Time to Rise Up!!

On Friday, I got an infected cyst about the size of a golf ball removed from my lower spine. I wish I could post a picture here because it really did look like an alien, but I’m afraid most of you would immediately puke. It was so big, the doctor had to remove it in the OR instead of his office, and it required a five inch incision. I’ll spare you the pic of my stitches as well. When he took out E.T., it was even more HUGE! I asked if I could take a pic (I have a thing for pictures now that I’ve joined Tumblr and Instagram last week), but apparently it’s illegal to take pictures in the OR (learn something new every day).

I’m a COMPLETE BABY when it comes to doctor stuff, which is why the cyst got so big in the first place (and I’m a workaholic & didn’t want to miss teaching or meeting my 18 Things trilogy deadlines). Of course, they’re testing it for cancer, but nine times out of ten the cyst is benign. But someone in our writing community is not so lucky and is suffering with cancer now. Please read about how you can help below. And please, for the love of all chocolate and coffee, make sure you take care of any medical issues straight away. If you need encouragement to do so, just ask me to send you those pictures.

 

“We all know how fragile life is, especially when faced with a life threatening illness.” ~Nic, Flirty and Dirty Book Blog.

 

Fiction introduced us. Reality binds us together.

 

Stephanie Thomas—co-founder of The Indie Bookshelf—has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Stephanie isn’t only a blogger; she’s a loving wife, and mother to three young boys.

 

In the independent author community, we have an extraordinary network of fellow authors, and readers. A special group of people who bridge this gap—helping authors connect with readers—is book bloggers. These men and women dedicate hours upon hours to reading and reviewing our works, and spreading the word to help us reach new readers.

 

Now, one of these women needs our help.

 

100% of the proceeds of the Rise Up anthology (volumes one and two) will go directly to Stephanie and her family to help them on this unexpected leg of their journey together.

 

Inside the pages of this collection, you’ll find amazing works of fiction. But please remember the reality, and help support Stephanie and her family.

 

Included in Volume Two of this collection are the following novels:

Rise Up Vol 2

Rise Up Vol 2

 

* 1. Always There – Carol Ann Albright-Eastman

* 2. Republic – Charles Sheehan-Miles

* 3. Seeds of Hate – Melissa Perea

* 4. In The Fields – Willow Aster

* 5. Bar Crawl – Andrea Randall

* 6. Totaled – Stacey Grice

* 7. Running from Forever – Ashley Wilcox

* 8. Crossing Paths – Melanie Stinnet

* 9. Going Home – Rhonda Dennis

* 10. Never Goodbye –  Kerri Williams

* 11. Without Boundaries – CJ Azevedo

* 12. Binds – Rebecca Espinoza

* 13. The Forgotten Ones – Laura Howard

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on Kobo

And if you’d like to give these wonderful authors a ‘like’ on Facebook for being so awesome, here are their links:

 

https://www.facebook.com/CarolAnnAlbrightEastman

 

https://www.facebook.com/CharlesSheehanMiles

 

https://www.facebook.com/authormelissaperea

 

https://www.facebook.com/willowasterauthor

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAndreaRandall

 

https://www.facebook.com/staceygriceauthor

 

http://www.ashleywilcoxauthor.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieStinnett

 

https://www.facebook.com/authorrhondadennis?fref=ts

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kerri-Williams-Author/347733968580393

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/CJ-Azevedo-Author/348248455274917

 

https://www.facebook.com/rebeccanespinoza

 

https://www.facebook.com/LauraHoward78

I hope you support this cause . . .it’s wonderful to see our own coming together, as they always do. I’ll try to be about as much as I can this week, but I’m visiting my dad in West Michigan & he lives in the woods, so WiFi is a bit tricky. If you happen to be near Grand Haven on July 26th, I’ll be doing a reading & book signing at The Bookman (you’ll remember the book store plays a prominent part in my books if you’ve read them!) at 11am. Fingers crossed that some people show up!

Are Two Better Than One?

