3 Books Sooo AWESOME You Won’t Believe It!!!

Two years ago in May, I entered a contest on a blog that changed my life forever. The blog was Sharon Bayliss, and the result was a publishing contract for my trilogy! On Sharon’s blog, I read about another success story from her contest. Her name was Jessa Russo, and I remember falling in love with her voice on her celebration post and wishing she lived in Florida instead of California because I knew we’d be great friends if she did. Who knew that a year later, she would be my new editor for the second and third installments of my trilogy! And by publishing my books, who knew I’d help inspire a dear friend named Tiffany Pastor who I met in college a long time ago in a galaxy far away (okay, not that far away, but the year 2000 does seem like forever ago) to write and publish her own book!

I owe these three ladies sooo much, so I wanted to highlight their new releases on my blog today!

First up is Sharon’s book, Destruction.

Destruction-Sharon Bayliss

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 
 
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

She had me at wizard!

Next up is the wonderfully talented Jessa with DIVIDE!

Divide cover

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson. 


Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish. 

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her. 

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.
Who doesn’t love a YA Fantasy/Fairytale Redux?!?

DIVIDE: Goodreads | Amazon 

And last but not least is Tiffany Pastor, who really is a pastor! She married one of my good buddies in college & nobody wears that last name better (my daughter was even a flower girl in their wedding . . . didn’t use all her petals by the time she reached the alter, so she dumped her basket right there, lol). Her book, CHILDREN of the CITY, is a novel about child trafficking in America.

COTC cover
COTC tells the story of suffering through fictional characters and introduces the reality of darkness that so many people face every day. Research and statistics of atrocity are now given a face, given a name.BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT than the nuts and bolts of the plot is the “WHY” behind the story. This is MORE than just book sales and bestselling lists! This is an opportunity for people to UNITE and make a difference since 40% of her proceeds go back to freedom fighting organizations!COTC empowers people like you and me to rise up and partner with freedom fighters all over the world.

DON’T THESE BOOKS LOOK AWESOME!!! I hope you’ll check them out, and I hope you’ll forgive me for neglecting to visit your blogs the past month while I finished 18 Thoughts. Good news is I sent it to my CP’s last night! It is finished . . . until they rip the manuscript to pieces. A little warning: the series didn’t end the way I planned. My characters changed their minds with 3 chapters left. Don’t you just love it when they do that?!?

 

IWSG-Do I Belong Here?

I’ve been chained to my laptop since March 16th, trying to finish up the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts (can’t wait to show you the gorgeous cover!!!) . . . so I sorta forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month until I checked my inbox when I got home and saw Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog post. Oops!

IWSGHEADER

And I really wanted to tell the Insecure Writer’s Support Group all about my experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, so I’m taking a quick break from writing to blog. When my publisher submitted my name for this festival, I never actually thought they’d accept me. They always bring in HUGE authors for the super Saturday event held every March. This year was no different . . . W. Bruce Cameron, Sue Monk Kidd, Julia Quinn, Jill Shalvis, Rick Yancey . . . the list goes on and on, including . . . Jamie Ayres?

I attended the Friday night Evening With the Authors reception the night before, and Melody Carlson and Tyler Whitesides sat at my table!! Every kid I know is obsessed with Tyler’s Janitors series (I read the first book to four of my classes) and Melody Carlson has written over 200 books, won the Rita, and had one of her books made into a major motion picture. It was her novel, Diary of a Teenage Girl, that motivated me to write inspirational fiction for teens! Hubs had to keep kicking me under the table so I wouldn’t fangirl too much.

Then I got to the festival the next morning and caught Sue Monk Kidd’s speech before heading over to my tent. And it was, as Oprah would say (since Oprah did pick her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, as her book club pick), it was A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!

But as I walked to my tent, fear and worry gripped me. I would never speak as eloquently as Sue did and bring in the type of crowd that becomes standing room only, never have Oprah pick my book, never have my book chosen as a Sunshine State Read (as Tyler’s did), never have my novel made into a major picture, never win a national award. WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I’ll be the embarrassment of this festival and never invited back again. I bribed hubs and daughters to pretend they didn’t know me and to ask questions so it’d look like I had three fans at my tent.

