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

Helloooooooo!

::title to be read in the voice of Mrs. Doubtfire:: (if you haven’t watched it, go go go).

I’ve been way remiss here, and I apologize profusely. Life can be so inconvenient always getting in the way of the fun stuff.

Right now there is a lot going on in the background over here in silly Judeland. Things are picking up on project #2, which I am thrilled about. I am very, very excited to share more details on that in the coming weeks and months. Of course, since I don’t like to rest, there’s a tiny prickling in my fingertips which might mean there’s a project #3 on the horizon!

Speaking of fun things on the horizon, I alluded to a new contest that’s coming up in my last post: The Sock-Off.  There will be an official announcement kicking off the contest in the coming days. For now, start hunting down pictures, taking pictures, making, drawing up designs of the most unique, hilarious, out of this world socks. Those will come in handy because the winner of this contest will be receiving a free, signed copy of Hush.

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. You’ll hear a lot more about what it means to be soxiled, as they called it, soon enough.

Need to know all about it now? Lucky for you, Hush is available for purchase in tons of places, ready to be delivered right into your hot little hands!!

Hush currently available for purchase at:

Interlude Press Web Store
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Apple iBookstore
Smashwords
Independent Bookstores

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!

Down the bunny trail, yet again

One of the worst things about being a squirrel is that when something shiny rolls off in the periphery and distracts the ever living crap out of you, something gets dropped. Generally it takes me a while to come down from the ohhh shiny high; sometimes the distraction is sexy enough to hold my attention for a while (by sexy I generally mean intellectually sexy, because I’m about 99% in my head at all times). I am very much like this about writing projects.

Fun ideas come to me often — sometimes in the form of a word or a song. Often those little plot bunnies are interesting enough to warrant a trip down the bunny trail (that sounded really sexy but also maybe the wrong kind of sexy even though it’s not meant to be at all). And rarely, but notably, these little forays reach full on, obsessive levels of shiny object insanity.

One of these plot bunnies took over my life last November during NaNo, and I was lucky-ish that this coincided with edits for Hush — not because that wasn’t it’s own hell, juggling to incredibly different stories at once — but because there were other commitments I could drop. Things like getting ready for the release of a debut novel…

(hint…right now. 24 days and counting WTF how is this my awesome life?)

I managed to close out one phase of writing that story in March, which was great because yay! time to breath. But alas, there are always bright objects in the universe…so yes, right now, I am currently lost in the woods chasing a very wily rabbit, which is incredibly inconvenient timing.

That said, there really isn’t anything shinier (that…doesn’t look like a real word to me…but there’s no wavy red line under it, I’ll tentatively trust you spell checker thing, don’t make me regret it) than what is going on right now…getting ready for a virtual blog tour, finalizing things on Hush, starting to get feedback on Hush that went out to advanced readers. Seeing your book through other peoples eyes is terrifying but also amazing; I will always know each intention behind my story, the arcs, the characters and what motivates them. Other readers will not which can be an anxiety producing concept. However, one of the best things we bring to a table as readers are our own filters. That’s what makes a book you pick up off a shelf and fall in love with yours.

As far as my book goes, I won’t pretend that I don’t hope it finds its way onto that yours shelf of yours.

(that sounded better in my head) (just run with it) (or as I like to do, run away with it)

– J

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!