Friday, September 20, 2013

BIG NEWS! New cover, new name and new anthology!

I was putting on lipstick when the idea for Catching Liam popped into my head. I've always loved contemporary novels, but I was scared to write one myself but the story wouldn't leave me alone. So I called my agent who generally supports my insanity and pitched it to her. She enthusiastically told me to go for it, and so I set out to become a hybrid author.

When I first published Catching Liam I decided to use the pen name Sophia Bleu, because I didn't want readers to go in expecting science fiction and get a steamy coming-of-age story. It was never a secret and at some point juggling a pen name became a bit of a chore, so I sat down and thought about all the pros and cons of keeping the two separate.  My agent and I spoke and we both agreed that it was time to rebrand everything under my name. No small feat!

New Adult is a fledgling category in some ways, but a category a lot of authors feel drawn to.  Some people think that authors do it for the money or because it's a fad, but I think its because we have stories to tell about adults facing their first big life decisions. That's why I started writing Catching Liam. I'm excited about the New Adult genre, and I hope you are, too.

Make no mistake my New Adult books have mature content in them, but they also are about friendship, decisions, and growing up. So to celebrate I'm sharing my brand new, never before seen cover for my upcoming release TEACHING ROMAN.  This time with my name on it.

Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective. So when she receives a call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to Mexico for some fun in the sun.

Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn't plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she's been crushing on for a year. When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.

Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallarta, especially not a former student. Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However, the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.

But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.

As you might guess this blog will be going away soon, so make sure that you head over to to stay up-to-date!

I'm giving away a copy of her first New Adult title CATCHING LIAM to 3 readers!

Twenty-one year-old Jillian Nichols only has one rule when it comes to boys: catch and release. Boy-catching isn't just a game for Jillian and her friends, it's a lifestyle. After all, boys might be good for a dance or a drink and certainly a little under-cover action of the scandalous variety, but expect much else and you're bound for heart ache.

So when her best friends and fellow boy catchers start dropping like flies junior year, Jillian is determined to keep boys in her bedroom and out of her heart. Until she meets Liam McAvoy, the kind of guy that sticks around to make waffles and who can't—or perhaps won't—take a hint. 

Study abroad student Liam doesn't want to be another notch on Jillian's bedpost. Actually he has much more interesting ideas for Jillian and her bedposts, but his student visa's set expiration date means he can't promise her forever. That doesn't mean he's going to walk away from the challenge of discovering why Jillian is hell-bent at keeping people at a distance. 

Before long, neither is sure who is catching who—or if they're playing for keeps. Jillian knows one thing though: falling in love will not only break the only rule of boy-catching, it could also break her heart.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I can finally announce that I'll be in the upcoming anthology Fifty First Times with my friends Jen Armentrout, Julie Cross, Lyla Payne, and more!  It's going to be epic!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Why I'm delaying TEACHING ROMAN

 After several nights of lost sleep, I have decided to delay the release of Teaching Roman. This wasn't a decision I took lightly, but ultimately I feel it's the best decision for myself and you all. As with most of my books, Teaching Roman's story took some surprise turns while I was writing it. My characters always have minds of their own and sometimes this leads the story in unexpected directions (and boy, did Jess and Roman surprise me). 

At some point I realized that the only way to do the story justice given the scope of the narrative was to give myself more time with it. Given that the blog tour was already planned and lots of lovely people had signed up, I've spent the last few days trying to expedite the process. However after reading a very moving review of Catching Liam, I realized I was unwilling to rush through writing Teaching Roman just to meet an arbitrary deadline. I want the final product to be something I'm proud of, so my first concern needs to be writing the best book possible. I couldn't bring myself to half-ass Jess's story, and I know you'll understand that.

As most of you know, my alter ego has another book coming out in October, so right now I'm not setting a new release date for Teaching Roman (although I'm 99% sure it will be 2013 and hopefully sooner rather than later). The whole point in delaying is to allow me to really flesh out this story, and I'm afraid the only thing that can accomplish that is time. It's entirely possible I could pub the book in October, but I don't want to make promises that I'm not sure I can keep. I feel badly enough about this delay.

I do hope you'll all understand.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The trouble with happily ever after...

Ever heard the term HEA?  I hadn't either until I started writing romance novels.  It's a handy acronym that stands for Happily Ever After, and it's been standard fare in the romance novel genre for a long time.  Growing up on a steady stream of romance tucked into other genres, I'd never heard of this requirement.  After all, happily ever afters are the stuff of fairytales, right?

I wasn't too worried about it since all of my Good Girls Don't novels end with the lead character cozied up with her new love.  Happily ever after.

Except not quite.

Apparently this is an HFN. A happily for now.

I see the difference I really do, but I'm also a little confused.  Now I get the appeal of the first comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage storyline.  After all I grew up on Anne of Green Gables and devoured Twilight back in the day.  There's something lovely about settling in with a couple and watching their life progress.  And there's always going to be a place for those stories. Hell, anyone read 50 Shades?

