Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “JC Lillis”

Happy Book Birthday to WE WON’T FEEL A THING!

Today’s Brew: Never skimp on creamer. I feel like I lost two perfectly good days of my life to half and half.

by Kristen

Julie and I frequently fangirl over JC Lillis. Why? Because she’s smart and effortlessly funny. Smart and effortlessly funny are two things that translate into her writing. Today, her new book, WE WON’T FEEL A THING, is available for you to fangirl (or fanboy) over. Tell me this blurb doesn’t hook you:

Seventeen-year-old best friends Rachel and Riley are in forbidden love.

Their situation’s. . .complicated. And their timing couldn’t be worse—in just one month, he leaves for California and she starts college in New York. The absolute last thing they need is a reckless secret-love confession mucking up their perfect plans.

There’s only one logical option: scientific intervention.

Desperate for a quick fix, they sign up for WAVES, an experimental self-help program led by mysterious scientist David A. Kerning. He swears his Forbidden Love Module can turn passion back to safe platonic friendship in “six easy steps.”

But when you arm yourself with an untested program, side effects are unpredictable.

And sometimes when you fight love—love fights back.

We Won't Feel a Thing

We Won’t Feel a Thing

All of this can be yours! Just click this link. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Today, on ye ol’ blogola, Julie and I have the pleasure of interviewing JC! Guys, she’s into retro food. And fan fiction.  Read on:

Did you base WAVES on any real life program?

I didn’t, but I’ll tell you where I got the idea. Years ago, this friend of mine—he was a brilliant scientist, very much wedded to the logic-before-emotion philosophy—was giving advice to a mutual friend of ours who was having a hard time. And he said, in a very calm and common-sense kind of way, “You know, you wouldn’t get yourself in situations like these if you’d just learn how to engineer your emotions.” Which of course is a bizarre thing to say to someone in pain, right? But I kept turning it over and over, picturing him starting up his own “emotional engineering” lab and setting us up as test subjects. So that was the beginning of the David Kerning character. And at the same time, I was also kicking around this story about two (unrelated) teenagers who grew up in the same house and are wrestling with all these inappropriate feelings for each other just as their paths in life start to diverge. So David Kerning and Rachel & Riley careened into the same story orbit and sort of crashed into each other and made a giant lovely mess for me to clean up.

Do you see more of yourself in Rachel or Riley? Is there anything that either of them do that you would never, ever be able to bring yourself to do?

I see a lot of myself in both of them, though neither one is completely me. Rachel’s perfectionism and Riley’s anxiety are both dimensions of me for sure, and they totally share my sense of humor. (They’re much, much quicker with a quip than I am, though. The benefit of being a fictional character.)

Rachel in particular definitely does stuff I would never dream of doing, especially not when I was her age. She’s a planner, but she’s a BADASS planner. Like, I never would’ve had the balls to take the SATs early on the sly and apply to my dream school hundreds of miles away without my family knowing. I’ve become kind of a stealth badass in my old(er) age, but as a teenager I was definitely more like Riley—quiet and deliberate, someone very unlikely to stare down a challenge. I get in staring contests with challenges at least once every two months now, so there’s hope for him yet.

Riley is a worrier. What does Rachel worry about? What do you worry about?

Rachel is a girl with a plan; she has a very clear vision of who and what she wants to be. So she’s petrified of anything that’ll knock her off course and make her lose control. That’s why she’s so desperate to resolve her feelings for Riley—love feels very overwhelming and unwieldy, and she sees it as a direct threat to her goals. Like she says in one of the early chapters—”there’s only one kind of girl I can tolerate being, and it is not the Girl Who Gives it All Up for Love.”

As for me—the real question is, what DON’T I worry about? I can look at a paper clip and see eight ways it might cause an accidental death. You wouldn’t want to live inside my head. Here there be monsters. (And also lots of words and plots and characters and things, which is the only reason I haven’t applied for a brain transplant.)

