Tag Archive | Father Figure

Avocado Bliss .99 sale + more!

Hey guys! Guess what! Avocado Bliss is on sale for .99 for a limited time! I hope you guys check out this fun and emotional story full of pitfalls and bliss!

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo

Avocado Bliss Cover

Dacre Vinson has spent the majority of his life in quite the predicament—even the surf and his books can’t erase his Type 1 diabetes. But when Dacre’s family moves to a new Mexican town, an eccentric girl obsessed with trees offers him a job on the spot, leading to what could be the perfect distraction from his problems.

Salbatora Tames has one true love, her avocado farm. Her family constantly nudges her to be more social, but Sal much prefers the dirt, the sun, and the solitude. Besides, trees listen better than people do.

For Sal and Dacre, their job won’t stay easy breezy for long, not when an avocado delivery to Palenque, Mexico pops up on their radar. Together, they embark on a road trip across the jungle, where they form a tighter bond. However, as obstacles arise, their new-found troubles may lead to more woes than bliss.

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My good author friend, James J. Cudney, is also having some amazing .99 sales on these awesome books!

Father Figure * Flower Power Trip * Mistaken Identity Crisis

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Did you grab your copy of Avocado Bliss?

Review: Father Figure

Title: Father Figure

Author: James J. Cudney

Date of Publication: April 2nd, 2018

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Goodreads Summary:

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

My Review:

I’ve been seeing both of Cudney’s books floating around on Goodreads in my feed for a while now, and I have been wanting to read both of them. I decided to start with his latest one, Father Figure, and I wasn’t sure what was going to go down in it. But boy, this book was a twisty, emotional, and awesome adventure!

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Let me start by saying I loved the alternating perspectives between 1984 and 2004. First, I love the 80’s and second I was 19 in 2004 and loved that year! This story is  very character driven and as I’ve mentioned before, those are my absolute favorite kinds of books.

Let’s start with Amalia! Oh man, this girl… I loved this character. Not every girl in life is born a fighter. A lot of times a way a person is raised can have a huge impact on who they become. Amalia had one of the worst kind of mothers possible. After a tragedy with her father, circumstances lead Amalia on a journey where sometimes she doesn’t know what she wants—sometimes she is needy, sometimes she wants to find the one goodness she had in life, her father, in someone else. Through all the events, she really grew as a character. And some of the events were downright awful.

Brianna reminded me of several of my friends in high school. Sometimes you just aren’t sure of what you want, be it sexuality, a career, life in general. When you’re young and even as an adult things aren’t always clear. This leads Brianna to also want to find out about her missing father which sets her on a path that leads to all kinds of twists and turns. I’m going to be honest here, I’m quite good at guessing twists, but I did not see these coming.

Father Figure is well written and an addictive novel filled with a bottle full of emotions. I can’t wait to read Cudney’s other book!

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Author Interview: James J. Cudney

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Author Interview with James J. Cudney:

