Friday, August 31, 2012

Tangi's Teardrops FREE on Kindle

Hi friends,

I have a piece of good news. Tangi's Teardrops will be free for three days 1st-3rd September.
If you haven't already read this African fairytale, grab yourself a copy and pass the word to your friends.
ENJOY and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

JEWEL OF RAMSTONE by J.M. Powers (Behind the Scenes)

Today, I would like to welcome author J.M. Powers to Novel Moments. She will be telling us a little about herself and her latest novel, Jewel of Ramstone. Welcome, Jeannie.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

 Hi there, my pen name is J.M. Powers, but most know me as Jeannie.  My favorite genre is romance, especially historical romance.
I’m a Florida native, but live in western New York. There’s a long story behind that. I’ll spare you. Let’s just sum it up; I fell in love with a Northerner.

What keeps you writing?

My love of writing. I know that sounds simplistic, but I can’t imagine a life without creating new worlds and characters.

It doesn’t sound simplistic at all. I feel exactly the same way. I’m excited to hear about your new historical romance novel, Jewel of Ramstone. Tell me more.

 JEWEL OF RAMSTONE is full of intrigue, complex sub-plots and of course, love. (Unrequited love that is.) You see, Ruby and Galeron fall in love quickly, but a prior marriage agreement keeps them apart. With no way out of the situation, Ruby decides to leave Galeron’s home of Ramstone and make her own way in the nearby village. Oh, did I mention Ruby has no memory? Yeah. What caused this? You’ll have to read to find out, but it’s something she struggles with in her nightmares. (I really made it difficult for these two to get together, huh?) The added twists of Galeron’s guilt, his father’s harbored secret, the battles fought against a horrid army, kidnapped women and children, all add to the complexity of this medieval tale.

What inspired you to write the novel?

Believe it or not, a nightmare I had as a child. You can read more about that here.

How did you come up with the title?

My sister and I brainstormed. Stone...a gem...jewel...Ruby. It all came together. Jewel of Ramstone (Ramstone is Galeron’s home, and Ruby is the name he gives her when he sees her auburn hair.)

That sounds like a lot of fun. I love brainstorming for titles and researching. How long did it take you to research and write the novel?

To be true to the era, I researched everything: clothing, food, weaponry, daily life as well as the weather, flora etc. So about four years? After Beautiful Trouble Publishing, accepted it, there was still a lot to do. Through edits, rewrites and everything else involved with the publishing process, we made Jewel of Ramstone the best it could be in those months. During this time, I wrote 5 novellas as well. (I just realized how busy I was!)

I would be so scared of writing historical romance, so afraid of getting something wrong. I can understand why it would take a while to research and write.
Now that your baby is out there, is there a certain message you would like readers to get out of Jewel of Ramstone?

The importance of acceptance, family, faith in yourself and growth despite tough times. The ability to give yourself over to love...and believe in the possibility of overcoming all obstacles to end up in each others arms.

You’re such a talented author. I’m sure your readers will definitely cherish the story and the message. Okay, now for a common question. Do you experience writer’s block? How do you get “unblocked”?

Writer’s block? Not really. But when I am stuck on something I step back and ask myself a bunch of “what if” questions. What if the knight initially thinks she is a lad? What if she doesn’t have a memory? What if she kills him? What if ...the possibilities are endless. Though I throw out a lot of the ideas, some punches my imagination into overdrive.

What a fantastic way to get unstuck. I think I’m going to steal that tip. Are you a full time author? If not, how do you make time to write?

My writer’s mind works full time, however I have a day job as a bank teller. I often write snippets of an idea down on blank deposit slips. As far as making time to write? Well, I forfeit sleep.

I don’t get much sleep either. But it’s always worth it in the end, isn’t it? How does your daily writing schedule look like?

Drink coffee. Outline before going to work. Work. Come home and start dinner for the family. (Often times working on manuscript while it cooks) and then after everyone is in bed, I write non-stop. Yes, I lose sleep, but then again, stories like Jewel of Ramstone come of it. It’s well worth it.

How about your marketing schedule? Don’t ask me about mine. Marketing drives me nuts and I don’t have a set schedule.

I’m still learning about marketing, but here’s what I’ve done so far:  Author blog ,website, Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn, Amazon Author Page, business cards, flyers, speaking engagements at book clubs,  and word from my big mouth. I embrace my “authorness” and tell everyone I’m a writer. It was hard at first, because I knew once I told people I’d have to deliver.

