Yeah, so....welcome to the blog of Judith Tewes, young adult contemporary fiction author. Here be edgy stories with a side of snark.


Take Tewes with Jen McConnel

Every odd Tuesday (because Tuesdays aren't odd enough), I feature a different young adult fiction author YOU should know - from best-sellers to debuts. And what better way to do this than asking them TWO fun questions. Short, sweet, and sassy - just the way I like interviews.

Today, I'm happy to feature fellow Bloomsbury Spark author, Jen McConnel who hails from North Carolina, holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and teaches college writing composition and yoga.

The questions:

1. I love that, as per your website, you were once, "a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller". As a library technician myself, working in an elementary school, I know the value of being surrounded by students and the books they read. How has your time on the literacy front lines influenced your writing?

Great question! The short answer is; how hasn't it? I started writing YA while I was teaching middle school, and I always picture my eighth graders when I write or revise. When I was a bookseller, I was encouraged to indulge my reading addiction (and put my paycheck back into the store), and I took recommendations from the people I worked with as well as the customers.  My reading list is still longer than is humanly possible, but I love it.  My time in the library added to my addiction, and also gave me the chance to
talk with teens about the kind of books they connect with. I'm so grateful for my past-life work, since it's the foundation I base my current work on.

2. Darlena, the main character in your recent YA paranormal release, Daughter of Chaos, is the "...walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam". Wowza - she must have some mad skills. ;) In your writing, which do you align with more pantser / chaos or plotter / order?

This question made me laugh; I'd never put two and two together, but it's no wonder I write about chaos and pandemonium. I'm a total pantser when I'm drafting, but unlike Darlena, I have the opportunity to re-think my bad decisions while I'm revising.  If she ever learns to control her magic, she'll be wicked powerful, but in DAUGHTER, Darlena's a bit of a loose cannon. I love her.

Follow Jen via her website, as well as on Twitter, and Pinterest. And check out her upcoming Swoon Romance title, BEAUTIFUL CURSE:

Sixteen-year-old Mya Jones is cursed.

She is, hands down, the most beautiful creature on earth. But beauty can wound, and Mya finds herself reviled and shunned by her peers. If there is even a chance that she could start over, Mya longs to take it, no matter the risks.

So when the strange Mr. Merk offers her a new life away from home, Mya is hesitant but hopeful. Only she didn't count on the mysterious Ross, or her feelings for him.

BEAUTIFUL CURSE is a contemporary retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid.


Take Tewes with Kristina McBride

Every odd Tuesday (because Tuesdays aren't odd enough), I feature a different young adult fiction author YOU should know - from best-sellers to debuts. And what better way to do this than asking them TWO fun questions. Short, sweet, and sassy - just the way I like interviews.

If you're not convinced that after reading the interview below, here are a few endorsements for the wonderful young adult fiction author, Kristina McBride:

ONE MOMENT: "Kristina McBride has written a poignant, heartbreaking tale of how one moment in a person's life can change everything . . . a worthy addition to teen collections." – VOYA 

THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES: "Tense! The constant push and pull of friendship, pain, love, and jealousy is beautifully drawn. A definite must read." – Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why

And now for the questions...

1.     Your nickname, as shared on your website, is "Listy Kristi". I'm a bit of a lister myself...go us! Care to share a list of ways you build tension and mystery into your writing?

Go us is right! I can’t imagine life without lists! Before I start writing, I have to settle a few things. The main character is the most important piece of any book – who he/she is, what he/she desires most, and all the things that stand in the way of that desire. Which brings me to conflict, one of the most important elements of any book because it keeps the plot moving along and the reader reading. I enjoy brainstorming conflicts to throw at my characters and list every possible problem that I can initially dream up. I list other things, as well: important settings, major scenes, elements of each character (secrets, fears, passions), turning points, etc. I think all of this planning helps me immerse myself in the world of the book and, in turn, builds the tension and mystery as I write. The key to all of this is the freedom to toss any and all ideas that are not serving a purpose. The ability to let go is an essential character trait for every writer. If I set out to list all the things I have had to let go of during my writing career, I’d be here a very long time.

