My latest book is an emotional ride

My latest book is an emotional ride

This Kiss book

This Kiss by Deanna Roy

The first time I lost all memory of Tucker, we had just met.

We were seventeen, stuck in the disco room of the children’s hospital, both of our heads covered in electrodes wrapped in gauze.

Not exactly attractive.
Except we were—attracted, that is.

I never got to meet boys my age back then. Or any boys. Mother made sure of that.

There was no point, she said. I would forget them the next time I had a seizure.

That’s right. I didn’t mention that. I have epilepsy. It started in kindergarten. Spacing out. My eyes clocking back and forth. Then the whole enchilada. On the ground, shaking all over.

Not all my seizures erase my memory. But some do. Every year or two I go down, and bam, that’s it. My entire history evaporates like water on a skillet.

But on that first magical day, Tucker yelled, “Come here often?” over the mechanical thrashing of a song I’d never heard, at least not since my last memory reset.

“Never! Do you?” I yelled back.

That was all we got. The disco lights switched to strobes, the kind designed to cause a seizure. That’s why I was there. For the wires on my head to collect data. To show the doctors what was going on inside my brain.

And hopefully, to help me.

I took one more look at him as my legs gave way, and the sizzle in my head turned my vision black.


I had no idea then that I had just met the love of my life.

In a few seconds, I wouldn’t remember him at all.

This Kiss is an extraordinary romance between two people with epilepsy who fall in love in the toughest of circumstances. As Tucker unfailingly convinces Ava to return to him over and over again, he teaches her that even when memory fails, the heart remembers.

Order the signed color special edition via Paypal.

If you need shipping outside the US, message me on Facebook.

The Trail to Rom Com Land

The Trail to Rom Com Land

I’m known for my ugly-cry books. I’ve always landed on the dramatic end of the scale, which has served me well for my biggest bestselling books like Forever Innocent and Baby Dust.

I’d written a few rom coms here and there, almost by accident. (I’m funny? No. No one thinks the Queen of the Ugly Cry is funny.) But they sold way better than I thought they would. So when the pandemic began, I leaned in to my humorous side.

It didn’t really feel right to publish those books under Deanna Roy, where an unsuspecting reader with a box of tissues by her side was ready to go full-on emotional. So I chose my pen name known for her sports romance, JJ Knight.

And wow, did readers love them. Wow, wow, wow. Big Pickle hit the Top 100 on Amazon, then Hot Pickle did, too. I decided I had a series going, so I wrote more. Spicy Pickle. Royal Pickle. You can probably tell from the titles that I was not taking myself very seriously. But they ARE set in a delicatessen — where did your brain go? 🙂

These days I find myself working in two spaces: drama and comedy. It’s a good place. If you’re looking for my latest work, head over to JJ Knight, because that’s where the action is. But don’t give up your tissue box. I have a doozy of a Deanna-book in the works. It’s right up there with Forever Innocent.

No matter which name you’re reading me as, you can always find me on social media, especially in my private Facebook group, which is very active, full of Pickle jokes, and frequently doing giveaways of signed copies. I’m even on TikTok! Here are some of the crazy books in my Pickle-verse! I think you’ll still find that emotional connection inside, even if the crying comes from laughing too hard.

Thank you all for being crossover fans!

Seizures, daughters, and books that matter

Seizures, daughters, and books that matter

In the life of an epilepsy mom, the longest minute of your life is the one when your child stops breathing.

Elizabeth with friends after seizure
Elizabeth (center) on her 14th birthday with friends who surrounded and helped her during a seizure.

I’ve been through it more than once.  I’ve seen Elizabeth turn completely blue on the floor of a restaurant.

I’ve dried her off, shivering, after seizing in a downpour at Disneyland.

I’ve snatched her off play equipment, lifted her out of swimming pools. Once I slammed my way through a crowd at a football stadium after she got just enough warning to march off the field during a halftime show. She hid behind a bench to avoid anyone in the huge audience pulling out a cell phone and hitting record while she seized.

Being a teen with epilepsy during the era of instant social media has extra challenges.

Today, Elizabeth turns 19. Her last year as a teen. After taking a gap year to avoid the perils of catching Covid 19 while battling epilepsy, she’s planning for her first apartment, for her classes in the fall.

It’s time to let go.

Elizabeth graduation
Elizabeth made a Coronavirus piñata to smash after losing prom and graduation to the pandemic.

I’ve written about her many times on this blog, filed under Elizabeth. It’s been a long road as anti-seizure meds often don’t work for her. As she moved to her teen years, we spent a week at Dell Children’s Hospital to see if she was a candidate for brain surgery. (She isn’t.)