Guess what? I had 103 people show up to my tent! By comparison, Ricky Yancey had 131, so I’d say that’s not too shabby for my spot at the Young Adult stage! FYI, I’m reading The 5th Wave by Yancey now, and it’s absolutely awesome. Now I certainly didn’t speak as eloquently as Sue Monk Kidd, but I realized God didn’t need another Sue Monk Kidd. He needed a Jamie Ayres to speak to whoever was destined to be there that day. And afterward, I had an actual line at the autograph table. How freakin’ cool is that! I didn’t even bribe the people to be there :-)

So if you get invited to an event that’s just a tad bit out of your comfort zone? Don’t let your feet tread easily on the well-worn path and stay in your little box. “Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Don’t know who said that, but it’s on a picture in my dining room, and it’s a darn-good quote! Believe all things are possible . . . hey, maybe 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts will be made into movies one day. If so, I vote for Theo James to play the angel, Riel!!! Touching his bicep has been added to my bucket list of things that could possibly earn me another restraining order but is totally worth it ;-)

P.S. This Saturday, I’ll be in Orlando at the UCF Book Festival from 9-3:30pm with a few other authors at the Curiosity Quills table . . . stop by if you’re in the area–I’d love to meet you!

Something Like Awesome . . .

Trish Doller Trish Doller  writes books (her website says so), but you find those in the doller bin where she works at B&N as a bookseller. Hahaha! Sorry, but you know I can’t resist a corny joke. For the record, her last name isn’t pronounced like dollar, and you should know this because there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll become her biggest fan if you pick up one of her books. I just finished Where the Stars Still Shine a few weeks ago, and it was so awesome, I emailed her right away to see if I could get an exclusive interview. Everybody give it up for Trish, woot woot!!

Tell us a little bit about Where the Stars Still Shine. What was the catalyst for this particular novel?
Stars began with a trip to Tarpon Springs, which is a small tourist town on the Gulf coast of Florida. There’s a significant Greek-American culture there and a lot of the tourist attractions revolve around Greek food and the sponge diving industry. So while I was walking around the tourist area, I started thinking what it would be like to be dropped into that town and expected to be Greek. And when I started thinking about who I might drop into Tarpon Springs, Callie’s character started coming to life.
How long have you wanted to write? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been able to write, but I didn’t write with an intent to be published until about 2006 when I had an idea that wouldn’t let me go. I tend to be a pantser when I write, but I do have a rough plot in my head. I know the direction I want the story to go and then I let the characters take me there.

 

Tell us about your publishing journey. How has the experience been so far?

something like normal
My publishing journey started in early 2008 when my agent sold my first book to Random House. I was working on revisions when my editor was laid off. My new editor wasn’t in love with the book so my contract was cancelled and that book was never published. While we were on submission again, I started working on the book that would become Something Like Normal and after sending the first few chapters to my agent, she decided to submit it to a few of her favorite editors. Bloomsbury bought it and the rest is pretty much history. Bloomsbury bought Where the Stars Still Shine and they’ve also bought my upcoming book, which is still untitled. I’ve been really happy with my experience. Both of my books are doing well and I’m always thrilled to hear from teenagers who love them.  where stars still shine

 

 

Were you ever tempted to censor yourself when writing this novel, especially in the famous chapter twelve?
I think I had moments when I worried that maybe I’d gone too far, but it was more important that Callie learn what a healthy sexual experience looks like. And I think there’s a positive message for all girls that sex doesn’t have to be shameful and that a good partner considers your needs as well as his own. As a parent, I know that’s a really uncomfortable thing to talk about with girls. We don’t like to think about our daughters as sexual beings. But I’d rather take the heat for writing a scene that’s “too sexy” than not talk about these things.

 

Tell us what you’re working on now. Will there ever be another story featuring Callie and Alex . . . at least a short story or novella showing us what happens to them five or ten years down the road? *gets down on hands and knees and begs with hands folded in prayer*
My next book is a sexy (because this is me) psychological thriller about a girl who takes a dangerous road trip with two boys—one of whom is not what he seems. It’s still untitled but it will be coming out in either June or July 2015. I’m also working on a full-fledged adult novel about a young woman who goes to sea in an effort to get over her boyfriend’s suicide. That one is just a manuscript right now—no book deals to report—but I’m really excited to write that one. And as of right now, I don’t have anything planned for Alex and Callie, but they might make a cameo appearance in my next planned YA novel.

