Thursday, July 30, 2015

News! A New Book!

It's been a crazy-busy summer, and I've been taking a little time off of blogging. But I have still been around a bit on Facebook and Twitter (starting to share some fast-drafting tips under the hashtag #FastFiction), so you can always find me there.

Champagne, Bottle, Drink, Beverage, Alcohol, PartyAs many of you know, I'm gearing up for another young adult contemporary novel in Spring, 2016. I'm super-excited for AVALANCHE, which is being published by Leap Books!

But...in the meantime, I've decided to release another book of mine. Anyone who knows me IRL knows how much I love all things Christmas. (I often leave my Christmas tree up year-round - true story!)

So I can't tell you how much I love this book, and how I can't wait for it to go out into the world THIS OCTOBER.

It is another YA novel, and the title is A CHRISTMAS KERRIL, but that's all I can tell you right now. Actin' Up With Books will officially reveal the cover and synopsis on August 11th, but you may be able to tell a little of what it's about from the title. Any guesses?

To celebrate, I'm giving away ONE EARLY COPY of  A CHRISTMAS KERRIL to one commenter below. Just tell me the name of your favorite Christmas story in the comments!

(This is for a digital copy, so I can open it up to international entries. Please include an email address where I can reach you, or check back to see if you won).

All the best, and happy reading!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer Reading List for YA Contemporary Fans















Every time I walk into a library lately, I'm seeing summer reading lists and challenges posted. While I love these, one little thing that bugs me is that so many of them contain the same books--most often current bestsellers. I admit, bestsellers are bestsellers for a reason. They struck a chord with a large number of readers. But being a non-bestselling author myself, I'm going to offer up a reading list of a few lesser-known but wonderful young adult contemporary books, as those are the bulk of what I write and read. In no particular order... Fun rom-coms to thrilling thrillers and everything in between...

17563833Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez:

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.
 



21462279My Soon-To-Be Sex Life by Judith Tewes:

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 devirginization 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.
 


18048731The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle:

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well. 

22753362Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel Shane:

Sixteen-year-old Alice suppresses her need for rebellion after a petition to start a farmer’s market receives more snickers than signatures. That is until Whitney Lapin, a girl who speaks in cryptic riddles and spends her free time turning abandoned warehouses into beautiful gardens, leads her on a rabbit trail into the underground–aka secret society–of Wonderland High. Curiouser and curiouser.

Even though Whitney’s group of teenage environmental vigilantes operates on the wrong side of the law, Alice has never felt more free to be herself. Soon she stomps on her good girl image by completing a series of environmental pranks to impress them: flooding the school and disguising a pig as a baby in order to smuggle it out of a testing facility. But the group refuses to help with the farmer’s market or reveal their hidden agenda. She wants to trust them, and she especially wants to trust (or maybe kiss) Chester Katz, a boy with a killer smile, a penchant for disappearing, and a secret that will really turn Alice‘s world backwards. When one group member tries to frame Alice for all the pranks, she must figure out their secret before she ends up in front of a jury that’s screaming, “Off with her head!”



17323659Anywhere but Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi:

Cole’s small town is a trap he’s determined to escape in this fresh and moving debut novel that balances loss with humor.

Ever since his mom died, Cole just feels stuck. His dad acts like a stranger, and Lauren, his picture-perfect girlfriend of two years, doesn’t understand him anymore. He can’t ditch his dad, so Cole breaks up with Lauren. She doesn’t take the news very well, and Cole’s best friend won’t get off his case about it.

Now more than ever, Cole wants to graduate and leave his small, suffocating town. And everything is going according to plan—until Cole discovers the one secret that could keep him there…forever.



23365164


 Following Chelsea by Shari Green:
#16thingsithoughtweretrueWalking in the footsteps of a dead girl isn't easy... 

After her social life flatlines, seventeen-year-old Anna Richards wants nothing more than to lie low at her new school. But it seems Anna looks an awful lot like Chelsea, the sweet and popular girl who recently died, and Anna finds herself stepping into the void created by Chelsea's absence. 

Anna is determined to make the awkward situation work in her favor, because Chelsea didn't just leave a spot open with the in-crowd; she also left a gorgeous—and now available—boyfriend. But it turns out that following Chelsea might be a lot more complicated than Anna expected.



