Monday, March 31, 2014

FLESH AND BONE by Lee Strauss

Introducing  Flesh & Bone
(The Minstrel Series #2)

She can’t remember. He can’t forget.

Eva Baumann is invisible. Sebastian Weiss is famous. In a perfect world Eva would be fearless and Sebastian would be guiltless.

It’s not a perfect world.

Another amazing cover by the very talented Steven Novak of Steven Novak Designs!

The Minstrel Series is a collection of contemporary romance novels set in the singer/songwriter world. The books are companion novels, with shared settings and characters, but each is a complete stand-alone story with a HEA (happily ever after) and no cliffhangers!

FLESH & BONE INCLUDES MORE GREAT ORGINAL MUSIC MP3s! The Music for Flesh & Bone is amazing! View it here.

Haven't read #1 Sun & Moon? Get it here:
Barnes and Noble |
Kobo| iTunes | Amazon World

EXCERPT of Flesh & Bone - read to the end and enter to WIN a $20.00 Amazon gift card and songs!

The Scars They See
Gabriele had dared her to do this. “Just walk in, sign your name, and play a song for heaven's sake.” It was easy for her to say. Eva Baumann's sister didn't understand what it was like to be afraid. What it was like to be invisible. Gabriele oozed confidence, tall and lithe like a runway model, lighting up every room she entered. She was pretty, talented, smart.

And not handicapped.

Eva eyed the graffiti-marred entrance of the Blue Note Pub and watched as other musicians and-patrons strolled into the darkened room. Music pumping from the sound system escaped into the narrow corridor of four-story stone buildings every time the heavy wooden door opened and closed. Eva carefully set down her guitar case and rested her hand over her chest, willing her heartbeat to slow. The muscle pulsed erratically, and her stomach wanted to dry heave.

Eva gripped her cane with white knuckles. She'd learned to master the uneven sidewalks with careful steps, but the cobblestones were still a nemesis, especially in colder months like March. The tip of her cane had to center on a stone, otherwise she could lose her balance and fall. It was necessary to wait for a break in traffic or to continue to the corner for a walk light before daring to cross the street.

She took a deep breath. She could do this. This was just an irrational fear—not real. Nothing bad would happen to her in that room. It was filled with people who loved music as much as she did. It was loud and crowded and dark, and no one would expect her to talk. When they called her name, she'd focus on the small stage, blocking out everyone in the room out until she safely stepped up. Then she'd just close her eyes and pretend she was at the street church playing to the people who came for the soup they provided.

She could do this.

A cold wind blew hair across Eva's face, and she snapped to attention just as the little green man flashed on to indicate it was safe to walk. She lumbered across with a guitar in her left hand and her cane in her right. The weight of her instrument pulled her shoulders forward, her back arching slightly under her winter jacket. She caught her reflection in a store window and frowned. She looked like a crazy, old lady, not a nineteen-year-old girl.

Eva tucked her cane under her left armpit and reached for the door. It swung open sharply, a patron had exited at the same moment, and she was shoved against the wall, nearly losing her balance.

“Excuse me,” the guy said. He held the door open, waiting for her to go in. She wanted to turn around and head straight home, but the guy's eyes stayed on her, waiting. The cold air whooshed inside.

It would be impolite not to pass through. “Thank you,” she said softly. She leaned on her cane and entered. She'd been to the Blue Note before. Gabriele and her British boyfriend Lennon Smith had dragged her out one night, so she knew what to expect. There was a bar to the right and table seating to the left. A poster on the wall read: “If you want to chat with your pals while the band is playing, take your conversation outside.” The air smelled of beer and cigarette smoke clinging to damp wool jackets. At the back of the room was a small stage lit by two lights hanging from the ceiling.

Her stomach churned, and once again she questioned herself. Why had she come? What did she have to prove? Why did she care so much what Gabriele thought? She stared back at the door.

“Hello, ma Cherie. Would you like to sign your name?”

The gruff yet friendly voice stopped Eva before she could leave. She knew the manager, Herr Maurice Leduc, by reputation, but had never spoken to him before. “I don't know,” she answered.

“Well—” His eyes darted to the guitar in her hand. “I just thought since you lugged that thing in with you.” He pushed the sign-up sheet closer.

Eva didn't have the heart to deny the man. She took the pen and scribbled her name.

“Wonderful,” Herr Leduc said with a sincere grin that filled a round face. “I look forward to hearing you play...” he glanced down at his sheet, “Eva Baumann.”

