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Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Four!

1. What am I reading? Tina Fey's BOSSYPANTS. There are not a lot of books that can literally make me laugh out loud, but many times this week I have spit out my food or wine or nearly choked on my own saliva from laughing so hard at this book. Laughter is very good for the soul (and the body) so I highly recommend this book. And you may notice I don't recommend (or read) a lot of grown-up books. This is going on my Top Twelve (see right sidebar).

2. What am I writing? I have had a glorious three days of writing absolutely nothing! Of course, if you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that not writing makes me grumpy. But my mind needed a few days for a creativity-chill. I was starting to jumble thoughts between all my books and question everything I was writing or revising. I'm already feeling much more clear-headed. I have notes on two manuscripts waiting for me, plus I'm expecting copyedits on FAST FICTION by the end of the week, so I will be launching into a very busy August of writing.

3. Yes, I'm still homeschooling. We took a week off for our recent trip to California, but we are back at it almost daily. I like homeschooling through the summer. It gives us a chance to not worry so much about the curriculum and have fun learning together. Yesterday, for example, we watched this fun physics video on building stronger sand castles. Then we went to the beach and conducted some experiments on the strength of sandcastles (we ended up with one that could hold both my son and me without collapsing!)

4. The only thing better than visiting good friends you haven't seen for a while, is visiting a good author-friend you haven't seen in a while. This weekend I get to do both! I'll be going to the Okanagan to catch up, soak in the sun, drink wine, and talk shop with Elle Strauss and some other very good friends.

Wishing you all a very happy weekend!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Green Gas, Aliens, and Other Unearthly Things!

One of my great writing friends just had a book come out! Well...she and her little alien friend actually released this book. And to celebrate, I'd like to welcome my new buddy Ace Hansen to the blog for a short interview. Here's his new book:

Welcome, Ace! What gave you the idea to write about green gas, of all things? 
A breath mint commercial. You know the one, right? We watch a lot of Earth TV on our planet. 

Do you have problems with gas or do your friends have problems with gas? 
Who doesn't have a problem with gas? On my planet we all pass green gas, but I guess you Earthlings fart invisibly. So strange! 

Or did the green reveal itself to you in a strange (and stinky) dream? 
Farts have never invaded my dream world. Have they invaded yours?

They have invaded my dreams, Ace, but sometimes I wonder if that's because I sleep next to my husband. I know JULIUS CAESAR BROWN AND THE GREEN GAS MYSTERY was not the original title of this book. Can you tell us a little bit about how the title has transformed? 
The original title was WHEN FARTS TURNED GREEN-A GLOBAL GAS CRISIS but apparently there are some of you out there who have a problem with the "f" word, so we had to change the title in order not to scare some of you Earthlings off. 

Do you have any advice for writers trying to plot a mystery, with or without green gas? 
Make the solution both surprising and interesting. We aliens are super smart readers and can usually figure out the answer to your mysteries within the first page.

Great advice! What’s the most surprising thing about your path to publication? 
That people exist who don't think green gas is funny! What's wrong with them?

I agree! This is your first middle grade novel. Do you have others in the works, and if so, do they involve any stinky substances? 

What are you working on now? 
My spaceship. It broke down a couple of years ago and I can't wait to get back to my home planet. I love you Earthlings, but I miss my favorite foods. Gummy worms are the closest thing you've got, but I'm afraid I'm going to eat up all of them on your planet before I can get home!

If you'd like to learn more about Ace (of course you do!) you can find him on:

If you'd like to purchase JULIUS CAESAR BROWN AND THE GREEN GAS MYSTERY it's available as an ebook now and is coming in print Fall 2013:

Thanks so much for visiting Ace (and Angelina!) and all the very best with your debut!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Four!

I'm sure thankful for #FollowFriday on Twitter. Otherwise I'm sure I would have had no idea what day it is!