#16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler:

Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...


Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty sweet...in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.
 


16074758Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas:

It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine...
 


15777621This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales:


Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
 


13505666
The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook:


Teen con artist Sadie might be over her head. To escape her backwards small town, delusional mom, jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised, she also must leave Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time, until her mother wipes out her savings.

Brendan helps devise ultimate con. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax, and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, she suddenly has more than just money to lose.
 


13326677OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu:


When Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic... and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down...and she might end up breaking her own heart.
 


25305923The Handler by D.R. Graham:


He promised he would never be an outlaw . . .

While searching for the member of an outlaw motorcycle gang who murdered his dad, Cain Allen is offered a boatload of cash to "handle" the stunning teen popstar Lincoln Todd. Although he doesn't need the headache of a high-maintenance celebrity, getting out of town will help him keep a low profile until he testifies against the other two killers.

Touring Europe with Lincoln proves to be more complicated than Cain anticipated, and despite his efforts, the line between their personal and professional lives blurs. She’s sweet, smart, and totally unpredictable. And he loves it.

But Lincoln’s association with Cain puts her in more danger than anyone could have imagined. When he joins forces with the Noir et Bleu Motorcycle Club to protect her, Cain discovers the lengths he's willing to go, and the person he's willing to become to protect the people he loves…



I tried to keep this list to 10, but it was impossible. (In fact, I'm going to post this quickly, so I'm not tempted to just keep adding and adding...)

I'd love to hear if you've read any of the above and what you've thought of them, and also, what's on your summer reading list?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Celebrating ALL Women Today!

My annual salute to all women, whether they are mothers or not... Mother's Day is an interesting holiday. I don't deny that mothers give a lot of themselves for their kids--24/7 for many years beyond the ones when they're changing diapers or helping with homework. I agree that this deserves celebration. I have a wonderful mother, and I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. Thanks for everything, Mom! But I've looked at the holiday from a different perspective many times as well. As someone who has struggled to become a mom, struggled to sustain a pregnancy, our society and it's focus on Mother's Day can feel pretty wounding. I can't tell you the number of times I felt inferior on a Mother's Day because I couldn't do something that so many women seemingly achieve so naturally and easily. Since then, of course, I've realized that is not necessarily the case. I can't count on my fingers and toes the number of women who have contacted me after I post something about this on the blog and mention that they've struggled with something similar. And that they've struggled with feeling like less of a person on a day that celebrates mothers. I've been blessed with a wonderful little boy who is eleven now. This is after four miscarriages, one tubal pregnancy, and many years of trying to conceive. I can't say that the parenting journey has always been easy either (even though I know I've had it really good compared to some). So I honor and salute all my friends who have endured the joys and sorrows of parenting. But I also honor and salute all of you who, for whatever reason, haven't. I salute you even more, because there are probably less of us that understand each other and can give each other (((cyber-hugs))) Many blessings to all of my women friends today! May you be honored, cherished, and understood among your friends and family!

Friday, April 24, 2015

IT'S OUT! IT'S OUT! FALLING FOR ALICE is On Sale Today! #contest #freebooks @falling4alice

I'm so VERY EXCITED to celebrate our unbirthday of our new Alice-in-Wonderland themed anthology with you! To celebrate these five new YA stories, I'm giving away an entire BOX of great YA fiction to one lucky winner (due to postage costs, this is open for US mailing only).

I'm so honored to have my story among some amazing other authors, including Dawn Dalton, Shari Green, Kitty Keswick, and Cady Vance. You will love all of their stories!

Here's a little bit about the anthology...

24833107
New Alice. New Wonderland. New stories ​to love.

From ​the modern Alice dumped in the Aquarian ​Age of the late sixties, to the ​present day Alice, tormented by body image and emotional issues, to the Alice of the future, launched forward through time and space, FALLING FOR ALICE offers five fresh takes on ​Lewis​ Carroll’s classic tale. For 150 years, people all over the world have fallen under Alice in Wonderland’s spell. ​Now, follow five Young Adult authors down the rabbit hole to discover Alice like you’ve never seen her before. One thing is certain—this is not your mother’s Alice.
 


And if you have not seen it yet, here is the book trailer...




