Something’s Coming….(insert West Side Story music here)

I’ve obviously lost my mind. We’ll blame it on grad school. Life while grad schooling. Kids. Trying to remember to eat. NaNo is coming! Oh my…so many things.

but Psssst…I have a secret! in…17 days, What It Takes will be available for presale.

::Screeeechhhh, WHAT??::

Ok that was really only my personal reaction. It’s so soon! Writing a book is such a weird time process. This time last year, I was gearing up to write this thing for NaNo…. from concept to birth(ish), this was a one year journey. It has seemed interminable at times, and right now it feels like it all went in a flash. I love overlapping things apparently, so while the pre-sale, nail biting, hoping and praying part of the What It Takes tornado will be happening, I’ll hopefully be managing to write my next book during this year’s NaNo. Gosh, I put a lot on my plate. Most days I’d have it no other way. Writing is like breathing for me, and with grad school overtaking my life, I’ve not written at all since August. That’s crazy pants!!

I want to talk to you all about ALL THE THINGS when it comes to What It Takes, because this novel is so close to my heart. I think I might be more proud of this book than anything I’ve written before — or at least it’s in the top five. If you asked me why, I’m not even sure I could pin it down. Maybe it’s that I really lived and breathed Milo and Andrew’s lives. Their heartbreaks and triumphs and joy. So many of their moments were mine, only I got to give theirs an underlying, unbreakable, even if sometimes heartbreaking love.

But of course, not ALL THE THINGS can happen right now. Gearing up to November 14th, or perhaps sometime 😉 between November and January, you’ll find me in the corner, holding my own self as the clock ticks down to the actual release date!

For now, I’ll leave y’all with a little teaser: if you’ve never been to my pintrest, go on over, because I’ve made a little pinboard for What It Takes.

Kisses,

Jude.

PS: The Throwback Thursday Sock Saturday contest is still on! Come on y’all, I know you’ve got some great socks out there! Remember, the winner of the contest gets a free, signed copy of either Hush or What It Takes!!

ALSO, today through Sunday, all Interlude Press E-books are 25% off at All Romance!! DANG. Great timing. Get Hush, then grab some socks, win a free copy of What It Takes. Is that perfect or what??

In Gratitude

As some of you may know, a few months ago we lost a very loved member of our Interlude Press, Lex. Even after months of sitting on this post because I just couldn’t put these words down, I feel like nothing I say can do him justice. For the most beautiful words that describe him, I’d send you to K. E. Belledonne’s post.

Lex was irreverent and fun. He was brilliant — more so that I can even understand — and he cared for every single member of our family in a quiet and steadfast way. He believed in us, and worked tirelessly on each of our books. Lex was always available whenever I had any sort of technology fail, even the most simple ones (I can’t, computers are hard, ‘kay). He loved sending me that one video of Cheyenne Jackson performing a song from Xanadu at the Tonys. (I can’t help but think of him every time I watch American Horror Story because I never thought I’d get so much sexy Cheyenne on my screen and I wish I could have inappropriate conversations with Lex about him). He checked in with me when I wasn’t doing well.

Lex made me laugh. So much.

When Hush was in it’s early stages of edit, its working title was Dark Horse. One day I was talking to my editor Annie and telling her how excited I was to see my cover art, because she had told me it was beautiful. And then she started to laugh, because she was also talking to Lex, who told her he’d found the perfect cover for my book.

dark horse pic

I can’t find the picture that’s the big version, where it’s clear that they are at a urinal.

Lex spent the next year saving gems for me — we’ve all seen random horse head photos, but Lex really found some funny ones, or weird ones, and held on to them.

After the Superbowl when I was still working through my back injury I got a link to the great Superbowl Cheerios Dad commercial, which has a tiny horse head cameo. After I had my gallbladder out this summer, I got a great one I can’t seem to find, of a naked soccer player (well IDK I could see his bum, he was probably actually wearing a modesty sock) and a horse. It was artsy and weird and like WHAT? It made me laugh and then curse because the laughter hurt but I needed it.

The last time I spoke to Lex, we talked about how he was putting the inside of my upcoming book, What it Takes, together. He showed me a gorgeous little graphic of a tree my artist had made and told me it was for the inside of my book; he teased me a bit and said he would show me what he was planning in two weeks. He said he couldn’t wait to show me what he’d done. And then he made a morning wood joke.

And that was it. It’s the most bittersweet memory I could carry of him. Having a morning wood joke be the last words we spoke would be a dark sort of funny he would get a kick out of.

When I got the cover of my ARC in the mail, I opened it to look at my dedication page (I dedicated the book to him), and then I saw it:

IMG_4276 I don’t know if I can do the moment I saw this justice. I had thought I would never get to see what he’d planned, and having it in my hands — and so much more beautiful than I could have imagined — absolutely broke me. Holding a book you wrote in your hands for the first time is a moving experience — all of your hard work, frustration and doubts, the times you’ve cried over the thing, the moments you know you’ve done something great — they’re all in there.