Four years ago, I got the chance to attend RWA Nationals after the venue moved from Nashville to Orlando due to unfortunate flooding. To save money, I planned on staying with a friend who lived forty minutes away from the Disney Swan & Dolphin Hotel, where the conference was held. Then I discovered Marisa Cleveland, a buddy who I’d met three months earlier at my local RWA chapter meeting, had a room in the hotel all to herself. Being the Reigning Queen of Awkward Situations, I crashed her room & took the couch. Little did I know Marisa was a natural introvert & too terrified of me to say no.

Risa & me at RWA Nationals

Risa & me at RWA Nationals

That’s how a beautiful friendship was born :-) Now that I’m done with writing my 18 Things trilogy, I’m forcing her into another situation that seems just as counterintuitive to sharing your hotel room with a stranger. Cowriting a novel! Authors are known for being control-freak Jedi masters of our fictional universes. That’s why when I attended utopYA2014, I made sure I attended the panel with Melissa Pearl & the mom and son author duo C.A. Kunz. Here are some of my notes in case, like me, you think cowriting could be a fun, refreshing process that yields a unique story.

TIPS:

Pick someone who is at similar points in terms of both their craft and career & treat each other as equals.

Be honest if there’s something you don’t like. We take criticism personally, but that has to take a back burner in the interest of writing the best story possible.

Make sure you know the other person’s writing style well so the reader doesn’t feel pulled out of the story with two very different tones-different than having two distinct voices, which can work very well because that can be attributed to the characters.

CHALLENGES:

If one person is waiting to hear back for next chapter, but their co-author is too busy and is left waiting when they are ready to move on with the story, it can cause friction. Make sure to set up a writing schedule & stick to it!  Equal commitment & a compatible writing pace is a must. Also helpful are similar tastes. For instance, do you bond over the same books, movies, music, and celebrities (like drool swoon-worthy Theo James)? That’s a good start.

 

Seriously, Jamie? This is getting ridiculous. I will let you touch my bicep if you leave me alone.

Seriously, Jamie? This is getting ridiculous. I will let you touch my bicep if you leave me alone.

Good idea to pick a person who has a final say in different areas, like grammar, fine-tuning of the plot, and research details. It’s like a choose your own adventure story! If you get stuck, have a bowl with worst case scenarios and pull one out & have that happen to your character.

If you are discussing something serious with the book, do it in person or Skype so your partner doesn’t misread what you’re saying. Email, text, or phone call at least once a day to ensure continuity and the development of a solid story arc, especially as you work toward the finale.

Have you ever thought about working with a partner? What do you think the pros and cons would be?

P.S. Speaking on Cons, I didn’t get the coveted tickets for the “Open At the Close” event at LeakyCon in Orlando on July 30th since they sold out in 5 minutes. If you dress up as a creepy/scary clown in your spare time, or know someone who does, please message me. I’m looking to hire one to chase a ticket holder around until they fork over their pass. Thanks for your help in this matter.

scary clown

 

Tidbits From UtopYA Con 2014

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They say knowledge is power. I learned so much at UtopYA Con that every Wednesday this month I’ll be posting about it. Today, I’ll recap a few things our keynote speakers said.

First up is Sylvia Day with “What I Wish I’d Known Then.” She said writers make bad business decisions because they are afraid, seeking validation, or because they haven’t done their due diligence. Um, yes, yes, and yessss!!! Don’t be afraid to be a publishing whore & try everything! Also, don’t let deadlines dictate the quality of your books. Readers will wait for a good book, but they will drop you like a hot potato for a bad book. And read everything- things you don’t even think you’ll like. Finally, Dream Big & Plan Smart!

On Saturday, we heard from Gennifer Albin, who spoke on Empowering Female Writers & Readers. Her message revolved around a blog post she did on Hope (which you should read. WARNING: grab a box of tissues). Some thoughts that stuck for me during her speech:

Dreams don’t always fit in convenient boxes during life allotted stages. Art isn’t always meant to be created in quiet moments alone. There will always be naysayers- often these are the ones who should be offering us support. But use your words when you feel crippled.

I’ve been holding onto her words about hope. Sales for my sequel, 18 Truths, have been way down. I crunched some numbers & discovered I sold 1,582 ebooks of 18 Things the first year it was out. Since 18 Truths came out in January, I’ve sold 210 ecopies :-( At this point, I’m wondering why do I even publish the last novel in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts, if nobody is going to read the darn book?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Sign up if you’re looking to offer some encouragement or need to be encouraged.