2.     Love the UK cover of One Moment. Did you have any input into the artwork of either edition?

UK edition
US edition
Thank you! I love it too! Usborne UK sent me the file and it worked so perfectly we did a little happy dance without asking for any changes. The US cover is equally lovely, and I am so pleased with the final product. I was a bigger part of this creation process, seeing the tweaked versions along the way. I am very fortunate to be working with the team at Egmont USA, as they are always willing to listen to my slightly-neurotic ideas. (Need an example? I didn’t love the font they’d chosen for my name – this was my first book, The Tension of Opposites – and they kindly changed it to something softer than had originally been used. I had been waiting my entire life to see my name on the jacket of a book and they worked with me to get it just right.)

Thanks for hanging out, Kristina! Get all the news from Kristina via her website, Twitter, and on Facebook.


Books I'm Grateful I Read Hop

With winter just around the corner, this is a perfect theme for a blog hop. What better way to spend the chilly evenings than with a few beloved books? There are many books I'm glad to have read, either for pure enjoyment or because they challenged me to see topics from different viewpoints. But these two titles are ones I'm GRATEFUL I READ because they've helped me to improve as a writer and expand from my fav paranormal genre into contemporary young adult fiction projects. And here's why...

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I still remember the day I randomly decided to buy this book after skimming the paranormal Young Adult fiction shelves at a Chapters store and being caught by the simple, yet effective cover. Zero blood, no fangs, and yet...something about it called to me. That the novel was a duo point of view tale written by two authors - also a draw. How would they pull something like this off? Would the story be choppy? Would one voice stand out more than the other? Nope. The freaking nailed it!

This was also the first Young Adult title I'd read that had a similar "voice" to any contemporary stuff I'd tried writing, but thought my style was too edgy. It was because of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist that I decided contemporary YA was my next genre to tackle. NOTE: I would encourage you to read the book, then see the movie. And if you've only seen the film - try the novel, you won't be disappointed.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I confess, I haven't read Forman's most talked about novel, If I Stay, as I'm not a fan of that sub-genre that has been called "sick lit" - and I almost didn't fork out the money for my copy of Just One Day, because I stressed that one of the characters might die at the end. And I wasn't in the mood for crying novel. Hey, don't judge. I've been on a paranormal fiction binge for about ten years now and one thing about them - immortality, hello! Main characters usually don't bite it. Well, they bite, but....

Anyway, I read Just One Day - um...in about one day. :) Forman does a wonderful job of immersing you in the magic and misadventures of young people traveling abroad. As someone who has accompanied her social studies teacher husband on a few school trips to Europe, I also found myself wondering what would happen if some of the students we were charged with supervising had slipped away from the tour group. The mind boggles! (Fingers crossed this NEVER happens.) While I stressed over that plot point, I did indeed fall in love with the characters and their tenuous romance. I'm GRATEFUL I READ Just One Day as it sent me on a mission to seek out other New Adult titles and this is another genre I'm tackling with my own writing.

So here's to these two great reads who have sent me down other literary paths! To celebrate I have this cool giveaway for a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card. Enter below....

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Check out other blogs participating in this hop.


New Release by Denise Jaden: Foreign Exchange


This one is at the top of my to-be-read pile...Denise Jaden's new young adult novel, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, is officially available to the world! It is an Editor's Pick and for a limited time, it is available on the Evernight Teen website for only $4.49!

Here's a little more about the book:

Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.

As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer.  

