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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

GCC Presents Melissa Walker and UNBREAK MY HEART!

I'm so excited about all of the books I get to highlight this week, because I love them all SO MUCH!!! I was fortunate enough to have gotten my hands on an early copy of UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa Walker, and I'm so thrilled to be able to spotlight this as part of the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit. It had me taken away from the first page to the last. And wait until you hear about the unusual setting: a sailboat!

Here's a little bit more about the book...

Summer will be the season for Melissa Walker fans to fall in love all over again. UNBREAK MY HEART is told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clementine Williams’s heart and the summer that healed it. Inspired by Melissa’s own experience sailing with her family as a teen, this is the perfect beach read for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colasanti.

Usually Clem would dread the idea of spending an entire summer sailing with her family—two parents, one annoying little sister, and no internet, all on one tiny boat; however, right now escaping her life on land sounds pretty good. Clem did something bad during her sophomore year, even though she didn’t mean to. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and thought that he was falling for her too. Now the school year is over, the truth is out and he’s been excused while she’s been exiled, leaving her with no friends and zero social life.

When she and her family set sail the last thing Clem is looking for is another romance, but perhaps it found her anyway. His name is James. He’s cute, funny, and best of all, doesn’t know anything about her past. He and his dad are sailing the same route as Clem and her family for the summer and he's just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem's walls and unbreak her broken heart?

About the author
MELISSA WALKER is the author of Small Town Sinners, the Violet on the Runway series and Lovestruck Summer. She has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. Melissa manages I Heart Daily, an e-newsletter and blogs for ReaderGirlz, an online community for teens. A Chapel Hill, NC native, Melissa now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Melissa stopped by for a short interview...

Welcome! Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
M.W. - A year of heartbreak; a summer love. 
Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
M.W. - I love Clem's little sister, Olive. She entered the scene and totally took over when I wrote. I love it when that happens.
 What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
M.W. - Read as much as you can and look for things that work and things that don't work within the books you're inhaling (I say inhaling because you should read a lot, and often). Each book has a bit of advice in it, if you look.  
What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
M.W. - I kept a journal which is HUMILIATING to re-read. I also worked on my yearbook and school paper, so I did a lot of non-fiction, which I think was a great base when I switched to fiction in my 20s. 
What's the last book you read that you really loved?
M.W. - I just read a middle grade by Natalie Standiford called The Secret Tree that was totally charming and lovely!

“A super cute love story! Melissa Walker will inspire readers to never stop believing in true love.”
—SUSANE COLASANTI, author of When It Happens and Keep Holding On

“A raw, real, and ultimately heartwarming discovery of what it means to be a true friend. Walker gets it exactly right.”
—JENNIFER ECHOLS, author of Love Story and The One That I Want

Praise for Small Town Sinners:
“…An unforgettable novel.” – Shelf Awareness

“Walker has written a credible and tender evocation of the moment when a young person's beliefs begin to emerge and potentially diverge from the teachings of a family's religion.” - New York Times

“Both tender and provocative.” – Publishers Weekly

Melissa is also promoting a big giveaway to coincide with Unbreak My Heart's release:
 Make a breakup playlist on Spotify for a chance to win an iPod loaded with the soundtrack to Unbreak My Heart (and the book!):

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Stuff!

Around my house we call it "Toyless Tuesday." It's our one day a week that my son is supposed to focus on reading rather than playing with his toys. Which means what I really call it is "I'm not going to get any work done Tuesday." We'll see how long this lasts...

I wanted to let you know about a couple of quick things. First of all, I'm over at The Contemps site today and tomorrow, spotlighting some really wonderful books - Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy and When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle. I hope you'll drop by and find out more about these two books! case you didn't see me jumping up and down anywhere else online...I got my first trade review for Never Enough! I'm *thrilled* to tell you that Publishers Weekly loved it! I'm not sure if I can share the whole thing but here's a little of it and you can click the link above for the rest. In case you'd couldn't tell, I'm VERY excited!!

 "In her sophomore novel, Jaden (Losing Faith) offers an intimate and enlightened rendering of anorexia and bulimia...Loann's fight against forces that might be beyond her control is both harrowing and inspiring. While Jaden does not provide simple answers for the problems presented, she dramatically illustrates the importance of speaking out and reaching out."
-Publishers Weekly

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Widget, Widget, Widget!

My awesome friends at Literary Logistics have designed a countdown widget for Never Enough! I hope you'll help me spread the word by adding it to your blog or website or... wherever!