The room consisted of a lot of wood. Tables, chairs, benches and floors—all darkly stained, old wood. Even the ceiling had rough, open wood beams. Eva claimed a nearby empty chair and breathed in and out, long and slow. She was here. She'd done it. Wait until she told Gabriele. Wouldn't she be surprised?

A server arrived, and Eva ordered a cola. The other people who shared the long table gave her sideways glances at her childish drink and cheered each other as they lifted their beer glasses.

Herr Leduc walked on stage and welcomed everyone. He called the first act, a girl with long, golden hair, he introduced as Katja Stoltz.

Eva listened intently impressed with the girl's talent and the way she took over the stage like she owned it. That was what Eva needed to do. Own it.

The girl finished her song, and after much-deserved applause, she joined her friends at a table across the room. A guy in his early twenties with a peacock tattoo along one arm stood to give Katja Stoltz a hug. He had messy, dark brown hair and bristles on his face, like he hadn’t shaven in a few days. He laughed and high-fived her before sitting and draping the peacock around a thin girl with spiky hair.

A shiver ran up Eva's back. She recognized that guy. Last summer, when she was playing guitar for the homeless, many of them had raised their hands to God in praise. The outside metal blinds had been raised, they always were when the church was open, and a group of guys had stopped to watch from across the street. They began to laugh and then threw their arms in the air, mocking the people worshiping inside.

That was the first time Eva had seen that peacock tattoo, and she'd never forget the laughing face of the handsome boy who went with it.

Her short-lived confidence shriveled at the thought of being the guy's next target. Oh, why did she come? She'd leave right now if she thought she could do it without making a scene. The room had filled, and there was no way she could slip out unnoticed with her guitar and her cane.

She sipped her cola and kept her eyes focused on each act as it was called. Every time Herr Leduc stepped to the mic to call a name, Eva’s heart filled with nervous dread and emptied with a flush of relief when she didn't hear hers.

“Sebastian Weiss,” Herr Leduc said.

The guy with the peacock tattoo hooted, shifted out from behind his table and grabbed his guitar.

So that was his name.

He hopped onto the stage and strapped on a guitar with an over-confidence Eva envied. She wanted him to be terrible so that she could add self-delusion to his other obvious traits of conceit and insensitivity, but unfortunately he wasn't. His voice was smooth and strong, and he had great range.

She also happened to notice the flex in his biceps that poked out of the short sleeves of his dark T-shirt and how his jeans fit nicely on slender hips.

He finished his song and fisted the air like he just won a boxing match. The audience went crazy. Eva couldn't help but join in the applause. Something about Sebastian was electric. His aura and competence, his popularity—she couldn't peel her eyes off him. His arm returned to its position around the girl beside him who hadn't smiled once. Such a contrast to Sebastian who couldn't stop smiling. He seemed quite taken by the pixie girl and kissed her excitedly on the cheek.

“Eva Baumann.”

What? Eva had been so busy watching the table of cool people, she hadn't been paying attention.

Herr Leduc's accented German bellowed again. “Eva Baumann.”

Eva's heart stopped. Then raced. Her hands broke out into a sweat, and she blinked back the tears welling up behind her eyes, which were opened far too wide. Her head prickled hotly, and she swallowed hard. She could sense the attention of the room, necks craning, everyone searching, waiting for the next act to stand.

Herr Leduc stared at her, and all she could do was shake her head. He gave her a gracious nod and called the next name.

A girl with short, dark hair bounced out of her seat, and within seconds Eva was forgotten. She took advantage of the swirl of commotion that occurred between acts, grabbing her guitar and cane, and limped to the entrance.

It was a terrible mistake to come, she thought as she hobbled down the crusty street. She kept her head bowed low against the cold, and gripped her guitar case and her cane. If she'd had a third hand, she'd swipe at the bitter tear that slid down her cheek.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Is Enough For Me

Okay, so I've been doing a lot of thinking and working, and working and thinking about publishing. I always seem to, and I always seem to find some new light or think of something in a new way. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this anymore, but I still am!

So I have traditionally published a series with Simon & Schuster. I enjoyed the experience, and I like working with an agent to sell my books to bigger publishers. I am hoping for future sales in this market. In fact, I just turned in a novel last week that I hope is "the one!"

Additionally, I have begun a journey into self-publishing. I have enjoyed it too. There are things I can do with my self-published titles that I can't with my S&S titles. Marketing, playing with price, and buying ads are the biggest things I've noticed so far.

