Saturday, October 4, 2014


I started writing a post about grammar blunders—and included one of my own that a “fan” felt the need to point out in a condescending email full of pomposity and convoluted sentences. And I’m not talking about those lovely labyrinthine sentences either. I’m talking sentences that made me go, “Say wha??” (Yeah, not even a “t” on the end of that.) . . . Ohhhh, will it make you laugh your ass off. However, I’ve had to set aside my blog writing (along with my much more important novel writing) to tackle the ten trillion projects I have going on in my house. So there’s a bullshit teaser for you. You have to WAIT for the condescending email and my thoughts on grammar + writers + editors + proofreaders.

My family is visiting for Christmas. Yay! They haven’t stood on Georgia red clay in several years. Lame. Now that they’re coming, I kind of need to have a kitchen ceiling (which is currently missing) as well as, you know, cabinets and working bathrooms. I could show you pictures, but my husband would kill me for sharing shots of the inside of our house. He’s very private. I get it. There are lunatics out there. I’m not thinking any of my followers are, but then I did receive that email . . .

So I’ll be gone for the next two months. And I want you to miss me. I used to wonder why Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Justin Beiber, and Kim Kardashian posted pictures of themselves nonstop. And I mean nonstop. If you ever pick up celeb magazines, which I’m wont to do from time to time, these are the only four celebs I ever see/read about. Then the light bulb went off, albeit a little late, but in my defense, my brain’s been a little jumbled lately with the mess that is my house. Anyway, they post incessantly about themselves to stay relevant. Duh. It must be exhausting, really, getting that perfect selfie (after fifty shots) and then actually posting it . . . with a caption that reads something like, “Life” or “Being.” Haha! Doesn’t it make you cringe? I cringe. And I love it. I oughta be doing this! Especially now that I’ll be absent (again). I tend to do that a lot—just fall off the edge of the earth for a while until I feel like I actually have something important to share with you all.

Okay, so here’s my version of a selfie. That’s how desperate I am for you to remember me and think I’m important in this overly crowded, slush pile of a literary world:

I have a book in the works that’s gonna blow your mind. You think Going Under was intense. Pffsst. Child’s play. Child’s play, people. My current story is on an entirely different level. Intense themes? Check. Cringe-worthy moments? Check. Controversy? Check. “Oh, hell no!” moments? Double check. Add in racing hearts, sweaty palms, “I don’t want to turn the page,” and “Summer, you bitch!!” moments, and you’ve got yourself my next big deal. Now, go out there and start sleuthing. See if you can discover any more tidbits. If someone comes back here with details I didn’t share, I’ll know one of my Summertime Girls squawked, and there will be a price to pay.

Oh, what the hell. Here’s an actual selfie, too. I took it after applying fake eyelashes for a night out. Like my so-very-thoughtful caption?

Windows into the soul.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Congratulations, teens. You've ruined my life.

Haha. Just kidding. They haven’t ruined my life, but they sure have complicated my writing career. Remember a really really long time ago—like the beginning of this year—when I posted about how I was just the slightest bit weary of writing about teenagers? They make for some really good stories, but they are exhausting. The angst. The drama. The melodrama. Good grief. I found myself turning into one: “Honey, what’s going on?” Aidan asked. “Get off my back! IDK!” I replied. IDK, people.

It was time for a break, and really that had to do with the fact that my closet was filled with more Love Culture clothing than normal, 34-year-old mature woman clothing. Thankfully Bailey from LoveLines spoke up and offered to give me what I thought would be a well-deserved break from high school. The only problem with that was that my fans weren’t ready for me to switch gears. They weren’t ready for Bailey. Bailey didn’t fit with Brooke or Cadence. Bailey was an adult. What the hell was I doing writing about adults?

It never once occurred to me that people stick with specific genres, not authors. I don’t know why this never occurred to me since I’m one such reader who chooses books over authors. I’m going for what interests me. I’m not picking up every single thing Diana Gabaldon writes. Haven’t touched her Lord John Grey series. Probably never will because his character and story don’t interest me. The other thing I failed to consider was that I’d already rooted myself in this weird, indefinable YA/NA crossover genre about teens and their not-quite-adult lives. Readers liked that I wrote these stories. They liked my teenagers because I gave them the best of both worlds: I let them remember adolescence (maybe fantasize a better version of those years), and I still threw in adult themes/situations.

I have a point to all this. And here it comes. I just read an insightful article on author branding, and it included advice on everything from what picture you want to use to represent your author self to how social media is vital to being noticed (I get it already. Jeez). Probably the hardest bit of advice for me to swallow was choosing a genre and sticking to it. See? Here’s the point. When I read that piece of advice, my writer self bristled—chest out and feathers ruffled like a little banter rooster. “No!” I crowed. “No no no! I will NOT be pigeon-holed! I will NOT be made to write in one genre for the rest of my writing career! I will NOT write in a prison of my own design!!!!!!!!! Or one others want to make for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(See? Total drama because I write about teens too much.)

And then once I calmed down and thought about it rationally, I realized that choosing a genre and sticking to it was actually beneficial for me. It doesn’t pigeon-hole. I can still write whatever the hell I want to, just under a different name. Don’t you ever see those “T.L. Comma writing as Comma Sutra” bylines on books? That chick just went from clean YA to trashy erotica in the space of a single book. AND she took her audience with her. She’s damn good. She did it right. She let her audience know, “Hey, it’s still me, but I’m going a different direction with this book. I don’t wanna confuse you, so whenever you see me as ‘Comma Sutra’ now, you know it’s one of my sex books.” *sigh* If only I’d done that: “S. Walden writing as Summer Love” and my life would be completely different.

So authors, don’t be like me. Learn from my LoveLines mishap. Figure out your genre, stick to it, and write under a different name when you’re itching to tell a story that veers from your chosen path. Remember that you will have the diehard fans who will read anything you put out there—including tampon instructions, Amanda—but most readers expect a certain type of book from you. It’s your duty and privilege to give it to them. Much like voting. Voting is not a right, FYI; it’s a privilege, but that’s an entirely different subject.

