Wednesday, October 8, 2014


It seems like forever ago when Jessica asked me to read a draft of her first thriller, WHITE LADY. I knew she was on to something then—but now, in its fully polished and revised state, I'm honestly blown away.

There's something very special about this novel, and
that's saying something since I'm a tremendous fan of her work. It's not just that she seems to have mastered character development (and somehow manages to create authentic POV voices for MULTIPLE characters). Every page of this book is compelling and real, showcasing Jessica's command of the craft, and her magic for storytelling. Trust me: YOU WANT THIS BOOK!

To celebrate the release of  WHITE LADY, Jessica is giving away an e-copy (mobi, ePub, or PDF) to the first person to correctly guess the one true statement in the three statements below. To clarify, two statements are lies, and one is true:

Jessica Bell takes her coffee ...
a. with milk and no sugar
b. with milk and two sugars
c. black

What do you think? Which one is true? Write your guess in the comments, along with your email address. Comments will close in 48 hours. If no-one guesses correctly within in 48 hours, comments will stay open until someone does.

Want more chances to win? You have until October 31 to visit all the blogs where Jessica will share a different set of true and false statements on each one. Remember, each blog is open to comments for 48 hours only from the time of posting.

If you win, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to download the book.

Click HERE to see the list of blogs.


*This novel contains coarse language, violence, and sexual themes.

Sonia yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she's rehabilitating herself as a "normal" mother and mathematics teacher, it's time to stop dreaming about slicing people's throats.

While being the wife of Melbourne's leading drug lord and simultaneously dating his best mate is not ideal, she's determined to make it work.

It does work. Until Mia, her lover's daughter, starts exchanging saliva with her son, Mick. They plan to commit a crime behind Sonia's back. It isn't long before she finds out and gets involved to protect them.

But is protecting the kids really Sonia's motive?

Click HERE to view the book trailer.
Click HERE for purchase links.

Jessica Bell, a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and the director of the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Connect with Jessica online:

Monday, March 31, 2014


MY SOON-TO-BE SEX LIFE by Judith Tewes is a freaking good book. I've had the pleasure of reading earlier drafts, and can hardly wait to read it again when it launches from Bloomsbury Spark this spring.

Judith (also writing as Judith Graves) writes kick-ass stories — this one, is no exception. I'm honored and excited to be part of the cover reveal. Whoot!

PS - Make sure you scroll ALL the way down for a chance to WIN a prize!

* swoon * 

Isn't it purdy????


Charlie is down to her absolute. Total. Last. Resort.

Despite a thoroughly comprehensive list of potential cherry poppers, er…suitors, and careful plotting, Charlie is three weeks into her devirginzation campaign, still untouched, and getting desperate. In the movie of her life, this aspiring screenwriter is giving herself a PG, for please, get some.

Her project goes into freeze frame when her mom checks herself into rehab and packs Charlie off to live with her estranged, or just plain strange, grandfather, Monty. How is she supposed to get a date when she has to go pick up his Depends? 

Enter Eric, a hot rehab grad on the road to redemption, and the only one who can make Charlie rethink her strategy. The more she gets to know him, the more convinced she becomes that is the one, and not just another to add to the list of people who will abandon her.

In this hilarious and heartbreaking story of one girl’s detoured road to womanhood, Charlie’s list develops a life of its own – right when she realizes there’s so much more to lose.

Multi-published, award-winning author, screenwriter, and playwright, Judith Tewes resides in small town Alberta, where she: writes, sings, plays bass guitar in an all-woman band, walks her three crazy labs, and suspects she's living the life of a superhero's alias. A commercial writer writing under several pen names, Judith’s work includes: paranormal, steampunk, and contemporary young adult fiction, as well as thriller, horror, and dramatic comedies for the stage and screen. 

FACEBOOK (personal and/or Author page): Personal:

To help celebrate the reveal of her new cover, Judith is taking part in this
a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 gift card. But hurry! The contest lasts for only 48 hours!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Killer's Instinct - ALIVE and well (and in my hands)

I'm still trembling a bit from what could be described as one of the coolest experiences of my writing career so far — if not my entire life.

A box of Killer's Instinct, the creeptastic zombie tale the "other me" co-wrote with Judith Graves arrived at my house Monday, and it was with much excitement and shell-shock that I tore open the box and held the first copy in my hand.

The past few months have been a blur of cool creative career news, and while I'm looking at 2014 to be THE year for it all to come together, there is something special about holding your first published novel in your hand.

