4.5 Stars for Hush

I was lucky enough to get a fabulous review from Prism Book Alliance this week. I wanted to share before our Twitter Takeover Tuesday (hint, today at 6PM EST, I’m @judesierra), if y’all had any questions about this novel either!

“Cameron Vargas meets Wren early on in his first year of college and is immediately attracted. What ensues is a game of compulsion, obsession, and sexual discovery that eventually and inevitably begins to lose its rules and boundaries. As Cam and Wren’s interactions become increasingly intense, the question of whether or not they can each provide what the other needs in a true relationship becomes paramount.

Jude Sierra is a gifted wordsmith, her early love for writing poetry clearly evident in the lush, vivid imagery and detail she weaves within her prose. The opening paragraphs ofHush mark her as a new favorite of mine, setting the stage for the finely-crafted story that is to follow:

Cameron Vargas’s introduction to college, from its first days into weeks, turns out to be a blur. Later he’ll think back to that time and wonder how he managed to create the canvas of such a pivotal time in his life into a sort of watercolor, pastels that blurred into one another with few distinct shapes or forms.

There was a canvas: complete, yes and from a distance a scene portrayed. But the finer points were lost, a fact he wouldn’t realize until later. Until after. 

Cam would like, in part, to say the difference is simple, that there was a distinct before and after. That his life before was simply before Wren. In chaos, in the months of searching to find the ground, he’d say this: that Wren had come into his life like a freak storm, unexpected and swamping, leaving him capsized and floundering.

I was immediately entranced.

Cam and Wren have an undeniable chemistry, their intimate scenes erotic and fiery with a powerful emotional element that simmers and burns just under the surface. Ms. Sierra allows the reader into her characters’ heads and hearts, and the results are visceral. Cam is completely enveloped in his profound desire for Wren, while Cam’s need for control, connected to a past that is revealed in agonizingly slow bits and pieces, is fierce and clearly defined. Cam is sweet and captivating; Wren is alluring and mysterious. Together they are magic.

Peripheral characters are also well developed and bring added dimension not only to the story, but also to the main characters’ personalities. Interesting roommate and sibling relationships are given ample page time and shed valuable light on the various aspects of Cam and Wren’s natures. Fully fleshed and authentic, these characters help round out the book and work together to create a strong sense of community, their concern for Cam and Wren’s well-being evident and heartfelt.

As tender as it is intense, this new adult m/m romance blends the intoxication of sexual discovery, a captivating touch of the paranormal, and the acute pain and euphoria of newly blossoming relationships into a unique, fascinating gem of a story. It is one that I will definitely be re-visiting and highly recommend…”

So many thanks to PBA for this. I am so happy to hear that people enjoyed Cam, Wren & Co. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll get to go back to their little world…

~*~

Hush on Goodreads
Interlude Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

 

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Welcome to Carlina University

Hush is set in a fictional university, Carlina University, in a suburb of Chicago. One of my favorite parts of creating this location was getting to research and create an inspiration board for what Carlina might look like. I love the look of older buildings and dorms on college campuses (In fact, the one with the snowflake lights is the dorm I lived in when I was in college).

There is something whimsical and lovely about this style of architecture and the beautiful landscapes I found. The midwest in seasonal changes is utterly beautiful. The stunning changing of leaves as fall bustles in with wind and the cold edged winds; the hush created by a snowfall that blankets everything; the heat of waxing summer, shaded by greening of late spring leaves – all of these were things I kept in mind as I put these characters into this world I created.

I love getting to see examples of images authors had in mind when writing, and I thought you all might enjoy seeing what *I* had in mind as I wrote Hush.

carlinainspiration1 carlinainspiration2 carlinainspiration3 carlinainspiration4 carlinainspiration5

Hitting the Highlights!

As my virtual blog tour closes out, I wanted to take an opportunity to thank each blog that hosted me, but also to round up my favorite moments — I had some fun interviews and lovely reviews! Stay tuned at the end of this post for a sneak peek at a new contest I’ll be hosting soon!

Amanda C. Stone’s interview was great! Who would I be as a superhero? (Dame Decisive. I talk about her a little more). Who would be a stripper at my birthday party? If I didn’t die of embarassment, of course the answer would be a tossup between Matt Bomer and Natalie Dormer. There are other great questions, read on for fun answers!

Thanks to MM Good Book Reviews for the following:

“If you like unique characters, a touch of supernatural powers, college kids, coming of age and some very hot man-sex…this is for you.”

Because Two Men Are Better Than One challenged me to think of an invention I’d want at the snap of my fingers and asked me what kind of candy bar I’d be (hint: Sweet, creamy and smooth).