You share my obsession with borderline repulsive mid century recipes, and I love that you actually make these masterpieces. How did this happen to us?
Well, I’m not sure what happened to YOU, but one night I dreamed I was chased through a forest of jello molds and mauled by a pack of pickled meat loaves, and when I came to, I immediately craved a library of vintage cookbooks. They’re just addictive, aren’t they? There’s this sad, heartwarming innocence to the way we ate then. The fact that women regularly constructed things like “Creamed Corn and Wiener Roasts” and served them with a straight face on the good china…I mean, that whole postwar chapter of cultural history is just endlessly fascinating to me.

And by the way, aspic is mightily offended that you called it “borderline repulsive.” It wears its mantle of revulsion PROUDLY.


You are a self described fan girl. If someone was to write a Rachel and Riley fan fic, what would you love to see happen?

Oh, yeah, I do love fanfic. I can’t tell you how thrilled I’d be if someone loved Rachel and Riley enough to write more stories about them. I could give you some ideas of stuff I’d love to see, but it wouldn’t really be about what I want. Once I write a book and put it out there, I figure the characters belong to the readers. So if anyone wants to write steampunk AU or pterodactyl porn about Rachel and Riley, HAVE AT IT. Just send me a link, okay?

Riley never wears pants with less than 5 pockets. What the hell are in these pockets?
Very small effigies of his enemies. No—he’s a mosaic artist, so he’s always picking up things he can use in his projects. Pretty stones, pieces of glass, bottle caps. He sees beauty in a lot of ordinary things, so he needs a lot of pockets to hold it all.

If you had a scientist willing to remove one thing from you so you wouldn’t feel a thing, what would it be?

Overinvestment in fictional characters. I just read some super-gross spoilers about the new Game of Thrones season, like stuff they nonsensically changed from the books, and I’m not a book purist when it comes to adaptations but these were like a horse-kick to the chest. I care way too much about the characters I love and I dearly wish there was a Distancing Button I could press to zap it away when necessary.
I love the image of the blown glass wishing hearts. What significance do they hold in the book?

OMG, you went on the Pinterest board. HOW MUCH DO I LOVE YOU. The wishing heart is given to Rachel and Riley by the very lovely, somewhat irritating Tilly Merriam, who is David’s colleague and travel partner. Riley hangs it in their window and it becomes kind of a talisman as the story unfolds.

What are Rachel and Riley’s biggest pet peeves?
Rachel plans to become the most feared and respected copy editor in New York, so grammatical errors chap her hide. Misused apostrophes are her #1 peeve. It’s really hard for her to look at a specials chalkboard in a restaurant and not make any adjustments on the sly.
Riley’s peeves: when he can’t get a mosaic to match the picture in his head, and when Rachel watches hospital dramas in his presence even though she knows he’ll end up diagnosing himself with a rare strain of pig flu.
If Rachel and Riley could run away together somewhere that none of these problems would be problems, where would they go?

You know at the end of Splash, when Tom Hanks jumps in the ocean with Daryl Hannah and becomes a quasi-merman through the magical power of handholding and they swim to the bottom of the sea in like thirty seconds flat and they see the glowing lights of her vast mermaid kingdom in the distance? That place.

I totally just spoiled Splash for everyone who wasn’t around in 1984. Wow, I’m a bastard.

I stalk you because of your casual, slightly deranged, intelligent humor, your fearless originality, and also because of your cooking skillz. Please tell me what the funniest thing is you can think of.

Okay, first of all, THANK YOU. Second of all: Jump-roping toilets. Ever since we did Harry Potter Mad Libs at the kid’s birthday party, I haven’t stopped thinking about jump-roping toilets. Mad Libs with First Graders needs to be a Comedy Central show.
Runners-up: The phrase “hand-cranked wiener warmers,” the video for “Frontier Psychiatrist” by the Avalanches, and that part in Waiting for Guffman where Christopher Guest goes “I JUST HATE YOU AND I HATE YOUR ASS FACE!” (Seriously. I want it as my ringtone: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra_X0QXfeW4)

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

Besides gestating a small human who’s now at least five times cooler than I am…I gotta go with “becoming an indie author.” That and the book trailer for We Won’t Feel a Thing.

