Question Day!!

So it’s been a while since I’ve interacted with y’all, and I didn’t want my silence over the past few months to strike fear into your hearts that I am fading away! I am so here. And I’d love to chat. Answer questions. Talk it up. We can chat about Hush, for those of you who read it over the summer or recently, or anyone who has burning questions (I know some of y’all do!), or about What It Takes, which I am SO FREAKING EXCITED TO TALK ABOUT AND HAVE Y’ALL READ.

Also, I want to give a super big shout out to Buckeygrrl Designs for my banner. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I have a little Ask Me tab at the top of my blog at all times, but in case you don’t want to scroll up, here ya go!

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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….

 

Who is This Squirrel Though?

By now you might be asking yourself, who is this lady claiming she’s a flighty woodland creature? I could do the usual Q & A here, but I thought it might be more fun, and informative to do a sort of different one. So, here ya go. Five things about me you never knew you were dying to know!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an epidemiologist and I wanted to study viral hemorrhagic fevers, specifically filoviruses like Ebola. When I was about 13 I was OBSESSED with reading books on outbreaks — I think I’ve read William Close’s Ebola at least 20 times. I kind of want to read it again now that I’m talking about it. I felt like I went through an *experience* reading about those poor Flemish nuns.

We can thank patriarchy for this not coming true — at some point I did some research, read that it was very hard for women to get jobs in this field, convinced myself I was not smart enough and that I’d never make it anyway because I’m a woman. (Once I hit my late twenties, I realized this is patently untrue and had a small moment of mourning for all the time in my late teens and early twenties spent buying into this crap).

What would we find under your bed? 

Two battered storage totes containing file folders with old paperwork such as paychecks, over a years worth of printouts detailing finances from my early marital years, letters sent and received in my teen years, a few knick knacks from my room when I was a kid, random cords to electronics we probably no longer own, lots and lots and lots of dust bunnies and socks. The only monster under there is regret that I lost the computer files with the templates for those spreadsheets because they were fucking complicated and awesomely detailed.

Have you ever eaten a crayon?

To the best of my knowledge no. But thanks to the friends episode where Monica, Chandler, Joey and Pheobe get stuck in Monica’s room while Ross and Rachel break up, I feel like I’ve been assured that if they could eat the leg wax, I might be able to eat a crayon if I absolutely needed to. I’m not sure I should use a 90’s sitcom as a reference point, but eh. I’m gonna.

What was the scariest moment of your life? 

Hold on to your hats for this story m’kay?

When I was eight (my sister was ten), we went to visit our grandma who lived in Pennsylvania. We flew alone (you know, with all the paper work for minors flying in this folder around my sister’s neck). For the second half of the flight, we were in one of those tiny puddle jumper type planes (IDK that’s what we call them).

So we’re getting close to the airport, only there’s a really bad storm and the pilot has to circle for a while waiting for it to pass. Okay, now I’m not a pilot and I was 8, so what I remember was that at some point he decided to go for it, I have no idea why. So we’re descending when the airplane hits an air pocket and begins to fall out of the sky. People hit their heads on the roof of the plane and were bleeding, luggage went flying, I saw my tiny life flash before my eyes. Luckily the pilot manages to like, shoot us upward and not kill us and then has to fly at an airport in Maryland because of potential damage to the plane.

Okay, so that’s only HALF of the story. Above is the part that was terrifying to my 8 yo self. Below is the part that as an adult with kids, I cannot believe actually happened and ended well.

We’re sitting around in this random airport when they decide we cannot get back on the tiny plane due to actual damage, and there aren’t any other flights. It’s just my sister and I, and as some point the airport people began to kind of lose interest in figuring out what to do with us. We’re sitting next to a nice woman who has been keeping us company. I’m guessing at this point that all the adult passengers have been solving their own transport problems — many of them decided to take taxis or something to get to the other airport. Nice lady decides to offer to carpool with us, and then a random priest asks if he can come too and of course, the more strangers the merrier right? So yeah, they stick us in a car with them. THEY DO NOT INFORM MY GRANDMOTHER, WHO IS TEARING AROUND HER AIRPORT TERRIFYING PEOPLE WITH HER WRATH.

Like, they had no idea we had been put in a car with total strangers and driven off.

Thank goodness this lady and priest turned out to be actual honorable humans to did deliver their payload (us) into my grandmothers arms.

Oh man, if I was any adult in charge in that situation, I would fear for my life in the face of my grandmother’s ire.

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? This questing feels a little like a let down after that last story, but I thought I should include an actual authorly question in here!

Yes. I don’t really think about genre when I have a story to tell. What the story wants, it gets. Hush is unusual for me only because it’s the first paranormal book I’ve written — I do tend toward real world romance. But I’ve written YA, dystopian future (that was fun, that had a poly romance and I loved writing that so much).

Are you feeling a burning desire to know more? Ask away 😀

My first novel, Hush is currently available for pre-sale at Interlude Press.