Dawn Ius

Author - Screenwriter - Editor

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 15:12

#AtoZChallenge: V is for Vegas, baby

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my youg adult novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

Bellagio

Viva, Las Vegas!

I'm not much of a gambler, and stumbling from hotel to hotel in a drunken stupor isn't actually my idea of a good time, but I have been to Las Vegas on four occassions—the number of visits rivaled only by Hawaii when I was lucky enough to attend the Maui Writers' Conference a few years in a row. I love both places for different reasons, but I set OVERDRIVE in Las Vegas for specific reasons...

Vegas is thrilling.

Loud.

Fun.

All of the characteristics I wanted in OVERDRIVE—not to mention a high-stakes atmosphere. 

Circus circusLocation research isn't always a "must" for me, at least not an "in person" reconnaisance (though I am planning a trip to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast soon to research my Spring 2018 release, LIZZE.)

You can learn a lot from Google. But I'm glad I was able to infuse some of my first-hand "excitement" of Vegas in OVERDRIVE, along with a few of the most famous landmarks—like the Bellagio Hotel, the creepy clown face at Circus Circus, the infamous "Strip."

Have you been to Las Vegas? What were some of your highlights? Comment on today's post—or any of the posts in the #AtoZChallenge for a chance to WIN a copy of OVERDRIVE. See you tomorrow for a riveting letter "W" ;-)

~ Dawn

 

 

Published in A-Z
Monday, 25 April 2016 18:13

#AtoZChallenge: U is for Unified

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my youg adult novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

Of all the books I've written, OVERDRIVE was probably the most fun—it encompasses so many of my passions, but also, after writing Anne & Henry, I wanted something a little lighter. Turns out, I don't quite know how to do that, because although OVERDRIVE takes place in Sin City and there are enough action scenes to get your pulse racing, there are a few important underlying themes that may be less "light" such as family, and unification.

When Jules and Emma Parish arrive at the home of their new foster father, the eccentric and perhaps slightly creepy, Roger Montgomery, they are a unified unit—sisters who were abandoned by their parents and tossed around the foster care system for the past four years. Despite some questionable decisions, Jules is always thinking about Emma—they're a tight-knit unit. Unbreakable. 

At least that's what Jules assumes until she realizes that if they're going to survive at Roger's mansion, their two-some will have to grow—fast. For the first time since their father left, Jules will have to let down her guard and trust others. In OVERDRIVE, four teens with (almost) nothing in common and everything to lose must form a unified front if they're going to make it through the most challenging—and dangerous—seven weeks of their lives.

Yeah, I know, another cheat, but there really are no muscle cars that start with the letter "U." Tomorrow we get back on track with a "V" post that's very much a part of OVERDRIVE's fabric. Viva, Las Vegas! See you then...

~ Dawn

 

Published in A-Z
Sunday, 24 April 2016 19:52

#AtoZChallenge: T is for Transformers

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my youg adult novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

BumblebeeNote: WHOOPS! I totally forgot to post yesterday, and so I'm posting today, when the #AtoZChallenge is supposed to be on break. That probably means I lose...ah well. I'm still posting...T for TRANSFORMERS.

There's something about the "new and improved" muscle cars that don't work for me—the modernized Camaro, the updated Challenger, the funky looking Mustangs. They're almost too sleek. Even the latest model of the Shelby GT 500 isn't something I'd add to my "must drive one day" list. And somehow, I doubt all of these newer models would have the same growl—which is the best part about a muscle car.

My husband keeps asking me which of the new muscle cars I'd buy—and the answer, much to his dismay, is none of them. Unless...

It's Bumblebee.

Because Bumblebee is well...more than meets the eye. ;-)

I've always been a fan of Transformers and my nephew, Jack, is just getting into them now (transitioning away from Lightning McQueen finally.) The movies are my guilty pleasure. (I just watched one of them the other day, actually...)

If we're talking Transformer, I'd probably drive this guy...I mean, if he transforms and all. transformer.jazz

I know, another cop-out post, because Transformers have nothing to do with OVERDRIVE. But we're moving into the finals days of the #AtoZChallenge and it's getting harder to find letter-appropriate posts—like, I have no idea what I'm doing for "U" tomorrow.