What’s the weird thing you have to do every day?

Check my heater five times before I go to bed to make sure I unplugged it. I also go into my daughter’s room to make sure the pillows aren’t too close to her face while she’s sleeping. I’ve done this since she was a toddler. SHE IS SEVEN YEARS OLD. There’s basically no chance of her escaping young adulthood with no therapy bills.

Four people you can invite to a dinner party and not one of them has to be a family member. Go. Also, what will the table linens look like?

I’m immediately disqualifying all friends from real life and Twitterlife, because there’s no way I could choose. And I’m not inviting any world leaders or Nobel Prize winners, because I want to serve spaghetti and watch Hot Fuzz and not have to polish the oyster forks.

So: I’d invite Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, because he doesn’t get enough love, and his awkwardness would offset mine.

I’d invite Lena Headey and Janelle Monae, because they’re my primary woman crushes and they’d be so radiantly awesome that no one would notice I burned the garlic bread.

I’d also invite Wes Anderson and beg him to make a movie version of We Won’t Feel a Thing. I’d show him all the tiny pencils I made out of toothpicks for the book trailer. We would love each other so hard.

The table linens would be the finest Egyptian cotton, but would also be printed with misbehaving robots, because I spoil my guests but am not Gwyneth Paltrow.

And now, to do to you what you did to me.
1. Describe your favorite pair of shoes.

Gotta go with my light brown leather boots with antique gold buttons. They’re very steampunky. I’m not in love with steampunk, but I most definitely have unplatonic feelings toward these boots.

2. Tell me a dirty joke.

An elderly couple is getting ready for bed at night. The wife wants to spice things up, so she dashes out of the bathroom in nothing but a red satin cape and shouts “SUPER PUSSY!” The husband looks her over and says “…I’ll have the soup.”

3. What movie makes you angry?

That goddamned Kevin Spacey movie — what’s it called, The Life of David Gale? I think that’s it. I refuse to look it up because I’ll just get mad at it all over again. It’s just smug and manipulative and deeply, deeply silly, and not the good kind of silly.

4. What book makes you cry?

I’m not a huge book-crier, but the end of Don’t Think Twice by Ruth Pennebaker absolutely gutted me. It’s an older YA book and I almost hate describing it because it’s about a pregnant teen so it sounds like a Problem Novel, but it doesn’t read like one. It’s gutwrenching specifically because the girl is so sharp and funny and guarded with her emotions, and then at the end when she gives her baby up and all these real feelings start pouring out, you’re blindsided right along with her. I recommend it if you need an ugly-cry.

5. If you had to write a short story inspired by a song, which one would you pick?
“St. Louise Is Listening” by Soul Coughing, just to see if I could make something cohesive out of the lyrics. It would be a fun puzzle. (I almost said “The Night You Can’t Remember” by the Magnetic Fields, but that’s pretty much already a short story.)

6. What do you think about at night when you’re trying to fall asleep?

Usually whatever scene I’m planning to write next. Or I write scenes for my favorite fictional characters, especially if they’ve been needlessly abused by their creators. I patch them up and listen to their woes and give them cookies and good love scenes.

7. When you meet someone new, what’s the first thing you notice about him/her?
The sincerity of his/her smile. I sound like Linus, don’t I? I always wanted to sit in a sincere pumpkin patch with him. (I think there’s a lot of Linus in Riley, come to think of it.)

8. What do you think Oscar the Grouch does on trash day?

Hides out in Bert & Ernie’s apartment and instigates lovers’ quarrels.

9. As a fellow Ali G fan, I must know: Does you believe in mahogany?

 

I do, because it believes in itself. Self-belief is infectious.

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WE WON’T FEEL A THING Watch The Pretties!