I learned about the Disco Room in the epilepsy ward, where teens with seizure disorders could meet each other and dance without fear of the lights, as nurses waited by the door. The moment I saw it, I knew absolutely, the book I would write for Elizabeth would include it.

I didn’t write it right away. Elizabeth’s condition deteriorated during that year and we struggled to find any treatment that would work for her at all. During the worst period, she had two seizures in a day. Sometimes they began with her terrified screaming that would unnerve even the calmest of nurses or emergency techs before she fell unconscious.

A few months later, when we thought we had a medicine that was helping, it happened again during a field trip with her American Sign Language class. I got the call and raced to the mall, noting enormous red fire trucks at the entrance. Were they for her?

They were.

As I ran down the walkway, a half-dozen tricked-out fire fighters strode through the doors like the opening to a big movie action-adventure scene. Elizabeth was going to tell me all about them! Except when I found her with the EMTs, she didn’t know what I was talking about. She had no memory of walking through the mall, of collapsing, and certainly not of several hunky fire fighters surrounding her and clearing space.

Three years later, she still doesn’t remember them.

Elizabeth with her car
Elizabeth surprised by the pink car she always wanted.

Epilepsy patients often lose as much as a half-hour before each seizure, so it wasn’t unusual. Still, I studied memory loss with seizures and learned about how the hippocampus part of the brain could be hit.  I found cases where seizures caused complete, permanent memory loss. One more thing to worry about.

But in late 2018, ten years into our fight, we got a miracle — a new anti-seizure medicine combination that worked. Months flew by with no problems. Elizabeth learned to drive and got her first car. The independence we weren’t certain would ever come had arrived.

I never stopped thinking about that Disco Room, so I wrote that scene for Elizabeth’s book, two epilepsy patients meeting for the first time under the colored lights of a disco ball. The guy works up the nerve to introduce himself. They grin. It’s working.

Then the girl has a seizure and forgets he exists.

I spent years writing and revising this story. And finally, it’s ready.

My journey as Elizabeth’s mom will never be over. I’ll still be racing across town at the call from someone who finds my number on her emergency alert bracelet or pulls it from her phone.

But the book we envisioned together has finally found its footing.

We hope it finds its way into the hands of people like her. My fiercest goal is for others with epilepsy to see themselves in the story and read about how to cope, and more importantly, about finding the love we all deserve.

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth. The journey has been long, and hard, but I’d do it all over again to arrive at the wonderful young woman you’ve become.

This Kiss will release on Nov. 9, 2023.

Forever Innocent, 7 years later

Forever Innocent, 7 years later


Late last year, I was contacted by Radish, a reading app for phones, asking to publish a long serialized version of my series that begins with Forever Innocent. With six books, they told me, I would have a successful run with their readers.

So in January, we began the process of breaking the books into episodes, a lot like a TV series, so readers could unlock a chapter a day and begin the story of Gavin and Corabelle that I completed so long ago.

Tomorrow, the final episode of the very last book will go live.

Radish allows readers to comment on episodes as they read. The feedback on this tender, emotional story (which many readers call an “ugly cry”) has been amazing. It’s different from the reviews I get on the main book platforms like Amazon or Apple Books, where they talk about their experience with the entire book, one they may have read in a single long sitting.

These readers are experiencing the book a day at a time. And because of my writing style, where I rarely skip even a fictional day (I have entire novels that take place over a scant 72-hour period in the characters’ lives), it’s almost like you’re living the story.

I’m having a wonderful time talking with these new fans, learning about their own lost babies (so many, too many), and seeing their reactions in real time.

If you’ve never read the Forever Series, you can do that on your phone whenever you want. The setup is that one episode unlocks for free every day. If you get anxious to keep going on a given day, you can pay to unlock them faster. It’s not a lot, less than fifteen cents an episode.

I’m excited to see the direction books go in the coming years, from print, to eBooks, to apps like Radish. And as we celebrate the final chapter of my Forever series all over again, yeah, I’m shedding a lot of tears. I’ve been reading along with the new fans. Taking in the story after all this time is magical, as if someone else weaved the story and gave it just to me so that I can also remember those hard days after losing a baby, and relive the wonder of when I did finally get a family of my own.

If you’d like to check out Radish, look for it in your phone’s app store. To go directly to Forever Innocent on Radish, click here.

On My Friend John J Asher

On My Friend John J Asher

Sometimes the people who become your best friends are who’d you expect. The kid your age who ends up living next door. The neighborhood family expecting a baby the same time as you. A coworker you laugh with at lunch.