Wicked Faeries and I did a fun interview as well. What do I obsessively snack on when I write? Who is my favorite all time character ever? (Ok, that’s impossible. But I do gush about my love for Lord John Grey here. I even named one of the birds in my tattoo after him!). Also, because I’m weird, I talk about why the heck I love reading a book about Ebola over and over.

Velvet Panic and I discussed my favorite childhood books, how I got into this wonderful world of M/M fic and why I do this!

Check out my interview with Gale Stanley from Wake Up Your Wild Side to read the seriously hilarious story behind finding the title for Hush.

Speaking of titling Hush, The Novel Approach and I talked in depth about the importance of the right title and why it works so well with this story and these characters.

Bayou Book Junkie not only gave me a wonderful review (thank you!) but hosted a Q&A in which I got to talk about the biggest challenges I faced writing a book (balancing my poetic tendencies with prose without pulling back too much is just one aspect) and my all time favorite book (I cheated, there are two!).

Prism Book Alliance challenged the crap out of me by having me list my 10 favorite literary couples! I had to think for days, and then though of more once I turned it in (of course). I did have to think outside the box and redefine couple (lifelong friendship, the moment that changed a life and could have been, etc). Watch out for my obsession with YA. I really do love these couples and highly recommend reading all of these books.

Cate Ashwood hosted me for a Q&A about my writing process, which was really nice to talk about. Revealing that I’m a pantser rather than a plotter wasn’t exactly a plot twist, but I got to give examples of what happens when you pants (the appearance of Peyton, Cam’s twin, which came to me when I was already a third of the way through the book. She was a huge surprise but she’s incredibly important to his story). Also, Pintrest. I love Pintrest. Here’s mine if you want to see board inspirations for the story and also my boys!

BFD Book Blog hosted me for a great Q&A that included my tea recommendations, talk about my crochet fail, and five book recommendations for my readers, which I’m sharing because y’all, these are great books!

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. A book with an intersex protagonist, which I never see, and also a wonderful interweaving of the history of Detroit, which is close to my heart. Beautifully, stunningly written.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I love Young and New Adult books. This book is hilarious and irreverent and spot on. You root for Paul and Noah, you head palm over Paul’s fails, you fall in love with the secondary characters (especially Tony). My favorite of Levithan’s books, although they are all treasures.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. There is no universe in any dimension of existence in which I won’t insist you read this series (yes I cheated a little. Outlander is the first book. It’s a part of a series). I can’t even sum it up – it’s epic. History, a touch of sci-fi,  romance, war, hot sex, men in kilts…

The Chosen by Chaim Potok. Again with the YA! This book has long been one of my favorites. It’s a coming age of story that’s poignant and painful; both in historical context (during and just after World War II) but also in what Danny and Revuen go through as they grow into men. The bedrock of the story – the friendship they develop and their relationship and friendship throughout – is so masterfully done, I still cry when I read it.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. I could go on for years about all the ways in which this book is so much more than people think: the complex themes of creation, religion, responsibility and philosophy. But I won’t. I’ll just kindly urge everyone to read it, ponder it, and read it again. And again.

I enjoyed talking about my inspiration for this book, my amazing cover art, and what’s coming with my next book with Love Bytes Reviews. The highlight for me was talking about my favorite celebration meal: Arepaswhich is a cornmeal-based flatbread. You eat them hot and open them up to make pockets and stuff them with deli meat and cheese (we love to use queso blanco). We only ever have them when my cousins – who are what’s left of my father’s side of the family and the only connection we have with his Venezuelan roots – are in town. My one cousin is a chef and last time we had them he made some amazing sauce with steak and mushrooms and seventy other things that I’d never think to put on them but they were orgasmically good. I loved giving Cam some of my Venezuelan roots, and getting to feed him arepas as well.  That was totally born of my longing for good family food.

Molly Lolly not only gave me a wonderful review (and I appreciate that she got a kick out of  Nate and Cam soxiling each other) but also got a playlist of 10 songs for Hush (if you like them and want to hear the whole playlist, it’s public on my Spotify!). Here are my ten picks:

Dark Horse by Katy Perry
Wild Ones– Sia, Flo Rida
Statues of Ourselves, Semi Precious Weapons
ET – Katy Perry and Kanye West
Map of the Problematique – Muse
Titanium – Sia, David Guetta
Hysteria – Muse
The Perfect Drug– Nine Inch Nails
Sweater Weather – The Neighborhood
Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding.

Speaking of soxiling! If you aren’t familiar, I encourage you to read Hush to find out what exactly it is! I had SO MUCH FUN with it, and with finding pictures of the socks for the boys to send each other. In the next month or so I’d love to host a contest: Sock Saturdays. The winner will get a free copy of my book sent right too them. Stay tuned for more on that!