1. I'm home from Sacramento! Had a great time visiting friends there. Our friends put on a huge natural bodybuilding competition, so my husband and I try to join them each year to help out (we used to run our own bodybuilding shows). This year we stayed on a few days extra and traveled to the coast with our friends (along with a new friend, Chris Nsubuga, who also happened to be a pro champion from the competition). Here we are together (I'm almost as lean and muscular, right?)

2. I'm a little behind on things like blogging, but I still have a little green alien on deck for a blog interview. Next week Ace Hansen will be here for sure. Look forward to it! He's a fun little guy.

3. What am I reading? I just finished up THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales, and as anticipated, I absolutely loved it! It's not out quite yet, but maybe I'll have a contest soon so one of you can win this early copy.

4. What am I writing? Still plugging away at MAKING MIRACLES. I'll be looking for a couple of beta readers soon, so if you're interested, email me at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com. I also have received some feedback on some other manuscripts, so I have lots to keep me busy through the summer.

The weather is beautiful here and not too terribly hot. I'm feeling bad for all my Twitter friends who have been cooking lately. Since it's summer, I've been thinking about good beach reads. Next week I'll try to come back and list a few of my favorites. Do you have favorite beach reads?

Happy weekend! Oh, and a happy birthday to me--I'm getting even older on Sunday :-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Four!

1. What am I reading? I'm just starting THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales. I haven't read much of it yet, but I'm fairly sure I will love it, first of all because my friend, Shana Silver, loved it, and secondly because it is Leila Sales.

2. What am I writing? I'm busy revising MAKING MIRACLES. Still not sold on the title of this book, but I haven't come up with anything better yet. This revision has been difficult--the last person I had read it brought up some very good questions, and I'm having to dig deep in order to answer them.

3. My good friend, Angelina Hansen, has a little pet green alien. He's having a book launch today for his debut novel, JULIUS CAESAR BROWN AND THE GREEN GAS MYSTERY. It's an awesome book--my son and I had a great time reading it together. It costs less than a venti mocha, and I'm not sure if you know this or not, but supporting a debut novelist is truly one of the most heroic things an earthling can do. Aliens (and authors) everywhere will sing your praises (metaphorically--lots of us don't have very nice voices :-)

Isn't that the cutest cover ever? You can find the party over at and I'm pretty sure no one throws a party like a little green alien.

4. If that's not enough fun, little green Ace Hansen will be joining my on my blog next week to answer every question you've ever wanted to know about green gas!

I'm off to Sacramento to join some good friends at their bodybuilding show. I hear the weather's supposed to be make-a-grilled-cheese-sandwich-on-the-sidewalk hot. Should be fun!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Want a #FREE Audiobook?

My LOSING FAITH audiobook has just gone live at! To help promote this title, Audible is offering a couple of free copies of the audiobook!

Here's a little about the book:

A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but. 

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Click her to listen to a sample of the audiobook, read by the awesome Becca Battoe!

The whole idea of this giveaway is promotion, so to enter to win a copy, all you have to do is tell me in the comments how you would be willing and able to promote it. Do you have a review blog where you can review it? Do you like to spread the word about books on Twitter or Facebook? Do you attend a youth group that might be interested in hearing about it?

This contest is open internationally. Make sure to leave a way I can get in touch with you if you win, and good luck!

Literature, Drink, Drugs: How Writing Can Help Fight Addiction

Melissa Hathaway is spreading the word about how the arts can help fight addiction. She has written the following guest blog article specifically on how writing can have healing and cathartic qualities. Since this is something I believe strongly in, I was happy to have her share on the blog today.