But then there are the ones who are only on the periphery of your life when an unexpected connection is formed, and they become people you can’t live without.

John was that.

Stolen shot of us at a party in 2011.

We met at a writer’s group I joined in 2004. He sat at the long table filled with 15-20 writers on any given Sunday. He usually had good stuff to say. We did not speak much then, not any more than any other members of the group.

But that changed in August 2006. He submitted a few chapters of his novel in progress, A Dignified Exit, and I was stunned.

I was known for my rather sharp critiques. I never liked anything. So the group, and certainly John, was surprised, when I passed him this:

John, John, John.

Writing like yours is what feels comfortable to me. It’s beautiful and honest and illuminates elements of life worth slowing down and examining in fine detail. It’s patient and languorous and sad and true.

I know I’m not living up to my reputation as the novel-slasher of NIP, but I know good stuff when I see it, and this is good stuff.

This will not be an easy book to sell, but it’s worth it. Keep trying. Persevere.

August 2006

Shortly after this, according to our very first private email a few days later, we started a query critique group with fellow author Suzann Kale, who was working on Midnight Tequila. The three of us helped each other submit queries to agents over the next month.

Then came one of those moments you don’t forget — a member of our writers group, Melanie Typaldos, author of a middle grade book featuring a capybara, had a pre-surgery party, and I sat by John. I don’t really remember anything about the party other than him and our intense conversation about writing, the pain of creation, and living as an artist with only one foot in reality.

Afterward we wrote each other rather exuberant emails on writing and decided to meet more often. Our discussions went all over the place — novel inspiration, themes from our lives that melted into our fiction, and the painful nature of trying to wrestle with the forces of creation, whether in writing, like we both did, or as a painter and illustrator (John illustrated dozens of children’s books) and photographer (I was working as a portrait photographer at the time.)

In one of our email conversations during this period he told me this:

There is a feeling like no other in knowing you have done something that is truly good. It doesn’t happen often, mysteriously elusive, but when it does, you’re somehow in touch with your higher self. Something beyond the self. Every once in a while I am blessed with a gift from the infinite.

John Asher — September 2006

By the end of the year, we were talking on the phone every day, Monday through Friday, around 2:00, the last hour before my girls got home from school. We read each other sections of our books. Talked about our queries to agents. Commiserated over rejections. These daily conversations went on for another 10 years, punctuated with group meetings, happy hours, and the restaurants where we became such regulars that the waiters knew us by name and placed our orders as we found a table. He never failed to send me a Valentine in those early years, original sketches and mixed media I still love to take out.

Since I did photography, he sometimes asked me for new photos of him for his web sites and books. I took a few, once at a party in 2008, and once by the jukebox at Catfish Parlor in 2012, where we met often.

When I wound up in the hospital in 2010, John showed up, book in hand, and read to me while everyone tried to figure out what was wrong. A young surgeon insisted I needed my gall bladder removed when I knew I didn’t, so John became my partner in crime when I snuck out to avoid the scalpel! (Spoiler — I was misdiagnosed and still have my gall bladder today!)

Later that year, I was at the Heart Hospital when John had back-to-back surgeries, one planned, one emergency. No one was sure he’d pull it out, but a week later we celebrated his 75th in a post-surgical rehab hospital.

I made the switch to self publishing in July 2011, and John waited to see how it would go for me before doing it himself, publishing both A Dignified Exit and The Dogs of Mexico in December. We rode the early wave of self-publishing and both had a glorious time with it. John went on to release several more books, and I published close to fifty. He liked to tease me about my fandom, and on my birthday in 2015 he sent me this:

John’s long-time friend Tommy Kendrick did this video of John in 2015 after narrating John’s book The Dogs of Mexico in audio. These were great days.https://www.youtube.com/embed/uucgQrC02Eg

When I added more children to my life in late 2015, phone calls got hard for me to pull off, so we emailed all our daily issues. A quick search of my inbox shows over 4,000 messages. When I finally got everyone school age again, we found new spots to have lunch, including this spot at Hyde Park Grill last fall near his new apartment.

When he landed back in rehab to strengthen up earlier this year, I stopped by several times a week. Things weren’t going well, and he had one last book that was finished but he hadn’t released it yet. I asked him what the heck was he waiting for? His daughter and I went to his place to raid his computer for the files, and so his final book, James and Jilly, came out in May.