Today’s Brew: I fixed the creamer problem, and bought a huge box of the Christmas coffee. It’s smooth sailing on Whiskey Tango for a while.

by Kristen

We LOVE JC Lillis at Deadly Ever After. Love. JC came to us on Twitter and I immediately fell in love with her easy, quirky sense of humor. I loved her even more when I saw that her first book, HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART, was two teenage fanboys on tour and discovering their feelings for each other. There’s a whole other side to fandom, I’ve discovered through JC, who had to tell me what “shipping” meant.

If I wasn’t already head over heels for this girl, I have one word for you. Aspic. Yes, the mid-century jello mold that suspended the dinners of a generation. Clan Hutchings and I will spend hours sending each other pins of gross looking retro food. JC goes one better. SHE MAKES IT. And blogs about it.

So JC, I ship you, your books, and your frosted meatloaf. WE WON’T FEEL A THING, a YA contemporary romance with a subplot that could be ripped from talk TV, is coming March 31. This trailer is so well made, even if I haven’t convinced you with the jello molds or the awesome, watch it for the production value.

 

And now that you’re totally hooked, here’s the blurb:

Seventeen-year-old best friends Rachel and Riley are in forbidden love.

Their situation’s. . .complicated. And their timing couldn’t be worse—in just one month, he leaves for California and she starts college in New York. The absolute last thing they need is a reckless secret-love confession mucking up their perfect plans.

There’s only one logical option: scientific intervention.

Desperate for a quick fix, they sign up for WAVES, an experimental self-help program led by mysterious scientist David A. Kerning. He swears his Forbidden Love Module can turn passion back to safe platonic friendship in “six easy steps.”

But when you arm yourself with an untested program, side effects are unpredictable.

Add WE WON’T FEEL A THING on Goodreads! Come back and thank us on March 31!

Julie Tells JC Lillis Dirty Penguin Jokes And About Her Books

TODAY’S BREW: Friggity French Toast blend, baby. Kristen gets the good stuff for me.

By Julie 

I got to do this interview with one of the most refreshingly hilarious and talented people on Twitter, Jen Lillis. Now that RUNNING AWAY inches ever closer to your dirty little hands, here’s a bunch of random stuff about me, including a dirty joke.

 

Okay, full disclosure: Julie Hutchings is one of my favorite writer-types on Twitter. Whenever she tweets I’m all like

so when I interviewed her I was afraid I’d be all like

“Remember that time you were in the Beatles?”

I briefly considered conducting the entire interview as Ali G. since Julie and I recently discussed our mutual obsession with that one episode where he calls farms “rubbish zoos,” but then I’d have to ask all sorts of rude and oblivious questions about her awesome book, Running Home, which totally deserves better. So I asked her 17 questions as my regular self, and much like Bon Jovi in “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” she ROCKED THEM ALL. (And, unsurprisingly, told a spectacular dirty penguin joke.)

Here’s the interview, followed by my review of Running Home!

 

Julie Hutchings

Hey Julie—thanks for joining me. Let’s start with some questions about Running Home and the writing life:
Q. Can we talk about Eliza first? SHE’S SO GREAT. Refreshingly low-key, funny, antisocial in a relatable way. So much of her character hinges on this feeling that no matter where she is, she doesn’t quite fit in. Does that come from personal experience, or did you have to stretch to put yourself in her shoes?

A. Ahhh, thank you! I had plenty of time being the odd girl out, the one with the huge boobs and weird hair. It was after I accepted that I wasn’t like anybody else that I found my strength and knew I had somethingelse. Still not sure what it is, but it’s in there. A lot like Eliza, yeah.

Q. I loved the female friendship in Running Home and I kinnnnnda want to write Kat/Eliza femslash, just a little. Since the book is from Eliza’s POV, I’m curious: what did their friendship mean to Kat, and how did she really view Eliza’s whirlwind relationship with Nicholas?

