Do you love reading as much as you love writing? Do you find yourself struggling in your free time to pick one or the other or do you have special time allotted for each? And what was the last book you read that you absolutely LOVED that everyone has to read?
I try to read between 2-3 hours a day, right before I go to bed. Reading is important to me, because it feeds my soul, and my soul has a huge-ass appetite. 
Man, I’ve read so many great books recently. We had amazing releases these past couple of months. I have to admit though, the book that really caught my attention and blew me away was 44 Chapters by Bebe Easton. I think I scared the shit out of her because twenty pages into her book, I started messaging her non-stop, begging her for spoilers (mind you, it’s a memoir) and experiencing mild to medium meltdowns. 

It’s extremely good and I think everyone should read it.
You’re a rockstar at social media. I love how you spread the love for both your fellow authors, and bloggers as well, all the while putting yourself out there and spreading the word about your work. Can you tell us how social media has played a roll for yourself and for self-publishing authors? And what do you like and don’t like about it? 

I know it sounds corny as hell, but I just love my readers so much. I love talking books with them, I love interacting with them, and when I find an author I like or a book I adore, I always post a giveaway on my Sassy Sparrows reading group to spread the word.

Why? (A) Because I know how freaking hard it is to put yourself out there, and I believe in karma and in helping people out. And (B) I think I got incredibly lucky, doing what I do and being able to pay the bills while doing it, so I always make sure to show how grateful I am. 

Honestly, I wish I spent a little less time on social media. I always feel like I’m missing out on things when I log off to focus on my writing. When my deadline is looming, I take my MacBook to the reservoir near my house, where there’s no Wi-Fi, just so I could get the work done. It’s sad, really. 

Long Question Alert: Sparrow was SUCH an amazing book, I’ve talked to so many fellow book-lovin’-babes as well as fellow bloggers who absolutely LOVED it!  Sparrow Raynes, was such a relatable fun character, but she was also a total BADASS, I think we all have a little Sparrow in us, can you tell us in what ways YOU relate to her? // AND Troy Brennan, Its like you’ve perfected the art of the alpha male, the perfect amount of sexy, cocky goodness, can you tell us if there’s a science to it, one second we’re like Gah! What an asshole, and the next we’re like SWOOOON! How did you make us fall so hard for this man? 😉

Bahaha! Thank you so much. I spoke with a few author friends the other day and we all agreed that our heroines are always based on (at least) a part of our personality. I wish I could say that I’m as cool and badass and Sparrow. I’m not. But the snarky, sassy, oh-no-you-didn’t part of her personality is definitely Leigh through and through. The only difference is she makes good on her threats, while I curl into a fetal position and cry when something bad happens to me.

Photo Edit by: @thebookbistro
As for Troy, I really enjoyed writing him, essentially because I knew that some of the things he did and said would make some readers DNF the shit out of this book. I stayed true to his character and pushed the limits. The reason for that is because if there’s one thing I loathe, it’s reading a badass alpha male who turns into mush the minute he falls in love. 

I got a lot of heat for Troy, but at the end of the day, I think I managed to create a complex, redeemable, flawed character. 

I’m always in love with the man I write, and if you think Troy was lick-worthy, wait till you meet Nate Vela! 
Ok, you get offered a ridiculous amount of money to write a book, too much to refuse but here are the guidelines: It has to be based on an 80’s or 90’s movie, like a part 2 involving all the characters, like a where are they now? The question: WHAT 80’s 90’s MOVIE // WHAT’S YOUR BOOK TITLE // & BRIEF SYNOPSIS?
Damn, woman, I have so many! After shortlisting Donnie Darko, Trainspotting and Seven, I’m going with Seven.

Check me out:

Ten Mills

When retired detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) is asked to go back to the job he had left behind, he doesn’t think twice before saying ‘no’. Last time he’s chased a serial killer, it ended with his pregnant wife being slaughtered alive.

But see, David Mills doesn’t have a choice, because a young, up-and-coming detective, Kayla Sinclair, literally drags him out of his cabin in the woods to help her find the psycho who has already murdered three people in less than a month.

Killer guy’s got a touch, too. He doesn’t punish people for their sins. He punishes people for not following the ten commandments. 

What David Mills doesn’t know is that his beautiful, wide-eyed, innocent looking new partner has a secret.
A secret that could kill them both.
By the time he’d find out – it’d already be too late. His life won’t be his anymore.
Neither will his heart.
I know you have another book in the works! Woot Woot! Can’t wait! What can you tell us about it? Title, Expected Release Date? Any juicy details? SO Exciting! 

I’m so pumped about this book, you have no idea. It’s called Blood to Dust and it’s going to be out on July 18th

It already has a Goodreads page with a synopsis and all, so feel free to check it out and add it to your TBR list >>> (((CLICK HERE)))

It is a mafia romance, dark-ish (a little darker than Sparrow) and full of heart and smut. 

Hope you enjoy it.