Jay
What made you want to become an author?
Characters are always running around and plots are feverishly weaving together inside my head. There are days I get lost in thoughts where I can’t do anything but write what I’m feeling and thinking. It’s one of the only places I am creative, otherwise I’m very organized, specific, and focused on anything I do. Being able to assemble a story or a book, then share it with others, is a very rewarding feeling. I love knowing I can bring some amount of joy and analytical thought to a reader’s mind just as I get from reading hundreds of books each year, too. It’s a passion, and when I had the opportunity to take a chance on changing careers, I jumped in with full excitement and fear.
What inspires your stories?
Families, secrets, and emotions. For me, a story must impact the reader in some way, shape, or form. I write about the fundamentals of being alive and experiencing pain, love, and fear. I want to offer alternative ideas to people who might need a break from their own lives, some difficult moments, or a new way of interpreting their emotions. Once I pull this together, I figure out the surprise and shock moments so that I can push the envelope just a bit more than normal reality. I love reading stories about everyday life, as there’s something comforting and cathartic in seeing how other people react, but when you can push them over the edge and bring about a step out of normalcy, even if it’s a bit unrealistic, it’s still a break from what we’re used to seeing or experiencing. And that’s what reading is all about for me — putting me slightly out of my comfort zone and pushing me to consider a wider sense of what’s going on in the world.
Tell us a little about Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure. How are they alike/different.
Watching Glass Shatter is about a large family full of secrets that are not truly ever meant to be known, but must be revealed in order to save a few lives and re-connect as a family. Like most families, they’ve had moments where they are extremely close and completely separated, but unlike most families, they are a bit larger than life. Five brothers with hidden truths. Death of the patriarch. A mother questioning where she went wrong. And an impending doom that will wreck havoc on people who haven’t even figured out how to properly grieve for what they’ve lost. Part mystery, part emotional journey, it’s a classic tale of how to accept differences and admit when you’ve been wrong.
Father Figure is about two women who are desperately seeking something from a father. One looks in all the wrong places to replace what she’s lost. The other is on quest to find out who her father is. What they share in common is a rather large secret that has been kept hidden for far too long. Unfortunately, revealing it causes the past to re-create itself in ways neither had expected. Mothers and daughters have complicated relationships. When they’re left untended, there can be pain and a sense of lost direction in life. Both women suffer through tragedy and try to find their way back to the surface in very different manners. Part suspense, part emotional journey, it’s a story about how to find yourself when encountering a roadblock nearly every step on the path.
They’re both about relationships, but whereas Watching Glass Shatter is built from 8 different character perspectives, Father Figure is told from only 2 women’s POVs, but it’s across two different time periods. Watching Glass Shatter has more humor and tears. Father Figure has more suspense and questions. But I’ve put my heart into both to make everyone as realistic and reachable as I possibly can in just a few hundred pages.
What genre do you tend to write in and why?
This is a tough question to answer because my style crosses a few genres. Contemporary fiction at the highest point, but then there’s a mix of mystery, family drama and realism fabricated into each story. Both books have characters ranging from 18 to 70, but where Watching Glass Shatter is leaning towards women’s fiction, Father Figure is focused on New Adults (20s). I feel most comfortable in these genres, but I plan to write a cozy mystery series and a thriller in the next two years.
Do you look up to any other authors?
Yes, but in general ways. I feel my style falls into the same areas as Liane Moriarty, Amanda Prowse, and Lisa Jewell, as I tell stories from different character perspectives, usually about emotional life journeys, mysterious secrets exploding around you, and a mix of sub-genres. I would love to write a few mystery series like Agatha Christie and Dan Brown. And I’m very enamored with the idea of historical fiction like Ken Follett and Kate Morton.
What’s the biggest struggle you face when writing?
I can be overly descriptive when I want to ensure a reader sees the same picture as I do in a specific scene. I’ve learned to edit myself down through multiple versions, but I feel I can push myself a bit more to use less words and more powerful imagery.
Do you have a favorite character you have written? Tell us a little about them.
Olivia Glass. She’s a powerhouse. This woman has just lost her husband, found out a secret he’s been keeping, and when she turns to her family, she learns even worse things… she’s questioning where she went wrong and is too closed-minded to figure it out at first. To readers, it’s quite easy in the beginning. She’s had tunnel vision for years, forgotten her roots, let money color her approach to things, and been hands off in terms of mothering the boys as they became young adults. At the same time, she says and does enough that you want to like her and hope she finds her way. Despite a few slips along the way, she eventually finds a way to re-establish who she once was, but it doesn’t come without major repercussions and losses. Her life isn’t over at ~65, but it will be very different than she planned it to be. What I adore about her is that she can learn and change. She comes from a generation where all the things her sons have done are considered wrong and bad, but in reality, people are different. And we accept one another for who we are at the core, not at the surface. When she can recognize those things, she becomes a mother again. There’s something powerful about a woman who can re-gain control but still make you feel loved and supported.
Did you take any classes in writing or are you more of a natural?
In college, I took a few creative and fiction writing classes. They helped me understand many of the basics, but I’ve not taken any courses in the last 15 years. When I began writing again, I spent some time searching on the Internet to learn more about the publishing industry and editing approaches, but for the most part, I tend to learn on my own. I make a list of my questions or the things I don’t yet have a grasp on, seek those answers specifically, then dive in.
What do you find to be the best thing about writing?
Being able to create a character with flaws whom someone can still love. In reality, that’s hard to do. When someone makes a mistake, or hurts you, people hold grudges and sometimes even lose a relationship over disagreements. In a book, you can play out that scenario in words across hundreds of pages, but also bring them back together in the end. And in some instances, that will bleed into real life and help readers figure out a way to solve their own life dilemmas. I’ve had that experience reading a few books, and it’s quite cathartic and heartwarming.
What process do you use when writing? To outline or not to outline?
I’m an outliner! I usually write a ~25 page outline with full character and setting descriptions, a scene by scene and chapter by chapter bullet point summary, and a target schedule to complete everything. I will know that 3 things need to happen in a Chapter 7, and I’ll know the 2 or 3 scene locations, but how it plays out on the pages is where my creativity works in the moment. Once the first draft is written, I update the outline so it’s as current as possible, then I weave in all the hidden secrets, red herrings, clues, etc.
What’s your favorite book you have read?
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. It speaks to me on so many levels. It has a character for everyone, one with emotional intelligence, fear, and innocence. It’s a representation of who we are at different points in our lives.
After publication, what do you find to be the hardest part?
Either figuring out how to market or waiting for reviews. You can only do so much as a writer, and once you put your work out there, it’s up to others to react and share. I do a lot of my own marketing, but I have to trust the book will stand on its own two feet and be successful. That’s never easy for a control-freak! 🙂
What other books do you have for the future?
I’ve currently got 4 books in outline format. I plan to write one this summer and publish in the fall, then keep the cycle moving so I can hopefully publish around 2 books every 12 to 18 months. I’m writing: (1) Watching Glass Prequel Short Stories and Sequel, (2)  Cozy Mystery Series, (3) Very emotional tale that I can’t stop tearing up over while drafting the outline and (4) thriller / suspense novel.
Any advice to other writers out there?
You must first know why you write and what you want to achieve if you have any chance of being successful. If you don’t know the goals or the reasons, you will flounder for too long.
Have thick skin for negative reviews and feedback, but always be polite and try to learn from it. Never respond back with negativity or rudeness even if someone else is unnecessarily cruel in their review of your work.
Publishing is changing. The market is flooded. People are changing how and when they read. Figure out your niche and keep focusing on how to find those marketing avenues. It is getting less and less easy to sell a best seller when there are so many good authors out there. Have alternative income lines to support yourself so you can do your best work without worrying about paying bills and saving up for the future.