And here's what people are saying about FOREIGN EXCHANGE:

"Denise Jaden's newest novel, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, is a must read for contemporary YA fans. The characters leap off the pages and readers will furiously turn pages to keep up with the fast pace and intriguing premise. Definitely add a copy of Foreign Exchange to the top of your reading list."
~ Janet Gurtler, Rita Finalist and Best Selling Author of I'm Not Her 

“I loved the well-drawn relationships in Foreign Exchange – the tension between Jamie and her mother, Jamie’s tenderness with disabled brother Eddy and especially the intense chemistry between Jamie and Sawyer. Their off-limits attraction and the increasingly dangerous hunt for his sister had me racing through the final chapters.
~ Jen Nadol, author of The Mark, The Vision, and This is How it Ends

"Foreign Exchange takes you on a thrilling ride through the exotic streets of Europe into the dark side of the fashion world. Our charming heroine will stop at nothing to save her best friend. A sweet dose of romance keeps it light."
~ Lee Strauss - author of The Minstrel Series

"Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read."
~ Eileen Cook, author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries.

"A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry between the characters kept me turning those pages!"
~ Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore

"Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful...the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare."

~ D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the Noir et Bleu MC series.

"Denise Jaden is a force to be reckoned with! I loved her new book so much. This one is a thrill ride with full realized, lovable characters, and a refreshingly unique premise."
~ Rachel Shane, author of the upcoming Alice in Wonderland High

Have you seen the trailer yet? It's here too!

Help Denise celebrate online today and spread the word about her new book baby! Follow Denise on Twitter: @denisejaden


Books to Movies Blog Hop GIVEAWAY

As a screenwriter and novelist, this blog hop is the ultimate! There are so many book adaptations out there (good, bad, and just ugly) and each year it seems more blockbuster films / film franchises originate from a novel.

Some say the film industry is drying up, lacking in originality, and has to mine the prose world. But, I can assure you, that's not the case. Screenwriters, directors, producers are dreaming up more ideas each day than could ever make it into print or to the big screen. Ideas are a dime a dozen...it's how they're executed and who gets to the idea first that's key.

Optioning a book for film comes with numerous benefits. You can have a ready-made, built in fan base to help drive the buzz or contrarily, you can save an unknown novel from obscurity and have little pressure because no one cares if you cut scenes or tweak character motives (except the original author, of course). Authors aren't limited to the harsh realities of production budgets, trying to please distributors, and the stark thought "How the hell are we going to DO that?"...and so the worlds they build, the heights to which they bring their characters are limitless. Novels go places without a single thought to the economics of the journey. Which is why they're such amazing fodder for film. An adaptation can be faithful to the novel and have an explosive budget for special effects / fab locations, or it can simply take the spirit of the source material and turn it into something quite original on an indie-film budget.
May the trend of transferring books we love into films we adore continue! To celebrate, I have a giveaway. One of my fav books, DERBY GIRL, written by author and screenwriter, Shauna Cross, with its quirky and heartwarming film, WHIP IT. I will send an ebook copy and digital film version to the winner via Amazon's "Give as a gift" feature. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out all the other wonderful blogs you can discover on this tour and their giveaways: <!-- end LinkyTools script –>


Take Tewes with Theresa DaLayne

Every odd Tuesday (because Tuesdays aren't odd enough), I feature a different young adult fiction author YOU should know - from best-sellers to debuts. And what better way to do this than asking them TWO fun questions. Short, sweet, and sassy - just the way I like interviews.

Happy to feature one of my Bloomsbury Spark sisters today on the blog. Theresa DaLayne's Spark title, THE EDGE OF YOU is set to launch on September 25th and it's one I'm super keen to read. Check out Theresa's answers to my questions AND a bonus excerpt from THE EDGE OF YOU and you'll soon see why. Don't forget to follow the official blog tour!

1. Can you share the inspiration for THE EDGE OF YOU?

The main inspiration came from the location—Kodiak, Alaska. I lived there for seven years, and truly believe without my time spent on that island, I never would have experienced life in the woods. When I say that I think back to the nights gathered around a bon fire on the beach, hiking in Abercrombie Park, racing between trees from one side of town to the other. In cities, kids hang out at malls and skate parks. In Kodiak, the woods is where the night life goes down. So yeah, I’d say the inspiration came from Kodiak Island itself.

