About Jude Sierra

Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007. Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater will be available in May of 2018. Twitter: @JudeSierra Website: judesierra.com Instagram: /judemsierra/ Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/de5FQT

All the Sales!

July 3rd ONLY you can get a copy of What it Takes for 99 cents!

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Purchase the other 7 for a complete collection of these amazing books!

Taboo for You by Anyta Sunday
Invitation to the Blues by Roan Parrish
Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Forsaken by JR Gray
Life of Bliss by Erin McLellan
Bellingham Mysteries by Nicole Kimberling
Bitter Legacy by Dal McClean

Feel like grabbing AWESOME savings on my other books? July 2-6th Interlude Press is putting their money where their hearts are with this amazing sale:

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A Tiny, Sexy Snippet

Well past sunrise, Reid wakes up curled on the very edge of the bed. His grandmother’s room overlooks the porch, so sunrises from bed are a distinct possibility. Somehow, the sound of the ocean isn’t the same in here, probably due to the proximity.

     Reid peeks over his shoulder. Joaquim curled up on his side, around a pillow, his back to Reid. He reaches out to touch a mole on Joaquim’s shoulder blade, ready to trace a wake-up path to other ones on his back, when he remembers last night. He’s going to have to face his own music.

   Joaquim’s body is beautifully settled into the rhythms of his deep, sleeping breaths. Reid is no longer angry. Well, he’s a little angry at himself. If I wake Joaquim with kisses, will that be enough? Will he remember the apology from last night and let it stand?

   Eyes closed, Reid scoots closer to Joaquim and puts a hand on his hip. He promised to talk to Joaquim. And even without that promise, they should talk. Joaquim is the potential for a healthy relationship, finally.

   When Reid’s body heat comes into contact with his, Joaquim stills and then stretches. Joaquim’s body is a luxury: muscles tensing and loosening, all stunning bones and inviting skin. Reid wants. He wants to glut himself on this man, to soak up every moment with him while he can.

   “Morning?” he whispers. His hand slides from Joaquim’s hip to his stomach under his belly button.

   “But will it be a good morning?” Joaquim arches a little, rolling his body, sinuous and promising, against Reid’s. Reid puts his face between Joaquim’s shoulder blades, as if he could breathe in the balm of that teasing, that ease. He kisses up to Joaquim’s neck and then bites lightly.

   Nothing more needs saying. Reid loves the hush, loves the ease and intimacy, loves the way Joaquim takes him so far out of his head and into his body he hasn’t any words.


Only 8 days remain until the release of A Tiny Piece of Something Greater! I cannot wait to share Reid and Joaquim with all of you!

Quick reminder that I am holding a pre-order swag giveaway with four prize packs! Pre-orders can be really helpful (and by some vagary seem to occasionally sneak into people’s inboxes early! Don’t quote me on that I know nothing technical about this, it’s just happened to me as a reader). All you have to do is email me your receipt to be entered! (judemsierra@gmail.com). I’ll email back to confirm I received.  For more info (including pictures) check out this post.

Buy links! 

Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

*Pre-order the print edition of A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by May 16, 2018 from the Interlude Press web store and automatically receive the multi-format eBook package for FREE.*

 

SWAG TIME!! Giveaway time!!

Today marks exactly ONE MONTH until the release of my upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater. I wanted to do a giveaway for those who are pre-ordering and giving this book love. So here are some details (pictures below!)

I have the following giveaway packages. If you sent me a copy of your pre-order receipt (details below), you will be entered to win one of the following prize packs:

Prize pack #1: This beautiful I Have Journeyed Farther journal (much love to Jordandene), two I’m Sill Here laptop stickers (or wherever you wanna stick them!), three Brazilian wish bracelets (info on that below), and a cute little Interlude Press pin. As well, you’ll get a copy of John’s apple muffin recipe (from Idlewild) and a signed, personalized copy of a book of your choice (Idlewild, What it Takes or Hush).

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Prize Pack #2:  This lovely Find Joy in the Ordinary journal, a fun little unicorn pin (because we’re all amazing beautiful unicorns), two I’m Still Here stickers, a copy of John’s apple muffin recipe, three Brazilian wish bracelets and a signed, personalized copy of a book of your choice (Idlewild, What it Takes or Hush).

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Prize Pack #3: A copy of John’s apple muffin recipe, three Brazilian wish bracelets, two I’m Still Here stickers, and a signed, personalized copy of a book of your choice (Idlewild, What it Takes or Hush).

