Monthly Archives: January 2014

And so it begins…


Firstly, thanks to everyone who helped make Heavyweight‘s release so successful! Whether you shared a link, liked a post, re-tweeted a tweet or purchased the book, every little bit helps and I’m extremely grateful to you all!  If you did purchase a book (thank you!) please consider leaving a review when you’ve finished it.  I’d love to know what you thought of it, but also, it’s helpful for prospective buyers to see if other readers enjoyed it.

Secondly, I just want to put out there, that if you’re interested in reading my book but don’t have the money to spend on it (trust me, I know how that goes) go to your local library and speak with the librarian to see if they can get it.  My publisher, Harmony Ink Press, is very interested in getting their books into libraries so please, don’t hesitate to ask!

The reason I bring it up is because while Googling myself and the book title (like you guys don’t do it! Hah), I found a request for the book on a pirate site. The book hasn’t even been out for a week yet and already someone is trying  to get (and got!) a free copy.  The person asking was from Venezuela,so perhaps they couldn’t purchase it there, but it’s still hard to see, especially when the e-book version is so affordable.  I hope, at least, that person will review it somewhere.

On one hand, it’s a compliment that they were interested enough in reading it to try and hunt down a copy, but on the other hand unless an author is named Stephen King or JK Rowling, they are not typically making very much money.  Every sale counts and a lot of people put time and effort into the production of the book, not just the author, so please keep that in mind if you’re considering hunting for a freebie.

What are your thoughts on pirate sites and would you be forgiving if everyone who got a freebie gave you a review?

Happy Birthday, Heavyweight!


book-bdayIt’s finally here, release day! Huzzah!  The actual publication process has been quick but this has been a long time coming since my fingers first touched the keys to pen the tale of Ian and Julian.

When I finish the first draft all I could think was that I really wanted this story to reach as many people as possible and I knew, from self pubbing two other books, that I wanted to shop this one out to agents and small presses.  I had entered a couple contests and several agents showed interest, asking for fulls, but it always came back “Sorry, just not for us.”  I got good advice along the way, but I’ll admit it was a  bit discouraging.  When my writing buddy, Patty, told me Dreamspinner Press had a young adult division, I decided I’d give it one more shot before seriously considering self publishing the book.

I’m so glad I did!  The fine folks at Harmony Ink have done a great job polishing my story and giving it a beautiful cover. I know it’s better than I could have done on my own and I’m super excited that they will work to get Heavyweight into libraries as well as online bookstores, so that the story I love so much can reach a much larger audience.Heavyweight birthday

Thanks to everyone who had a hand in making this possible! Without all of you, Heavyweight would not be ready to release into the wild!

I hope you guys will enjoy reading Ian’s journey as much as I enjoyed writing it and bringing it to life. If you do me the honor of reading the story, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads or where ever you purchased the book from. I would be eternally grateful!

Where to purchase Heavyweight:


Barnes & Noble, iTunes and others to follow!


Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.

When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.

Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.

As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended,  and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.

Cover Reveal: Button Down


One of my New Year goals was to get more involved in promo and make better connections via networking.  Having a book coming out with Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink means I’ve got a whole new network of awesome authors to help promote!  Today’s cover reveal is for one such author, Dawn Kimberly Johnson.  In fact, not only do you get a great cover, you get an excerpt to whet your appetite as well!

First, let’s peek at the cover itself.








How about now?




Maybe now?




Ooooh alright. I’ll get on with it already!


Don’t you just want him to take that tie off and get going with those buttons? I do love a man in a suit!

If that wasn’t enough to spark your interest, how about a blurb and an excerpt?


Blurb: When he finds himself captivated by a movie-star handsome stranger he meets in a bar, lawyer Ford Reilly watches a simple one-night stand develop into a taste of what living honestly might bring him.

Out and proud Gus Hansen has built a small architectural firm from nothing, but could lose it all as he tries to break a contract he signed before knowing about the project’s antigay ties.

After Ford discovers he spent a passionate night with the man on the other side of the dispute he’s handling, he finds himself in more than one quandary. He can either maintain the status quo, enforcing the contract to the letter, or he can defy his overbearing father and break free of the closeted life he’s built for himself in order to be with Gus.

Gus has his own choices to make. He knows the sting of loving a man who hides himself, but the longer he lingers in Ford’s presence, the more difficult it becomes to deny their attraction.


After ditching their mother, or her ditching them, Royce and Ford went to grab a burger together at Teenie’s Diner. They ate in silence, savoring the delicious grilled flavor of Teenie’s Gutbuster special, which Royce finished easily, but Ford struggled to get a third of the way through.

“How’d your trip to Atlanta go?” Royce asked, sitting back with a sated sigh and a pat to his still trim belly. Ford couldn’t control the frown that crossed his face in time, and Royce caught it. “What? No luck?”

“Luck? With what?”

“With the architect.” The two brothers stared at each other for a couple of seconds. “Did you get him to turn over the designs?”

“Oh!” Ford laughed nervously and ran his hand over his face. “Uh, well… not right then, no. But I made it clear to… his lawyer that he didn’t have a choice. I expect the designs to be delivered before the end of the week.”

“Good enough. I’m sure Daddy will be satisfied.”

“When is our father ever satisfied?” Ford asked, picking up his unsweetened tea for a sip, but he realized he didn’t have room in his stomach and placed the glass back on the table.

Royce frowned. “Now, Ford—”

Cicely slid into the booth next to her fiancé. “Should you be eating so close to dinner?”

“You know me, hon. I can always eat,” Royce said right before kissing her.

“Ooh, onions,” she said, scrunching her nose and waving her hand in front of her beautiful face.

“Sorry, babe.”