Hope you come back to find out!

~ Dawn

Published in A-Z
Saturday, 23 April 2016 01:32

#AtoZChallenge: S is for Superhero Cars

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

I intended to make this post about amazing vehicles driven by superheroes, but either my Google skills are lacking, my memory is fading, or only Batman got a cool ride. Seriously guys, what am I missing?

Not that I'd turn down a chance to take a spin around the block in the Batmobile. I mean, look at this thing...

batmobile barris

This particular model was built by George Barris (shown here), known as the King of the Kustomizers. His creations are legendary in the world of television and motion pictures, and his personal collection includes everything from the General Lee (gah!) to Torino Green Hornet and Monkee Mobile. Unfortunately, Barris passed November, 2015—but his legendary cars live on. The guy was a genius.

In OVERDRIVE, Barris is Nick Barker's idol, and this particular car makes a guest appearance during one of the boosts. 

My friend Matt affectionately calls my old RX-8 the "Batmobile" (even though I repeatedly tell him her name is "Anne"), and I admit, the two vehicles have similar lines. But somehow, I don't think "Anne" is nearly as collectible. Damn.

I know, a bit of a cop-out "S" post. My intentions were good though—I just couldn't find what I was looking for. Do YOU know of any Superhero vehicles?

Back tomorrow with a cool "T" post—for realz.

~ Dawn

Published in A-Z
Friday, 22 April 2016 00:07

#AtoZChallenge: R is for RED

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

 Sexy Nick Barker's special Mustang in OVERDRIVE is Candy Apple Red. Cliche, perhaps, and yet logical, given that red has dominated lists of most popular vehicle colors for decades, especially when it comes to sports and muscle cars. In fact, a quick Google search for famous vehicles brought up dozens of examples, and not surpisingly, more than half of them were red.

I'm sure you'll recognize a few of these favorites:

CHRISTINE - 1957 Plymouth Belvedere

christine

This model of car wasn't even available in red, but when Stephen King's classic horror, Christine, hit theatres, producers insisted—after all, what other color could a "demon" car be?

1977 Ferrari 308 GTS

magnum pi

Famous for it's starring role in the hit TV show Magnum P.I., this Ferrari saw a huge increase in sales during the '80s. No shocker there.

2003 Mini Cooper S

aa 2003 mini cooper s

Featured in the movie, The Italian Job (appropriately a heist flick) this "little" cars could really move, making for some surprisingly intense car chase scenes.

1975 Ford Gran Torino

starsky and hutch

Affectionately referred to as "The Striped Tomato" this car was famously used by two hard-nosed California detectives, Starsky & Hutch.

Lightning McQueen

lightning mcqueen 2

Based on the Toyota NASCAR vehicles, the creators of this cocky but friendly Pixar-animated car looked to famous sports personalities for character inspiration.

All great red cars.

However, the most memorable and most famous, perhaps, is not one seen in books or movies, but rather remembered in song. It is with great sadness today that we hear of Prince's death—a legendary musican and pop culture icon. I can sing almost every single one of his songs, and have watched him perform in awe, but there is one tune I have always sand at the top of my lungs—Little Red Corvette. 

My throat is raw with emotion today. R.I.P Prince. Thank you for everything you gave to your fans—and me.

~ Dawn

 

Published in A-Z
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 16:02

#AtoZChallenge: Q is for Quick

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

 

Confession: I like to drive fast.

I'm not reckless or anything, but there's something about being behind the wheel of a car that knows how to corner, especially if it's a stick shift. Better still if it's a muscle car, because the engine "growl" is better...

My current "fast" vehicle is an older Mazda RX8, a 2009 black beauty I called Anne (my husband's truck is named Henry—clearly I'm in charge of naming...) and she still has a lot of pep to her (6 gears, top speed of 220 kmp). While I prefer muscle cars, there are a few "quick" modern cars I'd love to drive—at least once. Like these...

 

Pagani Huayra

Pagani Huayra

This Italian super car reaches speeds up to 231 mph and has an acceleration time of 3.2 seconds, aply nicknamed "God of the Winds." With a price tag of $1.3 million, odds are I'll never get to take this baby around the block, but no question it's quick!