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Prize Pack #4: A copy of John’s apple muffin recipe, three Brazilian wish bracelets, two I’m Still Here stickers, and signed copies of book cards.

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So the Brazilian wish bracelets are also known as Bahia Bands. I really wanted to have a little taste of a Brazilian tradition in honor of Joaquim, but also something my friends and I loved to do when we were kids when I lived in Brazil. Bahia Bands are a good luck charm. You wrap the wish bracelet around your wrist and make three knots, with one wish for each knot. You leave it on until it falls off, at which time your wishes should come true 😉

Additional side note: if you pre-order the paperback copy from Interlude Press you get the e-book for free right now, so that’s exciting.

I’m so excited to share this book, which Foreword Reviews gave a 5 Star Review to, and which Kirkus Reviews said was “A realistic look at living and loving in the context of mental illness by an author that doesn’t lose sight of the romance.”

So if you have or want to pre-order, email me your receipt at judemsierra@gmail.com with the subject line “PRE ORDER TINY”

For buy links, head over here

Insights

As we get closer and closer to release day for A Tiny Piece of Something Greater, my fourth novel (coming to you May 17th!!!), you’ll see I’m posting little bits — lines, aesthetics, IG posts related to the book. Follow me on the things to see the things and I promise to do my best to provide you with pretty stuff!

Also, for those of you who are my favorites and are pre-ordering, hold on to your receipts for *reasons* you’ll discover later!!

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is available for pre-order in the following locations:

Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

Available for Pre-Sale: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater

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Ahhhhhh the day is finally upon us! Well, technically the day after. Yesterday LGBTQ Reads was kind enough to host the cover reveal of my newest book, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater, which will be released May 17th 2018.

Reid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.

For those of you who are feeling impatient or just downright generous, it is available for pre-order and I’ll share those links below.

Writing this book has been the journey of a lifetime, no hyperbole at all, and I am almost coming out of my skin with excitement that it is almost time for you all to meet these two men who have utterly stolen my heart.

Keep an eye out for excerpts, info about giveaways, guest posts across the interwebland and more!

Another exciting development in Jude Land is the advent of my newsletter. It’s up and running…so far as I can tell. MailChimp and I don’t always see eye to eye, but I’m 99% sure that has to do with my eyeballs. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll have access to exclusive content, giveaways, and automatic updates!

Stay tuned for more fun stuff!

A Tiny Piece of Something Greater is available for pre-order in the following locations:

Interlude Press: store.interludepress.com

 

Book Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Summary:

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.


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Interlude Press

Barnes & Noble

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Fortitude Smashed is the first and only book I have ever read for review that I re-read and took notes in the margins of with a pen and a highlighter. That I loved so much I wanted to wallow in on every level I would be allowed to. That’s been sitting on my nightstand for months just so I can keep savoring tiny moments.

I read the book in one go; I fell in love with Aiden and with Shannon, I fell in love with them falling in love.  The beauty of the conceit of fated people learning to be together in Brooke’s hands is this: These men are both ready and not, are willing and unwilling, and prickly but open. Their Rose Road gives them the space to struggle, as we do, but with the safety of understanding that this is meant. In this way, we are privileged to witness Aiden and Shannon as they go through a particular journey of personal growth that only this situation, this Rose Road, this circumstance could bring.

In Fortitude Smashed Brooke built a family of secondary characters that I both adored and was incredibly irritated by at times — in short, she gave these men family and friends that were fleshed out humans, not just foils or plot devices to move particular aspects of the story around. A great cast of secondary characters is hard to pull off and Brooke does it. I love the gender/sexuality/identity representation we see thus far in this series — I’m excited to see what comes in the next few, as I’ve seen the author address questions related to this in blog tour interviews and on her twitter. I’d like to articulate my feelings on this well, but my friend Annie at From Top To Bottom Reviews has done a better job of capturing it here in her review.

I read this book the first time fully knowing there was even more to the story under the layers Brooke created, but unable to stop because I was so caught up in the story. The point of this being: if you don’t feel like you want to do any literary analysis to enjoy the shit out of a beautiful book, you don’t. This book, I promise, will be a lovely experience regardless.

That said…the first time I read Fortitude Smashed, I knew it was special. I knew I loved it a few pages in, but it was on page 26 when Aiden first speaks to the Empty Man that I knew that what Brooke is crafting in this series is literature.