A. Kat always felt a little like a pinup poster and Eliza was the first person to really see Kat for the witty, trusting, generous woman she was. For that, Kat loved her and even though Eliza was a little of everything she wasn’t—self reliant, resourceful, never needing anybody, not wantinganybody—Kat was never jealous. She only wanted Eliza to feel the openness that she felt all the time. So when Nicholas showed up, Kat really wanted Eliza to let herself feel, no matter what feelings he brought on.

Q. This is a vampire book with a difference—you draw on Japanese Shinigami mythology, so your vampires are bound by fate to lead certain people to predestined deaths. What’s the hardest part about writing a romantic lead who’s fated to kill?

A. You know, I never want my characters to be all likeable. Nobody is all likeable all the time. So even though fate picks these victims for him, Nicholas still enjoys the kill. He may have mixed feelings about it, but at the end of the day he’s resolved to stand behind who he is. Insecure, but strong. I think knowing when to turn off the sarcasm with him and turn on the emotion was the hardest thing. His first response is snark all the time. Letting Eliza in to his feelings when he didn’t expect it was tough.

Q. Smell is such a vivid part of Running Home—totally agree with the reviewer who said it should be scratch & sniff. Why did you choose to focus so intensely on smell, and how did you pick the special scents associated with Nicholas and his awesome cabin?

A. Scent is the sense that’s strongest with people. One whiff of something and it can transport you to another time, someone you wish you were, someplace you wish you never left, a moment of longing and happiness all at once. This, to me, is what vampires should stand for, all of these dichotomies and intensity. The smells of home were what I wanted for Eliza, warm things—peppermint brownies, hot chocolate, cloves, all the things that make you want to crawl under a blanket and smile that you’re there. Because she doesn’t get that feeling any other time.

Q. Eliza’s bond with Nicholas gets really intense, really fast (and later in the book it’s obvious why). Do you believe fate has a hand in real-life relationships, or was that just a theme that meshed well with the Shinigami myth?

A. I think there are soul mates, absolutely. People that are meant to be in our lives. I think if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be able to write it convincingly. Having someone fated for you isn’t all roses. Sometimes it feels suffocating. Sometimes you can’t get enough of them no matter how hard you try. And no matter how you feel on the surface, you never feel RIGHT unless they’re next to you. And yes, I speak from experience. J

Q. What piece of writing advice has helped you/influenced your work the most?

A. “Write the book you have to write or everything breaks.” (A.M. Homes)  Don’t worry about whether it will sell, or if it makes sense, or what genre it fits into. If it’s so powerful that you have to get it out of your soul, it will feel that way regardless of any of these things. Write the book because you’re a writer, not because of what anybody else thinks. Write it if it hurts, or if it takes 12 years.

Q. I love that advice. I need you to cross-stitch that for me, okay?

So I gotta ask, because none of us actually want our books to take 12 years: When you hit a wall and don’t want to write, tell me what happens in your brain to get you past that. How do you talk yourself out of a motivation dead zone?

A. I am such a militant bitch. First, I drink like a sonofabitch. Then I sit my ass down and I force myself to write something, no matter what it is. The only reason I’m not motivated is if I don’t try. It’s a vicious circle. Forcing myself to write just one damn sentence, literally with zero idea of what was going to come out was how I wrote the first line of THE ANIMAL, the book I pray my agent will like after editing.

Q. Forcing it is so hard, but you’re right – sometimes it jumpstarts some great ideas you never would’ve had otherwise.

One more writing question. As a fellow mom, I gotta ask: how on earth do you balance the writing life with motherhood? Any tips for the inept jugglers among us?