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?

 

Love, Honor, and Hope

Hi, guys! Sorry I missed my weekly post last Wednesday, but the fam and I took a road trip on our way to UtopYA Con in Nashville. I have so much exciting news to share with you about the 18 Things trilogy, but more on that later . . . today I want to share about the Love, Honor, and Hope blog blitz. Please read below for the dets and help support our veterans as July 4th approaches next week.

LHH_blitz_banner

 

Love, Honor, & Hope – A Benefit for the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation

Eight authors are joining forces to support one fantastic cause. Beginning June 24, 2014, Love, Honor, & Hope, an anthology of eight full-length novels, will be available for 30 days at the low price of $0.99. That’s right, just 99 pennies. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation.

LHH_OOBAteaser

PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects approximately 19% of the military men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—and that’s just those who have been diagnosed. The percentage is expected to grow as more of our military members seek treatment. It’s a heartbreaking trend for the men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedoms, especially with benefits being cut and promotions being threatened.

LHH_SMteaser

The United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation is a non-profit charity that focuses on providing FREE care to combat military members, both active and veterans. They can’t do it alone, which is why we’ve made the decision to step up and do something. All eight of the authors have their personal reasons for supporting this cause.
Cherime MacFarlane, author of Heart of the Hunter said, “For me, it’s the way a very quiet man, my uncle, receded into the background whenever a family function took place. I did understand he came back from WWII that way. A young man, easy going and quick to laugh became a recluse. My father also served in WWI, as did a second uncle who returned far from the mischievous young man he was before the war claimed his youth. I was a young mother during the Vietnam era. I had friends who did not come back from Vietnam. I had other friends who did come home but were permanently damaged by the things they saw. For me, this is an opportunity to give back something to the men who served their country when the call came. My uncles and father are gone now, but I do hope, in some small way, to pay it forward for them. This is a tiny step, but as the man once said, every journey begins with that first step.”

LHH_LAFteaser

It’s easy to sit back and talk about helping our veterans and active military members. To step up and help is something all together different. We are answering the call for help.
Will you answer? All it takes is for you to log on to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and spend 99 cents, and then hopefully share the great news on our labor of love. Not only will you receive eight full-length novels for your enjoyment, you will also tell our men and women who suffer from this terrible and debilitating illness that we’ve got their backs.

LHH_OOBAteaser

Love, Honor, & Hope is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from June 24 to July 23. It includes the following full-length novels:

Out of the Box Awakening – Jennifer Theriot

Early One Morning – Aubree Lane

Lost and Found – Jennifer Yarbrough

Scary Modsters – Diane Rinella

Tropical Dreams – Kelly Cozzone

Sisters of the Night – Linda Lee Williams

Heart of the Hunter – Cherime MacFarlane

Piece of Heaven – Sammie J

Get it here at B&N.

Get it here at Amazon.

TFIOS Feels, ReadOn, Audible, and UtopYA Con

Let me first start off by saying that The Fault In Our Stars movie, based on the bestselling Coming of Age love story about two teens who just happen to have cancer by John Green, was AMAZING!!!

I took my 13yo daughter and her bestie to a special “Night Before Our Stars” event that was held at 600 theatres around the country the night before the official release. We each got a commemorative bracelet and autographed poster and afterward, you could tweet questions to the author, director, producer, and the three main characters of the cast. They did the live simulcast from a movie theatre in Atlanta (more on that later). There were sooo many feels while watching this film. I LOVED the book, but I don’t remember laughing and crying so hard (and simultaneously) when reading the novel. Something about seeing it brought to life on the big screen made it much more emotional for me. It’s not a movie I could watch over and over again because it’s so heartbreaking, but I do think it’s trying to send the same message I try to send with my 18 Things trilogy. Love is stronger than death in the end. It’s hard to tell someone that when they’ve just lost the most important person in their life (and I wouldn’t recommend it), but after time, I do think most come around to that realization. Anyway, I think the movie and the two main actors, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, deserve Oscar nominations. Doubt that will happen, but I’m sure they get the reward in the hearts of young adults (and wannabe YA like me) everywhere!