John was with me in 2006 as I searched for an agent for my very first novel, Helena the Muse, which he told me just a few weeks ago was still his favorite. As we went over the figures for his final novel and I told him my marketing plan for it, he reversed the conversation — what in the heck was I waiting for in not releasing my best work?

Maybe I will. I haven’t even read it in a decade, since those days when John and I would pore over every sentence of our manuscripts, critiquing the placement of a phrase, or the variation of a verb. Reading it again will certainly channel him, and the faith he had in me — a faith we shared in each other.

John R Jones, known to his fans as author John J Asher, died in the early morning hours of August 15, 2019.

I’m not really sure what my creative life looks like without him. The perfect critique partner is an impossible find. But for thirteen glorious years, I had it. He was never too busy to hear the latest plot I was struggling with. No phrase was too small or insignificant to discuss.

The imprint of his influence will remain with me always, even on the work I will have to continue without him.

New year, new pen name!

New year, new pen name!

I haven’t written a Deanna-book in a while, as I’ve been focused on branded pen names that write very specific types of books.

The Sweetest Match and The Perfect Disaster both take place in the fall of 2018 in Applebottom, Missouri. The two books can be read in any order and are completely standalone. You won’t be confused regardless of where you start with the Applebottom books.

The Sweetest Match

She wrote secret messages of love and longing in the frosting of the cakes she decorated, thinking no one would notice.

First the town did.
Then so did he.

Sweetest Match cover

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/Sweet-AP

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Sweet-KB

GP: http://bit.ly/Sweet-GP

BN: http://bit.ly/Sweetest-BN

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2GqorDL

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2SlEQk8

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/SweetCanZon

Amazon AUS: http://bit.ly/SweetAUSZon

The Perfect Disaster

Her giant pup drags her across town, right into the arms of the football coach.

Perfect Disaster cover

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/PDis-AP

BN: http://bit.ly/PDis-BN

Google Play: http://bit.ly/PDis-GP

Kobo: http://bit.ly/PDis-KB

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EgAUHf

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2GTg0lx

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2Xsrbq4

Amazon AUS: https://amzn.to/2BW92YJ

On MARCH 17, all Abby’s email and text subscribers will receive an exclusive wedding epilogue. This will happen for every book, so you get to see the happy day for each couple. The epilogues are written by Gertrude, the curmudgeonly matriarch of Applebottom, who has her own take on everything that happens in her town. She’s a hoot! Sign up to get those — if you’ve missed some, you’ll have a chance right away to upload the weddings from earlier books.

Here’s the Abby Box giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Little Dude Book is here!

The Little Dude Book is here!

I’ve never had a book more people have asked for than this one!

A couple years ago, before we adopted Little Dude, I typed up the very first conversation between him and Elizabeth. We were out walking, hoping to find a good spot to view the super moon. It went like this:

Eliza: Look at the super moon! It’s so big!
LD: No it’s not! I could hold it in my hand!
Eliza: It’s only small because it’s far away. It’s a super moon because it’s closer than usual.
LD: I don’t see a cape. It’s not a super anything.
Eliza: Sigh.
LD: Can it be a Batman moon instead?

The response was tremendous. Friends and family wanted to know more about this Little Dude who had entered our lives. We were unable to share details or pictures, so our extended circle came to know him from the conversations I posted every so often.

The conversations covered the period when Little Dude was five and six, crossing the point when he went from a foster child to our adopted son.

I’m still quite protective of him online, but I believe the conversations we’ve had paint a very solid picture of our funny, mysterious, unique little guy.

Here’s the book you all wanted so much:

Welcome to the Dude’s Eye View.

Little Dude arrived in his sixth (and final!) foster home at age 4.

He brought with him a wicked sense of humor and a take on the world his foster parents had never heard before.

From his unique perspective, you’ll learn

• the logic of lint traps
• the necessity of bribing reindeer
• why Girl Scout cookies are suitable for breakfast, and most of all
• the importance of wearing a cape

Along the way, you’ll see a lost little boy (and his mom!) navigate the emotional and complicated world of adoption from foster care.

Apple Books: http://bit.ly/LDude-Ap
Nook: http://bit.ly/LDude-BN
Kobo: http://bit.ly/LDude-Kobo
Amazon: http://bit.ly/LDude-Zon
Google Play: http://bit.ly/LDude-GP

Paperback or Hardcover:
Powell’s Books: http://bit.ly/LDude-Powells
Books A Million: http://bit.ly/LDude-BAM
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2DRKkvi
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/LDude-hardBN
Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/LDude-InB

Forever Christmas, my rainbow baby book, has arrived

Forever Christmas, my rainbow baby book, has arrived

It’s here!