But this book is special for a few reasons. Not only did I have the opportunity to co-write with Judith Graves, who writes arguably some of the best YA I've ever read (seriously, check out her SKINNED series), and work with Leap Books' talented (and tough!) super editor Kat O'Shea, but my talented (and humble) husband drew some of the artwork for Killer's Instinct, and along with my adoration, he received published credit.

Cool, right?

I thought so—so I made him sign my copy of the book.

Then, I bounced around the house, wrote status updates, posted pictures. Finally, hubs and I celebrated with a bottle of Italian champagne.

It's back to the grind, with many personal and professional deadlines looming. But I'm still riding the high of this week's career first — opening the first box of my very first novel. Not an experience I can ever recreate, and nor would I want to.

To learn more about Killer's Instinct, you can check out this blog, and to get your hands on a copy, you can buy it here. To my friends, family and (new) fans, thank you so much for your love and support and for making THIS such an amazing experience.

- Dawn

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 recap; 2014 resolutions aplenty

2013 was a bad year for blogging, friends.

After two years of posting about smoking hot guys every Monday, I abandoned the Muse Avatar feature. How many times can I put up pictures of Charlie Hunnam and Kiefer Sutherland, anyway? I cobbled through the rest of the year with random posts about resolution goals, books I'd read, cool stuff going on in my career and then—


My last post was back in October. Which is odd, since November and December were pretty damn exciting. More on that, but first—

2013 was a year of ups and downs, triumphs and defeats, tears and laughs—well, you get the gist. I lost 25 pounds, only to gain back 30. I completed two Chase Duffy books for the Alberta Canola Producers, and launched them with thousands of kids. Killer's Instinct—the creeptastic zombie tale I co-wrote with Judith Graves—went through extensive edits, and is *this close* to launching from Leap Books for realz. Jessica Bell and I launched two new blogs as part of Vine Leaves Literary Journal—one of which I kinda dropped the ball on. The other one is pretty awesome. I "resolved" to write 500,000 words (ended up with 325,675 which isn't horrible), read 50 books (erm, not even close) and watch 50 movies. I didn't meet that resolution, either.


Other cool stuff happened. Major cool stuff.

Like scoring literary Agent Awesome Mandy Hubbard at D4EO.

* waits for reality to set in *

Okay, this is not you normal "how I got my agent" story—and anyone who knows me won't be surprised. Because I don't do anything "normal."

But here's the fast version, because if I linger on it too long, I begin questioning whether it really happened at all. In November, Mandy put out a call for submissions. Tired of waiting for someone to query her with one of the books on her manuscript wishlist, Mandy concocted a plan—audition authors to write the book she wanted, and turn it into an in-house development project. for D4E0. Brilliant!

I auditioned with 10 pages from my YA psychological thriller and was (gasp!) shortlisted, and tasked with writing two scenes of pretty much the coolest project ever. The plot was developed by Mandy and Bree Ogden, another super cool agent. To work with them both? An impossible dream.

But they liked my submission. They really, really liked it. And I was asked to write one more scene.

Somehow—and I'm still not sure how— they gave me the job, and though I can't tell you the topic of the book, I can tell you this: It's BRILLIANT.

But even better, Mandy is now MY agent — for all kinds of writerly things. She'll sort through what I've written, what I wish I'd finished writing, and more than 300 loglines of projects I wish to write. I'll write stuff. I'm so excited to just...write.

I love Mandy. No, really. (Even though she wavers on her opinion of Charlie Hunnam. Um...that's weird.)


* deep breath *

It's now 2014 and I'm ready to set some goals for the year. I suppose they'd be considered resolutions, but I'm reluctant to label them as such.

1. My friend Karen has challenged me to read 50 books this year. On it.
2. I will finish this amazing and cool development project for Mandy and Bree.
3. I will focus on my health.
4. I will watch 25 movies in the theatre.
5. I will blog more. Here, and here.

And I'll write. More than last year, even. I'll aim for 500,000 words, but yeah, that's ambitious.

Lots of cool stuff on the horizon—but maybe it's best I end this post now. I've already completed the first book of the year and I'm due a review.

Happy New Year—and wishing you SO MUCH success on YOUR resolutions, and all the best for an exciting, successful and healthy 2014.

- Dawn

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Amelia Xerces Duffy launches tomorrow in Brooks

Illustrator extraordinaire James Grasdal and I are heading to Brooks, Alberta tomorrow to launch the fifth book in the Chase Duffy education-adventure series published by the Alberta Canola Producers.