Big thanks to every blog that hosted me, all the blogs that interviewed and reviewed!

~*~

Hush is currently available for order at Interlude Press, Amazon and other awesome retailers 😀

Reader questions!

I am so excited that my book is out in your hands now, and that you all have questions! I have a new shiny Ask Me Things! button up on the link bar at the top of the page, so if you have any questions, ask away!!

For now, I have a question from a reader (that’s a thrilling phrase!)

Hi Jude – I read and loved your book! I couldn’t put it down. I did have a couple of questions though. I sort of felt like there could be a sequel – do you have any plans for more with Wren and Cam? And also, I sort of felt like Peyton and Cam might have been ‘gifted’ themselves, and maybe Peyton knew but Cam had no idea, which is why she travels so much. Am I reading too much into it? Again, the book is amazing! -Slayerkitty

First of all, thank you so much, I am so glad you liked it!

This book definitely comes to a close at a natural ending point in one arc of Wren and Cam’s lives and relationships. It’s a coming of age story, but the funny thing about coming of age is that, in my experience, it is a thing that slowly happens in waves. And it’s happening to all of the characters in this book. There’s so much of their stories left to tell! I would love to revisit that in the future, and should the time and opportunity present themselves, I’ll definitely be addressing Cam and Peyton’s stories further. For now, I’ll leave you with a hint: the author Q&A at the end of Hush has one, and an invitation to let your imagination take you anywhere you’d like….

 

Virtual Book Tour

With the release of Hush tomorrow, I’ll also be embarking on a two week book tour talking about my book, my writing process, what an awesome weirdo I am…

I’ll be posting links as we go on my twitter account, so come on over! Thanks to Will from Pride Promotions for organizing and making this happen!

booktour

Last week on Hush…

I present this like it’s a tv show recap… alas, not. It is a round up of the sneak peek tweets you might have missed! In 140 characters or less, in no particular order:

~*~

He blushes and she laughs like butterflies storming the room, beautiful and startling.

~*~

Nebraska unfolds as the highway ribbons its way closer to a house filled with an energy Cam once unconsciously freed himself from.

~*~

Running gives him what nothing else in his life has offered: an indescribable feeling he chases as fast and as far as his legs will take him.

~*~

The look is fleeting; just a moment and it is gone, as the focus of the room shifts toward the front. It’s nothing.

Only it’s not.

~*~

His body feels like this beautiful live thing, this glowing presence, perfectly held with Cam all around him…

~*~

He never suspected Cam could be like this, so easy in the aftermath, so open and sensual. Wren can’t remember a time he felt like that.

~*~

“I’m going to make you want things you never thought you would.”

~*~

Hopefully this book will bring you on the journey Wren and Cam go on! I can’t wait to share it with you all starting TOMORROW!!!

Hush is currently available for pre-order at Interlude Press and will be released May 19th. For a chance to win a free copy, head over here!

Meet Wren Allister

“Wren is a wildfire – mobile, blazing and ferocious, hurt and dangerous. He’s closed off and untrusting but kind at his core, careful of others and even more careful of himself. He’s beautiful and loving and experienced but he’s terrified with it.”- Penelope Henson

Wren Allister, what can I say…. Wren was one of those characters that was delicious and heartbreaking to write. To start, Wren is really, really beautiful. If I could coax a character from any book and into my bed…or arms…something — it would be Wren.

Physically, he’s gorgeous. True jet back hair, changeable green eyes, lovely skin. He’s shorter than Cam — about 5’9, which is perfect for me because I’m pretty short.

Wren is a lovely mix of personality traits. He has a playful side; he doesn’t have much opportunity in this book to show it, but you see it in some of his accessories, such as these elephant plugs:

Wren is very sensual, and not just in terms of sex — although his is very confident and comfortable with his sexual self. I had fun decorating his room and apartment with things that were soft and comfortable and comforting, because Wren enjoys these things a lot too. Likewise, I loved dressing Wren, because he dresses, often, exactly how he feels.

Wren is a mystery to Cam throughout most of the book. He’s very careful to only give Cam certain sides of his personality, and to only express his need in very controlled ways. The way he dresses is just one hint of the things he feels that Cam can use to build a concept of who Wren really is.  There are moments when he lets his guard down, or that Cam — who is so naturally observant and watchful — sees, when Wren’s sweetness comes through, despite all of his efforts to hide it. Wren has also experienced heartbreak: the kind that leaves someone with incredible insecurity and a lot of pain. He has a tremendous amount of love to give, and a pile of issues that inform the ways in which he interact with men.

There are many dichotomous ways I could describe Wren for you, but I feel as though Henson captured him so eloquently in the quote above.  For more insight into my characters I could never have put into so few words, you can find her review here.

