOK (personal an/or Author page): Personal: https://www.facebook.com/judithteweswritesAuthor

And Judith is holding a contest and giving away a $25 prize to go along with this reveal! Contest only lasts for 48 hours, so make sure to enter right away!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Madness Check-in Day 27! #WIPMadness

I cannot believe the month is almost over! I'm happy to report that I've seen all sorts of "I'm finished" and "I've completed my goal!" comments around the hosting blogs and on Twitter. To that, I say CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

And even if you haven't completed your goals? Guess what? You're still here!!! You ARE diligent. You ARE committed. You ARE going to succeed in life--even if you didn't make your exact goals, your diligence will pay off later in life, I promise. 

We have loved having you here with us, and you've been an integral part of OUR processes. I honestly would not have set such lofty goals (and completed them) if it weren't for all of your participation in March Madness this year. And to that I say: CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU!

As for me, I have completed my goals for the month, but then added a few new ones, which I'm still plodding away at and hoping to tie up before the 31st. How about you? If you don't think you'll reach your goals, did you get more done this month than you would have without this challenge?

I still have prizes to give away, so today, congratulations to...

Ghost Girl!

Congratulations!!! Stop by the goal-setting post, choose your prize and then email me at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com. We'll get it out as soon as possible.

I want to send out a HUGE ENORMOUS HEARTFELT THANK YOU to all of my March Madness co-hosts. They have been so incredibly generous, both with their time and with prizes and so very responsible. It was a joy to visit each of their blogs along the way.

The last thing I need to talk about today, on my last check-in post for the month, is CELEBRATION. If you've known me for any time at all, you know that I'm a big believer in celebrating all of the tiniest victories. There's enough soul-crushing, difficult stuff we have to face in the writing world. We need to celebrate ALL of our successes to combat that! Even if you've simply checked in all the way through the month, that deserves to be celebrated!

As usual, I plan to celebrate with some nice red wine, some delectable chocolate, and possibly some guacamole. How about you? 

It's too bad we can't all get together to celebrate, but know that I will be raising a glass to all of you on the 31st!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Awesome New Books!

I've never pretended to be a good book reviewer. There are awesome review blogs that can say it so much better than I can. But every once in a while, I like to write up a quick post of the books I've been enjoying lately, and what I've enjoyed most about them. These are all brand new or about-to-be released books. I hope you'll check some of them out!

Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

18051087Friendship is a bond stronger than secrets in this novel from the author of The Almost Truth and Unraveling Isobel.

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared: they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact...until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it's urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora's loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora's who is also looking for a way to respect Nora's legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she's really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics.

What I loved about this book: It's a little darker than Eileen Cook's usual style, but still contains so much wit and humor. My husband was adopted, so I've been through many conversations about birth parents, and I can see how the subject could cause a slew of complicated emotions, especially during the teen years, when ALL emotions are complicated. Not only that, though. I also really enjoyed how this book explored the topic of deep and real friendships. The situations were never easy, but Avery came out on the other side a much stronger and more enlightened person. I love that.

Flesh and Bone by Lee Strauss

She can’t remember. He can’t forget.

Eva Bauman is invisible. Sebastian Weiss is famous. In a perfect world Eva would be fearless and Sebastian would be guiltless. 

It’s not a perfect world.

Includes MP3 links to original music recorded by Canadian singer-songwriters Trisha Robins and Bryan Steeksma,

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

What I loved about this book: I admit it, I'm a sucker for books about fame. I love to see how different characters (and people) handle fame, and how they balance the limelight with their personal lives. So I was particularly attracted to Sebastian, and later Eva, when she was being brought into his world. Another wonderful thing about this book (and their companion novels) is the music that goes along with it. I've always loved the idea of joining the arts and creating new combinations of expression. I love the idea of music and literature (especially in a book about a musician!) that Lee Strauss has come up with.

Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? by Sara Hantz

Abi Saunders might be a kickboxing champion, but when it comes to being the center of attention, she’d rather take a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus any day. So when her trainer convinces her to audition to be the stunt double for hot teen starlet Tilly Watson, Abi is shocked—and a little freaked out—when she gets the job.

Being a stunt double is overwhelming, but once the wig and makeup are on, Abi feels like a different person. Tilly Watson, to be exact. And when Tilly’s gorgeous boyfriend, Jon, mistakes Abi for the real star, Abi's completely smitten. In fact, she’s so in love with her new life, it isn’t long before she doesn’t have time for her old one.