“Aiden thought the heart of the world, like fate, was buried in the sea and, despite his hunger, he would never find it.” (26)

Fortitude Smashed is filled with some really heart stopping prose. I mean, the kind of phrase turning that makes you stop and re-read just to enjoy the sheer poetry of it. None of Brooke’s words or images function as still art alone. Rather, she deploys every image with precision.

“Spread out on the bed with a blush creeping from his chest to his face, Aiden was still a cluster of knives. Shannon’s willingness to bleed defied every shred of control he had left.” (135)

The second time I read this book, I had a pen, a highlighter, and lots of quiet. I savored it. I really let myself look at how Brooke used images, names, words, flowers to tell us more about Aiden (whose name, consequently means “little fire” or “ardent”) and Shannon (whose name means “wise river” or “possessor of wisdom”) (I’ll just let you sit in that lovely tidbit for a moment, take it with you when you read the book and it’ll just add a lovely layer).

Brooke’s use of metaphor and imagery, particularly in reference to the two pieces of art, Fortitude Smashed and Catalyst, as well as the Empty Man Aiden meets on the beach at the beginning and near the end of the novel, are brilliantly situated, used, and executed.  We begin the book with Aiden and Shannon meeting just as Aiden is attempting to steal Fortitude Smashed,  a piece of art made of flowers and flower parts (lilies, dandelion and baby’s breath, all of which represent particular things. For example, lilies represent restored innocence after death). Aiden later tells Shannon he wanted to steal it because it reminded him of himself. When Shannon goes to buy it for him, after they’ve fallen in love, he actually sees it for the first time, and in it:

“…a containment of life in death in one piece…The lily’s stem was snapped from the rest of the petals, which gave the flower a sense of detachment. It was nature’s grenade in the midst of detonating, a slow-motion explosion…” 147

It is in this moment that Shannon really understands — this was who Aiden was in the moment they met. This is how Aiden understood and saw himself.

As fate would have it, Shannon is unable to buy Fortitude Smashed — instead he buys another piece, which we don’t get to see until the end of the book: Catalyst, which is made of ivy and dandelion, calla lily and tulip: flowers that represent youth, rebirth, perfect love, fidelity, affectionate attachment. What I loved so deeply about this is that Brook doesn’t tell us any of this — she doesn’t give the reader the meanings. She’s given the reader gifts inside her prose. Aiden and Shannon’s struggle to understand, walk, and love one another as their Rose Roads is done gorgeously, with care and depth and understanding. And underneath it all Brooke infuses her language and images with depth and symbolism that make the story all that much richer.

Before I finish with my high high praise for an #ownvoices story about mental illness, I want to go back to the Empty Man and how he functions as a catalyst at the beginning of the story when Aiden is really struggling with the idea that his Rose Road is a cop; when he’s struggling with his self worth and his demons; when we’re learning that despite his hard exterior, Aiden is terrified of not finding his heart. How deeply he wants that Rose Road and love.

“‘Someone told me I would eat the heart of the world one day,’ Aiden said….’I’ve always loved the world, but I never thought I’d find the heart of it, the best of it, the center of it. I did though. I found it,” he added quickly. ‘Or it found me, I’m not sure which.’

‘I don’t know either, but you’ve completely consumed it.’

Aiden offered a shy smile, one of his gentle rarities, and he kissed Shannon again.” (315)

To summarize there, thank you Taylor, for this really heart wrenching, human, gorgeous love story.

And now, the part I really, really want people to leave with. This is an #ownvoices story in regards to mental health rep, with both Brooke (author) and Aiden having mental illness.  Personally, as someone who also not only struggles with but survives with mental illness, Aiden’s story and representation meant the world to me. Shannon doesn’t cure Aiden. Fate, love, romance, sex — none of it “fixes” Aiden –– because there’s nothing to be fixed. Aiden is beautifully imperfect, he’s human, he has a mental illness, but he isn’t his mental illness. People living with depression or bipolar, with dysthmia or cyclothemia (me) or any other number of MI — our MI’s don’t define us. Stories where love “cures” or “fixes” characters with MI really bother me because that’s not how life works. My husband loves and supports me, his presence has helped save my life, but at the end of the day, I save my life. I make it through each day. I am the center of my survival and recovery. Brooke writes a love story with healing, with hope, and where the characters are ultimately the primary agents of change and wellness in their own lives, which they then bring to each other and their love. I can see this theme in Daisy’s story; I can see this agency in Chelsea’s story — I look forward to what Brooke will do with them in future books in this series with utter trust in her skill.