Oh, I love the sound of that idea!! Thanks so much for stopping by, Trish! Be sure to check out both of her A*W*E*S*O*M*E novels!! What’s everyone else been up to? See Divergent yet? I saw it twice already, and when I finish writing 18 Thoughts (over 70,000 words now!), I plan on celebrating by seeing it again. I’m swooning over Theo James (Four), especially after I found out he’s a musician too. Check out this adorable video of him singing (I think I just got pregnant watching it).

 

Rise Of A New Dynasty

Sorry I haven’t been good about hopping around to visit everyone this week. We’re on spring break, which means I’m in  my writing cave, busy at work on 18 Thoughts (the third installment of the My-So Called Afterlife Trilogy). I did have a really cool start to my break on Friday/Saturday when I participated in a huge reading festival, but I’m saving that story for my next Insecure Writer Support Group post :-)
But today you’re in for a treat! Katie Teller, the author of the best-selling KIYA trilogy, is here for an exclusive interview!
J: Tell us 3 words to describe your personality
K: I asked my hubby for these so they might be a bit bias – Fun, bright, and lovable.
J: Give us a sneak peek into what your daily writing routine is like.
K: Routine? Wow, I wish! I fit it in whenever I can. I usually try to get up before my sweet child and do a little in the morning, then squeeze in a few hours during “nap time” in the afternoon, then a few more before bed. Basically, if I have a moment, I use it.
J: What’s the inside scoop on Kiya 3.
K: Kiya 3 is my personal favorite of the trilogy. Everything comes to a head, secrets are revealed, and Naomi finds her peace. It’s by far the most emotional book, with things you know are coming, and twists you won’t expect.
J: What’s your favorite craft book? Favorite fiction book?
K: I don’t actually read craft books. I’m your trial and error girl. I learn better that way, by doing. Always have.
My favorite fiction book? Hmm… Ella Enchanted has held out as a beloved favorite since I was a kid.
J: Can you give us a fun tidbit about yourself?
K: I’m really into singing and sports. I originally started studying to be a P.E teacher, until I uprooted and moved across the world to marry my hubby. It’s funny where life leads you.
Kiya 3

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Tut has grown into his position as Pharaoh, but he is a wild young man. Naomi fears for him, not only because of his recklessness, but because he has put his trust in Ay–the man determined to destroy Naomi—despite her and Horemheb advising against it.

Meanwhile, death and slavery hang over Naomi and her family. With fear of the booming Hebrew numbers causing talk of enslaving them, conscription is reinstated and Naomi fears
for the lives of her other children. Especially since Ay’s children are now adults, and just as dangerous as their father. They threaten to take Itani, conspire against Tut, and pushing for power.

But Tut is in trouble. While Ay’s daughter draws Horemheb’s attention, and Naomi deals with the struggles of her family, everyone’s distraction could spell death for the young Pharaoh.

It is funny where life leads you! Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to stop by, Katie!
What have you been up to everyone? Do you forgive me for neglecting you?

Fate, Truths, and Worms

Today Author Elizabeth Seckman and I are swapping blogs . . . you can check out my guest post about fate on her blog here. If you’re looking for my Wormfest post, scroll to the bottom :-)

Hi Jamie!!!     elizabeth seckman

Thanks for swapping blogs. I think I like you side bars better. So neat and tidy…amazing you trusted my sloppy self to take over!

Don’t worry, I’ll clean up when I go ;)

Congratulations on your new book, 18 Truths! Love the title, btw.

I missed the opportunity to join the 18 Truths blog tour, so I am so happy to get a second chance to finally tell some truths…

 

1. I’m afraid of going into the basement alone at night. Dittos on the outside. My imagination starts creating evil creatures in unlit corners and I can’t take it. 

 

2. I couldn’t read proficiently until I was in the third grade. 

 

3. I failed kindergarten. 

 

4. I almost failed the first and second grades. (I probably could have been diagnosed with a phobia, but that wasn’t as cool in the seventies as it is now!)

 

5. I was an extremely shy child. If a stranger talked to me, I would hide. 

 

6. I hated school until my best friend, Kelli, moved to my town in the third grade.

 

7. By the fourth grade, I was repeatedly put in the corner for talking in class.

 

8. I wrote my first “book” in the sixth grade. (a two page novel…LOL)

 

9. My first kiss was with my husband. I was in the seventh grade; he was in the eighth.

 

10. By the time I was in the eighth grade, I was so good at faking book reports I am almost ashamed. I would win prizes for so many books read…only half of them actually existed.