TFIOS Swag

TFIOS Swag

 

Other things I’ve been up to this week . . . I did my first live web appearance ON CAMERA for Jessica Porter, a book reviewer I’d met at a B&N event back in March. Check out the ReadOn with me (I’m up first), Leila Howland, Lindsay Cummings, and Amy Christine Parker (LOVE HER!).

readon

Then yesterday, Audible set me up with a local studio to record special features for my audio books of 18 Things and 18 Truths. I walked in and was met by a familiar face . . . I’d actually graduated high school with the owner! So thankful I knew him a little because I was really nervous and he immediately put me at ease. It took about 2 hours to record the Author’s Note, dedication, beginning chapter quotes, acknowledgements, and Literature Circle Questions for both books. He said I was a natural . . . I think I probably sounded like a dork. We’ll let you decide when it’s all finished! If you’re in the Southwest Florida area and need a studio, check out Paul L. Marshall Productions.

Jamie Recording

Other than that, I’ve been planning for my trip next week! I’m off to Nashville for the UtopYA Con (the Con for Women Writers of YA & the fans who love them). Super excited to meet up with my publishers sisters, Sharron Riddle Houdek and Krystal Wade, there (as well as blogger buddy Pk Hrezo). If you’re going, stop by Area 51, table 24! My daughter is coming with (who will turn 14 that weekend, sniff sniff) and she’s an aspiring author, so I’m psyched to have her come along and be inspired. On the way, we’re stopping in Atlanta because for some reason, we’ve never been! Lots of fun planned there too, including hunting down Theo James so I can touch his bicep (it’s on my bucket list). He’s filming Insurgent there along with Shailene and Ansel. How cool would it be to actually stumble upon them?! Keep your fingers crossed and if you’re in the Atlanta area, let me know if you spot any “Mineral” signs (code name).

"Now, now Jamie, you could get arrested for this." *lunges at Theo*

“Now, now Jamie, you could get arrested for this.” *lunges at Theo*

What have you been up to this week?!

To Publish or Not To Publish?

That is the question.

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I’m a firm believer that if we don’t have a big dream we’re striving toward, then we’re just kind of drifting through life. That’s why I made a bucket list back in 2008 when my cousin’s son was diagnosed with cancer. That’s why I put publishing a novel at the top of that list. And that’s why I started working toward that goal in the summer of 2009. Five years later, I have two novels published by Curiosity Quills, a small press, with the last installment of my 18 Things trilogy due in January 2015.

I thought waiting for it to happen would be the hardest part. If I could’ve put my dream in a microwave and made it happen in 30 seconds, I would have. But that’s not how most dreams work. Like most writers, I endured lots of discouragement while agents, editors, and even friends and family members told me it wasn’t going to happen. They weren’t mean about it. They all thought they knew best. But it wasn’t their opinion that mattered to me the most. I’m the one who has to live with my decisions when I lay my head on the pillow at night. If I gave up, what kind of example would that be to my kids and the students I teach every day, who I tell every day, DON’T GIVE UP! THAT VICTORY YOU NEED IS JUST RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! *shakes pom poms* Sure, I had my doubts from time to time,  but I learned to tune out the haters. I knew the path to publishing wasn’t paved with rainbows, unicorns, and puppies. I also knew God would make it happen when the time was right. And he did!

But then I discovered I was wrong (happens occasionally–hahaha). The hardest part wasn’t the 3 years I waited to get a publishing contract, the hardest part has been trying to juggle my teaching job, my writing career, being a wife to three needy children (yes, I counted my hubs as a child, lol–LOVE him though), volunteering at church, bible study and book club, cleaning and cooking (oh, who am I kidding?).

Here’s another thing I firmly believe: EVERYTHING you have is a gift from God, including your talents and abilities. And why would God give us these things if he didn’t want us to use them for his glory?

The thing is though, I NEVER EVER EVER want my own family to think my writing is more important than them, and when I’m in my writing cave (AKA dining room) chained to my laptop every summer, spring, and winter break, typing out what the voices in my head tell me to, I know that’s how they feel sometimes. So I told them after I publish my last book under my contract, I’d give up publishing for a while. My hubs and 10yo cheered (my almost 14yo said I should do what I want-she won’t have much time for me when starting high school in the fall anyway, which of course, made me crawl up like a baby and cry in the corner for an hour while shoving donuts in my mouth). My editor laughed. “Just keep telling yourself you’ll be able to do that.”