Once you choose your genre, embrace it. Embrace it hard. Have lots and lots of sex with it because this is it, baby. This is your area of expertise. You own it. You love it. You expect it to take you places. And if you’re committed to it, you’ll solidify your place in the writing world—that teeny tiny space in the upper left-hand corner that’s alllllll yours. How do I know this to be true? Well, haven’t you heard? S. Walden writes the “controversial teen stuff.” ;)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Employing Grammar B to Make. A. Point.

Okay. I confess I’m guilty of doing the one-word sentence thing when I want to emphasize. It’s okay in small doses. But when you’re telling someone to Read. This. Book. Now. or you have No. Idea. What. You’re. Missing. . . well, it becomes a bit much, eh? Fragments are good. Every now and then ;)

Actually, the sentence fragment is just one of many devices that make up what’s called the alternate style of writing, or Grammar B. I researched and wrote my graduate thesis on Grammar B because when I taught writing to middle and high school students, I discovered they were using it. On purpose! Well, let me back up. Some were using it on purpose. Some really thought their sentence fragments were whole sentences (“Where’s the predicate?” I ask. Blank stare). In any case, I learned about Grammar B (without knowing it had an actual name) as an undergraduate English major long before my teaching and post-grad days.

So what is Grammar B? Some call it Standard English’s evil sister. Spawn of Satan. The most dangerous thing to happen to formal schooling since the advent of Montessori education. (I’m not knocking Montessori education. Calm down.) In any case, Grammar B is most often viewed as the antithesis of Standard English, but proponents of this alternate style urge educators and other writing professionals to see the two as friends, not stylistic enemies. Equals. Working together. Each purposeful to the audience it's addressing. (Are you digging these fragments? Hey hey.)

It’s a style of writing that breaks the rules of Standard English, coined by Winston Weathers in his now out-of-print book, An Alternate Style: Options in Composition. Think of it as everything your English teacher would slash, cross out, draw lots of exclamation points beside on your essay. With an angry red pen. It's rogue. So, naturally people like it. Where once a sentence fragment was looked on as a careless writing mistake, now writers (both aspiring . . . whatever that means, and professional) are employing it for purpose—to enrich the text by adding stylistic flavor. Same goes with other devices included under the Grammar B umbrella. I won’t name them all, but here are two of my faves (in addition to the fragment):

1.      The Labyrinthine Sentence – Really long ass, run-on sentence that twists and winds and curves and spins and goes up and down with the purpose of taking you on one hell of a literary ride. It doesn’t emphasize. It enriches. It lets you roll around in the description until you believe you are, in fact, that dew-dropped blade of grass that’s been dipping toward the earth for the last five minutes of your reading time.

2.      Repetition – Repeating a word or phrase over and over again. (That’s an easy one.) I tend to employ this at the beginnings of my sentences. You can see it all throughout my novels when I want to include a little extra emphasis. Usually repetition won’t be as abrupt-sounding as a fragment. It can be quite lyrical, actually. Like a literary orgasm. Example: “The leaves are falling. Falling away from their bluish-gray twiggy fingers. Falling away to a singsong, side-to-side rhythm of the wind. Falling away with a twirl and bow before floating to a graveyard ground.” A little extra goodness in that example? The fact that a different word was purposely employed after each “falling away”: from, to, and with. And there’s some alliteration thrown in as well for good measure.

The cool thing about Grammar B is that it’s not just restricted to creative writing. The alternate style is being utilized in professional, informational, and academic writing, too. There’s nothing wrong with that because it's not an inferior style of writing. However, the writer must consider and understand her audience and employ Grammar B devices effectively and correctly. No one wants a long ass, run-on sentence in a grant proposal. Fragments may be okay.

You probably come across Grammar B in a lot of the literature you read. Now you can identify it, and that’s kind of fun. Next time you pick up a book, be a Grammar B sleuth. Look for fragments and how they're utilized. Look for the labyrinthine sentence and repetition. Are these devices used well? Do they enhance your reading experience? You’ll know if you read and think, “Hot damn! This is some goooooood writing!”

If you’re interested in learning more about Grammar B, I’ve included the Works Cited from a past research paper. Not my graduate thesis. This paper was an experiment in whether it was a subject I was interested in researching. Turns out it was.

Further reading:

Atwell, Nancie.  In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and LearningPortsmouth: Heinemann, 1998.

Kline, Charles R. Jr., and W. Dean Memering.  “Formal Fragments: The English Minor Sentence.”  Research in the Teaching of English 11 (1977): 97-110.

Lanham, Richard A. Style: an Anti-Textbook.  Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2007.

Noden, Harry R.  Image Grammar: Using Grammatical Structures to Teach WritingPortsmouth: Heinemann, 1999.

Noguchi, Rei R.  Grammar and the Teaching of Writing.  Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 1991.

Romano, Tom. Writing with Passion: Life Stories, Multiple Genres.  Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1995.

Schuster, Edgar H.  Breaking the Rules: Liberating Writers through Innovative Grammar Instruction.  Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2003.

Weaver, Constance.  Teaching Grammar in Context.  Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc., 1996.


Monday, September 22, 2014

What's in a name? Apparently nothing.

*This is really a post for writers, but anyone can read it and hopefully gain something from it.

God, where do I even start? My majorly sarcastic side is about to come out and I may offend, but it’s the chance I have to take because I’m tired of guy writers being the only ones allowed to dish out sarcasm and deprecation (including self). I mean, I get it. I know why. When a guy is sarcastic, he’s awesome and witty and hilaaaaarious. He’s a cool guy. When a chick is sarcastic, she’s a total bitch. So just pretend I’m a man.