 

McLaren F1

McLaren F1

The McLaren F1 has three seats in the front, with the driver—interestingly—seated between the two passengers. Maybe that's to protect him/her when the car rockets to a top speed of 240 mph in 3.2 seconds. Want to take it for a spin? Be prepared to shell out $5.58 million.

 

Saleen S7 Twin-Turbo

saleen s7 twin turbo 04

If I were to consider a super car—rather than a 1967 Shelby GT 500, for instance—it would probably be the Saleen. At just over half a million bucks, the Saleen is the most affordable of the super cars—and tops out at 248 mph. It's not half bad on the eyes either.

 

Bugatti Veyron — The Super Sport

bugatti veyron super sport 0Aesthetically, this car is a bust for me—too rounded, or something. It doesn't quite feel like a sports car to me—but looks are deceiving, because this Bugatti Veyron Super Sport holds the Guiness Book of World Record's title of being the fastest supercar in the world. It cab go from 0 to 60 in 2.4 seconds, and maxes out at 253 mph. Gulp.

Any of these cars make your driving bucket list?

Excuse me while I go take my putt putt around the block. See you tomorrow for the letter R as I start winding down the #AtoZChallenge of OVERDRIVE.

~ Dawn

 

Published in A-Z

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

No question OVERDRIVE is a high-octane adrenaline ride, but at it's core is the theme of family, and how sometimes, family is who you make it.

That's certainly the case for Jules and Emma Parish, sisters who have bounced from foster home to foster home before landing on the doorstep of Roger's stunning Vegas mansion.

I considered posting pictures of my inspiration for each of these characters, but I'd rather you formed images of them yourself after reading the book ;-)

So instead, here's their quick and dirty character sketches...a little teaser, I guess. Both of them are very near and dear to my heart, but Jules has absolutely wormed her way under my skin.

JULIA "Jules" PARISH

Julia “Jules” Parish is damn good at boosting cars. Hot cars, classic cars, broken down beaters—she isn’t fussy, as long as the job pays enough to put food on the table for her sister Emma and their deadbeat mother.

And while she’s quite comfortable parkouring her way through a heist, her real strength is her stealth. This skill, coupled with her white hair and pale complexion, have earned this former ballerina the street name, Ghost.

EMMA "Ems" PARISH

Ten-year-old Emma Parish is Julia’s Achilles heel. It’s more than her sweet smile and innocence—Emma possesses an infectious enthusiasm that shines even on dark days. If her (sometimes bold) quick wit and obnoxious giggle don’t win you over, you’ll fall for her fierce loyalty and bravery. 

Emma is a trusting kid—maybe too trusting—and easily distracted from reality by shiny, sparkling things. “Home” has always been a run down double-wide or apartment in Las Vegas’s shadiest areas—so of course she’s over the moon with a new backyard waterslide and her very own Princess suite.

I had so much fun developing this sibling relationship—perhaps somewhat based on how much I love my sister, and how fiercely I would protect her. 

Admittedly, my "Q" post for tomorrow is a bit of a cheat, but I hope you come back anyway ;-)

~ Dawn

Published in A-Z

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

Overdrive JKT

Without further (boring) pre-amble, here's the synopsis for OVERDRIVE, which launches Sept. 13, 2016 from Simon Pulse. I could not be more excited about this book!

"Gone in Sixty Seconds meets Heist Society in this edgy novel about a crack team of teenage criminals on a mission to learn to trust, build a life, and steal a wish list of exotic cars.

Jules Parish has screwed up.

After three years of boosting cars, she got caught. She’s too good to get caught, but she let her (ex)-boyfriend talk her into a questionable job. And now she and her little sister, Emma, will be kicked out of their foster home, left to survive on the unforgiving streets of Las Vegas alone.

Unless.

Eccentric, wealthy Roger Montgomery wants to open up his mansion to Jules and Emma. The only catch? Jules must steal seven of the rarest, most valuable muscle cars in the world…in seven weeks. Even worse, she’s forced to put her trust in three complete strangers to help her do it.

First there’s Chelsea, the gorgeous redhead with a sharp tongue and love for picking locks. Then there’s Mat, who hasn’t met a system he couldn’t hack. And finally there’s the impossibly sexy car thief Nick, whose bad attitude and mysterious past drive Jules crazy.