I've also been networking and hob-nobbing with some Indie authors. They are fun people, and very determined and hard-working. I've also noticed--and it's all coming from ME, not THEM--this need to constantly be selling my books.

I've felt this pressure since self-publishing. Not from other authors, but in general. I've realized that I don't like it.

Selling books is not why I write books. I have no grand illusions of making a million dollars. I don't write to make money. I don't want that to be the focus of my writing.

But I've struggled with this, because the amount of money you make nearly determines your success or worth in almost any field, publishing included.

This thought of writing because I love it, and publishing because, for me, it's a needed process that comes with writing has been re-iterated this past weekend. I want to share my work with readers--hopefully readers that will love the stories I write as much as I do.

To me, that is the purpose and goal of my writing. It's also why I publish. I've been having a hard time identifying what would be "enough" for me. More money? I already knew I wasn't writing for money. But what is it? What drives me to write and publish? What is enough?

I think I've identified at least one piece of this perplexing puzzle. The reader connection. See, I got a review from The Deseret News, which is one of the big newspapers in Salt Lake City. The reviewer loved ELEVATED. She connected to it. She got out of it what I got out of it. She read and loved what I wrote and loved.

She said, in part: "It is easy to flow from the first word to the last without ever putting down the book. Johnson shows outstanding talent in this form, and her words are beautiful, important and deeply felt." (You can read the whole review here.)

It was a magical moment. It's like the reader and the author experiencing, breathing, and existing in the same space for the time it takes to read the book.

And that, I realized, is enough for me.

What do you think would be enough for you?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Secrets of a Self-Publisher

Okay, I feel like Anne Burrell or something. You know her show on Food Network, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef? Or maybe I'm the only one who watches copious amounts of Food Network and HGTV...


So I recently self-published a book. It was a very interesting experience for me, already having gone through the traditional publishing process for numerous works. There are a plethora of differences between the two processes, and there are a multitude of similarities too. 

I think the biggest difference is the speed. Traditional publishing seems to take a long time, but the author has to handle very few of the details. You don't have to make (or contract for) a cover; you don't have to pay for editing (in fact, you get paid to do the editing!); you don't have to choose a release date; you don't have to worry about formatting the ebooks, or figuring out how to put them up on the retail sites. You basically get to write and edit -- and the business stuff is left to the publisher.

This can be both good and bad. I, personally, had a pretty good experience. I know others who have had a less fun experience. 

I also have had a good experience learning all of the above things about self-publishing. It is a steep learning curve, don't get me wrong, but I enjoy learning the technical aspects of formatting, and I already know quite a bit of HTML. 

I think the secret to self-publishing is understanding that it's not easier, it's not better, it's not worse, and it's not exclusive. 

Let me explain:

Self-publishing is not easy: It takes a lot of work to get a book into publishable state. Anyone who's ever written a book knows this. Self-publishers should spend as much time editing and proofreading their books as they do writing them. Things happen in formatting that might mess things up. 

For example, I am terrible at design. I can't decorate my house. I don't see balance or white space, or understand composition in visual art. Any cover I make is sure to be a disaster. I understand and admit this weakness -- and I think sometimes self-publishers refuse to admit any weaknesses.  

So I hired a professional to create my cover. 

I personally believe that authors grow and improve through professional editing. I have worked with 3 different professional editors through Simon & Schuster, and I have worked with 2 editorial, professional agents. I worked with a new editor for ELEVATED. I have learned something new from every single professional agent or editor I've worked with. 

Secret: If you're a self-publisher and you skip the "professional editing" stage, you're making a huge mistake. 

And editing isn't the only thing you should do. After you do a content edit (or 2 or 3!), you need a copy editor. And after that, you need a proofreader. You cannot be the copy editor or proofreader. It is my opinion that you must hire these things out, or at least ask beta readers to do them for you. 

This is the process of traditional publishing, and self-publishers should embrace the same level of quality in their work. 

For ELEVATED, I hired a professional copyeditor, and I farmed out proofreading to betas. There were still mistakes, even after multiple readers. (I will never name a character Honesty again! Different story for a different day.)

Self-publishing is not better or worse than other methods of publishing: I know there's still a stigma out there about it, and I wish it would go away. I have read a lot of books in my life, self-published, small press published, and "Big 5" published. Some of them I absolutely loved. Some I couldn't finish. Some I finished, but I didn't like. Some of the most popular books out there I did not like, because reading is so subjective.

