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THE ADVENTURES OF JUICE BOX AND SHAME
BY LIV HADDEN
Li Nguyen, aka Juice Box, has never really had a friend. That is, until he meets the ultra cool, super mysterious Shame. Though Juice Box feels certain this is his new BFF, Shame’s dark past and nefarious entanglements get them both into serious, life-threatening trouble. It doesn’t help that Shame inadvertently pissed off one of the baddest crime bosses in Baltimore, Anna Nguyen (aka Laoban), who also happens to be Juice Box’s cousin. Shame stirred up trouble with a rival gang, putting Anna and her crew in a precarious situation. Torn between his love for Anna and his new, exciting friendship with Shame, Juice Box must choose where his loyalties lie.
Will he choose family and leave Shame out to dry, or will he choose the only friend he’s ever had, despite the danger?
Love a good, twisted thriller? Catch up on Hadden’s previous book In the Mind of Revenge. Available in print and eBook through LivHadden.com, Amazon and at your local bookstore. Love Audiobooks? You can also purchase and listen through Audible.
5 stars from Foreword Clarion Reviews!
“Liv Hadden is a great discovery.” – Writer’s Digest
“A somber revenge tale, but fronted by a protagonist both absorbing and sublimely complicated.” – Kirkus Review
Praise for The Shamed Series
“Liv Hadden is a great discovery.” – Writer’s Digest
“If a cat has nine lives, Shame has 29. Liv Hadden leaves us in the dark as to whether this character is a girl or a boy. As Shame often muses, why is gender that important? It’s reflecting on issues like gender that makes In the Mind of Revenge more than just a rather exciting read.” – Reader’s Favorite
“A somber revenge tale, but fronted by a protagonist both absorbing and sublimely complicated.” – Kirkus Reviews
THE ADVENTURES OF JUICE BOX AND SHAME
BY LIV HADDEN
“Look,” Shame whispered. “I have to get out of here. That Frankenstein woman wants to perform all these crazy tests on me. I have to find Cassie, now…I don’t know how to explain it, but I need to get to her.”
I saw the pleading in Shame’s eyes, and I knew I would do it. I had always told myself when I found my best friend, I would do anything for them. I had prayed and prayed and made that promise to whatever gods might exist. I loved Anna, I really did, but Shame needed me, and I would come through no matter what.
“Well, there is this button in the big room that says ‘Open’. I have no idea what it opens, but maybe there’s a secret door in there?”
A smirk crept up Shame’s face, crinkling the largest scar in a way I now recognized as approval. I instantly felt awesome, happy to be able to help in some kind of way.
“It’s worth a shot, eh JB?”
Shame started trying to sit up, but struggled. I got up to help, careful not to overextend my bad shoulder. Eventually, we managed to both stand, arms across each other in support. We started shuffling toward the door.
“So, um…” Shame hesitated. “How’s Emma?”
I stopped walking. “She’s okay. When we came and got you, Anna made sure someone would come help her.”
Shame nodded a thank you, then we continued toward the door. When we were close enough, I put my finger over my lips to signal quiet, then slowly opened the door. I peeked over at Greg to make sure he was still asleep, then gave Shame the all-clear. At first, we slowly hobbled down the maze of hallways, but with each passing step, Shame became more and more self-reliant. Admittedly, by the time I was the one lagging behind, I was impressed. Shame was one tough SOB!
When we got to the big empty space, I went straight up the stairs to the small brick room. Butterflies erupted in my stomach, my nerves starting to catch up to me. What if this opened something else? What if it didn’t open anything and we got caught? Ten thousand what-ifs attacked my brain, paralyzing me.
“You okay up there?” Shame murmured.
“Yeah, I’m good,” I lied. I took a deep breath, and let the exhale propel me forward. Without thinking, I pressed the Open button. Nothing happened. I started to feel panicked. I tried to think quickly, unwilling to deliver bad news to my best bud.
“Try the power button.”