She winked. “You can make it up to me later.” Royce laughed, glancing at his little brother in embarrassment.

“Day off?” Ford asked.

“Court ended early today. Judge Rice is on his way to Tupelo.” She signaled the waitress for some coffee. “His youngest is giving him his third grandbaby, and I doubt he’ll be back before next Monday.”

Debbie, a willowy, overworked waitress with mousy-brown hair and twinkling, green eyes, rushed over with a cup, saucer, spoon, and pot of steaming coffee. “How are you today, Ms. Pepper?” she asked as she filled Cicely’s cup.

“I’m good, Debbie, thank you. How are your boys?”

“Toby’s allergies are acting up, and Doug is close to graduating from technical college. Don’t think he’ll be working construction much longer.”

“Good for him.”

Another customer caught Debbie’s attention, and she rushed off. Cicely added two creams and a teaspoon of sugar to her coffee before taking a sip and sighing. “Where was I?”

“Who’s covering for Judge Rice while he’s off becoming a grandfather again?” Ford asked.

“Oh, right. I expect Judge Walker will come up from Valdosta for the rest of the week. Don’t worry. I’ll keep an eye on him.”

“I know you will, babe.” Royce leaned in for another kiss, forgetting her previous objection to the onions. He backed off just in time, but Cicely reached out, caressing his face before leaning in and planting a gentle kiss on his cheek. Ford grinned as he witnessed the tender moment, then turned his eyes to the picture window on his right to gaze out on the quiet Main Street of their town, just as a blue convertible zipped by. He grinned. Perfect weather for it.

“Success in Atlanta?” Cicely asked.

“We just went over that,” Royce said. “Ford let that pansy arch—”

“No,” Cicely admonished with a concerned glance at Ford, who narrowed his eyes at her.

“What?” Royce asked, confused.

“Don’t say ‘pansy.’ It’s insulting, derogatory, inappropriate.”

Royce looked around and whispered, “Babe, it’s not like he’s in here.”

Cicely glanced at the other patrons and asked, “Royce, can you honestly say you know the sexual orientation of everyone in this diner?” He chewed that over, and while he did, Cicely continued. “You wouldn’t want to say something ugly that might hurt someone or have them think less of you, would you, sweetie?”

“Uh… sorry.” They all fell silent for a moment as Royce gazed into Cicely’s eyes. Her hand lightly brushed his thigh, and his expression softened, a grin playing at his lips. In the dictionary, under dope, is that face, Ford thought, chuckling to himself as he watched his brother succumb to his best friend’s spell.


Be sure to check out more about those Reilly boys in Button Down!


Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press –

Amazon –

Barnes & Noble –



A native of West Virginia, Dawn earned a BA from the Marshall University W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications and worked as a copy editor at The Charleston Daily Mail for eight years.


Social Media Links:


Twitter: @Dawn_KJ |


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Are Trigger Warnings Necessary?


As I’ve been perusing Goodreads lately, I’ve noticed a recent trend in the reviews left.  Readers are warning others that the story they are about to read has”triggers” that may cause the reader to be uncomfortable or unable to finish reading the book.  Triggers include topics such as rape, bullying, eating disorders and negative body image.

It got me thinking, should real warnings be put on these books?  If you look at manga in book stores, they all tend to have a rating on the back and explain why it got that rating: nudity, violence, etc.  The rating doesn’t stop someone from being able to buy the manga (not like they won’t let a 14 yr old into a rated R movie) but it gives the reader and the parent an idea of what they’re in for.

Doesn’t sound like a horrible idea, but then I got to thinking about what could be considered a trigger and it’s hard to say all the possible things that might set someone off.  It could be a story with divorced parents, it could be a main character with a drug problem, or bullying, etc.  It would be too hard to cover every possible issue.

There’s also the problem of giving away too much of the story.  Maybe you don’t know the circumstances surrounding the character who has an eating disorder, but you’d know from the warning that something is going to happen and, personally, I hate when things are given away before I read!

Also, if  we start doing trigger warnings on books, would we have to do TV shows, movies and music too? I feel that would keep a lot of great work from being read/seen/heard.

I don’t mind if readers add the warnings to their reviews, but I think it would be a bad idea to add it to the book itself.  When picking up a book, a reader has to know that there’s the possibility that they won’t like it, that it could make them laugh or cry, that it could make them uncomfortable or bring up bad memories.  It’s the chance one takes in order to escape into a book and they have the option of putting it down if it bothers them too much.

What is your opinion on adding warnings of any sort on literature?

Book Review: Big Fat Disaster


TitleBig Fat Disasterbig fat disaster

Author:  Beth Fehlbaum

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Source: Net Galley

Goodreads Rating: 4.25

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It’s her life: Dad’s a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative’s trailer, where her mom’s contempt swells right along with Colby’s supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby’s role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she’s only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.


I admit, I saw the cover and skimmed the summary before requesting this book from NetGalley.  From the cover alone, the white color, the image, the cutesy font that says Heartbreak Comes in All Sizes, I was expecting a dark humor kind of romance.  That was definitely not what I got.  The book was much deeper and hit quite a few very serious topics.  There was a bit of that dark humor but it was nothing like I expected. It got increasingly sad as the story continued, leading you to really feel for Colby and what she’s going through.  All in all, it is well written, a good read and something a little different than what you might be expecting.

Also, know that there could be some triggers, including rape, suicide and eat disorders and while other reviews say they’re not handled well, I feel as if they are handled honestly.  We don’t live in a happy go lucky world where kids are always nice and compassionate towards each other. Sad, but true. It’s definitely the kind of book you’ll want to talk with your teen about after the finish reading it because of all the heavy hitting topics it covers and the fact that they may be able to relate to some of the thoughts reflected in the story.