You have done so much more than me. I’m still shy to tell people I’m an author. So, what books can we expect from you in the future?

The sequel to Jewel of Ramstone of course! It’s my current work in progress. I’m also working on three novellas and one non-fiction book about life with autism.

Wow, you’re busy. I wish I could work on more than two novels at a time. Now, time to take you for a walk down memory lane. What was your best ever moment as a published author?

It’s hard to pick just one. Each time a publisher accepted my manuscript, receiving cover art, and the other highs an author is blessed with are notable of course. My biggest, best ever moment was when an award winning author, wrote me about Jewel of Ramstone. Here are a few excerpts of what she said:

“I can tell by five pages if someone has the talent, the gift. If someone understands what "voice is". You have it spades...You have strong imagery, but don't waste words. Less is more in writing and you get that”... “No one can teach magic. Magic authors are rare. Hannah Howell is magic. Lynsay Sands is magic. Anne Stuart is Magic. Elizabeth Lowell is magic. Jayne Ann Krentz is magic. You have that magic”... “If the reader cannot enter your world with you, you don't have magic. I started reading, and you took my hand and pulled me into the world you created. ”Deborah MacGillivray Description: with permission of author)

I can understand why you were over the moon. If I were you, I’d print that excerpt out and sleep with it under my pillow lol.
Before I let you go, is there any question you’re dying to be asked?

Is Sir Galeron, the hunky knight in Jewel of Ramstone real?

And the answer is?

Just look at the dedication in the book: To my true Galeron, Joe. (My husband.) So yes, he’s real.

That’s really sweet. Do you have a message for your readers?  

I write to take you places you’ve never been. Most of all, I write for YOU--to take your breath, make you cry, laugh. Or better yet, to keep you up way to late because you need to know what happens next...and next. Most of all I want to share the hope in all of my stories. I’d love to hear what you think of the characters, their plights and victories...and whatever else you wish to share with me. You can find all my books through the easy links on my Blog:

Thank you so much for telling us a little more about you and your novel. It was fun to chat with you.


 While on a journey to collect his betrothed, Galeron comes upon a young maiden in the forest. She has no memory of who she is or why she's there. The gash on her cheek says she's suffered terrible abuse. He's instantly smitten and dubs her Ruby of the Forest. However, names do not matter as they discover magical passion beneath the forest canopy. 

Ruby accepts his offer of a safe journey to his home, all the while wishing he could offer what she wants most--his heart. At Ramstone, Galeron and Ruby's passions grow day by day. Tidbits of her memory return a little at a time, and she realizes her life intersects with his--and not in a good way. 

Will Ruby discover her past? Or will her past discover her when she least expects it?


“God in heaven, give me strength.” He snatched her in a savageembrace and she grew heady with the power she seemed to have over him. The last she saw before she closed her eyes was his tortured look, or mayhap ’twas the way a man looked before he gave in to passion. His moan pulsated against her lips, his tongue prodding for entrance. Once again, he explored her mouth, then his lips moved on to her cheeks, her eyelids, her brow… oh how beautiful and right it felt.

She released the thong holding his hair back and it fell against her face, the smoke from the fire sweet in his locks. Galeron’s tongue teased her ear. Her breathing ceased in the moment he drew a lobe into his mouth and suckled. When he nibbled her neck, moans blended with her pulse. It took a moment to realize the sounds were her own. Her eyes shot open at the sensation of her legs liquefying. Again, it was he who ended the kiss.

Galeron’s eyes looked wild, and she wondered if he saw the same abandon in hers. She searched for the right words to profess her feelings, but he spoke first.

“I regret my shameful actions and beg your forgiveness.”

The sting of his comment struck deeper than the wounds she harbored. She pushed his hands from her waist. “I regret naught but for the shame you harbor.”

“’Tis with good reason.”

She shook her head. “What reason may that be?” It seemed an eternity before he answered, and she began to wish she hadn’t asked.

“I must confess, I am promised to another.”

Monday, August 13, 2012

BOOK BLURB BLAST: Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh

Have you been searching for a new book to read? Well, today I’d like to introduce you to Crimson Footprints by Shewanda Pugh. Read the blurb, admire the cover, and decide if it’s for you. Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. 
Shewanda Pugh

When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences. On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done the same. But love’s a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him.


 “I wish that I didn’t want my family’s love so bad. I wish I could be one of those people who wore leather jackets and didn’t give a damned.”

Tak shot her a look. “You’d be musty if you wore a leather jacket in this heat.”