I nearly jumped out of my skin. As if from nowhere, Shame had appeared behind me. On my second glance, I was shocked by the transformation. From the time we’d left the hospital hallway to now, Shame had miraculously become healthier than ever. I realized I was starting to stare, so I turned back around quickly and tried to remember what I was doing. When I got my bearings back, I realized turning the power on was the logical first step. I tried not to let my face flush in embarrassment, but I mean, c’mon—it was so obvious.
A dozen lights started blinking on, as well as the screens. Within seconds, one of the screens showed a live video feed of the room below. In the top right corner was the word “HANGAR”. Suddenly, everything about that room made a thousand percent more sense. It was big and empty because it was a garage for a plane or helicopter. I had drawn the conclusion Anna must have owned the building—did she also own a plane?
Before I had time to digest that, Shame reached around me and pressed Open. Sun began to stream into the room. On the video feed, I could see the far wall silently folding up at its creases. Instantly, I felt really stupid for not figuring all this out much sooner.
Shame pat me on the back, then practically leapt down the stairs and darted toward the door. I ran down as quickly as I could, suddenly aware Shame was in nothing but a hospital gown. We’d have to fix that pronto. When we were both outside, all we could see was a lot of concrete and the highway off in the distance. Wordlessly, we both seemed to agree moving toward the highway was our only choice. As we started to run, an alarm went off in the back of my mind. I was about to get into some deep shit. I knew I should stop, go back and go home. I knew I wouldn’t be safe anymore, and that Anna couldn’t keep forgiving me.
I kept running anyway.
Liv Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont and currently resides in Georgetown, TX with her partner and two dogs, Madison and Samuel, where she is an active member of Writer’s League of Texas. Her 2016 release In the Mind of Revenge received high praise from Blue Ink Reviews, Writer’s Digest, Kirkus Reviews, indieBRAG and five stars from Foreword Clarion Review.
Incredibly inspired by artistic expression, Hadden immerses herself in creative endeavors on a daily basis. She finds great joy in getting lost in writing and seeing others fully express themselves through their greatest artistic passions. It’s no wonder she teamed up talented tattoo artist Mo Malone (who scribed a majority of Hadden’s body work) to create her latest release The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame.
Malone has been making art since she was a kid. Offered a tattoo apprenticeship while obtaining a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Malone briefly diverted from tattooing to be an elementary and middle school teacher, an experience she greatly enjoyed, but ultimately came back to her artistic roots. She has tattooed at Rick’s Tattoo in Arlington, Virginia (where she got her start), Iron Age Studio in St. Louis, Missouri and Triple Crown Tattoo in Austin, Texas where she met Hadden.
A lover of travel, her craft has taken her all over the world, to include a dozens of tattoo conferences spanning from New York to Moscow. You can now find Malone back in St. Louis at Ragtime Tattoo. She has recently joined Evil Prints to expand into screen-printing, and when she’s not working her magic in the art world, you can find her feeding her adventurous spirit BMXing at her local skate park or wandering the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Q&A with Author Liv Hadden and Illustrator Mo Malone
I love the Comic Book vibe and illustrations you’ve incorporated into The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame! Can you tell readers what inspired this theme for your thrilling novella?
Liv Hadden: I grew up around comic books because my brother loved them. Some of that rubbed off on me! I was reading a Deadpool comic before bed one night. When I woke up the next morning, I had this vision of Juice Box and Shame on the cover of a comic book called The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame. I was so excited about the idea, I knew I had to make it real.
Mo Malone: I also grew up reading comic books when I was a kid. My dad would take my brother and me to a local comic book shop on a fairly regular basis and I was always excited to add to my collection. I always found the artwork to be striking and dramatic. It impressed me how line weight, perspective, and color theory can further the emotion and storyline of a comic. I was very excited when Liv asked me to join her on this project.
Liv, can you tell us a bit about Juice Box’s perspective in this book. How does it differ from Shame in your 2016 release, In the Mind of Revenge?
LH: Unlike Shame, Juice Box is an eternal optimist. He’s one of those people that manage to maintain a heart of gold no matter what adversity gets thrown his way. Where Shame sees despair and a downward spiral, Juice Box sees excitement and adventure. He’s definitely living in his own little world, one where he’s larger than life and there’s good in everyone.
