Tuesday, April 14, 2015


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YA/NA Crossover Psychological Suspense


~A lot can change in the space between devising a plan and carrying it out. That space is called the INTERIM.~

High school seniors Jeremy Stahl and Regan Walters aren’t friends. Not even close. He’s a picked-on, picked-apart loser outcast. She’s a cool kid running with the popular crowd. It’s unlikely they’d ever speak to one another. Too bad he’s madly in love with her. But what does it matter, anyway? He’s got no time for love. Only revenge.

Meticulously detailed in the pages of his battered red notebook is his master plan. He’s finally ready to answer every single taunt, jeer, and flying fist—unwarranted abuse that’s spanned six years of his lonely life. He’s justified. He’s ready. But he never readied himself for her.

Regan finds his journal. She reads it, and when he discovers her intrusion, he has to switch tactics. She’s a liability now.

Better fix that.

(WARNING: This is a New Adult standalone containing graphic language and violence, including gun violence. If school shootings are a particularly sensitive subject for you, then I urge you to refrain from reading this book. - S.)

Now after that disclaimer, I'm going to ask that you not be afraid to read this book. Good grief.

Okay. I scared the shit out of everyone. I get that. Perhaps including images of guns and bullets on my book teasers was not the best advertising strategy. So the first thing I want to say is I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for scaring you. I’ve received messages from you asking that I allay your fears. I’ve heard from bloggers who’ve received messages from readers asking if the book has a happily-ever-after. This gives me a little bit of hope: it tells me you want to read Interim, but you’re scared. You’re scared of what it might do to your heart. You’re scared of hurting that badly. You’re scared I’ll take you down into the pit and leave you there, cold and alone, frightened and desperate.

I would never do that to you.

How do I make you feel confident enough to give this book a chance without ruining the ending? I know what you want me to say. You want me to tell you it has a HEA, and I won’t do that because the ending cannot be defined so easily. How can a story about a school shooting honestly have a HEA? When I think of HEA, I think of everyone getting exactly what they want or deserve. Not everyone gets exactly what they want or deserve in this story.

Sooooo, doesn’t sound like I’m doing the best job convincing you, huh? It’s my writer spirit rising up and demanding I MAKE you buck up and take a chance on this story without me assuaging your fears because it’s literature, damnit, and it’s supposed to challenge you! Sheesh. Yeah, literature should do exactly that (you’ll never convince me otherwise), but that doesn’t mean I can’t hold your hand a little. It’s the least I can do after scaring you with all my book teasers and disclaimers.

Will you be scared at the end of this book? Yes. You are going to cry and maybe visibly shake, and you may have to take breaks. If you read Going Under, you may have had to take breaks during the rape scene. Same here. Breaks. And that’s okay. Will you ache for the characters? Yes. You will come to love some you never thought you would, so that aching is inevitable.

Will you finish this story feeling content, maybe even happy? Perhaps even smile at the last line?

YES. A thousand times yes. I can’t say it enough. You will be HAPPY at the end of this story. You may still be crying. You may still feel the ache for some of these characters, but I can say without a doubt that you will be happy. Everyone who received an ARC of this book came away feeling satisfied.

Now just maybe you will take the chance? It is not 95,000 words of utter pain and desolation. I give you many moments to breathe, laugh, swoon, sigh, wish, and hope. Because ultimately, this is a story about hope. And maybe that’s exactly what defines a happily-ever-after.



His heart plummeted when their eyes met that morning. And then the anger bubbled up in his chest almost immediately. The things she must know! He knew she read it. A girl would have read it. Fucking girls. It was written all over her guilty face, her deer-in-headlights eyes. Her body language. He saw the imperceptible tightening of his words against her chest—her biceps flexing as she secured his notebook to her body. Like she owned it. Like she owned him.

The hell you do, he thought.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

INTERIM releases tomorrow!



WARNING: Interim is a Mature YA/New Adult crossover standalone that contains graphic language and violence, including gun violence. If school shootings are an especially sensitive subject for you, then I urge you to refrain from reading this book.


He sank to the ground, wiping the perspiration of hard work from his forehead, listening to Peter Gabriel’s fading words about war. He adopted the song as his anthem when he first heard it played on his father’s stereo a few years ago. It was a weird night of nostalgia, and Mr. Stahl sat in the center of the living room surrounded by the music of his happier past. Gabriel was among the artists, and Jeremy hung back in the doorway to the living room working hard to decode the lyrics.

Maybe he got it wrong, but he heard a story of warring children. Mean children. Children out to harm with words, with deeds. Children out for blood in the war-ravaged hallways of Any School, USA. He fought a war there every day. He fought a war at home, too. And instantly, his idea of justice was born.