I recently listened to an editor speak, and she said that she doesn't want to read the "self-publishing slush pile" and that traditional publishing allows readers to be able to avoid that slush pile too. 

I think she's totally wrong. ALL books go into a reader's slush pile. Most readers don't understand the difference between big or small publishers, or the many imprints at those publishers, or Indie publishers. 

They see a book with a cover and back cover copy. ALL books should strive to have the best cover possible, and the most professional cover copy possible. If a book looks good, fits a genre a reader likes, and sounds interesting, a reader doesn't care where it's coming from. 

Secret: ALL books are in one giant slush pile, hoping to be noticed above the one sitting on the shelf next to it. At least for readers. 

So it's my opinion that self-publishing isn't better or worse than any other form of publishing. For me, I used self-publishing as a way to continue to further my craft, as well as achieve a sense of forward momentum in my career -- a drawback of the traditional market (again, in my opinion). 

Self-publishing is not exclusive: Anyone can do it! The real question is whether you're ready or not. I'm of the opinion that everything that a traditional publisher does, a self-publisher should endeavor to replicate. That means hiring professionals to do things by being honest with yourself about your skill set.

After that, I think we should focus on buying, reading, and talking about books we think we'll like, both as authors and readers. Publishing is not as exclusive as it used to be, and I actually think that is a very good thing. 

Secret: There are tools for readers to use to gauge whether they'll like a book or not, and the publisher is only one very small piece of that. 

What do you think? Am I way off-base? Or somewhat rational?

Friday, March 7, 2014


Dude, I'm so excited today! One of my good friends, Jessie Humphries, gets to reveal her cover today! Her debut YA novel is called KILLING RUBY ROSE, and it's coming out from Amazon Children's Publishing/Skyscape in May.

And the cover is finally ready to be released! I've seen it through several versions, and it is KILLER (see what I did there?)! I've also read the book, and believe me when I say you're going to love it.

Let's first see what KILLING RUBY ROSE is about: In sunny southern California, Ruby Rose is known for her killer looks and her killer SAT scores. But ever since her dad, an LAPD SWAT sergeant, died six months ago, she’s also got a few killer secrets.

To cope with her father’s death, Ruby has been trying to stay focused on school (the top spot in her class is on the line) and spending time with friends (her Jimmy Choos and Mahnolo Blahniks are nothing if not loyal), but after months of therapy and more than a few months of pathetic parenting by her mom, District Attorney Jane Rose, Ruby decides to pick up where her dad left off and starts going after the bad guys herself.

But when Ruby ends up killing a murderer in defense of another, she discovers that she’s gone from being the huntress to the hunted. There’s a sick mastermind at play, and he has Ruby in his sights. Ruby must discover who’s using her to implement twisted justice before she ends up changing Valentino red for prison orange.

With a gun named Smith, a talent for martial arts, and a boyfriend with eyes to die for, Ruby is ready to face the worst. And if a girl’s forced to kill, won’t the guilt sit more easily in a pair of Prada peep-toe pumps?

See what I mean? You definitely want to pre-order the book and add it to your Goodreads list NOW.

And here's the beautiful cover!

Isn't she fabulous! I absolutely love the sunsetty colors, and the sort of puppetty girl, and the large font, and the two R's at the bottom for the series. I think it's a slam dunk in every sense!

To celebrate the reveal of the KILLING RUBY ROSE cover, Jessie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Enter in the Rafflecopter below.

About Jessie Humphries: Jessie Humphries was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. She received a BA from San Diego State University, where she cultivated her love of the beach, then lived in France, where she cultivated her weakness for shoes, and finally earned a law degree from UNLV, where she cultivated her interest in justice. After practicing law for several years she began writing, and, appropriately, her debut novel Killing Ruby Rose is a thriller about vigilante justice set in sunny southern California with a shoe-obsessed protagonist. Jessie currently writes and practices law in Las Vegas, where she lives with her husband and children.

Find her online:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Goodreads | Tumblr

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What do you think of the cover??

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

GCC: Fast Fiction by Denise Jaden

Rather than doing a traditional interview-filled blog tour, Denise Jaden is celebrating the release of her new nonfiction writing book, FAST FICTION, by dropping tips about writing quickly at every stop of her blog tour, and offering some awesome prizes for commenting on any of these posts (including this one!)