Yeah, maybe I say this about each book, but this story - and the amazing accompanying artwork - is my "new" favorite. I mean, take a look at the awesome cover!

We're launching at the Outstanding In Our Field event in Brooks, with more than 400 young readers in attendance. At every launch, I grow more proud of the creativity, collaboration and support that makes these books so special.

James and I are lucky to have a contract for 10 books thanks to the generous support from the Alberta Canola Commission Board of Directors and the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund.

So far, I've traveled to Saskatchewan to see the roots of Canadian canola, become friends with the inventor of the only Jet Fuel Funny Car to run on 100% canola biodiesel, hung out with Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk (who took 250,000 canola seeds into space!), created a mystery around some delicious canola-inspired recipes, and interviewed an entomologist that single-handedly curbed my fear of spiders. Pretty awesome gig, right?

Each week, I write a blog in the lead character's voice. Chase also has a Facebook page, an Instagram profile, and a Tumblr page. Plus, Chase writes daily tweets for teachers!

The Chase Duffy books are free for Alberta educators. For more information, or to purchase copies, please contact the Alberta Canola Producers Commission at 1-800-551-6652 or

Gotta jet! It's off to Brooks we go...

- Dawn

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Crossroads Blog Tour 2013

The "other me" is taking part in the creeptastic CROSSROADS BLOG TOUR, created by the awesome Judith Graves.

I'm so thrilled to join 20 creeptastic authors of young adult paranormal fiction on a tour that offers Crossroads headquarters.
amazing opportunities for readers. Not only can you learn about some pretty cool writers, you can WIN a Kindle, fully-loaded with more than twenty spooktacular reads. For full details and how to win, go to

This year I'm stoked to promote KILLER'S INSTINCT, the cool zombie tale I co-wrote with Judith Graves, launching later this month with Leap Books

Today, I'm hanging out with Amanda Ashby, Christine Fonseca and "Cricket" at the Little Library Muse Blog. Thanks for hosting, Cricket!

Don't forget to check out ALL of the participating blogger sites for a change to WIN one fangtastic prize - a fully-loaded KINDLE.

This week, I'm thrilled to meet you at the Crossroads.

- Dawn


October 20, 2013 - Little Library Muse
October 21, 2013 - A Simple Love of Reading
October 22, 2013 - Confessions of a Bookaholic
October 24, 2013 - Jenzah Cresswell
October 25, 2013 - A Life Bound By BooksOctober 26, 2013 - Erika Knudsen

Monday, August 26, 2013

Indie antho will inspire you!

I'm super excited to be part of an inspirational anthology written and created by Indie authors, FOR indie authors. 

Do you need motivation and inspiration to self-publish or sign that contract with an interested smaller press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle celebrates the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

It's been a while since I've written essay style, but in this anthology, I talk about how my contract with the Alberta Canola Producers Commission to write 12 educational, comic-style books on the Chase Duffy character was, in some ways,  the catalyst for a whole host of other opportunities including publishing a short story and novel with Leap Books, pending contracts with other publishers (announcement(s) coming soon), and even an option for development of a TV show based on one of my characters. 

Of course, this is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

Not only is this anthology packed full of interesting and unique information, and totally worth the 99 cents (only 99 cents!!!), 100% of proceeds will be donated to, a movement which breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education.

Pretty amazing, huh?
What are you waiting for?
Buy Indiestructiblesupport the indie author and an amazing charity—TODAY!

eBook: $0.99 USD
Publisher: Vine Leaves PressISBN 10: 0987593102 ISBN 13: 9780987593108

Compiled & Edited: Jessica Bell

Contributing authors:

Alex J. Cavanaugh <> Angela Brown <> Anne R. Allen <> Briane Pagel <> C.S. Lakin <> Ciara Knight <> Cindy M. Hogan <> D. Robert Pease <> Dawn Ius <> Emily White <> Greg Metcalf <> Jadie Jones <> Jessica Bell <> Karen Bass <> Karen Walker <> Kristie Cook <> Laura Diamond <> Laura Pauling <> Laurel Garver <> Leigh Talbert Moore <> Lori Robinson <> Melissa Foster <> Michael Offutt <> Michelle Davidson Argyle <> Rick Daley <> Roz Morris <> S.R. Johannes <> Stephen Tremp <> Susan Kaye Quinn

I'm in some pretty cool company, huh?

Happy Monday!

- Dawn