 

11. By the time I hit high school, few people would have ever guessed I was shy. I still loathed new situations and public speaking, but I was content and happy in my little pond. 

 

12. My freshman year, my husband asked me out on a date and I asked, “Why?”

 

13. I once called my husband ignorant in front of our entire history class. He still reminds me of the moment. 

 

14. My high school did compatibility matches and my husband ranked as my #1 match and I was matched in the top 5 on his. Would I maybe want to go out on a date? No. Told him if he was the last guy on earth, I’d possibly become a lesbian.

 

15.  I asked my husband to prom because I didn’t want another girl to have him. In college I told him he was going to marry me. (You’re seeing I have some serious issues, right? Yes, he is a very patient man.)

 

16. My husband and I were married for ten years before I told him what he did in high school to make me so vengeful. To this day, he says, “Seriously? That made you THAT mad?” (It was a comment not fit for a nice blog like Jamie’s!)

 

17. I have a potty mouth. I’m banking on Jesus getting my fractured self into Heaven.

 

18. I only do my hair when I am going “out”. I rarely ever go “out”.

Fate Intended is the third book in the Coulter Men Series.  Trip is the last of the Coulter sons to find love. He’s a handsome man with all the skills a young spy needs to succeed. But when it comes to love, he misses the target. Jane is a sweet beauty who may or may not be wanted for murder. She’s hiding out as a cleaning lady when chance brings her and Trip together. It looks like a happily ever after is in the cross hairs until reality tries to destroy what fate has intended.

Fate

Elizabeth Seckman is a simple chick with a simple dream…to write stories people want to read.

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In honor of Wormhole Week, Stephen Tremp, Alex J Cavanaugh, and L. Diane Wolf are hosting this blogfest:

Wormfest

Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology with unforeseen consequences will go too far and set mankind back. (And they can be the same thing.) Example: De-Extinction, or bringing back extinction species through back breeding, genetic engineering, and cloning. With all the breakthrough discoveries mankind is on the cusp of, are we playing God? 

I’m going to go with artificial limbs and medicines for science advances. And for going too far I’d say Big Bro watching us. After the Edward Snowden incident last year, the Obama Administration and the “Intelligence” community (HA!) have been under fire for reading emails and monitoring the Internet of regular citizens with no cause–essentially invading our privacy and throwing our rights out with the baby in the bath water or whatever. I’ve never been good with idioms ;-)

How would you answer the above question? Do you believe in Fate? Did you LOVE Elizabeth’s 18 Truths as much as I did?! If you’re in the Fort Myers area this Saturday, I hope you’ll come hear me speak under the teen tent at 12:45pm at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival :-)

Criticism or Encouragement–Which One Will You Believe?

Perhaps if we’re friends on Facebook, you recall this status from me on January 29th, the day after 18 Truths came out . . .

“129 books–that’s what I sold yesterday. So far from my goal of 500 And on top of that, I have people bad mouthing me behind my back? Seriously, you may be broken if you think inspiring young people to DREAM BIG & to READ & give back to charity isn’t something I should be promoting? And congratulations, b/c now you’ve broken me, too. I don’t feel like working on book 3 anymore, & I don’t know when I will.”

After some much needed encouragement, a nap, and some chocolate, I pulled myself together and pressed on. Good thing too, because just 3 weeks later, this happened after my publisher ran a BookBub 99 cent Kindle deal for my first book, 18 Things . . .

Feb 21 sales

That’s #114 in the whole Kindle store!!! Almost crossed “Make it to the top 100 of Amazon” off my bucket list. Sooo close. And I was #1 in Children’s Paranormal, #1 in Children’s Coming of Age, and #2 in Children’s Fantasy . . . I really liked that one because I found myself in a Suzanne Collin’s sandwich (Catching Fire was #1 and Hunger Games #3). The trend continues! Both of my novels are still trending in those first two categories. But with success comes a great feeling of vulnerability. Envy happens from people you thought you could trust, people in the industry and even people who aren’t.

It seems God always leads me to the right book at the right time. My ladies Bible Study group is currently reading Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst. Chapter 10 is titled “Negative Inside Chatter.” And I quote, “Realities based on runaway feelings rather than truth always lead to one thing–insecurity . . . Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And lies are what reign in the absence of truth.”

Yep, I’m finding my own personal set of 18 Truths inside Lysa’s book.