The more you drop by and comment, the more chances you have to win these great prizes:

Denise's Fast Fiction Tip: Pare down ideas, themes, and settings to easy-glimpse sentences.

Fast Fiction, The Twitter Version: Fast Fiction in 3 parts: A guide to brainstorming and plotting a loose outline, daily inspirations to keep you writing, and revision tips.

I love coming up with The Twitter Version of any book, because part of what I do in Fast Fiction is continually try to encourage to pare down ideas and themes and settings and characters into easy-glimpse sentences. Part of evaluating at a book’s commercial potential is looking at the one-sentence “pitch” or logline, and seeing how strong and compelling that is.

Don't know where to start with this? Try coming up with an adjective to describe your main character, and an obstacle which he or she will be up against. How will your main character overcome that obstacle, and more importantly, how will that change him or her? Now try to fit that information all into one sentence.

The Prizes:

  • Compliments of New World Library: They will be giving away A BOX of copies of FAST FICTION by Denise Jaden and GET IT DONE by Sam Bennett (US and Canada only):

  • Compliments of Denise Jaden, TWO BOXES of great fiction (US Only). Details on Denise's blog.

  • Audiobook copies of NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden!

  • A critique of your first five pages, compliments of Denise's agent, Michelle Humphrey from The Martha Kaplan Agency!

  • All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win (at the bottom of this post, I've included links to all of the other blogs where you can comment for more chances to win).

    About Fast Fiction:

    Writers flock to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November because it provides a procrastination-busting deadline. But only a fraction of the participants meet their goal. Denise Jaden was part of that fraction, writing first drafts of her two published young adult novels during NaNoWriMo. In Fast Fiction, she shows other writers how to do what she did, step-by-step, writer to writer. Her process starts with a prep period for thinking through plot, theme, characters, and setting. Then Jaden provides day-by-day coaching for the thirty-day drafting period. Finally, her revision tips help writers turn merely workable drafts into compelling and publishable novels.

    A portion of publisher proceeds will be donated to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

    Praise for Fast Fiction:

    “Fast Fiction is filled with stellar advice, solid-gold tips, and doable, practical exercises for all writers who want to draft a complete novel.” — Melissa Walker, author of Violet on the Runway

    “Being a ‘pantser’ I have always resisted outlining, but I have to say that Fast Fiction changed my mind! Denise Jaden takes what I find to be a scary process (outlining) and makes it into an easy and, dare I say, enjoyable one. Fast Fiction is a hands-on book that asks the right questions to get your mind and your story flowing. I know I’ll be using Fast Fiction over and over again. Highly recommended for fiction writers! — Janet Gurtler, author of RITA Award finalist I’m Not Her

    “Fast Fiction is full of strategies and insights that will inspire and motivate writers of every experience level — and best of all, it provides them with a solid plan to quickly complete the first draft of their next novel.” — Mindi Scott, author of Freefall

    “Fast Fiction provides writers with the perfect mix of practical guidance and the kick in the pants they need to finish that draft. This book is a must-have for writers of all levels.” — Eileen Cook, author of The Almost Truth

    Practical and down-to-earth, Denise Jaden’s Fast Fiction makes a one-month draft seem doable, even for beginners, any month of the year.” — Jennifer Echols, author of Endless Summer and Playing Dirty

    “One of the greatest challenges any writer faces is getting a great idea out of one’s brain and onto the page. Fast Fiction breaks that process down into concrete, manageable steps, each accompanied by Denise Jaden’s sage advice and enthusiastic encouragement. And anything that helps streamline the drafting process is a-okay by me! Fast Fiction is a great addition to any writer’s toolbox — I’ve got it in mine!” — Catherine Knutsson, author of Shadows Cast by Stars

    “Forget the fact that this resource is directed at those wanting to complete a fast draft — if you’re out to get your novel done, period, Jaden’s Fast Fiction will be the kick in the butt that gets you there, from story plan to ‘The End’. . . and beyond.” — Judith Graves, author of the Skinned series for young adults

    Where you can find Fast Fiction:

    New World Library  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  IndieBound  |  GoodReads

    Help an author out:

    Can't get a copy of FAST FICTION right now? I wonder if you'd consider helping out in other ways. I'd really appreciate any way that you can help!

    • Ask your library or bookstore to bring in FAST FICTION
    • Leave a review on Amazon (the more books are reviewed on Amazon, the more they will show up as suggestions for readers).
    • Mention FAST FICTION on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or pin a link to Amazon on Pinterest

    Blog Tour Stops:

    Comment on any of the following blog posts celebrating Fast Fiction's release to be entered to win prizes galore!