2. I've been to Anchorage, Alaska in the summer. I think they had 22 hours of daylight when we were there. Did the setting "show up" with this story?

Absolutely. Watch out for the scene where Maya is new to the island, lying in her bed and trying to sleep. Unfortunately at eleven o’clock at night, the sun is still shining bright through her windows. In fact, when I lived there, our neighbors liked to walk their dogs and even mow their lawns close to midnight. No, I’m not kidding.

I also take readers to a few local spots, like White Sand Beach, which is a local party site. Maya and Jake are there, listening to a local strum her guitar and sing Alutiiq folk music around a bonfire. That Alutiiq character plays a small part, but is actually based off of someone I know, who still lives on the island.

One place I would have liked to bring readers to is a spot the locals call “Sometimes Island.” It’s a peninsula during low tide and an island during high tide. If I ever write another book based on Kodiak, I’ll definitely fit it in!

Thanks so much for having me, Judith! As a treat, here’s an excerpt from the bonfire scene on White Sand Beach. :) Oh! And for those who buy THE EDGE OF YOU and read the “red pants” scene right after the bonfire, that actually happened to me. Just sayin. ;)

As they grew closer to the fire, it became clear how many people were there. Twenty, maybe thirty, just hanging out with bottles in their hands and smiles on their faces.
Jake paused and examined the open twelve pack resting in the sand. He squeezed Maya’s hand. “You sure you’re okay with this?”
It didn’t take any explanation for her to know what he was talking about. She nodded.
A guy with a dark jacket and baseball cap spotted them first. “Hey, Jake’s here!” Jake immediately recognized Ian’s voice, a crewmember from another boat. He fished with Jake his first season in Kodiak. Ian took a few clumsy steps forward and slapped Jake on the back. “What’s up, man? I heard you were back, but I haven’t seen you around.”
“Just working, as usual.”
Ian nodded, then checked out Maya. “Who’s the hottie?”
Jake had never been the jealous type, but the comment made his body temperature spike. He stepped forward, remembering Ian was just about the nicest guy he’d ever met. “This is my girlfriend, Maya.”
Maya’s head shot up, her smile widening.
He hoped she would react that way.
Ian waved them forward. “Sweet. Then come on. You guys are just in time. Lori just brought out her guitar.”
Maya wrapped her arm around Jake’s and leaned into him. “Who’s Lori?”
“She’s a musician with a really good voice. Sings Alutiiq folk music. They’re an Alaskan Native American tribe.” He pulled her forward. “Come on. You’ll like it.”
As soon as they arrived near the campfire, the group hushed, and Jake spotted Lori sitting on a piece of driftwood, strumming absentmindedly on her guitar. He stepped behind Maya to allow the heat from the fire to ease her shivering. Her hands were like ice, but she seemed content, listening to Lori’s soft voice carry through the air.
Jake wrapped his arms around Maya from behind and hugged her close to his chest, resting his chin on her shoulder. It had been so long since he held someone. He missed the warmth of a woman’s body. But life had thrown him so many curveballs; he’d spent most of his teen years either working or worrying, which gave him hardly any time for relationships.
Maya swayed with the gentle strumming of notes and the hushed, soothing tone of Lori’s voice. The entire song was in Alutiiq, and even though he didn’t understand a word of it, it was obvious Maya felt the melody. Like she must have felt her art.
He wished he had something like that. Something that breathed life back into him.
Maya smiled. He felt it—her cheek rose and pressed against his. Jake pulled her closer against his chest, burying his nose in her hair and resting his lips against the curve of her neck.
Maybe he had already found what made him feel alive. Maybe he didn’t need to keep looking because maybe, just maybe, she was already in his arms.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22512074-the-edge-of-you