Have you ever had a friend who was the exact opposite of what you need? She/he put down everything and everyone in your life, under the disguise of trying to be helpful. *Raises both hands high in the air* I’ve kept some of these relationships alive because I felt like they’re probably the only people being honest in my life, but why do I give them such control? I wrestle with enough negative influences in my world without being bombarded by them in my so-called friendships. So I finally realize I need to discontinue some relationships because I’m beginning to be influenced in a negative way toward things. Instead of me appreciating the blessings of this journey, these people were leading me to focus of the few things that were wrong. That’s not how I want to live my life.

It was actually a story titled How the Brain Takes Criticism I saw on CBS Sunday Morning show that lead me to severe these relationships (check out the article if you have time). That, and the sudden loss of my twelve-year-old student last week. Life is simply too short to feed the negative.

Can I just encourage you that we don’t have to covet what someone else has. That means we think God is insufficient to supply for us. Maybe you haven’t been through enough to believe that yet, but I have, so let me reassure you! When we hold onto faith that our best days are ahead, we can celebrate the success of others instead of being bitter about things. If you didn’t get something, trust that it’s only because God has something better for you down the road. But you can never drag anger, jealousy, or bitterness to the place God has for you. So seriously, let it go. Those are such wasted emotions. Choose to be inspired by the success of others . . . it means dreams really do come true :-)

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a blog hop that posts the first Wednesday of every month, founded by Head Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. P.S. My publisher dropped 18 Things to 99 cents again because I’m part of a huge festival tomorrow and Friday and on the news Friday to promote my books! Also, 18 Truths is on sale for $2.99 through the weekend, too! Hope you’ll check them out or help spread the word :-) :-)

IWSGHEADER

In Rememberance and Why Books Matter

This past Saturday a twelve-year-old boy in my Language Arts classes died unexpectedly. I’m heartbroken, I’m ripped apart, I’m still in shock. But I’m also comforted. I’m going to share this story to illustrate how fictional books CAN and DO make a difference, because I know what a lonely profession this can be sometimes.

My student drowned in a canal near his home. His brother and neighbor tried to save him but were unable to revive him. For those that know my novel, 18 Things, it’s about a girl who tries to save her best friend from drowning but can’t and the book is her dealing with the guilt over that experience. My student who died went through books like water, a rare thing for a middle school boy. In fact, the first day of school, after telling me to sit him in the front because he was very hyperactive and wouldn’t pay attention otherwise (HA! LOVED his honesty!) . . . when I introduced myself and told them I’m an author, he immediately asked where he could get my novel. Two days later, he proudly carried 18 Things with him to class and told me it was his new favorite book.

When 18 Truths came out a month ago, he quickly grabbed a copy to read. A couple of weeks later, he ran to class. I told him, “Slow down!” He apologized and explained he wanted to be the first one there because he wanted to ask me some questions about my new book. I said, Ask away! I expected an interrogation about the plot twist at the end (he was quite angry with me for not having book #2 out right away after the plot twist in book #1 . . . did I tell you this was a boy after my own heart?!). You can imagine my surprise when he started asking me all these questions about God. Book #2 takes place in the Underworld . . . a recent book reviewer called it the Christian version of Percy Jackson. My student wanted to know if I made all of it up or if it was in the Bible. I told him I made it up, that’s why it’s in the “Fiction” section in the bookstore.

B&N placement

But I told him I definitely focused on the goodness of God because I think of that as a universal truth. Yes, I know we’re not supposed to talk about God in public schools, but he brought up the subject and I can’t explain things any other way except that the conversation felt right. We talked about how a lot of books that take place in the Underworld don’t mention God at all. Or how many characters act like they don’t believe in God or don’t know if He exists, even ones that have angels and demons in the plot (City of Bones comes to mind, as that’s one of the 8 books our students are encouraged to read this year for school). It was a great discussion, and then the bell rang and that was the end of it.