Deena grinned. “You know what I mean.”

He shrugged. “Who doesn’t want a decent family, Dee? It’s not much to ask for.”

Tak paused to pluck a seashell from the sand. Chipped and polished by time, it shone under the glint of a fast setting sun. “I don’t know the answers,” he said. “But they seem to be in things like this,” he held up the shell.

She frowned. “I don’t follow.”

He shrugged. “Well think about it. What’s a shell? It’s just a—a hard, protective outer layer.” He hurled it in the ocean. “The same is true with family. They’re an outer layer, a protection from the world. At least that’s what they’re supposed to be.” He paused. “Think about what happens when you screw with an animal that has one of those hard shells. What does he do?”
“He goes into it.”

“Right. He retreats.” He thumbed the shell thoughtfully. “Now imagine if you were to rip the shell off a turtle and expose him. What do you think you’d find?”

Deena cringed. “Something soft and hurting.

“And dead, if not close to it. So, our hypothetical turtle, who’s able to stand our shell transplant, needs another shell, another form of protection. And so do you.” Tak handed the grooved and sand-polished subject to Deena. She looked down at it.

“So, how’ve I been surviving all this time? What’s my shell?”

Tak grinned. “Tell you what. I’ll let you know when I crack it.”

Shewanda Pugh is a native of Boston’s inner city, though she now lives in sunny Miami, Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s in Writing from Nova Southeastern University. Fueled from a young age, her passion for crossing societal boundaries like race, class and culture, is the inspiration for both her cluttered bookshelf and her writing. When she’s not busy obsessing over fiction, she can be found traveling, nursing her social networking addiction or enjoying the company of loved ones.

Follow on Twitter: @ShewandaP

The author will be giving away a $10 Amazon GC. Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interview with author Doug Lucas

Today I would like to introduce you to author, Doug Lucas. He is the author of several novels;
Conversations With A Dead Man, The Man In The Mountain, Forgotten, Buzz words.

Doug, welcome to Novel Moments. I look forward to hearing more about you and your writing.

Tell us a bit about yourself
There really isn't much to tell if you're interested in the truth.

I was in the Marine Corps for twenty some odd years and retired. My wife felt money was important and suggested  I start another career. I went to work for the Pennsylvania State Police as a forensic photographer and later a forensic video analysis.

As soon as she turned her back again I retired for the second time. I'll add it wasn't all that easy to accomplish this feat…the woman watched me like a hawk.

What keeps you writing?
Every morning my wife sits at the breakfast table pouring through the help wanted adds. I have no desire to be an Ice Road Trucker or hunt alligators in some swamp.

I've worked at something all my life. I think the motivating factor for me is I can work just as hard as I want to. I saw no reason to allow retirement to force me to forget who I am or how I've lived my life.

Writing is a hobby for me that fills a need. How many folks do you know who are just sitting on their hands doing nothing as they wait for death to catch them?

The old boy is going to get us all sooner or later...but he won't find me sitting on a couch watching television. I intend to make him work for a living.

Can you tell us a little more about your novels?
I've written a total of eight novels. Four are now on Amazon as kindle my bio...go buy one...I need a pooper scooper. 

The first novel I wrote was available from a different publisher and not Great Minds Think Aloud Independent Publishing. I've pulled the novel off all the web sites and am in the process of reworking it. The second novel is a part of a two novel series which was never released.
What my new publisher plans to do is release those two as a set sometime this year. The story for both novels is the same...I wanted the reader to see a life time of love and marriage from two different points of view. The man's story is called The Good Servant (his is the true version of course) and the wife's story is titled The Good Servant's Wife. Hopefully readers will watch two very different people grow old together.

Conversations With a Dead Man is a blending of historical fiction and a dead man's life. Years ago I read an inscription on the head stone of a man who died in the 1840's . The inscription carved on his head stone stuck with me. I did some research and was able to learn a little about the old boy. I decided I'd tell a story and weave a history lesson into the story line at the same time.

Man In The Mountain was written because I'm sick and tired of action heroes who are always men, mostly larger than life and don't have a clue how real folks react when threatened by someone with a weapon. I made my main heroes men and women with flaws, took humor and forced the "action heroes" to conform to reality. I wanted the women to have some of the same courage and reactions I've seen over the years.

Forgotten is based on the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. I wrote a work of fiction wrapped around facts in an effort to show there are more people injured than those on the battlefield. I want the reader to not only enjoy a the fiction...but see some of what happened at the same time...both in Beirut and at home.