Before I dumped my old personal Facebook page (that I used for my business), I had a lot of contacts and “friends.” This is because someone much cooler than I am set it up for me, and she had loads of friends and was deeply connected to the indie writing world. Anyway, because I had lots of “friends,” I saw lots of stuff in my newsfeed. And I noticed a trend emerging among authors that gave me pause to think. And the more I thought, the more I realized that this particular trend was dangerous. (Not to mention complete bullshit.) And no one would say anything about it! No one would call out this trend for violating some very important, inherent rules of writing.

The trend? Name My Characters! contests. Sometimes not even contests. Sometimes just, “I’m too fucking lazy to think of a name, so just give me one” posts. People, this is scary, and here’s why:

1.      It’s deeply offensive to the creative writing process.

No self-respecting writer worth her salt would stoop to this type of writing collaboration. Writing collaboration is fine in a critique circle with other like-minded writers—writers whose purpose it is to call out your bullshit, expect you to tighten it, and help you strengthen your writing skills. Yes, skills, because as a “writer” you should have skills. Example: you should be able to identify some literary devices and actually use them in your novels. But let’s be clear: these like-minded writers in your critique circle are not naming your characters for you. If you asked them to, they would politely ask you to leave the circle. It’s your job to name your characters. That’s part of the writing process. Yes, just like writing the actual story.

Here’s something to make you chuckle. Out of all my characters’ names thus far, Cadence is the most important to me. It was deliberately chosen because of one major detail in the Too Good series: Mark’s obsession with music. It represents an important part of his life and acts as his therapy. Hence, I wanted the girl he fell in love with to have a name that means “rhythmic.” Cadence was, after all, “his song, his life.” In essence, she became his music therapy. Now for the funny part: half the reviews I read (when I still read reviews) called her Candace. Candace. *pausing and blinking* And that’s okay! Yes, it’s okay because not every reader will find meaning in your characters’ names (or remember what they are, for that matter). But guess what? You should. And also guess what? Some readers will. And they’ll message you about how clever you are. Isn’t that worth putting in the effort?

2.      It’s a cheap marketing ploy.

We all want to sell books. Hello. Most of us don’t look at this writing thing as a hobby. It’s a job we take seriously. It’s painstaking and oftentimes terribly depressing. One step forward, five steps back sort of thing. It’s a part of us—a skill and passion deeply rooted in our weird brains that house weird dreams and desires. So treat it seriously. And have a little self-respect . . . and respect for the profession. I’m not suggesting a writer shouldn’t devise clever, fun ways to market her books. I’m saying that when authors use cheap tactics to sell their work or garner new fans—“Name my character and you could win my book!”—it completely devalues the sacredness of storytelling. A character’s name should matter to the author. It’s just as important as that plot twist or decision to make the hero go right instead of left. If it doesn’t matter to you, then you’re probably not a writer. Not to mention it makes the rest of us writers look like assholes: “Why don’t you run a contest like that, Summer? You need to be connecting with your audience.” Well, I guess because I want my stories to sell based on the merit of the writing style, plot, character development and choices I make, since, you know, it’s my story.

3.      It’s a subversive power play.

The clever ones know what you’re doing. You want to be the really cool author who connects with her fans on a level none of the rest of us could ever hope to understand. You want your fans saying, “Look how creative she is! I just feel soooo connected to her.” Guess what? Simply writing your story and having the guts to put it out there for all kinds of critique (both constructive and just plain ridiculous) makes you the cool author! Yes! For real! You don’t have to try to compete. Your fans may think you’re being uber creative, but the other writers out there know that shirking the responsibility of naming your characters isn’t creative at all. It’s just lame.  

4.      It screams, “I don’t care!”

Look it: we all want to get that book finished so we can move on to the next one. We all want to publish every two to three months, but newsflash: if you’re publishing every two to three months, chances are your stories are shit. Take a breath and relax. Go on. You can do it. Relaaaaax into your story. Feel it. Be consumed by it. Live in it for the appropriate amount of time. What is that? It’s however much time it takes you to get 90,000 words on the page and then revise it ten trillion times. Let everything about your story be important to you. Make deliberate choices. YOU make them, not someone else who is not emotionally and intellectually invested in your story. They haven’t read it yet, so how can they be? But you’d let them choose your heroine’s name? Ugh. No. No no no. You’re better than that. Don’t be a lazy writer. Care about your work.

5.      It makes the indie writing world look stupid.

Are other professional writers doing this? Doubtful. I have a hard time seeing Stephen King asking his fans to name his next hero. I do, however, see him telling a writer who employs such ridiculous tactics to go fuck herself.


For the record, I have absolutely no idea if this trend is still . . . trending. I have about five friends on my new page, so I see nothing. I’m just going to assume that it still pops up every now and then to make this post sound relevant. And that’s really because it took me so long to write it.


Friday, September 19, 2014

The Great Communicator

Yeah, so that was Reagan, not me. I’m a terrible blogger. Okay?

I subscribe to a writer’s blog—a writer who posts nearly every day, sometimes multiple times. And I think to myself, how does he do it?? How does he read, and write, and take care of a family, and walk the dog, and feed himself, AND write meaningful posts? Now granted, he will feature a lot of guest posts, but so what? He still has to organize all that stuff. I can’t imagine what his blog calendar looks like. Mine? Well, it looks similar to this:

The thing is, I want to be an awesome blogger. I want to share awesome things with you. I have lots of ideas, lots of stuff I run across on a daily basis and would love to discuss, but I can’t seem to get them down. And then when I start, the self-doubt creeps in: “No one cares about this, Summer. When is your next novel coming out??” Yeeeaaaah . . . I really can’t discuss that right now. How lame is that?

When you’re trying to break out of the indie world, everything about the way you approach a novel, write it, and share it drastically changes. You have to look at the book like it’s not yours. You don’t own it. You don’t have the freedom to publish a release date. You don’t get to share teasers or a kickass cover you know is, well, kickass, or let your audience know a damn thing you’re doing. This is probably why many indie writers stay indie—for control. They continue to do it on their own until they’re approached by a publisher. Not the other way around.