Then two weeks ago I announced to my classes that we were going to study Romeo and Juliet. Of course I was instantly met with groaning and gnashing of teeth. But the discussion that followed about modern-day examples of groups of people not getting along got very heated.  My student mentioned the holocaust, and much to my surprise, not only did he know practically EVERYTHING about it, my other students knew virtually nothing. It was then that I realized he (the boy who died) is Jewish. The class was riveted listening to him. Anyway, at the end of class, he told me the lesson was epic, he’d never forget it, and that when he was older, he wanted to be one of those Jewish Christians but he didn’t want to tell his parents because he thought they might be mad. I told him I thought that already thinking about such things at age twelve was very impressive, and he said, “Well, I’m a very curious kid.” I laughed and agreed with him. Then he dropped this on me: “Actually, it was your books that got me thinking more and more about God.” Can you say tears? He thanked me for the lesson, told me to have a good afternoon, and was on his way. That was the type of boy he was. Well-mannered, kind, curious, generous, always a smile for everyone, an “underdog.” He classified himself as one since he was small for his age, but always said what he lacked in size he made up for with his big personality. I couldn’t agree more.

I’m honored to have been part of his journey, though I’m terribly sad tonight. When brainstorming ideas with his class about ways we can memorialize him, they mentioned naming one of my book characters after him in the last installment of my trilogy since he loved to read and loved my books. I thought the idea was perfect.

Today I attended his funeral. As I looked at the destroyed faces of his parents, I was humbled by how easily our babies can be taken from us at any time. Even though right now I’m still questioning God about why this happened, I’m comforted that in the midst of mourning, He comes to us. In the darkness, His spirit moves. At the point of our deepest despair, He is closest. If you pray, I’d ask that you keep his family, friends, classmates, and teachers in your thoughts this week as we figure out how to move on without him.

I will say I don’t question my purpose in being an author anymore. Yes, it’s tough work, but if the sole purpose of my books was to touch this young man’s life and draw him closer to God before he died, then that’s all the reason I need to know publishing this trilogy was the right decision.

Branded Character Interview and Am I A Real Person!?!

Wait? Back-to-back posts from me? Couldn’t be! I know, I know . . . but I’m shaking things up a bit for Katie Teller/Hamstead in honor of her new release this month, Branded.

branded_katie_hamstead TALL

Her characters, Ali and Nick, have stopped by for an exclusive interview!

Q: Tell us a little about yourselves.

Ali: Ah… I’m Ali, and I’m not an alcoholic.

Nick: Smart A. I’m Nicholas Qasim, I’d barely finished my bachelors at the University of Technology, Sydney, when the attack happened.

Ali: Let’s not talk about that.

Nick: Agreed.

Q: You two went to the same high school, but were never friends then. Why do you think that is?

Ali: He was two grades above me, and a super nerd.

Nick: *Laughs* Yup, I’ll take that; gaming, comics, anything nerdy you can think of and that was me. She never would have talked to me if I’d tried.

Ali: You don’t know that.

Nick: Really?

Ali: Okay, yeah, I probably would have blown you off.

Q: You guys are best friends now. Do you think things would have been different if you’d become friends before Ali met Damien?

Nick: *Stares at feet*

Ali: Maybe. Nick’s an awesome guy. I mean, yeah, in high school I would have ignored him, but I think if we’d met up after I graduated we would have been friends. He’s as loyal as they come. Who doesn’t want that?

Nick: Thanks, Ali.

Q: What is the earliest memory you have of each other?

Nick: Her walking into school with her older brother, Andrew, who, by the way, is more of a nerd than me.

Ali: That’s true.

Nick: All of us guys thought she was a hottie and wondered why Drew had her with him.

Ali: They have no taste.

Nick: Anyway, later she had tons of girls surrounding her, but Drew seemed to have vanished. A few days later we found out he hated having her at the same school as him and hid to avoid being associated with her.

Q: And you, Ali?

Ali: My earliest memory of Nick? Hmm… let me think… probably around the middle of ninth grade, so his eleventh grade, I remember him getting this math award. The school made a huge deal about it, and presented it in front of everyone. I think it helped you get your scholarship, right?

Nick: Yeah.

Ali: The school made a big deal out of that, too. But he was pretty shy about it. Unlike me, he didn’t thrive in the limelight.

Nick: Didn’t they have you and the choir sing at that assembly?

Ali: Ahh… Oh, no, that was the vocal ensembles. So yes, I sang.

Nick: I loved that. Ali is the best singer, you should hear her.

Ali: *Scoffs* I am not. You’re totally bias.

Nick: Nope, you’re the best. People would stop what they were doing to listen to you. I remember being late for class several times because you were practicing for something or another.

Ali: Stalker.

Nick: I’ll take that.

Ali: *Shoves his shoulder, grinning.*

Q: So, one last question: What do you want to do if/when the war ends?