A. Oh holy Jesus. Sometimes I suck at being a mom. I just don’t want to play Legos. I just don’t want to do crafts that we’ll all be bored of in 5 minutes. And sometimes all I want to do is play with the kids or screw around outside with them. But I remind myself every day what the two most important things in my life are: My babies and writing. (The husband is in there, I couldn’t do any of it without him.) It may mean that I write in 15 minute intervals, or a sentence here and there as I run around the house, and it often means I get my ass out of bed at 5 to have those 3 solid hours to myself to write. And I’m always tired. But it’s a happy tired. There are days of such overwhelm I can’t breathe, and I take anxiety meds every day, but this is the life I want, and I try to remember that when the kids are climbing on me as I edit. I also schedule like a bastard. I give myself a quota, not a goal, of what I want written, and I don’t let myself slack. End of story. It’s non-negotiable.

Q. YES. Writing moms are superheroes. I’m convinced.

Okay – so since you love answering “weird shit,” I have some rapid-fire oddball questions before we go:

Describe your favorite pair of shoes.

A. Oooooh, I love these patent leather nude stilettos that I just want to lick.

Q. Tell me a dirty joke.

A. It’s long, so get ready. (That’s not the joke.) A penguin’s car breaks down, so he walks to a garage. The walrus mechanic says, “this is gonna take a while, why don’t you go to the diner across the street and come back in an hour?” The penguin is starved, so he orders a huge bowl of ice cream, but penguins don’t have hands, so he flips into his mouth like crazy, getting ice cream everywhere. An hour passes, and he goes back to the garage, still wiping ice cream off his penguin face. The walrus says, “well, it looks like you blew a seal.” The penguin says, “no, it’s just some ice cream.” J

Q. What movie makes you angry?

A. Eraserhead. It makes me dizzy, which makes me angry.

Q. What book makes you cry?

A. THE INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison. Ugh. *kicks feelings*

Q. If you had to write a short story inspired by a song, which one would you pick?

A. UGH AGAIN. Waiting for the Miracle by Leonard Cohen.

Q. What do you think about at night when you’re trying to fall asleep?

A. The coffee I shall drink in a mere 8 hours.

Q. When you meet someone new, what’s the first thing you notice about him/her?

A. Their laugh. Then their hands.

Q. What do you think Oscar the Grouch does on trash day?

A. Eats a shitload of cake.

Q. As a fellow Ali G fan, I must know: Does you believe in mahogany?

A. I DO believe in mahogany because of all the fairy tales and things about it.

 

Thanks, Julie, for stopping by and painting this blog with amazing. Here’s my review of Running Home:

 

First things first: is Running Home a good vampire novel? Does it bring something different to the table? Yes, and here’s why. It was an incredibly smart decision to spice up the Original Recipe vampire tale with elements of Japanese Shinigami mythology. It adds depth and shading to what’s usually a pretty straightforward obstacle to romance. In this universe, a vamp who wants to sidestep a human kill has to fight more than just hunger and base instinct – he has to fight fate itself. It’s a powerful, agonizing dilemma that really bears fruit in the second half of the novel, when [SORT-OF SPOILER ALERT] romantic lead Nicholas learns he’s fated to kill someone close to Eliza, the girl he loves.

That brings me to Running Home’s secret weapon—the thing that sets it apart and makes it a hugely appealing read even if you’re not into vampires. Eliza is a great narrator with a specific voice that resists cliché or easy categorization. She can be sullen and withdrawn, but she’s also capable of great tenderness and vulnerability. She’s wry and smart (how can you not love a character who warns her best friend not to dress her “like a human cupcake”?), but she never comes across as a cookie-cutter snarky heroine. She has a quiet strength, but Nicholas is her weakness, and Running Home has the guts to fully explore all the beauty and ugliness of a first love that starts to snowball into obsession. There’s a very good reason Eliza and Nicholas fall for each other so hard and fast (which I won’t reveal here), but even if you take out the vampire element, there’s so much to relate to here: the insecurity and maddening uncertainty of a relationship’s early stages, the almost palpable joys of discovering someone who really gets you. Those relatable parts really anchor the story and keep us on Eliza’s side, even as we facepalm at some of her decisions (hooray for heroines with realistic flaws!).

