A Bad Romance: Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Book One
Coming June 21, 2011
Sometimes falling in love means you have to kill somebody.

Till death
Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were destined to be together forever. Of that, Jana was sure.

But Jana just died—in a bowling accident. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch. But Jana is certain that it won’t be long before Michael kills himself in order to spend eternity with her.

Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon— but the days are passing and Michael is, inexplicably, still alive.


Things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break. And nothing—not even bad boy Mars Dreamcote’s enticingly warm touch or the devastating secret he holds about her death—will stop her from making her dreams come true.
A debut novel with a voice like no other—Dead Rules is Romeo and Juliet meets Heathers in this hilariously macabre take on paranormal romance, packed with heart-stopping suspense and sizzling star-crossed love.

IB Teen's Review:

The very idea of a girl loving her boyfriend so consumingly that she's going to kill him so they can be together forever, sends my brain into a tizzy of monster-horror-genre-loving euphoria. Dead Rules gripped me from the first page and I refused to put the book down until I had devoured it in it's entirety. Exceeding my outrageously high expectations for it, Dead Rules delivers all of it's promise.
If not for her boyfriend Micheal Hayes, Jana Webster would have been all alone in the world. Love for her is EVERYTHING. She is so utterly determined that her relationship is real, that someone in this world loved her so completely that they would make the ultimate sacrifice for her. Don't we all want to be loved that fiercely (theoretically anyway)? She'd never known love, not even familial love, and being so young and so determined that she'd known true love- on top of being you know, dead- sends her off the deep end.
---------------------------------------------------------------Then there's Mars Dreamcote, who is dreamy and dangerous in the best kind of way; breaking the rules to find redemption. Amazing. He is literally the bad boy with the heart of gold. And, due to certain details in the book that involve Mars and that I shall keep secret, I must have drank strawberry soda for a solid week after reading the book in one sitting. Even now whenever I see strawberry soda, I think of Mars.

I understood why she stubbornly refused not to let go of her fantasy, I understood why she couldn't betray it even though everything inside her wanted to try on Mars like a new skin. And while I understood this, I kept yelling at her to see what an amazing thing she could have with someone like Mars. I kept yelling at her to open her fiercely shut eyes to the real person Michael is. But I understood, because I've been there, keeping my eyes shut and telling myself that the person I wanted so badly was also the person they really were, when in actuality they were just bad news for me.
And don't let me leave out the seriously sweetly awesome/gruesome cast of characters. I saw them, I felt for them, I wanted to know them. They were just as real as Jana and Mars were. I loved reading the scenes with them, which is unusual for me, I normally want to get right to the steak and leave the potatoes behind. Some may say that Beatrice- of the yellow yard dart through her skull- is their favorite from the supporting cast, but for me it is Wyatt all the way. I cannot wait to find out what happens to all of these characters in the next book, after the way it ended- I need to find out where every ones situation will take them. Dead Rules took me to new heights of awesome and I know you will feel that way too. (Illustration of Beatrice by Jo
ëlle Jones)
IB Teen Talks with Randy Russell:
IBT: Can you explain to our readers a little about the workings of Dead School?
RR: Just like regular high school, except it’s the one you go to if you die before graduation and need to finish up on the other side. On campus and in the dorm, the students have the bodies they died with and the clothes they died in. For new students it first appears as if they are on a school bus to nowhere. But some of the students, Risers, are on the fast track to a rosy eternity. Sliders appear to be headed in the opposite direction. Virgins, of course, have it made in the shade and make up the school chorus. Grays committed suicide and really aren’t much fun to know.

Sliders, with a closer to tie to earthly doom, can visit the living as ghosts and, when they get really good at it, can materialize and interact with the living. They’re also a bit warmer than Risers, who are always just a little cold around the edges. Risers have slightly blue lips than turn strawberry red when kissing a Slider. That’s probably all there is to know, except for the way a Slider can warm up the school swimming pool by jumping in first when you want to go for skinny dip.

IBT: OK, after book 1 it's officially too early to ask what happens after graduating Dead School, but do you know what comes next? Have you planned out the rest of the afterlife or is that getting too existential like asking you what happens when we die?

RR: I know much more about Dead School than Jana is able to experience in Dead Rules. But I don’t know diddly squat about the rest of eternity. I think I heard in church once that we’re all going to be riding bicycles on a beautiful island with no cars and no stop signs. And maybe, but I’m not sure, there’s tequila and a really good mariachi band.