Nick: Repair the bridges that have been broken. I hate the thought that people will hate me and my family and other like us because of everything that’s happened. Fear will make things like this happen again, so I hope to bring understanding and peace.

Ali: I just want to live my life, have a family, and enjoy being free without fear. I want to keep the people I haven’t lost with me for the rest of my life.

Sounds like a good plan! I mean, war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Buy Branded here. About the book:

Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

Also, visit Katie’s site to enter her Rafflecopter giveaway! And once again, I want to thank everyone for supporting me on my 18 Truths Blog Tour and playing along! I’ve contacted everyone personally to let them know they’re winners, so if you’re here looking for the prize list, it’s up at the top right-hand corner of my site ^ . . . $25 Amazon gift card and my swag pack were the first prizes to go!

What do you think of Ali and Nick? If you have time, I’d appreciate a visit over at Jennifer Eaton’s blog. She asked me an interesting question today: Am I A Real Person? You be the judge :-) Also, my publisher is making the Kindle version of 18 Things only 99 cents tomorrow for a BookBub promotion . . . I’d really appreciate some social media shout outs to help move it up in the rankings! THANK YOU!!

18 Truths Blog Tour Wrap Up, My Writing Process, and Shattered Secrets

Today I’m participating in Elsie Elmore’s blog hop. Elsie is one groovy chick! 
Here’s a little bit about her: 
ElsieElmoreOutside the city limits on a small patch of land in North 
Carolina, Elsie lives with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.

She’s a science nerd with creative tendencies. And the stories she writes come to her from life’s experiences after her mind has warped them almost beyond recognition. Her first YA PNr, The Undead, is due out this year from Curiosity Quills.

Before I answer four questions about my writing process for the blog hop, I need to give a shout out to my writer peeps who hosted me during my last week of my 18 Truths blog tour. Incase you missed it:

 Last Tuesday, I visited EDC Johnson with my 5 Tips For Writing Trilogies.

On Wednesday, Tyrean Martinson challenged me with the “1 Word Interview.”

Eliza Tilton brought out the teacher side of me when I guest posted on her blog on Thursday with 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Reading.

Friday was Valentine’s Day, so I told Michelle Ziegler about meeting my husband.

On Sunday, I shared 18 Ways to Use 18 Things/18 Truths in Your Classroom with teacher/writer Lynn Jake.

And yesterday, I shared 18 Ways to Market Your Book with Pk Hrezo.

*Thanks to everyone for your support with the release of 18 Truths! Because of you, I have 2 books continuing to trend in the top 100 for Coming of Age Fiction! Also, be sure to check the Rafflecopter Widget in the top right corner to see if you’re a winner of one of the 23 prizes that was up for grabs during the tour (I’ll email winners as well). And my publisher is still continuing the giveaway of 10 paperback copies of 18 Truths over at Goodreads. But hurry–ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER (don’t forget to add it to your TBR shelf while you’re there).

 Okay, now that you’re all caught up, here’s today’s blog hop questions.

 1)     What are you working on?

 I’m working on the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts. Here’s the blurb:

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld anxious to return to normal, but fate had other plans.

Now she’s caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, torn between past and present. All sorts of bizarre events has her senior year of high school becoming increasingly odd with every passing hour. Things like the new hottie at school reading her thoughts but nobody else’s and her best friend waking up from his coma acting like a completely different person. Now she must confront what she will—or won’t—do to save the lost soul her childhood friend has become and stare down her own perceived inadequacies to face a couple of tenacious demons, figurative and literal.

Everything she thought she knew about reality will require suspension of her disbelief as she walks the line between fear and faith, love and loyalty.

In the end, she’ll realize “normal” in the conventional sense of the word is the one thing she could never achieve.

2)    How does your work differ from others in its genre?

YA Paranormal Romance that circles around the truth of the goodness of God is not so common in my genre. When I sat down to write my trilogy, I knew I wanted a faith story that said something unique. I felt like I had an issue that wasn’t dealt with a lot in the YA publishing world . . . death and faith going hand in hand. When someone dies, especially someone young, most people cry out “Why God?” I wanted to write a story in which a teen experienced loss and was consumed with guilt, and how the loss inspired her to live freely. But I didn’t want to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end. My childhood Catholic roots, my obsession with the television show Lost, my need for radical hope even in the face of death, and my belief that we’ll always end up with the person we’re supposed to, became the ultimate catalyst for the 18 Things trilogy.