The deliberate pace of the book’s first half is somewhat surprising, but I actually found it refreshing, especially since the writing is so strong and vivid. I liked that the character development wasn’t perfunctory; we spend a nice stretch of time really getting to know Eliza and her best friend Kat (great female friendship, by the way) and seeing her relationship with Nicholas develop before the plot amps up in the second half. If I didn’t know Eliza so well before the plot started twisting and turning, those twists and turns might have been much less affecting. Plus Hutchings seeds the first half with just enough mystery and small-scale horror, so it’s still a page-turner that builds smoothly to later events.

Also: the end. There’s a development in the final chapters that made me gasp and put my Kindle down for about five minutes. I hated that it happened, but I knew exactly WHY it had to happen, and I respect an author who follows a plot thread to its logical end, even if it devastates the reader. What happens at the end raises a ton of fascinating questions, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the sequel, Running Away. (I hope we don’t have long to wait!)

To sum up: recommended for fans of paranormal horror-romance, unusual heroines, love affairs with equal parts passion and nuance, and richly evocative writing. It’s got a five-star average on Amazon and costs less than a latte. RUN AND GET IT.

And also, follow Julie on Twitter (@HutchingsJulie). You won’t regret it.

Be My Valentine!

Today’s Brew: Caramel Hot Cocoa. Because it’s a special day. Hallmark SAYS SO.

by Kristen

I was at work, bored out of my mind listening to people rave about a new platform to sell investment banking, and I came up with a brilliant idea.  See? Good stuff can come out of sitting in a cubicle.

I decided to ask some of my author friends what their main couples would get each other for Valentine’s Day.

I think Mr. Jacob Farrish would whisk Lady Eleanore Barnaby off for a few days to Bath or Cornwall, to spend time alone. He’s a busy barrister! 😉 She would most likely give him a set of new law books, and a more…um, PRIVATE present later.
–Olivia Kelly, The Heart of a Duke

Corbin would get Mara a new bow and Mara would get Corbin a silver shield. Lol.  Not as fun in the middle ages.
–Tammy Farrell, The Darkness of Light

Beau would get Jack something sarcastic. A slogan tee with ‘If I were chocolate, I’d eat myself‘ written across the front. Or maybe, ‘James Bond 2.0‘  Jack would get Beau a limited edition Yoda doll to replace the one that was broken during the chaos. Or, all things considered, he may get her one of those squidgy stress balls with his face printed on it…
–Louise D. Gornall, In Stone
For their first Valentine’s Day together (if they make it that far, because you’ve got to remember a. They got together two months before graduation and we all know how that usually works out, and b. Tash is kind of an emotional land mine), Grant would most-likely spend weeks stressing over what to get Tash and then eventually ask his mom for guidance. She would tell Grant to get Tash a sweater or something, and Tash would hate it. Tash, on the other hand, would probably be so uncomfortable about the mere thought of taking part in Valentine’s Day that she’d attempt to lighten the mood with some kind of gag gift, and Grant would be horrified because he’d wonder if deep down Tash secretly believes that he would be caught dead wearing a “Female Body Inspector” T-shirt. After a few moments of extremely creative cursing (on Tash’s part) and painful politeness while inwardly violent self-kicking (on Grant’s part), they’d both admit how socially awkward they are and have a good laugh about it together. And then they would make out. The end.
–Isobel Irons, Promiscuous

Abel will give Brandon a customized heart-shaped guitar pick stamped with I PICK YOU, plus a hoodie with the Castaway Planet logo. His valentine card will be very large and festooned with smooching robots, and it will play a tinny “Let’s Get It On” when opened. Brandon will give Abel a limited-edition Captain James P. Cadmus action figure and a giant tin of cinnamon jelly beans, because cinnamon jelly beans will remind him of their road trip always and forever. Also, his construction-paper valentine will look handmade by a monkey with extra thumbs, but Abel will put it under his pillow anyway.
–J.C. Lillis, How to Repair a Mechanical Heart