(you ready for this???)

Favorite Ice Cream?
Oreo cookies ice cream

Movie You Know by Heart?
Pulp Fiction, Requiem for a Dream, Trainspotting

Who was Your First Book Boyfriend?
Jared Trent from Bully

Favorite Song to Sing in the Shower?
Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande (when I hit those high notes, my neighbors throw themselves off their balconies)

Five Words That Describe Your First Kiss?
Wet. Sloppy. Braces. Shy. Disastrous.

First & Last Band you saw in concert:
First – Iggy Pop
Last – Asaf Avidan

Last Movie You Saw in Theater & How Many Stars do you Give it?
Me Before You and all the stars in the universe.

If you could send Stephen James a 3 sentence text… 
what would it say? 😉 

“We need milk”

(we usually just send each other naughty pictures to be honest)
Something You’re Proud Of: 
(Besides Your Amazing Book-Writing Skills)
My beautiful son (who probably doesn’t share the sentiment seeing as his mom is busy joking about sexting Stephen James)

Name 3 Authors Who Inspire You Daily:
Mia Sheridan
Jonathan Franzen
John Fante

Thank you so much for having me!
Add L.J. Shen’s Work on Goodreads or Purchase Now! 


(Drumroll Please)

Coming July 18th
Add to Your Goodreads Shelf Here:



His name is Beat, and I should hate him.

Bound, blindfolded and bruised, I’m tied in his basement, waiting for the men who stripped me from clothes and humanity to collect his debt to them. Me.

His name is Nate and I should hate him, but I don’t.

I’m not supposed to know his real name, even worse, I’m not supposed to care. He is nothing to me but means to an end. The plan is simple: break free, collect the pieces of my broken soul, kill the bastards and run away.

His name is Nathaniel Thomas Vela, and I’ve never seen his face, though I hear that it’s beautiful.

Behind the rugged and handsome exterior, there’s a quiet murderer, a killer who thinks guns are for pussies and ends people with his bare hands.

His name doesn’t matter, neither does his face, but what does matter is my heart. And right now, sadly, it’s his.

Blood to Dust is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.


“You don’t get a say in this shit,” Ink announces with borrowed authority. I can hear the uncertainty leaking from him. He’s what I call an easy job. If it were just him watching over me, I would have been dancing in Iowan cornfields far away from here by now, Sebastian and Godfrey’s heads tucked in that Nike bag.
“You make me uncomfortable.” I yank my arm away.
“What, and the other guy makes you warm and fuzzy?” He sounds genuinely offended.
Beat inches closer behind me, and I feel the heat of his body drifting into mine. He’s close. Hot-jock-leaning-against-your-locker close. It’s going to be hard to bypass someone his size.
“You think I’m nice?” His breath moves through the plastic of his mask, tickling my ear. I shudder down to my toes. His mouth smells like peach. How bad can a guy who smells like a peach be?
“Nice-r.” I clear my throat, my eyes still trained on Ink in front of me. Ink shakes his head, indicating that I’m dead wrong. The air becomes chilly. Why hadn’t I noticed it’s so chilly?
Because it’s not. It’s August in California, and I’m cold because I’m frightened.
“Let’s test your theory. I’m going to touch you now. Move without permission, and I’m breaking your arm.”
My busted lower lip splits open again as I scowl at his threat. He definitely looks like a guy who makes good on his threats.
“Okay.” I lick my blood, my voice tender.
Beat kicks my legs open and brings my arms up, patting me down dryly, like airport security. His rough fingers stroke the curves of my shoulders as he moves down from my skull to my outer breasts, circling them lazily. Down to my stomach…lower to my tensed inner thighs, pushing the fabric of my mini dress away to make room for his warm paws.
Every muscle in my body is ready to plow forward, to run away, to try and hurt him; the memory of every experience I’ve had that started this way demands for me to take action. But this…it doesn’t feel like a violation. The sour taste of bile has yet to explode in my mouth.
His hands move down my legs, stroking my ankles…then he stops.
“Got something inside?” He squats down, hooking one of his thumbs into my ankle boot. His masked face is eye level with my pelvis, and warmth spreads along my bones like hot wax.
“No,” I lie. There’s still a slight chance he won’t check.
But he checks.
Beat jerks my boot out and a Swiss army knife falls with a clank on the concrete pavement. I let out a sigh and drop my head. Shit.
Happy thoughts.
Frozen yoghurt with Preston down the local mall.
Curling up on the egg-swing with a Mia Sheridan book.
Water lilies blooming over the artificial pond in the Burlington-Smyth’s garden.
A genuine smile from a stranger.
Beat stands up slowly, his gleeful mask zeroing on my face. It all looks like a scene from a horror movie.
And I’m the victim.
A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

L.J. Shen is a best-selling author of Contemporary Romance novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like chocolate, wine, reading, HBO, spending time with her girlfriends and internet-stalking Chris Hemsworth. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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