Just click on "Get Widget" either below or over on the one on the sidebar. Thanks SO MUCH!!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Four

1. NEVER ENOUGH is out in like just over six weeks!!!! How did this sneak up on me so fast?!

2. I spoke with my Canadian publicist and marketing person from Simon & Schuster Canada this week. It was a great conversation, and they're planning all sorts of wonderful things to coincide with the release of NEVER ENOUGH, including a blog tour and a Twitter chat! I also have some beautiful new bookmarks. If anyone wants one (or a few to pass around) just email me at d (at) denisejaden (dot) com

3. I had an epiphany this week for my latest work in progress (currently titled FOREIGN EXCHANGE). I went back to the drawing board and was able to rewrite the first section to make it much stronger. I'm so excited about this book! I can't wait to be able to share it.

4. The sun is shining here and just in time for the weekend! I'll be stuck inside at a judo tournament tomorrow, but today I plan to get outside into my garden. I'm not much of a gardener, to be honest, but I find the process of gardening to be very peaceful. Plus, like I said, there's the sun...

Happy weekend, everybody!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

From My Mailbox

During the last week, I've woken up to some wonderful things in my inbox (a bonus of living on the West Coast - or a drawback when it's bad news). There are a few things that I can't share quite yet, but this morning I received a note and some fan art for Losing Faith that I'd love to share today. This totally made my whole week...

Dear Ms. Jaden,

            Hi my name is Kaylie I am one of the many students of (blocking out the school name). We are constantly reading assigned book that are lame and lurpy, so when we got a chance to pick a book I immediately picked a book I knew I would enjoy.  I have recently read you book Losing Faith, and I absolutely loved it! Your book was interesting, funny and exciting and I would, and am reading it again.  Others my age and I have connected in this book in different levels.  This book will forever remain in my mind as one of the best books I have ever read. Thank you for writing it and also taking the time to read this.


Kaylie :) 

And here is the WONDERFUL picture that came with it:

Thanks so much, Kaylie!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness BLITZ!

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

Today I am blitzing... Deb Marshall! I am choosing her because I'm am so thankful and find it so admirable what she does for promoting Canadian authors.

If you have a minute, stop by Deb's blog and tell her how much you think Canadian authors rock...and tell her how much she rocks for promoting them!!!

As my gift to Deb, I'm offering her a first chapter or query critique, or a phone call to discuss any of her writing/plotting/characters that she needs help with.

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, May 11, 2012

NEVER ENOUGH Secrets...Introducing Loann!

Yesterday marked the two months until publication date for NEVER ENOUGH! Yay!!! It feels suddenly SO CLOSE! But I'm very excited (I don't know, could you tell?)

Anyway, to celebrate this momentous occasion, I thought I'd introduce you to my main character, Loann Rochester. I love Loann, she has been a part of my life for about eight years now, and in a way feels like a sister or a child to me. I'm thrilled that she will finally have her place in this world.

I'm sure most of you have seen my cover for NEVER ENOUGH by now. If not, here it is:

One thing I'd like to be clear about. This girl on the cover is not Loann, at least not in my head. Loann and I share the same frizzy/curly hair, which is often the bane of our existence. We're also both short, and as teens neither of us thought we were much to look at. So I wanted to share with you today the picture that I think captures Loann (and it captures her at a very specific point in the book - after swimming with her friend Marcus).

So here she is.... Please meet....Loann....

And I can't wait for you to meet her for real (or as real as fiction can be), in just two more months!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GCC Presents IN HONOR by Jessi Kirby

I'm excited to spotlight another of my girlfriends from the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit today! Jessi Kirby's first YA novel, MOONGLASS was wonderful, and her second, IN HONOR, is out today. I can't wait to read it! Congratulations, Jessi!

About the Book:
Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.
Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

As well, Jessi stopped by for a short interview:

Welcome, Jessi! Can you tell me about your book in seven words or less. 
 A letter, mistaken last request, road trip.
 Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
My most favorite character in this novel is Rusty, because he comes off a little rough but is actually a really good guy.  And then, well…I like to think of him as pretty hot.
 What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors? 
Read, read, read.  It’s the best possible way to study what you want to do, directly from those who do it successfully.
 What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether? 
Wow, it’s like you knew me or something!  Yes, I did write as a teen, and it was mostly poetry—overly literary and emotional, terrible poetry.
 What's the last book you read that you really loved?
THE STORY OF US, by Deb Caletti.  Oh, I loved that book!  Caletti is one of the best I know at writing characters so real you feel like you know them personally, and telling a story with heart.  