3)    Why do you write what you do?

The message of my trilogy is my heart’s cry. It’s my humble attempt to put into words the message of a powerful work God did in me. Yes, it’s a fiction book, but at its core, it celebrates our significance to God. We are not forgotten. He collects our tears in a bottle. And going through hell is worth it if it leads us to the place God has. I hope my trilogy will not only entertain, but serve as a reminder of these timeless truths during this generation’s teen years—and throughout life (my oldest reader is 96). That’s why I write YA Coming of Age Fiction.

 4)    How does your writing process work?

 I’m a pantser by nature. So usually, I just sit my butt in the chair and write. After I’m done with my first draft, I fill in a plotting chart to make sure I’m hitting all my major and minor plot points at the right spots.

Thanks to Elsie for letting me play. And here’s 2 other peeps posting for the hop. Be sure to check them out!

MargoBondCollins Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up DeadFairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Orians_Headshot copyAdopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. She is a member of SCBWI, a co-founder of The Writer Diaries, and her short story, PRINCESS UNAWARE, placed fifty-sixth in the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in Children’s/Young Adult. Vicki is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Finally, I leave you with a special treat . . . the cover reveal for Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade, releasing in just 2 weeks!

ShatteredSecrets

Arranged Marriages . . . Valentine’s Day/Moonless Blogfest

Moonless blogfest

Today, I’m participating in Crystal Collier’s Valentine’s blog hop, along with her AMAZING co-hosts: Pk HrezoTammy Theriault, and Michael Di Gesu. in honor her Moonless book release. But first, I wanted to mention that the 18 Truths blog tour is still in full swing. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway in the upper right corner of my blog . . . 18 terrific prizes up for grabs, including a $25 Amazon gift card and a ton of books!

And in case you missed it, I interviewed my characters, Nate and Olga, over at Mara Valderran’s blog on Thursday. On Friday, I posted my top 10 Valentine’s gifts on A.K. Morgen’s blog. On Saturday, I visited Jessa Russo with some of my favorite quotes from 18 Truths. And yesterday, I shared my favorite cupcake recipe with K.D. Rausin, as well as an excerpt from 18 Truths.

But enough about me, check out the details to Crystal’s new book:

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

BUY IT HERE

So here’s the question: If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, whom would you beg your parents to set you up with? Why? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.)

This is a tough one! So many choices! But keeping with historical England, I decided to go with Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices. He is so brave, so loyal, so caring, so fun, so sarcastic, so selfless, and who can forget, sooo H*O*T! Yes, he’s also ridiculous, arrogant, cursed, mysterious, and broken, and those things shouldn’t make me want him more, but it does! I think I could bring out the softer side of him just like Tessa did, the side that loves books and writes poetry.

Find the rest of the hop below!

And while you’re at it, enter to win one of these great prizes here!

CC Valentines Giveaway image

1. Le&ndra Wallace 2. Crystal Collier
3. Robyn Campbell 4. PK HREZO
5. Kimberly Afe 6. Dawn Brazil
7. Madeline Jane 8. Christine Rains
9. Meradeth Houston 10. Tammy Theriault
11. Brinda Berry Blogs 12. J.L. Campbell
13. Heather Musk – Reading, Writing and Everything in between 14. Elizabeth Seckman
15. Rachel Schieffelbein 16. Libby Heily
17. Donna Hole 18. Kyra Lennon
19. Janie Junebug’s Literary Lover 20. Ashley Nixon
21. Jamie Ayres 22. Title by Jaq
23. SA Larsen 24. Heather M. Gardner
25. suzannes-tribe 26. Ellie Garratt
27. C. M. Keller 28. Bish Denham
29. E.J. Wesley 30. Michael @ In Time …
31. Catherine Stine’s Idea City 32. Nana Prah
33. Eva Lefoy 34. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
35. Writer’s Block 36. Stephen Tremp
37. erica and christy 38. Mary-andering Among the Pages
39. C.M. Brown 40. Madeline Mora-Summonte
41. Jay Noel – Writer on Fire 42. Chrys Fey
43. Kittie Howard 44. Swagger Writers
45. Tyrean’s Writing Spot 46. Swords and Stilettos
47. Katharina Gerlach’s author page 48. Sabrina’s Writing Reflections
49. Carrie-Anne’s Magick Theatre 50. Queendsheena