But they don’t remotely compare to this. For the rest of my life, I’ll have this book, and with it, a tangible, stunning memory of a man I cared for deeply. And I can’t go find him in chat and thank him, but I want to put it out there in the world: Thank you Lex. For friendship and laughter, for the work you put into making my dream of being a published author come true, and for sharing all of your special gifts with the world.

Book Review: Small Wonders, by Courtney Lux

From the moment I read the excerpt of this novel, I knew this was a special book. There are so many things to praise, I’m not even sure how to organize my thoughts. The prose is beautiful; it just lit up the poet inside me. I love when I read a author whose voice is so clear and strong it stays with me for days.

The story pacing is excellent. The characters are each completely fleshed out and unique and integral to the story. It is hard to create a cast of multiple characters where each compels you in some way.

Trip Morgan himself is the most compelling part of this book. You fall hard for him even when he’s unlikable. Your heart breaks even when he’s being unlovable. Lux handles the trauma of his childhood skillfully and with great care. It’s not over dramatized, it’s not heavy handed or melodramatic; again, I think it takes a skilled writer to pull that off.

The structure, with alternating point of view chapters, worked so well — this is a hard sell for many people, but I think it was vital to this story. Trip is so closed off to the world that having his point of view so offered in the interim chapters gave us glimpses into his childhood and world we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. His voice is so clear, and his story is heartbreaking, and as the story unfolds, we learn just how beautiful and sweet and lovely he is despite everything he’s been through.

Watching him and Nate slowly unfold and fall for each other felt like an intimate privilege. In particular, the scene where they go out with Scarlett served to show us their growth very well. All through the story, we witness who these two men are when they are alone together. Putting them in the world with others as witness — particularly ones who know them so well — gave us such a sweet, kicky feet, romantic scene that felt completely right.

All in all, this book is a stunning debut from an author I cannot wait to read more from.

Supporting GLADD Spirit Day and SALE!

spirit day

Today is GLADD Spirit Day, and IP has gone purple in support of LGBTQ youth—but we’d like to do something more, So all day Thursday, we’ll donate $1 for every book and eBook sold at the IP Web Store, and a special bonus they are discounting every book and eBook sold from the IP Web Store by 25 percent! Save money and support GLAAD with every title! Just use the code SPIRITDAY at checkout for your discount!

Today is the PERFECT day to announce that I’ve changed up The Sock-Off contest. The winner of the contest can choose between receiving a signed copy of Hush or a signed copy of my upcoming novel, What it Takes!

Throwback Thursday Contest

One thing y’all should know about me. I love hashtags, but mostly when they make no sense, are used ironically, or are sarcastic (aka I’m being a bit of an asshole, but it’s all in good fun). Along that vein, I’ll confess that this #TBT post has nothing to do with Thursday, but is a total throwback post.

As we gear up for book #2, What it Takes, to hit the stands, I wanted to take a moment to revisit Hush and one of my favorite things about it: Cam and Nate’s Sock Saturdays.

What’s with the socks, you ask? Sock Saturdays was one of those impulsive moments that came to me from the ether and became a funny insight into Cam and Nate’s friendship, as well as a fun twist on an old school college tradition. If you’ve never been soxiled by a roommate before, rest assured you can live the experience with them.

If you haven’t read Hush, head on over to one of the many places you can grab it! The IP web store ,All RomanceAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositorySmashwords
Independent Bookstores, and Apple iBookstore.

So, the contest:

The Sock-Off.  Starting today, I want y’all to start hunting down pictures, taking pictures, making, drawing up designs of the most unique, hilarious, out of this world socks. Once you have them in your possession (pictures I mean), post them on social media. Just make sure you mention me if you do it on twitter, #judesierra if you are on tumblr, and/or send me a link to whatever you post.

Those will come in handy because I’ll be choosing from those to select a winner, who will a free, signed copy of Hush.

Finding or creating the perfect pair of socks will take a bit, so the contest will be going for a little while. So have fun! Think outside the box. Make things! Pintrest! Share with your friends 😀

Fall eBook Sale!

As the temperatures plummet with Fall sweeping in (digression to complain over the three hours we spent outside at a little league game in 45 degree weather, with WIND, holy shit), it’s time to curl up with something warm (I have a french vanilla hazlenut coffee) with the best kind of friend — a book!

Good news then: this weekend, you can run over to IP’s webstore and get 20% off any eBook using the coupon code FALL when you check out.

There are so many great books to chose from, but if you are struggling to decide, I won’t *stop* you from grabbing a copy of Hush. If you already own it or are looking for something with a different flavor, do not be afraid to send me an ask and I can give you a recommendation based on what you are looking for! Trust me, I know my stuff, I’ve read them all 😀