I’ve discovered, though, that being approached by a publisher is a rarity. Going under contract takes enormous effort and a willingness to kick it old school—just like writers had to before the self-publishing platform exploded. Combine that work with novels that break the norm, and I admit to standing at the base of a huge mountain. It’ll be a long and arduous climb. It may end with success. It may end with me having to self-publish yet again. *sigh* Either way, I want you to know that I’ve not abandoned you. I’m still writing for you, but now I simply can’t tell you anything about it. I know. It’s total bullshit.

I wish I could be the great communicator, and have active Instagram and Pinterest accounts and update everyone on Facebook and tweet all day. May I be honest, though? I fucking hate social media. I am a writer living in the wrong era. I think I would have been much more successful in the 1970s when writing was a solitary endeavor. I could be a writer hermit and that would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, that would be expected. It's not acceptable now. Social media has essentially torn down those protective walls, allowed authors and readers to hold virtual hands and connect in ways that are both brilliant and scary as hell. They're mostly scary for me. I barely let my husband get that close. But I adore my fans, and I know I need to talk to them. Talking = Promoting. Talking = Staying relevant. Talking = Happy Audience. And I dearly want to make you happy.

I’ll try to be more like Reagan. Obviously he wasn't nicknamed the Great Communicator because he kept up with his social media accounts. It was because he could deliver one hell of a speech. His words mattered just like I want my words to matter to you. So I'll try. And when I fail (which is inevitable), I’ll try again. How about this? I do want to discuss with you the “Name my Characters” bullshit FB contests I see on occasion. That will be in my next post. You hold me to it, okay?

I love you all. xo

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Southern Girls Author Event

I hope I'll get to meet some of you in Greenville, NC on Saturday, July 19th! I even bought cowboy boots for the event. haha All the information you need is below:

Saturday, July 19th

Greenville Convention Center

10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. (signing) 8:00 P.M. to midnight (after party)

Attending Authors:

Purchase tickets HERE

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Upcoming Signings and a Fitness Plan

Ugh. I’m bad about the updates when I’m in the middle of projects—writing and otherwise. But I’m vowing to get better about them.

While I’m staying mum about my upcoming novel, I can tell you that the first to see the cover will be those attending Book Bash in Orlando, FL June 28th! That’s right. I’m revealing the cover then. Book description? Not so much. Just a teaser to intrigue (and most likely irritate) fans ;)

Here’s where you can find me in the next few months:

(Orlando, FL June 28 - I'm bringing Mark Connelly. Oolala!)

(Greenville, NC July 19 - I won't be rocking boots. Too damn expensive.)

(Atlanta, GA August 23 - My back yard!)


I hope I get the chance to meet some of you at one of these events! And now, what have I been up to for the past month? Recovering from leg surgery and getting back into running. Apparently I can't write when I can't run, and the whole six-week recovery process has made me realize just how important fitness is to my work life. I'm talking essential. So much so that I've been playing around with the idea of creating a blog about it. Ha! Yeah, I realize I'd actually have to keep it updated. hehe But honestly, fitness and fiction go hand in hand for me, and I think it's worth sharing anecdotes, tips, and workouts I find fun, effective, and most importantly, vital to my creative process. Maybe the info could be beneficial to someone out there in need of exercise motivation. Who knows? Anyway, I'm just messing around with the idea at the moment. My husband fears it'll distract me from writing . . . well, the only writing he cares about: my full-length novels :) I think it would be a GOOD distraction from the pressures and expectations of the book world.


Friday, April 18, 2014

LoveLines Facelift

Yep, folks. There you have it. A fresh cover for a book I’m still scratching my head over. I’ve got a new book description for you, too. Oh yeah, and a complete repackaging of what is no longer a series. Uh huh. It’s like releasing a brand new book.

"That’s how I constantly felt, that I lacked the abilities others had to function normally."

Thirty-one-year-old proofreader Bailey Mitchell is a slave to her tics. She inherited Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder from her father, and it’s done nothing but inhibit her love life. She’s run the gamut of boyfriends—none of them willing or able to cope with her condition.

When she meets 32-year-old Reece Powell, her new coworker at Beach Elite Marketing Firm, everything changes. He falls in love with Bailey just as she is—quirks and all—and she, in turn, opens her life to him. His love seems to change her—to help her better manage her OCD. But when tragedy strikes, she is consumed by the destructive nature of her condition. Reece sees the ugly side, and he’s left with a choice: stay or run.

You deserve an explanation.

It didn't take me long to realize that there was a disconnect with the LoveLines cover after the book released. Well, actually, it wasn't just the book cover. There were all kinds of issues, and I'm wondering if, despite my desire to be genre-less, I haven't, in fact, solidified myself as a writer of taboo whether I like it or not. It's hard to say, and there are so many variables at play, but here's what I think I know:

1. The original cover of LoveLines failed. Miserably. (I conceptualized the whole thing and realized I have no business conceptualizing any book cover. Ever.) Apparently it didn't "translate." It's too cute and sweet, and we don't like people smiling on our covers, thank you very much. Do I think the Bailey and Reece featured on the original cover represent a good portion of the book and their relationship? Yes, I do. The book is fun. A lot of fun, actually. I infused a ton of humor. I wanted to get away from Going Under, Good, all my previous works that were so angst-filled they started messing with my brain. I failed to see, however, that the book isn't all fun. There's still angst—adult angst. There are tough moments. There are scenes that squeeze the heart. There are my younger sister’s accusatory words ringing through the phone: “You said it was funny! I cried the last thirty percent of the book!” How could I miss all that?