Buzz Words was partly written as an act of revenge aimed at my wife for her reaction to crimes I may or may not have committed. I'm also sick and tired of detectives who are lone wolf police officers. I wanted the reader to understand crimes are solved by a lot of folks working their hearts out to get the right person arrested. The Officer in Charge leads by example and she gets the very best out of her people in the shortest amount of time. 

What inspired you to write these novels?
Pretty much just what I've said. Plus the addition factor of making my wife think I'm far too busy working, to do some of the chores she feels are appropriate for a retired gentleman such as myself does figure in the equation.

How did you come up with the titles?
I don't…it just seems to happen. Something about the title will fit and that's what I use.

How long did it take you to research and write the novels?
Not much for any of them really. I write about things I've either lived or that have caught my interest in the past. If I get stumped about something there is always a place called the Library…much to my surprise they have whole books filled with facts and such.

I love diaries folks have kept. If you want to know what life was like in say the 1800's or during the civil war…they are where you'll find the truth.

Is there a certain message you would like readers to get out of your novels?
Not really much more than I said before. Fiction should be entertainment and escape from day to day life. I don't think I'm doing much more than that when someone reads what I've written…at least this is what I hope happens.

Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Writing for me is a hobby. Writer's block is the result of work.
If it's work…then it isn't fun…if it isn't fun it must be work…I'm retired.
If you force something into what you're writing, it would be much the same as forcing conclusions in forensics to match facts you don’t have. I stop what I'm doing and go have fun with something else. It may be a nap or a nice slow motorcycle ride on a back road…away from my wife and law enforcements prying eyes…safer that way. When I'm ready to have fun again…I write.

Are you a full time writer? If not, how do you make time to write?

If my wife were to ask me that question…the only possible answer would be yes. As Forrest Gump would say, "And that's all I got to say about that."

How does your daily writing schedule look like?
I write when I feel like it. There have been days when I never left the computer and other days when it was never turned on(except for video poker).

How does your marketing schedule look like?
My publisher Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing does all to that for me. I'm like most folks who want their books published and to actually have people read them. I wouldn't have the slightest clue how to go about getting my work noticed.

I offer as proof of that statement the first novel that was published. Two people bought the book(thanks Mom and brother Ken). Once I was able to convince Great Minds Think Aloud Publishing to take my books, I've had a few folks read and like what I've written. I've also had a few who didn't…oh well they paid for the book they didn't like.

Which avenues do you use to market your books?

My Publisher likes (and I agree) the Amazon Prime program. I look at using the Prime Program as being much the same as paying for advertisement. I'll also add Kindle seems to be winning the e-reader wars, so Amazon is the right market. We've even managed to sell a few copies of the books I've written in the paper back format.

My publisher does everything for me, so I'd say they earn what they make.

What books can we expect from you in the future?

I have no idea.

I just finished a book called the Flats Teachers, which I'm not sure I'm going to even give to my publisher. I've played with the idea of trying to do a Science Fiction with time travel being used as punishment for being politically incorrect. But that's in the what if stage. I would like to see if I could pull something of that nature off and produce a readable story line…so maybe.

What was your best ever moment as a published author?

I had a lady contact me and she wanted me to autograph two of books I've written.

Do you have a message for your readers?
Yes…keep buying my books, I still need that pooper scooper.

It was nice chatting with you, Doug. I wish you lots and lots of sales. Now let’s hear from your wife.

Soon after doing the interview with Doug, I got an email from his wife, Linda Lucas. Read on to find out what she has to say. Isn’t it a treat to get a small peek behind the scenes? Thanks, Linda.
Here’s what she wrote:

My name is Linda Lucas, and I read your recent interview with the author, Douglas Lucas.  It seems that he left out a few interesting items that you and your readers might find amusing.  Although his interview is well done, your questions were right on point -- and his answers were brief and direct--there was just so much he didn't tell. 

As his wife, I feel compelled to clear up a few things.  I believe I was charged with driving him to work too hard.  This may/or may not be true; however, if he'd stop spending money on large items such as a brand new Canned AM Motorcycle made in Canada -- I wouldn't have to beat the budget into submission.  (Whether he likes it or not, the man has expensive tastes). Did I tell you about the truck that followed him home?  Or the boat we needed--when the only one who could swim was -- guess who? 