For now, I haven’t spent enough time in Dead School for graduation to roll around. Thank God.

IBT: How is it possible that you wrote a book from a girls perspective that includes an amazingly lovable character like Mars Dreamcote? Is Jana real, is she haunting you, and is this part 1 of her biography?

RR: It’s a fascinating combination. Tarzan brings out the best in Jane, don’t you think? Mars Dreamcote’s innate understanding of people, and tolerant acceptance of their flaws, allows Jana to be and become her real self. He’s the amber through which she clearly sees the world, and herself, for the first time.

Jana wants to be a better person now. I think her real biography begins in book 2. It took her almost all of Dead Rules to become a real person and not the pretend person actors sometimes create for themselves. She just needed a little time in the jungle.

IBT: What characteristics do you desire from a heroine?

RR: The ability to learn and to change. Pretty simple, huh? You asked above if Jana were real. She is in this way. I was friends with a woman who committed suicide when she was 17. She was disconsolate at the time over a boy who broke up with her. Home alone, she shot herself in the chest (aiming for her heart) with a .22 and lay down on her bed to die. And did. She told me the next thing she remembered was hearing an emergency room surgeon saying to a nurse, “How the f**k am I supposed to go out there and tell these people that their daughter is dead?”

I saw the small round scar on my friend’s chest. It was over her heart. I thought about her situation for years. It just wouldn’t go away. One day, I sat down to write about it and I ended up with Dead Rules instead. Neither my friend nor her story are in the book… but the idea of a broken heart being a matter of life and death is on every page.

Both Jana and my friend (at the time of her suicide) are victims of big, fat love. Love amok. Jana starts out the book having yet to learn about broken love, something she doesn’t want to admit might exist. She’s very obsessive about believing in her own love for another and cannot accept the fact he might want to go on with his own life now that she is dead. Her deciding to kill him is to me a decision to keep a moment’s love alive forever. It’s difficult for me to fault her for that.

Love is as crazy as it is wonderful and that’s all, in the end, that is going on in Dead Rules.

IBT: Which of your characters came easiest for you to write? Jana, Mars, Beatrice, Wyatt, Arva, or (gasp) Michael?

RR:  Let me say, instead, who was the most difficult. Wyatt. And this is because he was elusive to me. His true character didn’t surface until the end of the book. He lurched around in Mars’ shadow until then. Although he almost revealed himself entirely in dealing with the conjure men who were attempting to bring Christie back to life, I didn’t fully catch on to Wyatt until the very end.

IBT: What is your favorite type of hero?

RR: Someone who doesn’t eat all the chocolate.  

IBT: It seems that Jana has yet to wrap her mind around what it means to be either Slider or a Riser. Has she been purposefully preoccupied with Michael and her whole "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" mentality towards him to deflect from her new situation?

RR: Whoa, Perla! This is an incredibly interesting psychology implied in your question. Jana’s condition, as far as she understands it, is a little more straight forward. For Jana there is only one star in the sky for almost all of Dead Rules. Given time to reflect, she may come to the conclusion you suggest above. It’s the kind of thing a person figures out in hindsight, don’t you think? But I love the curliness of your question.

I think we all have experienced moments of obsessive love. At least, I hope so. If you have never been stupidly in love with someone who is totally wrong for you, for even a few days or a few minutes, then you and I have very little in common and you probably won’t understand Jana.

The deflection element, though, is fascinating. There is a character in Dead Rules who applies the same obsessive commitment (as Jana’s overwhelming desire to be with Michael) to obeying the “rules” of being in Dead School clearly as an avoidance of further consideration of the meaning of being dead and what happens next. I think she’s an interesting parallel to Jana. I’m sure, though, that Jana doesn’t see it that way.

IBT: Who are your horror genre heroes?

RR: John Dunne. Ask not for whom the bell tolls… It tolls for thee! Come on, that s.o.b. was scary.

IBT: Using just one word can you describe what comes next for the kids of Dead Rules?

RR: Extreme.

IBT: As a writer how do you respond to those that say that censorship is a necessary evil?