If you want a glimpse at my Wrenspirations, you can check out my Wren board on pintrest. There’s a lot of fun clothing and some beautiful pictures of the man who was the base look for who Wren became. Much thanks to Pene Henson for the lovely review.


Hush is currently available for pre-order at Interlude Press and will be released May 19th. For a chance to win a free copy, head over here!

Meet Cam Vargas

The boy who stole my heart but confused the fuck out of me while doing it.

Cam is the first character we meet in Hush — he was the first character I wrote, and boy did I fall hard for him. But I didn’t understand him and it took me a long time to figure out why. In the end it seems simple: because he didn’t understand himself. Writing Cam’s journey was an honor and a terrifying responsibility for many reasons. The boy he is at the start of the book is not who he transforms into.

There are two things about Cam that I really wanted to share with you guys today. First, that there were qualities I knew he had from the start that reminded me of my late father. As the book progressed, I really got to help unfold a character who had a very special capability for love and resilience that my father had. People with these qualities – intangible faith in love and caring in all forms — are very special and rare. Because I saw this in Cam, I wanted to give him some of my roots as well, or at least bits of my life and my father’s life. Thinking of my father, and the importance of my heritage, I chose to make Cam’s parents Venezuelan. Cam is born in Nebraska, but his parents were both born in Venezuela. We don’t see a lot of his parents in this book, but I did have an opportunity to share a tiny bit of my own culture in this book that makes me ridiculously happy: when Cam goes home and his mother makes him arepas.

Despite the tensions in his own family, the idea of a family meal steeped in cultural roots was important to me. There was a period of time when I was in high school through post college grad when my Abuela, my uncles, my twin cousins, my sister, my father and I lived together. Sometimes one or two of us were off somewhere, but there was always this sort of core. Some of the best, happiest memories of my life happened over a family meal at my father’s large round dinning room tables. Arepa Sundays were epic — and I suspect a deciding factor for my  husband in wanting to marry in!

In a very short period of time I lost my father, uncle and Abuela. With that, our little family scattered a bit, but whenever we have a chance to see our cousins again, the first thing we plan is an Arepa Sunday (even if it happens to happen on a Thursday). This family tradition was one part of Venezuela that my family held on to, and that we have all carried on with.

It’s a small moment in Hush, but it was put in there with a lot of love!

Aside from delicious food, I do hope you all enjoy meeting Cam. He’s special, he’s a work in progress. He can be dense but is intensely loyal. He’s a wonderful dichotomy of quiet, still waters with a deeply sensual and kind of naughty streak no one, least of all him, suspects.

Until Wren Allister comes into his life.

P.S.: I was going to give you more detailed character stuff, but the squirrel in my got distracted by the talk of food and by all of my feeeeels. Oh well. You can find out all about him in Hush!

~*~

Hush is currently available for pre-order at Interlude Press and will be released May 19th. For a chance to win a free copy, head over here.

Sneak Peek Countdown!!

We are 10 days away from launch, and I’m so excited I’m coming out of my skin!!

Okay no that would be gross. But I am super excited. Trust me!

From now through the 18th, I’ll be treating you all with some sneak peeks of my upcoming novel, Hush.

Are you following my twitter account yet? Because you’ll find some little gems there every day. Following here? Stay tuned for peeks at five characters — Cam, Wren, Nate, Maggie and Nora — who make up the little world of Hush.

Hush is currently available for pre-order at Interlude Press and will be released May 19th. For a chance to win a free copy, head over here!

“A story about two young men coming of age.”

This past weekend I received a wonderful review from one of my advanced readers, and there were some lovely parts that just hit the nail on the head, articulating the things I was aiming for and worked hard for while crafting this story.

At its core, Hush is a story about two young men coming of age and finding themselves….The chemistry is electric. The sex is hot. But growing up and figuring out how to be vulnerable is at the core of the story. And that’s what had me hooked.”

Vulnerability and discovery were definitely core themes in this book, so I am thrilled that I was successful in conveying that.

Additionally, completely selfishly, I got such a kick out of her love for my cast of side characters:

But this book is more than a romance – and part of the reason you get to know these two men so well is a really compelling group of supporting friends. Maggie  – likeable, outgoing, wise, confident, Nate – Cam’s easy, supportive, relationship-reluctant roomie, and Nora – gifted, emotional, easily connected and Wren’s best friend. This gang of friends helps open up both the main characters, and creates a college world of fun and quirky chaos.”

Each of these characters was great fun to write, and I’ve fallen head over heels for them. Leaving them behind when I finished this book was bittersweet.

Watch my blog in the next few weeks for sneak peeks at each of these characters!

Thank you so much to Gleekto for the fabulous review. To read it in it’s entirety, head on over here!