With nothing in common and everything to lose, can Jules and her amateur crew pull off what could be the biggest car heist in history? Or will things spin out of control faster than a Nevada dust devil?"

Intrigued? You can add it to Goodreads here and even pre-order it here.

Check back tomorrow for a less obvious "P" post as we continue the #AtoZChallenge of OVERDRIVE.

~ Dawn

 

Published in A-Z
Saturday, 16 April 2016 15:40

#AtoZChallenge: N is for Nevada

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

~ ~ ~

lovelockOVERDRIVE is mostly set in the heart of Las Vegas—obviously my upcoming "V" letter post in a couple weeks—but the Nevada landcsape also plays a role, not to mention is home to a giant... Nevermind. I shouldn't spoil it ;-)

I've been to Las Vegas three times, and while I'm not much of a gambler, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a city that never sleeps and allows you to walk hotel to casino with an oversized cocktail in hand. 

Vegas is obviously the most popular city in the state, but about ten years ago, I flew to Reno, Nevada, where I embarked on my first research trip for a book that sadly, never got written. In Lovelock, just outside of Reno, I visited Lover's Lock (where apparently actor Kelsey Grammer married his wife), toured a miniature lighthouse set in the desert, which I think was the owner's dry humor at work, and took page after page of research notes. 

As a Canadian used to cold winters and mild summers, getting used to the Nevada heat was hard—it kind of sucks the air out of you—but the experience got me hooked on doing "location" research for novels. I know I can look most anything up on Google (and have for many projects!) but there's something amazing about immersing yourself in the culture of a place—even if it is just a small town Nevada.

The #AtoZChallenge takes a break tomorrow—a great opportunity for you to check out other blogs taking part—but I'll be back Monday with a somewhat predictable "O" post!

~ Dawn

Published in A-Z
Thursday, 14 April 2016 15:56

#AtoZChallenge: (Jay) Leno & (Ralph) Lauren

OVERDRIVE finalThere’s still five and a half months before my YA novel OVERDRIVE drops—but I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a month talking about it.

Fast cars, cute guys, a kick-ass protagonist, and the hot Vegas sun—OVERDRIVE is a culmination of all my favorite things. Which is why for this year’s blogging challenge, I am doing the A to Z of OVERDRIVE. (I know, you're shocked!)

Not familiar with the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Get the full details here. And then buckle up because you’re in for one hell of a fun ride. 

P.S. Comment on or share the posts throughout the month for a chance to WIN an advanced reader copy of OVERDRIVE!

 

~ ~ ~

Jules Parish would never have guessed her quirky and kind of creepy foster dad is actually a closet collector of high-end muscle cars...but when I started looking up real life collectors, I was surprised by some of the famous people who have a love of exotic vehicles. I get it, though. I may never be famous, but if I ever won the lottery, I'd probably have my own warehouse of classic muscle cars—one for each day of the year!

So who are these multi-millionaires with a parking lot's worth of stunning vehicles?

610x3

JAY LENO

A quick visit to his website and my jaw was on the floor. While there are some muscle cars in his spectacular garage showroom, the diversity of Leno's collection—from steam-powered cars to a vintage milktruck and everything beyond—is truly outstanding. 

RALPH LAUREN

Forget fashion, the collection I'm most interested in is Ralph Lauren's garage full of Ferraris and modern supercars. Oh, I know they're not classic American muscle, but while I'm drawn in by the look of the muscle cars, the sheer speed of a supercar sends my pulse into overdrive.

With the pre-requisite "L" car collectors out of the way, here are some other famous car affectionatos. 

  • Jerry Seinfeld has a sweet Porchse collection, rumored to include a 959 and a 1600 Speedster. Porche isn't my car of choice, but twist my arm and I'd probably test one out.
  • Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason has one of the best personal collections in Britain. Like Ralph Lauren, he has a thing for Ferraris. 
  • Sultan of Brunei is considered to have the most famous collection of all time. If you were to name any supercar built in the last 30 years, odds are, he'd have it.

Okay. So let's pretend you have billions of dollars to stock your garage. What's in YOUR showroom?

See you tomorrow for the letter "M"—and the halfway point of the #AtoZChallenge.

~ Dawn

Published in A-Z
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