Literature, Drink, Drugs: How Writing Can Help Fight Addiction
by Melissa Hathaway

People often talk about the cathartic, therapeutic effect of writing. If you're being bullied in school or are having problems in your relationships, you are encouraged to write your thoughts down in a diary. Cancer victims also write throughout their illness: letters to their loved ones, blogs and diaries about how they feel during their treatment, even novels that describe their journey and encourage other sufferers. But little is shared about the positive effect writing can have on those battling with addiction: whether that is an addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, or even food. However the effects writing and literature can have on addicts can be incredible. One of the twelve steps to dealing with alcohol or drug addiction is to write a list of all the people you have hurt or harmed as a result of your addiction and attempt to make amends to these people wherever possible. This is a technique used across the country: from support groups in New York, all the way to rehab centres in Iowa. These are just a few examples of how literature (or writing in its most basic form) can be used to help overcome addiction, or form a kind of therapy for those that need it. But what about the other end of the spectrum? What of writing made better because it was written by an alcoholic or drug addiction that has enhanced writing?

A History of Literary Addiction
It isn't a new phenomenon that literature and addiction go hand in hand. Some of the most famous, lauded, and talented writers of the past 100 years have been addicted to either drugs, alcohol, or both. Perhaps the most famous literary alcoholic was Ernest Hemingway, who once said "a man does not exist until he is drunk." However despite rumors to the contrary, Hemingway once revealed in an interview that he never drank whilst he was writing: when he had a pen in his hand he was able to refrain from having a tipple. Maybe this is an early example of writing helping to overcome addiction! One man who certainly didn't stop drinking whilst he was writing was F. Scott Fitzgerald. The famous words of F. Scott Fitzgerald have applied to several authors, but they also applied to himself: "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." Despite his success in the 1920s, Fitzgerald spent much of the 1930s as a crumbling alcoholic, and died by the end of 1940 as a result of alcohol related illnesses. One of the most famous drug addicts and writers is Jack Kerouac. He often incorporated his addictive experiences into his works and they changed how he wrote (the spontaneous prose he was famous for was a drug-induced style of writing). There are many more examples of famous addicts, and even how their experience with addiction has enhanced their literary output. Are there examples of former addicts writing literary works (novels and poems, rather than lists and letters) that have helped overcome addiction?

Using Your Experiences To Influence Your Work
Former opium addict Jeet Thayil was nominated for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for his debut novel, which is called Narcopolis. Thayil used his experiences of being an addict to inspire his novel, which is about addiction in the bleak underworld inhabited by drug addicts in 1980s Bombay (the time Thayil was in the city and an addict himself). In an interview, when asked how he felt about looking back on his addiction, Thayil responded "I look back at it with yearning. It's a bad thing!" He also surprised by saying that his experience of writing the novel was the opposite of cathartic: instead it filled him with bad, negative feelings, and left him missing the excitement of the addictive period of his life. So can writing help you overcome addiction? Can sitting down and pouring your soul into a novel help heal the gap left when you no longer have drugs in your life, or does it draw you back into a life you'd rather forget? In short, the answer is that it depends on your personality and whether you're ready to let go of your addiction. The only way you can save yourself from addiction is if you decide to help yourself: and what better way to do that than to pick up a pen and start writing?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Four!

Is it truly Friday? It feels like any other day than Friday.

1. I ventured down to the US for July 4th to go camping with my mom and my son, which is probably why my internal calendar is all out of whack. Had a great time at a smalltown parade and an awesome fireworks display that seemed to go on and on and on.

2. What am I reading? Still working my way through ALSO KNOWN AS by Robin Benway. I'm enjoying it, but have had some of my own writing/reading stuff to deal with.

3. What am I writing? I've been working on a read-through of FINDING HOPE just after finishing up a revision on it. It still needs a bit of work, but I was really happy with how it's turning out! Though part of me wonders if reading a book in an awesome location will make a book seem better than it actually is. Here's where I was reading the last few days:

La Conner, Washington

4. Also, this week I found my next release, another nonfiction book for writers called FAST FICTION, up on GoodReads. It still doesn't have a cover, though I have seen a few mock-ups of what it might look like. I should be able to reveal that soon. If you're interested in reading this, I hope you'll add it to your to-read list on GoodReads. (It also has a fancy little write-up on there.)

Hope you all have a great weekend! I'm off to a wedding and then getting my son ready for a week full of horse camp next week.