And now for the contest! All you have to do to enter to win is send a photo or copy of your receipt of purchase of FALLING FOR ALICE (e-copy or paperback) to me at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com with the words FFA Contest in the subject and you will be entered! Pretty simple, right?

Here are a few places where you can get the book:


And here's a little glimpse of the books you could win...


And if you are an international reader and would still like to enter this contest, I will also award an e-copy or an audio-copy of one of my books if I draw the name of an international winner!

Best of luck, and happy reading! This contest will be open through the first week in May.

Don't forget to raise a glass of champagne or apple juice with us today to celebrate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Crazy Life!

I just got back from a very last-minute whirlwind vacation. You see, my husband had to attend a seminar in LA, and we decided we could make it a road trip for the same price as his flight. So the three of us, plus my mom, hopped in the car and drove pretty much straight through from just outside Vancouver, Canada to LA.

We're not as young as we used to be. That's the first thing our aching backs and knees told us. But all in all, we did have a great time. We started with The Joker strapped to the front of our car...

When we were a lot younger, my husband and I made the same trip with a Barbie strapped to the front of our vehicle. When my son heard this little tidbit, he came up with this idea.

Both my son and I braved California Screamin', which is a huge feat for us, since neither of us are daredevils...

And I got to share my favorite ride, Space Mountain, with my husband and son, who both ended up loving it. (This was a great point of contention early in our marriage, actually, when my husband was terrorized by his first experience on this ride.)

We got home just in time for me to teach at a homeschool co-op I'm a part of, only to have to turn around that afternoon and head back to Seattle for my husband to judge a bodybuilding competition. Oh, and did I mention I have an anthology releasing this Friday...

And half an hour before we left for California, I spilled tea on my laptop and had to leave it at home in a box of rice! But it turned out that unplugging was a great thing for me. I feel tired, yes, but at the same time more relaxed and centered. I highly recommend unplugging from technology for a time (hopefully by choice and not by tea mishap!)

Anyway, this is just a quick post to let you know why I have been so absent as of late. My life has been a bit crazy, but I'm back and excited to share our Alice in Wonderland inspired anthology with you. Stay tuned for an awesome contest to celebrate its release!






Thursday, April 2, 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt @YASH Featuring STRANGE SWEET SONG by @luciferadi

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt! 
I’m on the ORANGE team. 
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-team-image9784449
And I'm celebrating the upcoming release of the YA Anthology Falling For Alice. Keep cruising through the YA Scavenger Hunt to find plenty of secret bonus content on this anthology!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt.
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the ORANGE team, and then add them up.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


So many of the posts full of secrets have been so creative this time around, and my bonus content from Adi Rule is no exception! Read on to find out the zodiac signs of some of her characters, and don't forget to read on until the end to enter my Rafflecopter to win a special prize from me!



Opera flows in Sing Da Navelli's blood. But when she enrolls at a prestigious music conservatory, she is drawn to the icy forest nearby -- a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. With the help of a dark-eyed apprentice who has secrets of his own, Sing must unravel the story of the forest and the strange creature who lives there -- and find her own voice.


Find out more about this book over at Amazon or on Adi's website. 


And read on for Adi's bonus content, at least 7 of the zodiac signs of her characters! Now I'll let Adi take it away...


Thanks for having me by, Denise!

For this scavenger hunt, I thought it would be fun to figure out the zodiac signs of a few of the major players. There are a lot of stars in this book, from the Felix's celestial origins to the translation of Sing's name, so I wondered if the characters' connections to their star signs might give us some more insight into their personalities. Some signs were pretty obvious (could my giant feral cat be anything other than a Leo?), and some were more surprising. I hope you enjoy! :)




Sing
Pisces
 

Ruling body: Neptune
Symbol: The Fish
Element: Water

Pisces are immensely talented, but can be held back by their own insecurities. Compassionate, sensitive, and sometimes consumed by beautiful fantasies, pisces can rise to great heights or plunge into the depths.

Despite her devotion to music and extraordinary voice, Sing’s biggest challenge is herself.


The Felix
Leo
 

Ruling body: The Sun
Symbol: The Lion
Element: Fire

Leos are stars, fiery and passionate, attracting admirers who will either be bathed in brilliance or burned to a crisp.