My mission to help grieving moms through story has come to its conclusion! The rainbow baby is often the end of the grief journey, even though losing a child to miscarriage or stillbirth or infant death is forever part of your life story, one that will create feelings of sorrow at unexpected moments for always.

Today we celebrate rainbows and see how far we’ve come.

The FOREVER books
A USA Today bestselling series

Six years ago, Corabelle and Gavin’s journey into family began with an unplanned pregnancy in high school. Their baby was born prematurely with a heart condition, and died at seven days old. FOREVER INNOCENT (which is a free download) takes you through this journey.

The tragedy splits the couple, and the fallout from their choices leads them both back to the college they had originally chosen before the pregnancy. There, Gavin realizes Corabelle is the love of his life and he must make things right.

If you only read Book 1 and this final Book 6 of the series, you would get a fairly complete picture of what they go through. The middle four books deal with other complications as well as friends they make along they way.

Book 6, FOREVER CHRISTMAS takes you through the frightening second pregnancy for Corabelle, with all its tender hope and debilitating fear.

Rainbow babies are called the beauty after the storm. For anyone who has been touched by loss, these stories are an honest portrayal of how you live through the worst, and finally, the best days of your life.

You can get FOREVER INNOCENT for free here:
Amazon – https://deannaroy.com/ForeverInnocentZon
BN Free – https://deannaroy.com/ForeverInnocentBN
Kobo – https://deannaroy.com/ForeverInnocentKB
Google Play – https://deannaroy.com/ForeverInnocentGP
iTunes – https://deannaroy.com/ForeverInnocentIT

And the new release FOREVER CHRISTMAS is now available here:

iBooks: http://apple.co/2l9Ak84
BN/Nook: http://bit.ly/ForeverCNook
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gZAmus
Kobo: http://bit.ly/ForCKobo
Google Play: http://bit.ly/ForCG

Thank you to EVERYONE who changed their profile picture to use the Forever Christmas frame this week. There are so many rainbow babies in the world. Over 100 of them have dedications in my book.

Rainbow Babies, Bonus Books, and the Ugly Cry Queen

When I lost my first baby, I didn’t think at the time I might one day write about it.

I was so alone in the world. I had just quit my job to be a mom. My Bunco group had turned into an endless series of baby showers for its members. That was treacherous territory now. So I quit. I spent my days in solitude.

My husband was bewildered, as many spouses are, at the length and depth and breadth of my grief. I half-heartedly looked for other jobs, but mostly I planted flowers and tried to make peace with something that would never, ever make sense.

By the time I got pregnant with Emily, I was more than a little dead to optimism. There was definitely a point when I started bleeding that I completely gave up hope and assumed she was dead. (Spoiler: she’s a freshman in college now.)

I have a public journal that I kept with her, as by that time my mission to help others who had lost pregnancies was in full swing at

The new series of dance standalones is here!

I really had to push myself these last six months to write. I had a child graduate high school, another child take a hard turn with her health (we’ll be at Dell Children’s Hospital all next week), and an adoption to finish (big day should be June 16!)

In this series, you see the other side of adoption, when a young girl must give up her baby, but finds a desperate, secret way to see her child a few years later.

Book 1: Forbidden Dance

I never should have danced with a stranger…
An emotional new novel from six-time USA Today bestselling author Deanna Roy

Three things about me:

1. I’m not as innocent as everybody thinks. I know I’m shy and quiet, but like they say, still waters run deep.

2. I’ve been home schooled since freshman year. It was punishment, but I deserved it. My parents didn’t know what else to do.

3. I’m not the greatest dancer, but it’s the only thing I love with all my heart. Actually, there is one other thing, but it’s the biggest secret of my life. One I can’t tell anyone. Not even you.

Which brings me to a surprise bonus thing to know.

4. I met Blitz Craven, you know, the super famous reality TV dance star. His show is like The Bachelor, only he’s looking for a dance partner. He showed up at my dance studio after his big disgrace, thinking he could use the wheelchair ballerinas I teach to get back in the world’s good favor.

When he looks at me, I know what he’s thinking. (See item number one.) Everyone wants to protect me from him, their shy, innocent Livia. But when we dance, I want it, more than anything. Soon we’re sneaking into back rooms, dancing, kissing, planning dates away from the cameras and the wrath of my family.

But I’m afraid. As thrilling as my life has become, I still have a secret. And if I stay with Blitz, the world will figure it out.

iBooks ~ Amazon ~ BN ~ Kobo ~ Google Play