 But Mr. I'm Retired--"I write when I want to"-- doesn't seem to catch on that every time he says "Yes" it costs money.  So being a good wife, of sound mind (not crazy in the least) I must push Mr. Wonderful to work. Every day.  Do I enjoy it?  Yes, come to think of it, I do.  It makes up for all those years when he dragged his wife and family here and there and went off on his own to Japan, Beirut, Phillipines, Viet Nam,  California -- on none of these trips were we taken.  When he was about to retire, he was offered a tour of duty in Spain.  And he said?  "No thank you."  Didn't ask anyone in the family, just said "No."  Just stuck us in downtown Biglerville, PA. (You'll have to find it on a map).

He's a wonderful husband, he truly is, but at times his desires and ours clash.  Thus when he started writing, he said "I need a computer--you can't expect me to use a typewriter."  So he got a computer--slightly over $5000.  I encouraged him to write for the next two years.  Note: I did not say I made, I said I encouraged.  As many women know well, retired men are lazy, they think they have worked enough already and shouldn't have to lift a hand again.

Never mind that their spouses also had to work all those years, raising children to meet specifications set by a gone-on deployment--father.  In other words, he set the rules, the standards for success---and left the rest to--their mother.  Once more it's happening again--except that this time grandma turned them over to grandpa----which is why he writes so much----(it's one way of getting out of child raising).  If you think the school year is bad, you should see him in the summertime.  Lordy, Lordy look who's well past 40.

As for his research for all these novels, I'd have to say it's been done over the last 46 years (of marriage--though if you ask him--he'll tell you with a straight face) -- we've been married 5 years, two of them somewhat happily.  And finally, do we even have a dog?  Yes.  Did I purchase the dog?  Guilty.  So his excuse for writing? To buy the dog a "pooper scooper" to make Mr. Retiree's life easier.  He named the dog "Trouble". His reason--he said the dog looked like "trouble"--oh, and then hired a professional trainer (I won't say what that cost) sothe dog would behave.  Actually, I think every man needs a dog to walk every day.  It's good exercise.

Having said all of my complaints, I will add -- Mr. Doug Lucas writes some of the best stories I've ever read anywhere, and I hope your readers will take a look at all of his books and find them as entertaining as it is to live with "The Mystro".

To learn more about Doug, please visit the following links.

·         Conversations With A Dead Man
Available at CreateSpace and Amazon
·         The Man In The Mountain
Available at CreateSpace and Amazon
·         Forgotten
Available at CreateSpace and Amazon
·         Buzzwords
Available at CreateSpace and Amazon


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Justin Ordoñez: Guest Post & $50 Amazon GC

Today I’m excited to host author Justin Ordoñez and his YA novel, Sykosa. It’s about a sixteen year old girl who’s trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence destroys her life and the lives of her friends.
I hope you enjoy his guest post. And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win the giveaway. Justin will be giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter on the tour. Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Welcome to Novel Moments, Justin. We look forward to hearing what you have to say concerning the topic of music, and writing comfort. How does your writing space look like?

I have no “set” space for writing.

There’s no special desk, no special lamp, I’m not surrounded by my favorite books, by some of my meager life accomplishments, pictures of loved ones, there isn’t inspiring art on the walls, nor is there a side table for empty glasses and bowls. I’ve never established such a place since, as a writer, I’m a nomad. Sometimes I write sitting up in my bed, on the couch, at the dinner table, I’ve written on a bus, in an airplane, at a red light in a car (though, I discourage you from doing so), at restaurants, during work telephone conferences, and just about any life situation where my immediate attention wasn’t an expectation. It doesn’t matter if I’m by myself, or surrounded by one thousand people, it doesn’t matter if the place is quiet, or if it is loud. And maybe the only thing that might slow me down is if a running television, but usually after a few minutes, even that doesn’t bother me.
Not to imply that this serene description describes the rest of my life.

None of these things are required for me to write because, for me, one thing turns every space into a writing space.


I write with ear buds in my ears. What type of music I listen to varies. Sometimes I can deal with people singing, they’re words don’t mess with my words and I don’t get confused. In those times, I like rock n’ roll, or soul, sometimes R&B, and strangely, very light-fluffy pop-music. When I’m in a place where I need my thoughts to be exclusive, I start pulling out classical music, or movie scores, instrumentals from some of my favorite bands, things of that nature. I’ve a habit of listening to the same things endlessly. I’ve written listening to one playing on loop five or six hundred times. There’re some songs I’ve listened to so frequently, I can mentally locate, then isolate, the tracks that were mixed together for the final product. It takes a long time for me to get restless with songs, then I put them away for a while, and after that while, they come back as strong as they ever were.

