Wednesday, October 1, 2014

RUINED author Marian Cheatham on When Writing is Not Writing + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Ruined (Stratford High series, book one) by Marian Cheatham, a YA Contemporary Romance available now. Click on the banner to visit other stops on this tour.


When your life has been ruined by lies, do you seek justice … or revenge?

Blythe Messina spends her senior year focused on her studies and college, and not on her ex, Stratford High's lacrosse star, DB Whitmore. At least, that's what Blythe keeps telling herself. But her younger cousin, Bonni, knows otherwise. Same goes for DB, who swears to be over Blythe and their breakup, but his teammates aren’t fooled.

When scandalous photos of Bonni and the team captain are texted around Stratford, Bonni's virtuous reputation is ruined. She professes her innocence, but no one believes her. No one, except Blythe and DB, who come together to uncover the truth. But, will they stay together?

Ruined is a modern twist on a classic Shakespearean romance.

"Deceit, loyalty, honor, and romance--Ruined has it all! A teen version of Much Ado About Nothing that Shakespeare aficionados are sure to savor!” - Kym Brunner, Author of Wanted: Dead or in Love & One Smart Cookie

All books in the Stratford High series will be modern retellings of a Shakespeare classic. Ruined is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing.




I headed for the Sports Arena, Sly and Slash trailing behind like the obedient lackeys they were. “The idea of that fool, Cory, dating Messina money makes me wanna puke.” I stopped in front of the Basketball Throw and swiped my card in the slot. “I’d love to find a way to bust Cory and Bonni up.” Four balls rolled down the shoot into the pocket in front of me.

“I could beat the crap out of him for you,” Slash offered.

“That could make them even tighter. Bonni would feel sorry for Cory. Want to nurse him back to health.” I took my first shot. “No, what I need is a way to humiliate them.” The ball circled the rim and then dropped off to one side. “I want to ruin their spotless reputations.”

“Like that Facebook incident,” said Sly, “that happened to that Maggie chick I dated freshman year. Some of her friends posted some embarrassing pictures of her. Mags was so ashamed, she missed two weeks of school.”

“I saw those pictures.” I took another shot. “Hysterical. Especially that drunk one of her puking in her dad’s Escalade.” The ball bounced off the backboard and forward over the rim. “We need something more damaging, like photos of Bonni hooking up with another guy.”

“How we gonna get those?” asked Slash. “When she’s all over Rash?”

I took my third shot. The ball hit the outside of the rim and dropped like a boulder to the floor. “What if we got Cory to think she was cheating on him?”

“That would kill him.” Sly sniggered. “His good girl gone bad.”

“And what if the guy turning the good girl bad is my brother? That would get Paolo into hot water with his tight buddy, Leo Messina.” I spun on Slash. “Can you get your hands on some Roofies?”

“The date rape drug?”

“You got a problem with that?”

Slash shook his head. “Nope. I’m your guy. But those pills cost.”

“Don’t sweat it. I’ll front the money. In fact, there’ll be some serious cash for both of you if you help me pull this off.” I raised my last ball and released. The ball slipped right through the net. “Slam dunk.” Slash and Sly jumped up to shoulder bump each other. “Let’s do this. First chance we get.”

“When will that be?” Slash asked.

I wandered past the sporting games. I wasn’t in the mood for baseball or golf. I wanted to pound something. “When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll know.”


When Writing is Not Writing

Writing is my bliss. It’s what keeps me sane, makes me happy, and brings me satisfaction. But I’d be lying if I said every moment at my desk is spent writing. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that for most writers today, we spend 60% of our work time actually writing and 40% of our desk time networking. That seems to hold especially true for an indie author like me or a writer with a small press that offers little to no money for advertising. Book promotion is left entirely up to us. But that’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, it provides an opportunity for an author to connect with readers in a personal way. I find that extremely rewarding.

Networking is a relatively new technological experience. Just ten to twenty years ago, authors did not interact with their readers. In fact, think about writers like Hemingway, Steinbeck, the reclusive Harper Lee. They lived their whole lives with little contact with their own audience. But today, I can self-publish a book, and be promoting it that day, or certainly within days of publication. There’s even such a thing as pre-promotion before a book is published. I can also hear back from my readers, sometimes instantly, or connect with readers in other parts of the world like India or Australia. I might even make contact with someone from another era.

My first novel, Eastland, is historical YA fiction based on the real-life 1915 Eastland boat disaster in Chicago. In one chapter of Eastland, I used the actual names of real-life victims. A reader contacted me through Goodreads to say that she was a descendent of two of those victims. I meet the family this past summer, and I don’t know who was more overwhelmed by the encounter, me or them.  

Giving up 40% of my precious writing time interacting with readers and/or promoting my book has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of being a published author. I didn’t realize ‘not writing’ would be so much fun. So I say to my readers, go ahead, follow me, like me, share me, tweet me, message me, link me, blog about me. It’s all good!

AUTHOR Bio and Links

Marian is a full-time writer of contemporary and historical young adult fiction. A native Chicagoan and a graduate of Northern Illinois University, Marian taught special education and worked in the business world before pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. She would rather be at her desk than almost anywhere else, but of course, that isn’t always possible. So when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, walking the dog, travelling with her husband, and researching new projects. Not necessarily in that order.

She adores anything Shakespeare. An avid reader of Shakespeare biographies, she has travelled the world to see his plays, visiting Stratford, Canada as well as Stratford-Upon-the-Avon, Great Britain, and the new Globe Theater in London. Her latest YA novel, Ruined, Book One in her new Stratford High series – modern retellings of Shakespeare’s plays - is inspired by the Bard’s classic romance, Much Ado About Nothing. Book Two, inspired by the Merchant of Venice, is due out fall 2014.

Her debut YA, Eastland, came out in February 2014. Based on the real-life story of the 1915 Eastland boat disaster in Chicago, Marian lectures about the Eastland to schools, libraries, and book clubs, as well as co-hosting haunted Chicago tours of Eastland disaster sites. She writes a post on the subject on the Tribune’s Chicago Now blog site. Visit her at:



Marian will be awarding an eBook copy of Ruined to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour. A Grand Prize of a signed paperback copy of Ruined plus a new DVD of Much Ado About Nothing starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson will be awarded to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US ONLY). A signed paperback copy of Ruined will be awarded to a randomly drawn host (US ONLY).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Good morning! Thank you for inviting us to visit your blog today. I love the name - Mad Hoydenish! So descriptive! I'll check back later. Have a wild, carefree day!