The Felix does nothing halfway -- love, anger, despair, grief. She scorches the heavens and haunts Dunhammond’s dark forest as only a creature of legend can.


Nathan
Cancer

 

Ruling body: The Moon
Symbol: The Crab
Element: Water

Cancers are enigmas, moody and cutting, prideful and insecure, caring and hard. These children of the moon value love over all else, but are often lost in their own inner worlds.

Nathan’s spirit is ruled by love, but that doesn’t mean his life is easy -- only that he has more to lose than most people.


Ryan
Saggitarius

 

Ruling body: Jupiter
Symbol: The Archer
Element: Fire

Those born under Saggitarius are optimistic, adventurous, idealistic, and charismatic. They’re fun-loving free spirits who are constantly chasing their dreams.
Ryan plays the piano the way he lives life, with a smile and a wink. He’s always up for a good time. His friends learn to enjoy his company while they can, because he won’t be pinned down by any place or person.


Marta
Aries

 
Ruling body: Mars
Symbol: The Ram
Element: Fire

Aries are outgoing and adventurous, as well as naive. They see the world with a childlike sense of magic and wonder, but can also be fiercely independent.
It’s difficult to dampen Marta’s spirits. Her self-confidence, coupled with her innocence, gives her a rose-colored view of the world. It may shatter eventually, but not today.

Jenny
Gemini


Ruling body: Mercury
Symbol: The Twins
Element: Air

Gemini are knowledge seekers, curious and talkative, flitting from idea to idea. While their exuberance might sometimes earn them sideways glances, they’re generally more interested in learning the next new thing than dwelling on the past.

Jenny's perceptive, curious nature makes her an ideal journalist. And friend. (Even if she does seem like a little mother hen sometimes.)


Lori
Taurus
  
Element: Earth
Ruling body: Venus
Symbol: The Bull

Those born under Taurus are cool as cucumbers. They’re social yet detached, controlling their image and relationships with a steady hand. Who they are underneath the shell -- snobby, fearful, compassionate, lovely -- is anyone’s guess.

Lori is the queen of Dunhammond Conservatory. She has devoted friends, her pick of boys, and the Maestro’s favor. Rarely will cracks in her veneer appear, and should that happen, Lori is the master of sealing them up again.


Zhin
Scorpio 
 
Ruling body: Pluto
Symbol: The Scorpion
Element: Water

Scorpios are powerful, driven, and intense. They’re at their best when they’re winning, which they usually are. Inadequacies can be difficult for them to deal with.

Zhin plays the violin like ice -- beautiful, crystalline, hard, and cold. There is no one to rival her in technical brilliance and commitment, which is exactly how she wants it. Whether she still enjoys making music is unclear.


Thank you, Adi for that great post! 

Adi is the proud owner of a rare original Robostrux T-Rex. Her YA novel STRANGE SWEET SONG is out now from St. Martin's Press, with REDWING coming in 2015. When she's not writing, she sings in the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops and gives tours of a lonely seaside mansion with an undetermined number of rooms.




Don't go anywhere yet! Have you entered the Rafflecopter below to enter to win an audiobook of NEVER ENOUGH and some brand new awesome Alice in Wonderland inspired swag, to celebrate our release of the Falling For Alice Anthology? (It'll include one of these awesome one-of-a-kind Alice inspired bookmarks!)

And then continue The Hunt over at Adi Alsaid's Blog!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Madness Check-in 29 - #WIPMadness - It's Nearly Over?

So sorry about yesterday's missing post!  There was some technical difficulties over on Dawn's blog. No one used that as an excuse to slack off,  right? 

I cannot believe the month is almost over! I'm happy to report that I've seen lots of positive comments about goal attacking and completion 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 in your future, 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 very nearly 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 am so close I can taste my goal! I've been working super hard all week, and will keep this short so I can get back to it. I hope to tie it 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, and I admit, with all my crazy hard work this week, I lost track a little of giving much away. If you have taken part in March Madness and have not received a prize yet, would you mind making my life just a little bit easier and emailing me at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com, and I will make sure you get something fabulous to celebrate your participation. 


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!

Eek! I forgot to lead you on to tomorrow's post! On Monday, we're over on Kim's Blog. See you there!