What bothers me is the idea of  New Adult romance and HEA.  Are we really going to make HEA a requirement for our 19-23 year old characters while they're navigating school, finances, real jobs, and all that grown up stuff?

And furthermore, aren't all HEAs for now anyway?  When we close books, we shut our window into their lives.  Maybe Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth discovered it was harder than they thought to see past their prides and prejudices.  Or Bella discovered forever was a really, really long time.  I want to believe in true love as much as anyone, but I always want to respect that it's not always a smooth path.  Happily ever afters are too nice and easy.  Our characters deserve a little more than that.  They serve real lives and real loves with all the heartache and joy and time in between.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

teaching roman cover reveal!

It's here! It's here!  

The cover for TEACHING ROMAN!

This is Jess's story and so far I can tell you that it's smokin' hot.  Suffice it to say that Jess and Roman making being bad feel soooooo good.

Want to see it?  Yeah, that's what I thought.

Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring
boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective.  So when she receives a
call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches
her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to
Mexico for some fun in the sun.
      Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn't plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she's been crushing on for a year.  When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.
     Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallerta, especially not a former student.  Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However,the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.
     But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they
anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

WHICH NA UNIVERSITY is right for you?

Do you love reading literature set in college? Ever wondered what it would be like to attend one of the universities you read about? Well, wonder no more! Hop over here and take the Your NA University Quiz and find out!
I'm sure you'll all be Olympic State Vikings!
If you take the quiz and record your results in their comments over the next week, you’ll be entered to win an AWESOME back to college prize pack and $100 bookstore gift card – and if you ARE a Viking, I'll be happy to send you your own awesome swag pack.
Click the graphic below to head over to the Your NA University page to learn more, and leave a message below or on twitter if you're a VIKING and I'll send your special prize!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Letters to Nowhere Guest Post: Julie Cross shares gymnast inspirations

Today Julie Cross stopped by the blog to share some of the gymnasts that inspired her characters in Letters to Nowhere.  First of all, can you believe these girls can do this?  Secondly, can you believe JULIE can do this?  I can't even touch my toes.

Karen's oldest teammate Stevie is most closely compared to gymnast, Mattie Larson

Karen's teammate and bff, Blair reminds me of dare devil and taller-than-average gymnast and 1996

Karen's youngest teammate, Ellen is the spitting image of a young Dominique Moceanu

 And Karen, to me, is probably closest to 2012 Olympian McKayla Maroney except with a little more red in her hair. She even does McKayla's famous vault

 And of course, I have to add a little bit of the boy to this post. When Falling Skies actor, Connor Jessup had his big body morphing moment where he went from geeky boy to super hot stuff last summer, I was writing LtN and I just knew he was my Jordan Bentley. Just ignore know, guns and aliens and stuff:  

 About the Book

Her family may be shattered, but her dreams aren't...

From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest series

A Mature YA contemporary set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics. Grief, love and pursuing dreams are at the forefront of this emotionally powerful coming-of-age story.

Seventeen year old Karen Campbell has just lost both her parents in a tragic car accident. Grief stricken and alone, her gymnastics coach opens his home to Karen, providing her a place to live while she continues to train, working toward a spot on the world championship team.

Coach Bentley’s only child, seventeen year old Jordan is good-looking and charming enough to scare away a girl like Karen—someone who has spent ten times more hours on balance beams and uneven bars than talking or even thinking about boys. But the two teens share a special connection almost immediately. It turns out Jordan has a tragic past of his own, grief buried for years.

As Karen’s gymnastics career soars, her nightmares and visions of the horrible accident grow in strength. She can only avoid facing her grief for so long before it begins to surface and ultimately spin out of control in a very dangerous way. Can discovering love and lust (simultaneously) help with the grieving process or will it only provide a temporary distraction while waiting for reality to hit full force.

About Julie

I live in central Illinois with my wonderful husband and three kids currently between the ages of 7 and 12 (the kids not the husband). My writing journey began in May, 2009 with a short story in a notebook.

Within a year, I had written seven (some good some God-awful) young adult novels. Not being a college graduate and having spent the previous fifteen years teaching gymnastics and working as a YMCA Program Director for Recreational Gymnastics, professional writing wasn't in my plans. Not even close. But ever since the day I started that short story, I haven't been able to stop. It was love at first sight.

After about a year of writing, I had a three book deal with St. Martin's Press, and a film option with Summit Entertainment. Crazy, right? I know. It wasn't until August of 2011 that I quit working full time in order to be at home with my kids more and of course, write more. My young adult time travel debut novel, Tempest, released on January 17, 2012. The rest of my personal story remains unwritten.

Goodreads Letters To Nowhere:
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Wish you were here!

I'm currently typing away on Teaching Roman with this as my view. Wish you were here!