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Father Figure: Book Blitz + Giveaway

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Father-Figure-Main-FileFather Figure

Publication Date: April 2, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

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Excerpt

The Red Blouse

The red sweater is something important to Amalia, but she loses it when her mother takes another swing to knock down her daughter. This shows how awful Janet can truly be. Red becomes a theme in the book and aligns with the color of the cabin on the cover – James J. Cudney

Amalia grabbed her bag and keys shuffling everything together to leave with her mother. In her rush, she dropped the bag to the floor. The red blouse spilled from its only protection unaware of the trouble its presence would generate. It was the only article of clothing Amalia owned that made her feel special, nor did it try to hide her body from the rest of the world.

“What is that doing here? I told you to get rid of it yesterday morning.” The room grew a few degrees cooler as Janet’s icy expression penetrated the surface of Amalia’s waning facade.

“I… I just… forgot it was… in my bag when I brought it here today,” stammered Amalia.

“Give it here.”

“No, Momma. I’m bringing it home.”

“Someday, you’ll understand, girl.” Janet refocused her triumphant gaze from Amalia to her husband. “Have you got a pair of scissors in this store, Peter?”

Amalia closed her eyes and pictured what could have been if she’d met Bryan at the lake. She chastised herself for foolishly letting down her guard imagining the possibility of something positive happening in Brant. It was merely another one of her nightmares masquerading as a silly little girl’s daydream. Fighting back was a lost cause, and so was her blouse. Amalia grabbed the scissors from the rusty mason jar and walked with unparalleled defeat toward her mother.

“Stay right there, child. I’m not gonna be the one to destroy it. Give those scissors to your father.”

Peter’s deep-set eyes grew wide with disbelief despite remaining glued to a pile of dirt in the corner. “Janet, let her keep the shirt, please. She’s not going to wear it anywhere.”

“Cut it up now, Peter. The girl needs to learn another lesson. Apparently, so do you.” Janet banged her fist against the nearest wall rattling the pipes. “Make it quick. Greg will be ready for dinner in three hours.”

As the harassment in Janet’s voice punched holes in his body, Peter’s courage went limp with burden. His shaky fingers, normally quite firm and adept from building his model trains and boats, slid into the scissors. Amalia turned away at the nagging graze of one blade against the other, grateful when the fabric muffled the awful scrape of her last hopes being dashed away for the summer. “I love you, Daddy,” she mouthed to his despondent eyes and walked behind her mother to the car praying for silence on the ride home.

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About the Author

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James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

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Giveaway!!!

Father Figure will be available FREE from 5/6 thru 5/10! Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Also, if you haven’t read James’ fantastic debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, pick it up on sale for only $0.99 on Amazon from 5/6 thru 5/10!!!

You can also try to win a digital copy of “Father Figure” early during the book blitz!

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Book Blitz Organized By:

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