Tavis would create a special corner in the hedge maze at the Imperial Palace for Faylanna, one with some of her favorite plants from the Gardensia Exotica planted there. It would be secluded, so she could have time to herself if she wanted, or with just Faylanna, Tavis, and their daughter.  Faylanna would secretly arrange with Tavis’ steward to clear several days of commitments and tell him to spend the time any way he wanted, so long as it had nothing to do with being the Crown Prince. They’d end up leaving the city, taking no one but themselves for the week.
–J. Elizabeth Hill, The Nine
 Cerise would give William a doctor costume and he’d go rent a wing of some hospital.
Torren has always loved literature and spent a lot of his free time reading, so as a romantic gift, Lilly would get Torren something book-related, such as an autographed first edition of a book he adores or a new book he hasn’t read yet but which she knows he’ll love. Torren’s romantic gesture for Lilly, on the other hand, would lean toward the experiential rather than the material. He would plan a romantic date and not tell her where they were going. Something super special like showing her a spectacular view she’s never seen before or taking her to a production of Turandot, which was the opera they saw on their first date together and which captivated her and stirred her emotions.
–Jeanie Grey, Awakening 2
Eliza would get Nicholas something ridiculous and so wrong it was right like a plant stand. Nicholas would get Eliza a crazy amount of food, not fancy especially but a lot. Like lobster and stuff. And an onyx necklance. He’d say it was pretty and deathy like her.
–Julie Hutchings, Running Home
Tristan would get Callie an antique sewing machine and some really pretty fabrics, like crushed velvet with a funky dye to it, because she’s been sad she hasn’t been able to make anything since she’s been in Vegas.  Callie would get Tristan a journal, a leather one with a cool cutout pattern for his songs. Then one of them would say something to ruin the whole thing, but they’d make up and have a great night.
–Kristen Strassel, Because the Night

COVER REVEAL We Won’t Feel A Thing–J.C. Lillis

Today’s Brew: Blueberry. You knew that. Stop judging me. And probably hot cocoa later since it’s snowing

by Kristen

Today we are excited to reveal the cover of our friend J.C. Lillis’ brand new book, WE WON’T FEEL A THING. It will be available March 31!

We Won't Feel a Thing

We Won’t Feel a Thing

J. C. tells us about her inspiration for the cover:

I had this cover idea in my head pretty early on—the waves are a recurring image, and there’s also a Significant Umbrella in the story. I worked closely with my awesome cover designer, Mindy Dunn, who took the basic idea and made it beauteous. The book is whimsical and romantic (and hopefully funny), and I think the cover captures the tone really well. I hope you like it!

And the book sounds amazing:

Seventeen-year-old best friends Rachel and Riley are in forbidden love.

Their situation’s. . .complicated. And their timing couldn’t be worse—in just one month, he leaves for California and she starts college in New York. The absolute last thing they need is a reckless secret-love confession mucking up their perfect plans.

There’s only one logical option: scientific intervention.

Desperate for a quick fix, they sign up for WAVES, an experimental self-help program led by mysterious scientist David A. Kerning. He swears his Forbidden Love Module can turn passion back to safe platonic friendship in “six easy steps.”

But when you arm yourself with an untested program, side effects are unpredictable.

And sometimes when you fight love—love fights back.

About J. C.:

JCL Author PhotoJ.C. Lillis lives in Baltimore with her patient family and a ragtag band of tropical fish, some of which will be dead by the time you read this. WE WON’T FEEL A THING is her second YA novel; she also wrote HOW TO REPAIR A MECHANICAL HEART, because she wanted to read a book about two sci-fi fanboys in love and there wasn’t one handy. She loves koi ponds, abandoned amusement parks, and peanut butter & banana sandwiches. She hates paper cuts, cabbage, and writing bios.

Find J.C. Lillis:

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562243.J_C_Lillis

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/jclillis

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jclillisbooks

On Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jclillis/

On the web: www.jclillis.com

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