The key is that I don’t listen to the music. My writing is almost an out of body experience. You know, in the movies, when the character’s face looks fine but their eyes seem distant and empty? That’s what I look like when I’m writing. I listen to the same songs again and again because, somewhere in the third of fourth run through, I drop into a strange trance where I’m only half-conscious. It’s not that I don’t see the people around me, that they’re conversations cannot be heard faintly when the song hits a quieter phase, I’ve just dislocated myself from them. I’m in the space between that abstract world where my art lives, and the physical world where I share it with those around me, I become some type of bridge for the transference. This trance shuts down my brain, as well. I don’t think about what other things I have to do, trouble that needs to be resolved, it’s hard to keep track of time (though, I’ve learned it usually passes slower than I feel it is), and while English is what comes out of my fingers, I kind of stop thinking in it. I say “kind of” because it’s not 100% true, I do sometimes think in English, then type it exactly like I thought it. There’re other times, though, when it’s almost like being in a coma. Your heart beats so faintly you hovering on arrest, your breaths are shallow, you’re as relaxed as you’d be when you’re asleep, and you’re not thinking in English, you’re not thinking at all, the words are simply finding their way onto the page, and they’re doing so in spite of yourself, not because of it.
“I’m a good writer. I’m a good writer. I’m a good writer.”
(SPOILER: It never works, lol).

In my life thus far, I’ve been unable to duplicate this experience without music. It is the single biggest influencer in my writing life, and its absence in my creative process would be devastating.

Justin Ordoñez
Sykosa (that's "sy"-as-in-"my" ko-sa) is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the life of her friends. This process is complicated by her best friend, Niko, a hyper-ambitious, type-A personality who has started to war with other girls for social supremacy of their school, a prestigious preparatory academy in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. To compensate, Sykosa has decided to fall in love with her new boyfriend, Tom, who was involved in the act of violence. Propelled by survivor guilt, an anxiety disorder, and her hunger for Tom and his charms, Sykosa attends a weekend-long, unchaperoned party at Niko's posh vacation cottage, where she will finally confront Niko on their friendship, her indecision about her friends and their involvement in the act of violence, and she will make the biggest decision of her life—whether or not she wants to lose her virginity to Tom. YA fiction for the 18+ crowd.


Outside, the sun shines. Inside, there’s only darkness. The blackness is hard to describe, as it’s more than symptoms. It’s a nothing that becomes everything there is. And what one sees is only a fraction of the trauma inflicted. It can get so bad she literally goes black, and she wakes up seconds, minutes, hours—who knows—later, to the silence, and the shame, and the… The blackness is really a panic-attack. She thinks that’s its medical definition. She’s never consulted anyone about it, but she heard a daytime TV personality talking about it once and all the hairs stood on up on her neck and she thought, That’s me. The TV personality said trauma plays a significant role. That made her feel broken, so she decided not to listen anymore and to pretend like nothing was wrong. That’s why no one knows about the blackness—her pretending won’t let them.


"… gritty, intense and definitely not a book I'll forget anytime soon! It was so differently written. I wouldn't have expected to fall in love with the writing style but I did. It practically made me get under Sykosa's skin despite getting a dose of the perspectives of the other characters and there were parts that were so lyrical." ~ On Books

"Justin Ordonez’s debut novel, Sykosa Part 1: Junior Year, disproves the old saw that youth is wasted on the young. He adroitly delves into the minds and social lives of his titular sixteen-year-old protagonist and her peers, showing that young people wrestle with tough decisions just like adults do." ~Clarion ForeWord Reviews

"Sykosa makes for some compelling reading. Older teens and adults alike will enjoy Ordoñez's tale for its humor, realism and relatable protagonist."
~ Kirkus Indie Review

Justin Ordoñez was born in Spain, raised in the mid-west, and currently lives in Seattle. He's nearly thirty years old, almost graduated from the University of Washington, and prefers to wait until TV shows come out on DVD so he can watch them in one-shot while playing iPad games. For fifteen years, he has written as a freelance writer, occasionally doing pieces as interesting as an editorial, but frequently helping to craft professional documents or assisting in the writing of recommendation letters for people who have great praise for friends or colleagues and struggle to phrase it. Sykosa is his debut novel.
You can find out more about Justin at his blog, You can also find Sykosa, the novel on Amazon.

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