But when the cameras are turned off, will she discover running with the Hollywood A-list isn’t quite the glamorous existence she thought it was?

What I love about this book: Again, I'm a sucker for books about fame. When Abi first entered her audition, I was hooked. Not only that, but I love to read about characters who are extremely talented and have trained at something for most of their lives. I went into this book knowing next to nothing about kickboxing, but came out on the other side feeling like I had truly experienced Abi's sport with her, and even a new side of her sport as she took on stunt work. I'm not actually a sports fan (at all) so any book that can make me love reading about a sport has certainly more than done it's job! 

I hope you'll check some of the above books out. What new books have you enjoyed lately? I'm always up for suggestions...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness Check-In Day 20 #WIPMadness

If there's one thing I'm convinced of when it comes to writers, it's this: There is no such thing as writer with too much free time.

Every single writer I talk to, one of their biggest battles to finishing a project is finding the time to do it. Why is that? Because writing is the biggest time-sucking profession/hobby that exists! Often I think we are all crazy to be pursuing such goals. I mean, think of how long it takes just to READ a book, let alone write one. Then think of the time spent revising, the time spent waiting for critique partners and beta readers to give you feedback. And I'm not even going to touch on the length of time the whole publishing side of things can take (because I don't want to depress you!)

So writers, I think, will never feel like they have enough time. They always want to be able to draft and develop their writing projects faster. But I also think this is part of what makes the written word--especially full-length novels--so special. So much thought and processing and bake-time goes into each one. Reading a good novel will envelop us and stick with us the rest of our lives. So there are rewards. But today I want to talk a little bit about battling the busyness.

If you find yourself too busy to have the amount of writing time that you would like, I have a few suggestions that will hopefully add some peace to your life:

  1. My first suggestion, which all of you here at March Madness already have a handle on, is not to do it alone. Having camaraderie and accountability and encouragement is SO IMPORTANT when it comes to pushing through on the long haul of writing. It's good to remember that we're not alone and we ALL face similar time challenges from time to time.
  2. Admit that writing is your dream and passion. People around you will be much more supportive and willing to help you find the time and space to write when you use words like “dream” or “calling” or “passion”.
  3. Stay sensible in what you commit to. I notice that writers who set big lofty goals with their writing, also tend to set big lofty goals in every other area of their lives. Something has to give, so when you set a short-deadlined writing goal such as March Madness, see if there are other areas where you can ask for help or allow obligations to pend until April.
  4. Even when you're busy with other things, try to keep your head in your project. Brainstorm when you're at the grocery store, or driving your children around, or commuting to and from work. Write down all of your ideas for later (or use a voice recording app if you're driving). Brainstorming and coming up with the best ideas is a big part of the writing process, and one you can accomplish almost  anywhere and any time.
And if you disagree with this whole post and are shaking your head saying, "I'm a writer, and I have plenty of spare time," then please, PLEASE, tell us your secret!

No matter where you are at, keep pushing forward! And I'll see you tomorrow at Tonette's Blog!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mental Health Giveaway Hop!

mental health hop
Mental Health Giveaway Hop

March 20th to 27th
Participating blogs are offering a book related giveaway and we are all linked up together so you can easily hop from one giveaway to another.

I haven't done a Giveaway Hop in a long time, and since I really enjoy books that deal with mental health issues, (and I write those kind of books) this one interested me. I think on the Linky it mentions that this contest is only open to US residents, but I'm going to give away your choice of either a paperback or an audiobook. Since an audiobook does not involve any mailing costs, I'm happy to open that prize up to international entrants.

As many of you know, I did a lot of research on eating disorders when working on my book, NEVER ENOUGH. I also had a close friend who was suffering from a severe eating disorder, and I admit, I have had my own struggles with eating and food over the years.

One thing I thought was interesting in my research was the suggestion that eating disorders and anxiety disorders are linked. If you have an eating disorder, it is likely that you may have an underlying anxiety disorder. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may be more likely to struggle with eating issues.

I'd love to give either a paperback copy or an audiobook copy of NEVER ENOUGH to one winner who is interested in the emotional and mental battles associated with eating disorders. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, and good luck!


From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.
     But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. And Loann is frightened she could lose the sister she’s always idolized.
     As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?

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