I guess I was in Cotton Candy La La Land. To me, the book was so far removed from anything I’d previously written that I saw light, fresh, and funny while in reality the book is more light/dark/funny/depressing/sexy/sweet. Now there’s a package for you ;)

2. I write taboo. I write taboo. Get it in your brain, Summer. You write taboo. Whether you like it or not, you write taboo. (I like it, I do. I just don’t want to have to like it for every freaking project.) So, I’ve established myself as a writer of controversy, and I paired that with a smiley, bright red book cover…….um, excuse me? Didn’t take. Maybe I need a different pen name for my non-taboo stories.

3. I think before LoveLines even released, it was doomed. Kind of like the Titanic, but on a much much smaller scale J I wrote what I thought was something pretty special, but I didn’t package it correctly for the public. Not enough life boats. Too much speed. You see, I put together a whole marketing campaign I thought was just the cutest thing. (Yes, cute.) And I went full steam ahead with it, ignoring the potential problem that it wouldn’t translate. Potential problem equals big ass iceberg. And I slammed right into that iceberg. And it hurt. Why don’t people get it? Why don’t they understand? The answer to my questions? “Summer, you’re not giving them the whole story. You’ve packaged your book as ‘chick lit’ when it is soooo not chick lit.”

So there you have it:

Taboo Writer + Bubbly Cover + Cutesy Marketing Campaign = What the Fuck is This?


So, now I have a new cover that speaks to all the elements of the story. I have a book description that fits the tone of the new cover much better. I also made the decision to drop the series and make LoveLines a true standalone. What does that mean for the epilogue (if you’ve read it)? Well, in the new version, the epilogue is gone. I’m not abandoning that story idea, however. I’m still going to write what would have been Book 2 in the series but as a standalone. Am I writing that next? No. I need to go back to my roots for a bit—for a few books, anyway. I have some things I need to get off my chest.

LoveLines will be exclusive to Amazon for a few months. We’re gonna see if we can breathe new life into this “new” book. After all, it feels like it’s new to me. I have to tell you that it’s awful being a perfectionist and messing up a story publicly. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. You try things, you mess up, you learn valuable business lessons, and then you move on. <3

Sunday, March 23, 2014

OCD: It's funny . . . but it's not.

This novel would not be true to the style of S. Walden if it did not contain some dark and difficult moments. Events that cause anxiety can be especially hard for individuals who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder . . . It is obvious to me that the author thoroughly researched OCD and combined the knowledge she learned with her ability to write a beautiful story. ~ Robin (Hesperia Loves Books)

(art by Michelle @ Give Me Books)

I suffer from anxiety. Not the same thing as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (though the two are BFFs), but it’s a mental condition that can be quite debilitating. So when I created the idea for LoveLines—knowing I wanted to write a story about a heroine who suffers from OCD—I knew I wouldn’t take it lightly. “It” being the actual condition. I wouldn’t disrespect it. I knew I’d probably end up teaching readers a thing or two, because from what I discovered through research, OCD is nothing like our society portrays it in movies, on television, even in books! I thought I understood it before cracking open those journals. Um, no.

First off, let's be real. Tics can be funny. If you’ve ever read “A Plague of Tics” from David Sedaris’s Naked, you know what I’m talking about. You probably laughed so hard you peed yourself and never admitted it to anyone. So yeah, the quirks can be cute and funny. Reece, my hero, sees them that way. But that’s before he really “sees” Bailey’s OCD—how it affects every aspect of her life. Controls her. Inhibits her. Forces her to live a life with “clearly defined lines.” It is . . . debilitating.

Could I write an entire story with that somber tone? Hell no! And anyway, let’s face it: some tics lend themselves to humor. And Bailey can see the humor. She makes fun of herself. Her self-deprecation is probably her cutest characteristic. But understand that her creator took a lot of time to learn just how OCD works and how loved ones of OCD sufferers should help them manage their condition. Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of research out there. Doctors still don’t know why a person is OCD (they think it’s a different wiring in the brain), but there are treatments to manage the condition. Not cure it. Manage it.

Here’s the most important thing I learned: people who suffer from OCD do not take pleasure in performing their tics. In fact, they loathe themselves for submitting to their urges. Why can’t they just refrain from tapping that pen like we can? Well, here’s the second most important thing I learned: they believe that something disastrous will happen to them or their loved ones if they do not perform their tics. Makes no sense to us, but it makes total sense to them. They don’t want to invite heartache or loss. It’s easier to tap the pen.

You will see this all throughout LoveLines. Yes, you’re gonna laugh. A lot. Yes, you’re gonna think Reece is a weirdo. No, I didn’t say Bailey. I said Reece. You’re gonna experience some sickly sweet moments and tough moments that demonstrate Bailey’s condition. Front and center. And hopefully when you reach the conclusion, you’ll have a better understanding of a mental illness that’s been misrepresented or ignored.

(art by Karinna Baez)

Come join me at the LoveLines Release Week Party!! Games, giveaways, prizes, and one HUGE contest all week long! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Get To Know This Blog: Nicely Phrased Book Blog


Today I’m featuring Nicely Phrased Book Blog—a blog that appreciates nicely phrased books J You know what I’m talking about: writing technique and literary devices. Adrienne and Emma—a mother/daughter team—go beyond discussing the storylines of novels. They like to dig deep into the meat of books, pull out the subtle nuances and layers often lacking in contemporary literature. It’s really fun to talk with Adrienne about those aspects of books because it’s not often I get to have conversations like that. Takes me back to college writing courses where developing the storyline was just one factor in writing. Emphasis on skill, technique, and purpose were equally, if not more, important. Here’s an example of our convos:

Me: People are having a hard time with Cadence’s name. They want to call her Candace.
Adrienne: I know.
Me: That’s tough for me because I named her “Cadence” for a reason.
Adrienne: Oh, I know.
Me: You do?
Adrienne: Uh, yeah. “Cadence” means rhythmic. Obviously music is an important part of your book. It makes sense that the girl Mark falls in love with has a name that represents a vital part of his life. Duh, Summer.
Me: Oh my God! You get it!!!