About the Author:

After fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures as a special effects makeup professional, Taylor turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she can be found haunting the local bookstore with a cup of tea, planning her next adventure, and fawning over baby animals.

Website |Twitter | Facebook

Book Review: The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic

rules and regsSummary: 

Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.

Fantastic.

When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.


Purchase Links:

Interlude Press Webstore // Amazon // Barnes and Noble // Apple // Target // Kobo // Smashwords // Book Depository // Indiebound


F.T. Lukens is an author that never disappoints. Her Broken Moon Series (The Star Host and Ghosts & Ashes) remain absolute favorites of mine. Lukens is truly gifted with prose style that not only builds worlds effortlessly, but that create clear pictures for the readers. There’s an ease to her style that creates a cinematic experience for the reader.

The very first page of this book had me laughing out loud. Bridger’s internal monologue builds his character from the start. Bridger is immediately endearing. He’s clever and also very much a teenager. Lukens captures the feeling of adolescence — Bridger’s struggle with his sexuality as he begins to sort it out, his loneliness, his fears and insecurities — balancing them with his humor and to be frank, downright adorable self. It’s impossible not to root for him.

The tensions and development of Briger’s relationships throughout are handled beautifully. I clearly felt his fear of coming out to his mother and how the distance between them contributed to his loneliness. The friendship that blossoms from his work with Pavel brought tears to my eyes. Pavel is strange and changeable, but the affirmation and acceptance he brings to Briger was so necessary. I really appreciated that Lukens gave Briger an adult to help guide him and to show him support in his times of anxiety and the painful struggle of a difficult transitional age. Balancing new relationships, a new job, and Briger’s struggles felt very age appropriate. The way in which he began to build a relationship with Leo foiled with his falling out with his best friend (name) bring to mind how it felt to be seventeen and figuring out navigating love and friendship.

Additionally, there are the myths and magic. I loved that Lukens balanced a coming of age story that was so relateable with this magical world. There was no part of introducing or immersing the reader in this world that felt cumbersome. Here we have world building executed by a very skilled reader: no clunky exposition, no moments that dragged as the reader navigated her world.

The resolution of the plot regarding the increased appearance of mythical and magical creatures felt a little rushed, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this novel at all. There’s a quality to Bridger and the humor infused throughout reminded me of David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy, but on it’s own terms.

For readers who want YA fiction that captures the ups and downs, the insecurities and joys of adolescence, this book is a must.  I could not recommend it more.


 About the Author: 

F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult fiction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan-community writing contest. A sci-fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Firefly and is a longtime member of her college’s science-fiction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats. Her first two novels in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host and Ghosts & Ashes, were published by Duet Books.

 

 

Book Review: And it Came to Pass by Laura Stone

LGBT Mormons,November Policy,gay mormons,gay LDSThis book…wow I cannot say enough. I’ve read everything Stone has written, and loved it. Stone is an incredibly talented author — the kind you drop everything for when a new book comes along — but this story is a level above.

It’s clear that this particular topic is very, very close to her heart. Her passion and fight here rings throughout. Adam’s torment, his confusion, his disconnect from faith and the longing he won’t allow himself to feel is so rich, I ached for him. The development of his and Brandon’s love unfolds gorgeously, painfully, so very honestly.

The moment when Brandon shares the questions he has with his faith and how this unlocks Adam’s anxieties but also wonder is powerful as hell. All of the things Adam has locked down, all of his beautiful self that’s been crushed out of him — watching them rise to the surface is like watching someone come awake. It really felt like an honor to be a part of that story.

I must say, there’s such a lovely reverence in Brandon’s practice of faith here. In the idea of living a devotion and faith that involves questioning and wanting to learn and wanting to be open to possibilities. I’m agnostic personally, and I am not familiar with Mormon faith other than surface things, but I really love books and stories that handle faith beautifully, even if it means questioning, changing direction, or struggle.

This book is very sensual and the build of tension between Brandon and Adam felt visceral. I DEVOURED this book in one sitting because I was so captured by their story.