    (All Fast Fiction blog posts should be live by March 9th, or sooner. Contest will be open until March 15th. Stop by Denise's blog for updated links.)

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    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Interview with Author Bethany Wiggins

    Okay, so I am so excited to have my good friend and amazing author, Bethany Wiggins, on the blog today! I've known Bethany for what feels like forever, and I've read a lot of her work. I loved STUNG, and I'm super-excited that CURED -- the sequel -- will be out tomorrow!

    Bethany was awesome enough to answer some questions for me, but first, let's look at CURED. (Isn't that cover Ah-may-zing??! Answer: yes!)

    About CURED: Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way--until they are attacked by raiders.

    Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family — details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life.

    So let's get to the good stuff!

    1. So CURED is the second book. Tell us what we need to remember from STUNG to be ready to read.
    Fiona wakes up with four years of her memory erased, her brother a beast, her father dead, and her mother missing. She has been given the bee-flu vaccine but isn't a beast like everyone else who has been vaccinated (remember the previously mentioned brother?). Why? Because a cure has been found, and Fiona is proof of the cure. Now that cure needs to be spread.

    2. The idea of the extinction of bees and the repercussions that causes is fascinating to me. How did you come up with this idea? Did you have to do a lot of research?
    Believe it or not, STUNG was primarily inspired by a horrible nightmare I had, about waking up in my childhood home and finding everything abandoned, and then being chased out a window by an insane beast who used to be someone I loved. That nightmare is chapter one! (Shut up! What a cool inspiration!)

    Other parts of STUNG were inspired by the frenzy in the United States to get the flu vaccine when the swine flu was going around and the bees dying off (colony collapse). I didn't have to do a lot of research since the bee science in my book is mostly fiction (thank goodness), but I did have to do some. I mostly researched things like human behavior in the aftermath of a natural disaster (which is where the Raiders come from) and how things are pollinated.

    3. When did you write CURED? What's one scene that you can still remember drafting for the first time?
    I started writing CURED two and a half years ago, and finished a year and a half ago. The scene that sticks in my memory is the one where Jacqui and Jonah are being held prisoner by the Raiders, and Jacqui finally understands that true beauty is on the inside. Here's a quote:

    He drops his head and laughs a hoarse, whispered laugh, possibly the first laughter that has come out of him in four years. "I know I'm hideously ugly. You don't have to pretend I'm not."

    My heart aches at his words. I know how it feels to look at yourself and see nothing beautiful there. And then I think about how Jonah held the beast child for hours while we waited for the cure to start working, and how he spoke so gently to me when the raiders caught me and Bowen was furious. He is good and kind and meek. That is real beauty.

    4. Is CURED the end of this series? Tell us all about everything!
    As of now, it is the end. I wrapped everything up so that the readers will finish it and have a satisfied, warm, happy, pensive, thoughtful feeling. But I would love to do a book three with these characters in this world sometime in the future. There is always room for more! (I hope there is more to the story!)

    5. CURED is your third published book. Give us a glimpse of your writing and publishing journey that led you here.
    The only reason I started writing is because my sister thought it would be fun to write a book, and she wanted someone else to write one at the same time. So she dared me to do it. I started writing and was shocked at how much I liked it. I wrote and edited a lot of manuscripts--as in thousands and thousands of pages--before I finally got good enough to get an agent (Marlene Stringer) and a publisher. Cured is the tenth or eleventh book I wrote.

    6. When you're looking to decompress by reading, what book do you reach for?
    Well, honestly, "The Book of Mormon." At the end of every day I am pretty much too tired to do any major reading, so I always read a page or two of my scriptures before I go to sleep. Decompression=achieved.

    7. If you could be a contestant on Survivor, what's the one item you'd take with you?
    Water purifier.

    8. A guilty pleasure?
    Massage! (Oh, I don't get enough of these as I would like either!)

    9. Bacon or chocolate?
    Chocolate (Boo! Hisssss... *wink*)

    About Bethany: BETHANY WIGGINS is the author of Stung and Shifting. She started writing on a dare and dove headfirst into the world of writerly madness. She lives in the desert with her husband, four quirky kids, and two very fluffy cats.

    AND -- you can enter to win a hardcover of CURED by Bethany Wiggins, right here, right now! Just use the Rafflecopter below.

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