LOL. Yeah, so Adrienne is pretty darn special to me because she “gets” me. She “gets” my writing. She appreciates the multi-layered aspect of my books. She gets my subtle humor. She gets my blatant humor. She appreciates the time I take to weave those writing elements into my stories that hopefully make for better reading.

So how did Adrienne and Emma’s blog get started? Well, they wanted a place to post honest reviews of books and to help authors hone their craft. Everything about the conception and execution of their blog was carefully crafted. They didn’t throw up a site in a day and start reviewing. Nope. They took their time (several months!) to develop a catchy blog name, a structurally beautiful site, and a plan of action. The plan? Review books honestly. They focus on the following genres: YA including horror, paranormal, fantasy, dystopian, and romance; NA; contemporary romance; women’s fiction; adult paranormal; some adult fantasy; and some erotica.

Take a moment to visit their site and check out their reviews. So worth your time. And join me tonight from 7 pm-10 pm EST when I take over their Facebook page! I've got more teasers for you from LoveLines and two flash giveaways I think you'll like! Support these ladies who support indie lit <3

Monday, March 17, 2014

LoveLines Teaser

Only eight days away!! EIGHT! God, I can't wait to get this story to you. I can't wait to make you laugh hard. I can't wait to make you say, "Hold up. This is an S. Walden book?" I can't wait to introduce you to 30-something characters who own houses and have jobs and are made up of all sorts of life experiences. I. Can't. Wait.


"Bailey, if you think I wanna fix you, you’re dead wrong. I don’t even wanna help you manage this thing you’ve got going on. I’m only doing it because I know it’s the right thing to do, but I’d much rather you go tic-ing all over my heart and brain." ~ Reece

(Book art by Michelle at Give Me Books)


B&N  |  iBooks  |  Smashwords

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Get To Know This Blog: Southern Belle Book Blog

Today I'm featuring Southern Belle Book Blog run by Erin, Jamie, and Katie. I'll also be taking over their Facebook page this evening from 7 pm-10 pm EST. You don't wanna miss it! I'll share my Wicked Book Weekend signing experience (first one!), host a flash giveaway for a WBW signed keepsake booklet (Yep, all the authors signed it), and share some teasers from LoveLines, releasing March 25. Be there.


So here's the story of how Southern Belle Book Blog got started: Erin wanted a dedicated place where she could scream at the top of her lungs about the books she was reading and loving, but she was unsure about starting a blog. People, if you don't know, running a blog is HARD work. It can be intimidating, too, especially when you're first starting out. So Erin brought on her long-time friend, Jamie, and joined with Mackable Book Babes to learn the ropes. After a month with Mackable, Erin and Jamie felt ready to branch off and start their own blog.

Enter Katie, who they met through Mackable and who started out as their Facebook girl, growing their presence in the book world and finding new followers interested in the types of books the girls read and review. So what do they read and review? Mostly indie romance and New Adult. I like that. I'm indie. I'm romance. I used to be New Adult ;)

Take a moment to check out their blog. It's really pretty. They'll keep you updated on all the newest releases, and if you're a fan of romance, then theris is a must-follow blog!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Atlanta Author Occasion Signing

It’s not until the end of August—Saturday, August 23rd, to be exact—but there’s no harm in planning ahead. I’ll be attending the Atlanta Author Occasion at Loews Atlanta Hotel along with some fabulous authors. To see a complete list of attending authors and to register, click HERE.

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a LoveLines ARC!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Get To Know This Blog: Romance Addict Book Blog

This is a very special blog to me, and I'm so happy to feature it today. It's all about Romance Addict Book Blog all day, and I hope you'll stop by their Facebook page tonight from 7 pm-10 pm EST. I'm taking over. I've got a flash giveaway for you (scroll down and enter!), information about LoveLines, teasers, and an opportunity for you to pick my brain. Don't miss it.


Here's the deal with this blog: It rocks. There are a few special ladies that have been instrumental in building my career and self-confidence as a writer. Stephanie, who runs the blog, not only promotes authors on her site but assists them with promotion. She runs cover reveals, book blasts, tours. You name it, she does it. And she's good at it. Really good. And organized. And uses HTML docs, which I hear are what tour hosts are supposed to use. She's a designer, too. She made that pretty banner up top :) I'm gushing, but I get to do that with her because she's Stephanie.

So why is Romance Addict Book Blog so special to me? Well, I think it's best if I just tell you the story from the beginning. I am a writer, after all. Makes sense....

Once upon a time I wrote a book called Going Under that landed me an agent. My agent wanted me to put together a blog tour for the book, but I really had no clue how to go about doing that. Stephanie contacted me on Facebook and offered her assistance. At first I said, "Oh, it's cool. I've got this." (Do not ask me why I said that. I'm a Leo. That's the only reason I can think of.) Anyway, because she has the sweetest personality ever, she responded with, "Well, okay. If you need any help, I'm here." And then she mentioned a Google sign-up doc, and I didn't know what the hell that was. And that's when the panic set in.

All day I thought about what I'd told her: "Oh, it's cool. I've got this." What did that even mean? It was just a big, fat lie. I knew it when I said it. I didn't know what I was doing! I couldn't organize and manage a major blog tour! I'd only just learned about blog tours! Freaking. Out. So I contacted Stephanie that night and came clean: "I don't know why I said that. I don't know what I'm doing. Please help me." And a working relationship was born. A friendship followed.

Stephanie does most all of my PR. She's a promo master (or is it mistress?). Whenever I feel like being a lazy slut about my work, she's there to say, "Summer, stop being lazy and promote your books. How will anyone know about them?" *sigh* And she's always right. She constantly encourages me. God, writers are, like, the most emotional people ever. It's disgusting, really. But Stephanie knows how to deal with them—with me. Her insight navigated me through some really horrible book world moments and helped me come out the other side with perspective. And joy.

