If I’d Never Heard of Me Would I Read My Book by Marian Cheatham – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. 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). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If I’d Never Heard of Me Would I Read My Book?

Here I am asking you to do just that – read the book of an unknown-to-you author. Seems rather presumptuous, I know. Maybe you’d feel better if you knew a little something about me.

I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my husband, our English bulldog, Spike, and our three cats, Ruby, Onnie, and Tobi. My cats are my assistants, keeping my laptop warm (by sleeping on top of it) and my cluttered desk free of all piles (by knocking them to the floor). Spike helps by keeping me from sitting too long. He makes sure I stay fit and get plenty of exercise. A half hour at my desk and then it’s time to catch and fetch his favorite ball, or hit the backyard for a potty break, or check his doggy stash for an afternoon treat. He’s a union guy who is big on breaks, and naps, and long lunches. But at least, he hasn’t asked for a raise.

As for my office, it’s official. After a decade of moving my desk from room to room, depending on what kid or whose aunt was living with us, I finally have my own, private sanctuary. My new home office is spacious and painted in a lovely, serene green. My desk sits in front of a large picture window that faces the woods where an occasional deer crosses my path. The cats keep check on the birds in the yard and Spike keeps track of the cats. It’s the perfect place in which to create.

An ideal writing day would be 10-12 hours of uninterrupted time in my new sanctuary, but that’s unrealistic. Most days I settle for 4-6 disruptive hours at my laptop. There’s always a mug of hot coffee or tea on my desk, along with a power snack of almonds. I switch around my cups, alternating between my cat-faced mug, my cup of Shakespeare quotes, my keep-sake from Yellowstone National Park, my Barnes & Noble cup of famous authors, and the souvenir mug from Arizona given to me by a friend from Dublin visiting the states.

My writing time is divided between my work-in-progress manuscript, my Chicago Now blog, and marketing my published books. Most of my inspiration for stories comes from real life – from family issues, or problems kids face at school, or personal dramas. But some inspiration is just divine intervention from Heaven above. I’m always dreaming of my next project, and looking forward to the future.

As for the past, before I began my writing career, I taught special education to primary-aged children and worked a few years in the business world. But now, I’m doing what I love best – writing.

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.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I watched through the sliding glass doors as my baby brother disappeared into the depths of Mr. M.’s house with DB. I hoped Jon wasn’t getting sick. The Mai Tais at this party were kind of sweet. Or maybe the sun had gotten to him. No denying it was hot outside, and this deck didn’t
have a sheltered awning. Dad used to tell Jon to toughen up, and Jon had, once he’d started playing lacrosse. Wasn’t his fault, he was on the short side. Jon got that from his mother. She
was just a pale wisp of a thing. Maybe that was what Dad had liked about her. She was the polar opposite of my long-legged, big-boned Amazon mom.

Dad. What a player. He had the best of both worlds in women and sons.

A hand clamped down on my shoulder. “Don’t worry about your brother,” Mr. M. said. “Jon’s in capable hands. That DB is a good guy. I only wish my niece could see his better qualities.”

Bonni shook her head. “Blythe’s too hung up on the past. At least she pretends to be. She’s always DB did this and DB did that. Acting annoyed when she’s really in love with him.”

“Same with DB,” said Cory. “He say he hates Blythe, but I know he’s always plotting ways to run into her on the sly.”

“Me thinks they doth protest too much,” said Mr. M. “Too bad. Those two seem perfect for each other. If only they could find their way back together.”

“Maybe they just need a push.” A seed of something had taken root in my brain.

“Go on.” Mr. M. smiled at me. “What’re you thinking, Paolo?”

“Maybe we can trick them into admitting how they really feel. What if you and Bonni let it slip that DB wants to work things out? You know, have a conversation when Blythe’s not supposed to be around, but really she is. Let her overhear you talking.”

“We can do that, right, Daddy? We can make Blythe believe DB still cares.”

“Absolutely!” Mr. M. high-fived her.

“And you and I will do the same with DB,” I told Cory. “When we’re sure he’s listening, we’ll drop the bomb that Blythe is still into him. Then we stand back and let nature take its course.” I extended my hand. My three co-conspirators piled their hands on top of mine. “We’re all in?”

Bonni, Cory, and Mr. M. nodded.

“Good. Operation Cupid is a go.”

About the Author:

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:






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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for the cool share Marian–and I love the excerpt! best of luck on the launch!

  3. I really enjoyed your excerpt. I also enjoyed learning about you. My grandma had a cat named Toby too.

    • Thank you, Ashley! So glad you stopped by. Our youngest daughter is named Ashley, same spelling. What a small world! Hope you’ll read Ruined and stay tuned into Stratford High for Book Two due out later this year. And follow along on the tour for more excerpts. Take care!

      • Thank you, Long and Short Reviews, for a successful day! So glad you were part of the tour. Hope to see you again for Stratford High, Book Two. And I love your by-line: Reviewing fiction one happy ever after at a time! Lovely.

  4. Interesting twist


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