Liv, how did you find Mo Malone, and inevitably end up partnering with her on this project?
LH: I knew I was going to need an artist to pull off the comic book theme, and Mo popped into my head immediately. We met years ago when she started tattooing my entire back. Through that process, I got to know her and see what she was capable of. She’s a brilliant artist and a wonderful woman – she seemed like an obvious choice.
Mo, did you ever think you would contribute to publishing a book?
MM: I have always wanted to contribute artwork for a book and I’m elated with joy that I get to team up with such a talented and overall amazing person as Liv!
How has it been working as a ‘team’ with a co-author/illustrator, versus flying solo?
LH: As far as the writing goes, not too much different, other than having someone’s eyes on my drafts immediately. As a reader of the series herself, she was able to give me perspective I wouldn’t have had access to so early on. She caught some things and helped me fine-tune the characters, which was very helpful. It’s been amazing for me to see her bring the characters to life in her drawings. I love seeing her interpretations of things. It’s a good check for me to see if I’m illustrating the story well with my words.
MM: It can be a bit of a daunting task. To find that balance of vision between author and illustrator, you want to make sure you both are on the same page. Having Liv’s guidance through the drawing process has made it much easier to ensure that I carry out her vision for the book.
Mo, how quickly did you dream up your illustrations from Juice Box and Shame? Was there any specific part of In the Mind of Revenge that really influence how you saw these characters?
MM: It was quite helpful having already read a book that included these characters. I think we all paint a picture in our mind, when we read. And Liv is so descriptive, that it came pretty naturally. It was important for me to choose scenes from each episode that would further the storyline and keep the reader guessing what might happen next.
What do you think will surprise readers most about The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame?
LH: Some things that weren’t revealed in In the Mind of Revenge get addressed. For some, it will be obvious, for others a surprise. There’s also a hint as to where to story will go from here!
Liv, you talk about some medical procedures in your story, as well as some of the advancements humans have made in metal. What was the most interesting thing you learned while researching for the book?
LH: I came across a type of metal that can disintegrate bullets on contact! As of now, it primarily has military applications, but I had to ask myself, “What if we could replace human bones with this material?” The answer was intriguing and lead me to some very exciting plot items for the future.
I know you’re still hard at work on your second full book in The Shamed Series – can you give us a little teaser on what readers can expect in your next installment?
LH: I am getting so excited about this one! It’s evolving into something intricate and exciting. I’ve grown a lot as a writer, and I think that will be apparent to readers of book one.
Here’s what I’m willing to reveal now: there’s a good reason Shame is so emotionally erratic, obsessive, quick to aggression, and physically resilient…and it’s not schizophrenia or any other mental illness as some have guessed. I’m going to leave it here – thrillers are best when you don’t know much!
Liv, your release hits right around the 2017 Denver ComicCon, which you will be featured at this year. I hear you’re also working on a SCIFI story – much different than your thrillers. Can you tell us a little about that – and how it differs from The Shamed Series?
LH: Yes! The story, CROSSFADE, tells the tale of Agent Milo Kayd, a hybrid agent of espionage, who puts her ultimate goal and the fate of an entire race on the line when she accepts her deadliest mission yet. It’s an adult science-fiction novel (space opera) that I had a blast writing! I’m submitting it to agents as we speak, waiting for the right one to bite.
Writing CROSSFADE was more complicated than writing In the Mind of Revenge because it takes on multiple perspectives and character arcs. In the Mind of Revenge really only focuses on Shame’s POV and journey, whereas CROSSFADE covers several converging journeys. It took a lot of work and learning for me to ensure consistency in the plot and the characters. At times it was daunting, but I enjoyed the challenge and am definitely a better writer because of it.
There’s a lot of action and conspiracy in CROSSFADE, which is quite similar to In the Mind of Revenge. I do think if you enjoyed the narrative voice and fast-paced movement of In the Mind of Revenge, you’d enjoy the style of CROSSFADE.
Links to Liv and Mo’s website, blog, books, etc.
Find Mo Malone Online: @mo_malone
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/2tzsPKr
Thanks, Liv & Mo, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!