Another special person connected to Romance Addict? K. K is one of Stephanie's reviewers. K, whom I've never spoken to directly, picked up a little hot-topic novel called Good. Perhaps you've heard of it? And have read all kinds of shit about it? :) Well, she read it. She loved it. She understood it. And she defended it because she believed in the purpose of the story. She believed in the writing. As I write, I think about these women who've supported me through some tough projects. I have a job to do: to keep giving them THE BEST writing I possibly can. And that includes my fans. When you have readers going to bat for you, it's the very least you can do.

So this is my "thank you" to Stephanie and K and all the ladies at Romance Addict Book Blog for believing in my writing and for pushing me to be the best storyteller I can be. I encourage you to check out their blog. Beautiful, insightful reviews of contemporary romance. Latest book world news. It's a blog worth your time.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blog Tour - ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED by Jill Elaine Hughes

Okay, everyone, doing something completely different! I've never participated in a blog tour. Ever. But I am now :) If you're interested in reading about teens (which you probably are if you're following my blog) and you like zombies (which you probably do if you watch The Walking Dead), then check out Jill Elaine Hughes' book: ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED.

"Newcomer Jill Elaine Hughes raises a fresh new voice in the zombie genre with a story filled with plenty of action, well-rounded characters and lots of shocks. Fun, fast-paced and highly entertaining. ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED rocks!" --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of FIRE & ASH and CODE ZERO

Twilight. With zombies.

Eighteen-year-old Katie Allred is socially awkward and unpopular at school. The only child of parents who had her right out of high school, Katie is herself about to leave the nest, even though she hardly feels ready.

Katie’s new after-school job at the Zimble Box Corporation draws her into the complex social strata of high school cliques and backstabbing friends in ways she never imagined. Katie soon discovers there’s something very strange about the “in” crowd at school---and about her employer, too. Shortly after starting her new job, the Contagion breaks out, plunging her town and the entire nation into chaos as zombie shadow forces come out into the open, ravaging the streets. Katie goes into hiding and her parents disappear, along with almost everyone else she knows.

But Katie soon discovers she has special powers that help her survive. She’s a Beacon, someone with the innate ability to help zombies produce children. It’s a power her employer — and what little remains of the U.S. government — both want to exploit for their own ends. Not only that, it runs in her family---which has a secret past Katie never knew about until now.

Enter Agent Morehouse of the FBI Special Zombie Control Unit. A reformed zombie working undercover, he suppresses his urge to eat human flesh in order to serve and save humanity. But Agent Morehouse can’t help but be attracted to a Beacon like Katie, and she to him. Even as they fight zombies the world over, they must fight their intense attraction to each other, hoping to keep Katie from suffering Agent Morehouse’s terrible zombie fate.

Buy Links

About the Author

JILL ELAINE HUGHES is a journalist and playwright as well as a New Adult fiction novelist.  As a reporter, she has contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Washington Post, New Art Examiner, Cat Fancy magazine, and numerous other media outlets. Her plays have widely published and produced in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, and many other U.S. cities, as well as in the UK and Australia. Before self-publishing New Adult fiction, she published many erotic romance novels under the pen names “Jamaica Layne” and “Jay E. Hughes” for publishers like Ellora’s Cave, Virgin Books, Decadent Publishing, and Ravenous Romance.

Get to Know Jill

Why do you write?
Honestly, because I have to. If I don’t, I’ll go nuts!

Who has helped you the most in your career as an author?
I have to say it was my high school English teacher, Mrs. Stevens. She was the toughest writing teacher I ever had, and I credit her with giving me the tools I needed to be a professional writer---both a journalist and an author. She was so tough on her students that most of them hated her (I did too, at the time), but I learned to appreciate what she instilled in me later on, especially when I got to college and then out on my first professional writing jobs.

When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee, water, chocolate... pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration...?)
Diet Coke, tea, and granola bars.

What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I’ve actually been a professional writer for my entire career, either as a journalist, corporate-communications writer, or as a novelist.  Though I have also worked odd jobs as a waitress, as a temp worker in offices, and as a custom art framer back when I was in high school.

Which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
I think it was probably my current New Adult paranormal release, ZOMBIE, INCORPORATED. The heroine of that book is 18 years old and it’s told in the first person, plus she is a very different kind of person than I am.  Stepping into her shoes every day to write her story was tough. Plus, this is not your typical zombie book. It’s more psychological. Instead of the zombies being in-your-face, blood-guts-and-gore, it’s all very shadowy and uncertain. You don’t know for sure who are zombies and who aren’t---which just makes it that much more dangerous! I had to spent a lot of time planting clues and subtext, and building a plot that resembles a psychological thriller (think old-school Hitchcock) more than straight horror.

If you could time travel what era would be your first stop?
Edwardian England!

Do you believe in luck?
I think you can make your own luck.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, but I’m a classically trained singer.

Who are your greatest paranormal fiction influences?
I’m very into old-school, classical paranormal mysteries that was very language- and subtlety-driven. I love Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Bram Stoker, and Daphne DuMaurier. I also love early Stephen King (not crazy about his new stuff, though), Jane Yolen, and Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Taking books and taking over

This will be super short. Two things I need you all to know:

1. Tonight I'm taking over Hesperia Loves Books FB page from 7 pm-10 pm EST. I hope you all can stop by for a bit. I'll be posting LoveLines teasers, conducting a Q&A session (ask me whatever you'd like!), and hosting a flash giveaway. Click here for the link.

2. If you're attending Wicked Book Weekend in Ft. Lauderdale March 7-9, and you're planning to purchase books there, please note that I'm bringing a very limited number of copies: around 12 each of Better and Good, 10 of Going Under, and 5 of the other two that no one knows about anyway ;) Click here for the link to purchase tickets to this amazing signing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Get To Know This Blog: Hesperia Loves Books

So I'm starting a little campaign where I feature a blog every week or every other week. These are blogs that have been instrumental in promoting my work and growing my fan base. Without them, readers wouldn’t know my books. I owe them much more than a measly post. Still, I hope they know how grateful I am for their support. It ain’t easy being an author. (You like that sentence? I think it’s funny and a tad oxymoronic.) Anyway, like I said, it ain’t easy. And I’m blessed to be acquainted with some really special ladies who’ve lent their ears, opinions, and support. Bottom line? They run great blogs that keep you in the know about current books, giveaways, and upcoming releases. If you’re looking for new blogs to follow, check back here weekly.