RR: Of course, I prefer public ridicule to censorship. I hope that makes sense. If someone is saying something cruel and mean (about the only cases for me where censorship “might” apply), let’s give what they have to say ample air… and then ceaselessly mock them in public for being cruel and mean. That’s what writers are for.

IBT: When writing YA do you find yourself pulling back or censoring yourself knowing that what you are writing is intended for primarily a younger audience?

RR: I see writing fiction as the opportunity to un-censor myself. Hold back? No way. I push my characters off of cliffs every chance I get and the poor reader right along with them. Sorry, guys. Happy landings!

I certainly don’t pull back because the characters in a story are teens. Luckily for my editor, it is not my nature when writing fiction to lean heavily on obscenities or to shine a flashlight on naked body parts. Both of those elements detract from the way I see story. A flurry of obscenities is a bit too casual, for me, when dealing with matters of the human heart. For some writers, though, it is wholly appropriate and appropriate for the stories they write.

As a reader, I really don’t want to see Tom Sawyer walking around with a kite tied to his erection. And I certainly don’t want to hear Jay Gatsby noticing that one of the guests at his party has a nice rack. Do you? Allow me to point out that, as a Southern writer, I am full of lust AND good manners. This is me whatever fiction I am writing.

IBT: And finally, what three ghosts- fictional or actual historical figures- would you love to have a conversation with?

RR: Let’s make it a double date. And I want them there being as real as toast. Because I would love to hear them converse with each other much more than with me. 

Mary Shelley, Anais Nin, Alfred Hitchcock, and me in some big red convertible driving across Kansas in the middle of summer without stopping until we get to Santa Monica in time for a Beach Boys concert at the pier. Hitch looks great in those sunglasses, don’t you think? I do wish he’d stop insisting we play the Bat Out of Hell cd at full volume, though. May I see a show of hands for Steppenwolf please?

If I could choose only one, Mary Shelley hands-down. She is the overlooked genius of her generation. Oh, did you know she dried Percy Shelley’s heart (yes, his actual heart) and pressed it in a book? True.

IBT:  That's disgusting and romantic, thanks for the visual Randy! On a serious note, Randy is having an amazing giveaway on his website, it's the Dead Rules Giveaway to Support Teen Reading. If you enter his contest let me know in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry into this contest!

  • A copy of Dead Rules by Randy Russell
  • Deborah Lippman & Lady Gaga's Lippman Collection- Bad Romance Nail Lacquer! (It's blackened fuschia glitter!)
  • Comment on this post
  • For 1 extra entry: start Following this Blog (Followers automatically get an extra entry)
  • For 1 extra entry: post about this contest on your blog, twitter, Facebook, or any other site (add the link in the comments please)
  • For 1 extra entry: Follow the IB Bookmarked Blog (companion to IB Teen Blog)
Contest Ended 06/20/11 11:59pm.


Chey said...

Lovely giveaway!
I follow the blog- GFC is Chey
and I tweeted right here- http://twitter.com/#!/ohaiitschey/status/75980271995994112

Thank you so much!

Ash said...


I follow via GFC as Ash.

I also follow Upcoming Titles the same way.


Thank you! :D

debbie said...

I would love to read this book, it sounds really good.
I am a gfc follower

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I really want to read this one. It sounds great, and I DID enter Randy's huge giveaway. Great idea.

I follow this blog.

lauren51990 at aol dot com

April X said...

Thanks for the giveaway, this book sounds great! And what a great interview!
I'm a GFC follower
I follow the Upcoming Titles blog
I'm not sure if this counts lol but I'm entered in Randy's giveaway to support Teen Reading :)


erica and christy said...

Awesome interview!! Only Randy could come up with eternity including tequila and a good mariachi band. ;)

Erica's already buying this book, but you can enter Christy in the contest! We just found you through Randy's FB page and followed - off to tweet now.

Grace said...

Ohh, thanks, <3 awesome chance to win and the book sounds great!


Alba said...

wow!! I love this interview!!:D!

old follower-Alba

and I followed IBBookmarked


Would-be Writer said...

I love this giveaway and I LOVE Randy's work! SO I'm looking forward to Dead Rules....can't wait!

Sharli said...

Thank you so much for the great giveaway! I've been dying to read this for a while now :)
And I love that nail polish!

+1 I'm an old follower
+1 Follow the IB Bookmarked Blog
+1 Tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/Entre_Libros/status/76107034818379777

entrelibros_blog at hotmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

Great giveaway!! Enter me please.