Purchase at: Interlude Press || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || iBooks || Kobo

Contact the author: Website || Twitter || Facebook

Dialect in Dialogue: Guest Post with Open Ink Perspectives

A couple of months ago I had the honor of being asked to write a guest post for Open Ink’s Perspectives blog. It was published a few days ago, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share it with my readers who may not have seen me tweet about it! Meant to engender conversation with both readers and writers, I hope y’all will enjoy and share your thoughts. Many thanks to Open Ink for hosting me!


When I was writing my third novel, Idlewild, I spent a lot of time pondering (agonizing) over speech patterns in dialogue for my characters. This story takes place in downtown Detroit; in it we have Tyler, a young, genderqueer black man coming out of college and into adulthood who grew up in the city. We also have Asher, a sort-of middle aged (I am struggling to reconcile 33 as middle aged, if only so I can avoid being called so myself, ha!) Jewish man from the suburbs who has become stuck in the wake of his partner’s death. Idlewild was a beast to write; in part because good, complex romance involves complex people navigating the world, and writing that is hard. Additionally, this particular book touches on many difficult to navigate threads: race, class, gentrification and grief being the most prominent.

Idlewild also features a third character: Malik. Malik is Tyler’s boyfriend at the start of the story (no worries, no cheating). When Idlewild came out, I was not expecting people to fall for Malik. I was definitely not expecting requests to write him a story! I think many authors can speak to the fear we harbor that readers might hate a character we love. Having readers fall in love with a character who might be divisive was lovely.

Read More

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Buy Links:

INTERLUDE, AMAZON , BARNES & NOBLE , SMASHWORDS, KOBO ,BOOK DEPOSITORY, INDIEBOUND 

 

30% off Sale!

Today only (Valentine’s Day!), all three of my books are 30% off on the Interlude Press book store using the code #LOVE

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badge-fiction-100x128Kirkus Best Books of 2016

“Sierra (What It Takes, 2016, etc.) has created a very natural and psychologically astute portrayal of a romantic relationship, by turns funny, delightful, and painful….A lovely, finely wrought romance that reminds us that to truly love another, we must know our own hearts.”– Kirkus

In a last ditch effort to bring the downtown Detroit gastro pub he started with his late husband back to life, Asher Schenck fires everyone and hires a completely new staff. Among them is Tyler Heyward, a 23-year-old recent college graduate in need of funds to pay for med school. As their relationship shifts from business to friendship, Tyler falls for Asher and finds himself caught between the things he thought he wanted and the things he hasn’t allowed himself to dream about. Working together, they get to know each other’s dreams.

Idlewild is a story about love and healing set in the backdrop of Detroit’s revival.

Buy Links:

Idlewild is available for purchas at Interlude Press Webstore

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 ... Sierra (Hush) uses rich characterization and lyrical writing to infuse this slow-building romance with depth, humor, and pathos. Readers will savor every dip and peak of Milo and Andrew’s relationship as they balance the need for safety with the necessary risk of pursuing happiness.” — Publishers Weekly

The connection was instantaneous. Moments after Milo Graham’s family relocates to Cape Cod, he meets Andrew Witherell—launching a lifelong friendship built on a foundation of deep bonds, secret forts, and plans for the future.

When Milo is called home from college to attend his domineering father’s funeral, he and Andrew finally act on their mutual attraction. But doubtful of his worth, Milo decides to sever all ties with his childhood friend.

Circumstances send both men home again years later, and their long held feelings will not be denied. But will they have what it takes to find lasting love?

What it Takes is currently available at Interlude Press Web Store

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“In her debut novel, Sierra explores Cam’s emotional confinement and burgeoning self-discovery with poetic delicacy, as she does with Wren’s guilt and complete fear of relinquishing himself to the vulnerability of a relationship. Through a great deal of character exposition, Sierra skillfully captures the frustration of navigating identity and interpersonal relationships for those to whom it doesn’t come easy. The subtle twist of fantasy enhances the narrative while also complicating the notion of consent…it is a worthy read and a valuable addition to the genre.”~Library Journal

One secret can change everything.

Wren is one of “the gifted”—a college sophomore with the power to compel others’ feelings and desires. He uses his power as a game of sexual consent until Cameron, a naïve freshman, enters his life. As Cameron begins to understand his sexuality and gain confidence under Wren’s tutelage, Wren grows to recognize new and unexpected things about himself.
Will Cameron’s growing confidence finally break down Wren’s emotional walls, or will Wren walk away from his best chance for love?

Hush, is currently for sale at Interlude Press Web Store