Today I’m featuring Hesperia Loves Books. Alyssa started this blog a few years ago, then brought on Michel, Robin, KJ, and Mandy. The girls review a wide range of literary genres including romance, YA, NA, paranormal, general fiction, urban fantasy, Christian fiction and erotica. Yes. Christian fiction and erotica. I just love those two side by side. I put them like that on purpose. I’m waiting for someone to have the balls to write a Christian erotica. Oh wait. Did y’all read Good? ;)

Connect with these lovely ladies on their Facebook page. Follow their Twitter feed. Check out their BEAUTIFUL blog. I love how organized it is.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

LoveLines Cover Reveal

Note: Read this post in its entirety. There's a teaser AND giveaway for you!

(Cover design by Robin Ludwig)

Now, I know what you're thinking. What the hell, right? This is an S. Walden book? You betcha! And I'm sooooo proud of it! Like I told you in a previous post, I needed to take a break from the taboo, a break from the controversial. I love those stories, but I don't need to write them all the time. And when this story idea came to me, I knew it was exactly the type of story I needed to write at this particular point in my life. So there you have it: A girl with OCD. A boy who loves her for it. LoveLines.

Release Date

March 25, 2014


Contemporary Romance
(Prepare to laugh. Like, a lot.)

Book Description

Arrive at work at 7:58 A.M. sharp. Check. Count forty-seven steps to cubicle. Check. Arrange pens in their red-blue-black-green-purple order of importance. Check. Apply hand sanitizer before opening email. Double check.

And that’s just the first few minutes of her work day.

Thirty-one-year-old proofreader Bailey Mitchell is a slave to her tics. She inherited Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from her father, and it’s done nothing but inhibit her love life. She’s run the gamut of boyfriends—none of them willing or able to cope with her condition.

Enter 32-year-old Reece Powell, her new coworker at Beach Elite Marketing Firm. He’s more than willing to cope. He finds her habits cute and quirky . . . for now. Reece gets the girl, and life coasts along for them until Bailey experiences a devastating blow. Tragedy exacerbates her OCD, and Reece realizes her tics aren’t so cute and quirky anymore. Just like all the others, he has the choice to leave.

But Reece isn’t like all the others.

The Wilmington Saga

Follow the stories of Wilmington, NC residents as they fall in and out of love, mend and break hearts, grow, change, lose, win, and experience what it means to truly live in this small coastal community.

(This teaser is rated R. Please be mindful of that before you read. Lots of language. Lots.)

“Tell me again why we’ve done our last four beach trips here?” I said. “I mean, we know everyone in this goddamn town. Isn’t the point of a trip to get away? So we don’t have to see people?”

“Bailey, tone down the bitchiness, okay?” Erica ordered. She dug around the inside of her purse for her cell phone. “And you know why. Noah, God love him, is a moron with our kids. I’ve gotta stay close until they get older.”

I snorted, then took off towards another club.

“Bailey!” Erica called, running after me.

“I’m not ready to go back to the hotel,” I said, shrugging off her arm.

“That’s fine. We can hang out, but if you go dark on me . . .”

“Nobody’s going dark, okay? I just wanna get my dance on,” I replied.

I spent the rest of the evening getting wasted and looking like a total slut out on the dance floor. My goal was to erase two recent painful memories: shaking my ass for Reece and seeing my ex-fiancé on a booty date.

When Erica and I emerged from the club at 2:30 A.M., a taxi van was waiting. A group of young men (one carrying a case of beer) cut in front of us and threw open the van door.

“Oh, well,” Erica said. “Let’s find another.”

The boy toting the beer spotted us. “Oh, my bad. You wanted this taxi?”

“It’s cool,” Erica replied. “You guys take it. We’ll wait for another.”

“Well, I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t you come with us? We’re going to a film screening.”

The others nodded, shuffling around the sidewalk.

A film screening at 2:30 in the morning? Please. I shook my head. “Thanks, but we’re tired. We’re gonna go home.”

“Nah! Come with us. It’s gonna be a fun time,” Beer Boy pleaded.

“No no,” I replied. “You all go have a good time.”

He turned to his friend and muttered, “Fucking bitch.” A few of the boys snickered.

Excuse me?

And then something in my brain snapped. I watched that little college punk stand there, avoiding my face, gripping his bush-league beer while the taxi driver yelled at his punk ass posse to make a decision.

“Hey, son!” I called in his direction. “There’s no need for that. No need for that kind of language.”

He hung his head—literally hung his head—while I chastised him.

“Bailey, let’s go.” Erica tugged on my arm.

“Now, I’m sorry we turned you down, and I’m sorry if that embarrassed you, but maybe we don’t feel like ‘screening’ the bullshit home movie you shot for film class on your bullshit, cheap ass camcorder.”

“Oh my God,” Erica said.

“We got to this cab first. Then you and your dipshit friends come barreling down the sidewalk and steal it. What you need to be saying to me is ‘I’m sorry’. And then you need to go brush up on the manners you clearly left at home when you came to college. Ain’t nobody gonna wanna fuck a little asshole like you if you can’t be classy,” I said.

“Bailey!” Erica hauled me along.

“Punk ass motherfucker!” I yelled over my shoulder. He flipped me off. I fought Erica as hard as I could. “Let me at him. One minute with that little shit! Just one!”

“Bailey Mitchell!” Erica screamed in my face. “He’s a doofus! All right?! Calm. Down.”

copyright S. Walden, 2014

Three winners will receive LoveLines exclusive previews. Enter now for a chance at a sneak peek.