+1 old follower on gfc

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

buddyt said...

Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

Much appeciated.

Please enter me.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

I Follow via GFC (buddyt)

Adriana said...

Great interview, this books is different of what I had read so far.
GFC follower = Adriana
Tweeted= http://twitter.com/#!/Adrianaec7/status/76213970884763648
Follower of IB Bookmarked Blog

Thanks for the giveaway

throuthehaze said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

I follow this blog (Throuthehaze)

Also follow IB Bookmarked Blog

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Diana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!
GFC follower as Diana
FB post: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1522821560
GFC follower IB Bookmarked Blog as Diana

artgiote at gmail dot com

Sarah said...

Wow, this books sounds like something totally new. The idea that a girl would kill her boyfriend so they can be together is indeed a very hard concept to grasp. I'm eager to find out how it all ends! And thanks for that interview with the author. :)

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Laine said...


-Im an Old follower

-here's the link where I posted a status update for this giveaway facebook/ficbookreviews/Ib-giveaway

Thanks and more power!

The Total Book Nerd said...

THIS IS FREAKING AWESOME. I am such a Booknerd AND nail polish addict. LOL. Thanks for this great giveaway!

I follow the blog!
Name: TotalBookNerd
And I also follow IBBookmarked
Tweeted too!

♥Cathy :)

Natasha Areena said...

The book sounds utterly amazing. I want to read this. Thanks for the giveaway :)

I follow this blog

Jenny N. said...

Thanks for the contest!

+1 GFC follower
+1 Follow teh IB Bookmarked Blog


Badass Bookie said...

Thanks for the giveaway!LOVED this interview!

+1 GFC Follower - Badass Bookie
+1 followed Upcoming Titles
+1 Tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/BadassBookie/status/77199895123066880


Skye (In The Good Books) said...

Great giveaway! I'm a new GFC follower, under the username 'Skye (In The Good Books)'.


iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

Thanks for the amazing giveaway! I really can't wait to read this one :) It looks fantastic!

GFC: iLuvReadingTooMuch (following both blogs :D)
Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/iliveforreading/status/77263243474771969

iliveforreading [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thanks so much again!


Tasnim said...

(1) GFC follower - Taz

(1) I follow the IB companion blog under the same name

(1) I tweeted - https://twitter.com/#!/star_light91/status/77505075802669056


thanks for the giveaway!!

Tasnim xx

Carrie said...

what a fabulous giveaway! I am so excited to read Dead Rules! I will post this on Twitter.


Paranormal Goddess said...

Thanks for hosting a giveaway for international readers. I'm dieing to get "Dead Rules" into my hands. Plus you adding "Deborah Lippman & Lady Gaga's Lippman Collection" is extra awesome. I think the color is divine.
Both are a must have for me.

1. I'm a GFC follower (As Paranormal Goddess)

2. I also follow the Upcoming Titles blog (As Paranormal Goddess)

3. I blogged (http://paranormalgoddess.blogspot.com/2011/06/dead-rules-by-randy-russell-giveaway.html)

4. Link on my FB Page that goes to my blog and to your giveaway (http://www.facebook.com/Natasha.ParanormalGoddess)

5. http://twitter.com/#!/RamblingTweets/status/78027617722318848

Email is:


Anonymous said...

Awesome giveaway!
I follow this blog- GFC is Savanna

Thank you!


Vivien said...

Fantastic! Thanks so much :)
+1 spread here

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Minnie said...

Great giveaway!
I follow via GFC as Minnie.
I blog about this giveaway here: http://life-with-books.blogspot.com/p/giveaways_26.html

Thanks so much! :)


Gabbie said...

Yay its international! Thanks for the giveaway!

GFC Follower - Gabbie
Upcoming Titles GFC Follower - Gabbie

Gabbie-ethela AT hotmail DOT com

Siennah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orchid said...

Awesome giveaway! Dead Rules sounds sooo good. :)

GFC= Orchid

THe Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

mariska said...

i hope i'm not too late to enter :)

a Follower via GFC

uniquas at ymail dot com

erica and christy said...

OMG - we love Randy and his book, so we're also giving it away tomorrow! Go Ghosts!!

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm a GFC follower: Ladytink_534


follow other blog too