Early Reviews:
“A beautiful, engaging journey with heart, humor, and just a pinch of Texas sass. Hands down my favorite contemporary of the year.”
--Sarah Ockler, bestselling author of Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and Bittersweet

“An amazing novel about first kisses, last goodbyes, and what it means to finally let go. I absolutely loved it.”
--Lauren Barnholdt, author of Two Way Street
About Jessi Kirby:
Jessi Kirby is the author of Moonglass, published in May 2011 by Simon and Schuster. She is also a wife, mom, English teacher and former librarian, beach bum, runner, and lover of Contemporary YA, strong coffee, and dark chocolate.
Jessi’s second novel, In Honor, will be released in May of 2012.

 For more information, find her on Simon and Schuster’s Official Author Page:
Her webpage:
Twitter:!/jessikirby  (@jessikirby)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Four

1. I'm off to Kamloops, B.C. this weekend to teach at a youth authors conference. I'm very excited for a few reasons. 1. Because there's a good chance it'll be less rainy than it is here at home. 2. Because I get to hang out with teens. 3. Because these are teens who love to read and write!

2. Life has been a whirlwind of activity lately. I've been to Seattle twice in the last month, but had a ton of fun hanging with authors at a conference, writing away in a hotel room, and I even got to the zoo!

3. Some GREAT books have come out recently. I've been fairly busy beta reading for writer friends lately, but when I get caught up, I hope to get my hands on BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS by Terra Elan McVoy and WHEN YOU WERE MINE by Rebecca Serle. There are really so many great new books releasing every day, though. What books are you most looking forward to?

4. I've been writing up a storm! I completed a draft of a new manuscript, tentatively titled FINDING HOPE during March Madness. Since I was in drafting mode, and had this idea that just wouldn't leave me alone, I decided to just wing it without an outline during April. I won't look back at either of those projects for a while, but I'm feeling particularly good about the second one. I'm back to revising my NaNo book for my agent at the moment, just one quick final revision and then I'm really excited to be able to show it to my editor! It's gone through several titles...MILANO, DANGEROUS TRANSLATION, COVER ME...but lately I'm calling it FOREIGN EXCHANGE, which I kinda like.

Hope you all have a great weekend! I look forward to coming back to report about my time in Kamloops!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wandering Wednesday

Today I'm blogging over at The Contemps site, spotlighting one of my favorite books from this year so far....ZERO by Tom Leveen. I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spotlight on CLOCKWISER by @Elle_Strauss

My very good author-friend, Elle Strauss, has a new book out! You may remember recently when I spotlighted her debut novel Clockwise--a totally warm and witty YA time travel novel. Clockwiser, the exciting follow-up sequel to Clockwise, is here!

The last year has been smooth sailing for Casey Donovan. She and her boyfriend Nate are doing better than ever, and things at home are good, too. Everything’s been so calm, she hasn’t “tripped” back to the nineteenth century in ages.

Then the unthinkable happens and she accidentally takes her rebellious brother Tim back in time. It’s 1862 with the Civil War brewing, and for Tim this spells adventure and excitement. Finding himself stuck in the past, he enlists in the Union army, but it doesn’t take long before he discovers real life war is no fun and games.

Casey and Nate race against the clock to find Tim, but the strain wears on their relationship. It doesn’t help that the intriguing new boy next door has his sights on Casey, and isn’t shy to let her know it.

Can Nate and Casey find Tim in time to save him? And is it too late to save their love?

Sales links:

Sample Chapter
Chapter One
Beginning of Summer Holidays

Sometimes I wished I were an only child. But then I’d be walking or taking transit instead of getting a lift from my brother Tim in his Cavalier beater. He didn’t have air conditioning either, and the wind blowing in from our open windows was hot and moist. The humidity made me feel like I was wearing a warm, wet washcloth for a shirt.
“Can’t you drop me off first?” I said, fanning myself with my hand. I was meeting my best friend Lucinda at the mall, and she only had a thirty minute break from her job at Forever21. Plus, the mall was air conditioned. Bonus.
“I gotta get some cash first. Besides, I’m not your personal taxi service, Casey.” Tim snarled, turning the volume up on his stereo. The bass beat was so loud it rattled the trunk. “Get off your lazy butt and get your license already.”
I gave him a dirty look and reached over to turn the music down. I had a very good reason for not getting my license, but I could never tell Tim or any member of my family what it was. There were only three people currently living who knew the reason. One of them was my boyfriend Nate Mackenzie.
My heart still fluttered a bit when I thought of him in those terms. My boyfriend. Not just some out-of-reach guy I crushed hard on my whole sophomore year, but my boyfriend.
We’d already been an official couple for an entire year, totally blowing all the doomsday predictions that we’d never make it. No one thought a college boy would stick it out with a junior in high school--especially Nate’s evil former girlfriend!
But he did, and we were still going strong. I’d be starting my senior year in a few weeks and then I’d join him at Boston University, too.
“If you dropped me off first, you wouldn’t have to deal with me,” I tried to reason.
“If I didn’t shuttle you around at all I wouldn’t have to deal with you.”
The only reason he did was because my parents were putting the screws in. Tim’s bad attitude, questionable choice of friends and poor grades put him in their bad books. Driving me around was penance.
He pulled into the parking lot of the bank and hopped out, leaving the car running. I reached over and turned it off. Idling the car was bad for the environment for one, and a waste of Tim’s hard-earned minimum-wage job gas money for another. You’d think he’d know better.
I checked the time on my phone and grew anxious as Lucinda’s break time grew nearer. Tim had his back to me as he stood in line at the ATM window. I looked at my reflection in the visor mirror. Since I’d grown out of my skinny awkwardness last year (and snagged a hot boyfriend), I was more mindful of my looks. Instead of trying to hide behind a bush of dark, curly hair, I used better hair products and found a great stylist, and I liked the way my curls framed my face now. I took a tube of lip gloss out of my purse and rolled it onto my lips.
I tugged on my shorts and rubbed my bare legs. They were so long, my knees almost touched the glove compartment. Height had its advantages, but getting comfortable in a small car wasn’t one of them.
I turned the radio on and hummed along. I daydreamed about me and Nate and how we could relax for the rest of the summer, hopefully stretching the lazy days out as long as possible.
I checked the time on my phone again and immediately started stressing about being late to meet Lucinda. C’mon, Tim! He was second in line now. I texted Lucinda to let her know I might be a little late.
I heard sirens and I perked up. This wasn’t the best neighborhood. The bank wasn’t huge, just tucked into a strip mall along with a nail place, a dollar store, and a thrift shop. Litter overflowed from the bin and a good amount had been blown up against the cement foundation.
I checked on Tim. He’d finally made it to the front, the last one in line. If I’d known it was going to take him this long, I would’ve run into the dollar store and picked up cheap nail polish.
The siren noise grew increasingly louder and suddenly three cop cars pulled into the parking lot beside me. My heart jumped, and I thought fleetingly that maybe Tim was in trouble with the law again. Only, he was getting money out of the ATM, not robbing the bank.
But someone was.
Everything happened so fast.
A guy with a ski mask pushed past Tim as he ran out the bank doors. A cop shouted, “Stop or I’ll shoot,” and another masked man followed. Guns went off. Tim stood there, stunned and frozen.
I heard myself shout, “Tim!” He was right in the middle of the cross-fire!
A police officer ran to him, pushing him to the ground just as the second armed man shot in their direction. The officer fell to the ground, taking the bullet instead of Tim.
The robbers ran around the corner and out of sight, chased by police officers on foot and a cruiser down the back ally.
I sprinted to Tim where he was on the ground by the fallen cop.
“Are you okay?” I asked, my voice tight.
His face was white, and he motioned to the woman beside him. “Yeah, but I don’t think she is.”
The officer moaned, holding her hand on her chest.
“Oh, ma’am, are you okay?” I searched for blood but couldn’t see any.
“I will be,” she said gasping for breath. “I have a vest on.”
Another officer kneeled beside her. “Ambulance is on its way.”
The woman had dark hair pulled back in a low bun. Her eyes stayed pinched together and her pale face glistened with sweat. The impact of the bullet was enough to do some damage. I picked up her police hat that had fallen off her head and handed it to her.
“Thank you,” I said.
“Just doing my duty.”
The ambulance arrived. The paramedics pushed us aside and lifted the woman onto a gurney.
The cop who’d checked her pulse stepped forward from his open door cruiser. Radio dispatch noises leaked out.
I watched the ambulance pull away, siren blasting, and realized I didn’t know her name. I asked the officer standing beside me.
“That’s Officer Clarice Porter,” he said. “Now, would you two mind coming with me to the station to file a report?”
We agreed, and I took my first ride in a police car. It was Tim’s second, but his first was not for noble reasons. He still claimed it was his friend Alex, and not him, who’d stolen the cigarettes from the convenience store.
A thought like a loud banner ran through my mind as the doors of the police cruiser slammed shut and we drove away.
Clarice Porter saved my brother’s life.

Elle Strauss
Author of MG and YA novels including CLOCKWISE - A teen time traveler accidentally takes her secret crush back in time. Awkward.

"Readers who 'trip' back in time with Casey will wish they could stay longer in her strangely relatable place." - Kirkus Review

"I loved Clockwise! A great read. Congratulations."
- Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island

Available at Amazon