He stole the CD and put the song on repeat every night before bed so that he would never forget his mission. Those kids needed to play nicer, he thought, growing more confident in his plan, his purpose. Metal could stay a flying fist. Metal could silence an ugly word. Flesh was weak; metal strong. And he would be the boy who wielded the metal—eradicating the abuse for good.

copyright S. Walden, 2015

Monday, April 6, 2015

It's a romance world, and I'm just surviving.

Biggest obstacle I face with my impending release? Love. Yep. Love. Feel-good love. Chain-me-to-the-wall love. Funny love. Dark love. Graphic love. Sugar sweet love. Basically, anything that has to do with the plot of a story focusing primarily on two people getting together and somehow, despite family, friends, and fate, making it work. And then having a baby.

I wrote some books like that. I loved writing them. (See what I did there?) But even those romance-centric books had other things going on. At least, it’s my hope that they were dynamic. Hoodie focused on a relationship between a black boy and a white girl. It wasn’t just about their love. It was about the stigma still attached to interracial relationships—people’s prejudices and fears. I know the stigma is still there because I heard from you about it. Good was definitely a romance, but let’s not forget Cadence’s spiritual struggles. Whether you liked it or not, her Christian faith was a HUGE aspect of that series. Reconciling God, sex, and deception wasn’t easy for her. And then there’s LoveLines: my weird S. Walden book that was soooo not an S. Walden book. Even LoveLines—“love” is in the title!—explored something other than love. I researched and wrote about OCD in all its tic-y ugliness. Reece didn’t save Bailey. She had to learn to deal with her condition on her own and not be co-dependent.

So, yeah. I wrote about love. And that’s great in the indie world because the indie world is all about love. When you write about love, readers see your work because the romance-only blogs are showing it to you . . . and the majority of blogs in the indie world are romance blogs. When you write stories like Going Under and Interim, you have your promotional work cut out for you. And yes, you read that correctly. I did include Going Under in that sentence. “Huh?” you say. “That was your biggest work! Every blog promoted it.” To which I will reply, “You’re absolutely right.” But the reason Going Under was promoted by romance-only blogs is because bloggers focused on detailing and teasing the love relationship in that book. Wasn’t even a key component when I wrote it. Brooke and Ryan were a side story. Big time side story. The major theme of that book centered on guilt and revenge due to severe psychological issues. Nothing at all to do with love. But because we crave the love aspect of any story, we’ll seek it out—even if it’s small—and make it something bigger than what it was intended to be.

Essentially, I got a free pass with Going Under. Blogs that would normally stay away from a story about revenge-by-entrapment promoted the hell out of it. To which I am forever grateful.

Interim isn’t setting itself up for that free pass. I’m sure readers can glean from the book description that there will be some sort of romance element in the story since Jeremy’s “madly in love” with Regan. But, readers are also aware that this story will focus primarily on bullying, brokenness, and revenge. I think the indie world is only okay with that if the love element is super strong. I can’t really say one way or the other if it is. I’ve heard from readers who say I’m downplaying the romance too much. I’ve heard from others who say I don’t need to mention the romance at all. So there you have it. I’m left sitting in this weird, uncomfortable position where I have no idea how to effectively promote this particular book. (I find myself in this position pretty much every time I have a book coming out.) I figured I’m owed at least one desperate attempt at selling this work as a romance thriller, so here I go.

“I’m taking you away from them for good,” he said softly. “And you’re gonna like it.”


In all seriousness, though, I have a small network of fiercely faithful bloggers who enjoy reading all sorts of literature besides romance—even the stuff that has no definable genre—and promoting the hell out of it. Those girls . . . man, I can’t say enough about them, and I don’t deserve them. Still, one of them said something the other day that gave me pause to think: “Summer, I just don’t know that we can be loud enough for you.” They’re loud, but there are only a handful of them. Then I realized, wait. Hold up. Hello? I have a HUGE network of “bloggers.”


Yeah. Even if you don’t officially blog, you’re my faithful readers, and I know if you read something of mine you like, you tell others. So it’s not written in a post online. So what? It’s still coming out of your mouth—the most precious words you could say for me—and that’s what counts. So yes. I’m calling you to arms. I need you, the reader, to fight for my work. Talk about it. Spread the word. Do that organic movement thing we love so much in our society. And I’m not talking about farming. I’m talking about that movement devoid of fabrication where you hear about something special and you share it with others because you want to. It’s real and powerful and effective. It worked for Going Under. Talking MADE those romance-only blogs take a look. MADE them read the book. MADE them share it with their followers. Interim may not be the romance book everyone in the indie world thinks they need, but it’s the “romance” book they actually do need. Yes, that’s quite the statement, isn’t it? And I stand behind it because I believe in it. I stand behind it because I’ve heard the feedback, and I know, with your help, we can get people talking about this book.

Thank you for sharing my work. Thank you for believing in me. <3