Anyone a fan of American Ninja Warrior? Last summer and this summer, there’s been one girl to make it past the qualifying rounds. Both were gymnasts, the one from last year was a trapeze artist. That’s what my struggle reminds me of, a trapeze artist. It’s an analogy I came across in my daily devotional one day:

There’s a moment of truth where she swings out to catch the bar that’s swinging toward her. But in order to reach the bar, she has to let go of the one she is swinging on. If she doesn’t let go, she just swings back to where she started. But if she lets go, there’s a split second in time where she’s hanging in mid-air, thirty feet above the ground, and holding onto absolutely nothing.

That’s what faith looks like. Is giving up my dreams of being a professional author a lack of faith, or an act of obedience as I commit more time to my family? What’s more important? Faith or obedience?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Warrior, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join us the first Wednesday of every month as we release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic *shoots hand in the air*

 

 

 

What’s Your System?

Today I have my good buddy, Teshelle Combs, guest posting. She is the award winning author of the YA action/romance novel, The System, and YA contemporary fantasy novel, Core. Take it away, T!!

Tessa's photo

Hey everyone! I’ve launched a brand new series! ‘The System’ is YA, action/adventure, sci-fi/romance. And it’s gooood.
I wanted to share with you what it’s like to release an indie title, just in case you’re curious about seeing the inside of my brain.

6:30 am – Wake up way too early so you can make sure your book is actually up on amazon, even though you checked it 12 times the night before.
7:00 am – Refresh the page and check one more time.
7:15 am – Start tweeting about it for all your UK and EU fans who are probably on their lunch breaks. Freak out when they interact with you because you still can’t believe people think the virtual “you” is cool enough to talk to.
8:00 am – Check on your sales. They’re trickling in now.
9:00 am – Start annoying everyone who was dumb enough to sign up for your book release event on facebook. Tell them obvious things about how you’re ‘so excited.’ What you don’t tell them is that you’re having a series of small panic attacks. ‘What if no one buys anything? What if no one cares? What if they buy my book and they HATE it?!?!’
10:00 am – Eat breakfast, feed your baby, and juggle your phone in one hand so you can refresh you sales page every 30 seconds and see each sale as it rolls in because about now you’re manic and obsessing and you can’t stop checking.
11:00 am – Thank God your baby is napping and now you can get onto your lap and tweet and annoy more facebook and goodreads fans and thank people who are kind enough to retweet and share your book. Check on all the sites that agreed to promote you.
11:15 am – Freak out because you forgot to check your sales and OH MY GOD, some more people bought ‘The System’ and you may not end up being a failure after all!
12:00 pm – Eat before you pass out. Remember to blink. Remember to swallow the food in your mouth. Remember to breathe. Because by now you can see how well you’re ranking well on amazon.com and it’s giving you an aneurism.
1:00 pm – Post too many screenshots of your amazon ranking and beg people to get more copies because you’re DOING IT!
2:00 pm – Scheduled nervous breakdown. Because there’s no way someone can bottle up so many firework emotions for a whole day. Cry a little in the bathroom.
3:00 pm – Text your best friend and have her tell you to stop crying in the bathroom because you’re being ridiculous now.
4:00 pm – Call your mom and have her tell you to stop crying in the bathroom. But she tells you that you’re an inspiring, perfect human being in her eyes and she’s so proud and now she’s crying and you’re crying and everyone’s crying.
5:00 pm – You forgot that most people don’t sit on their phones all day while they’re at work. So now everyone is at home and on twitter and facebook and they’re being sweet and amazing and sales are picking up and you’re ranking number one in a few things.
6-9:00 pm – Keep yelling to your husband that you’re selling more books until he gets sick of hearing it. But you can’t stop yourself. For better or for worse, right??
9:30 pm – Gasp! Remember you’re doing a free promo of your first book alongside your launch of ‘The System.’ Check on the free stats for ‘Core.’ And realize that you’re KILLING IT. Then you start crying because OH MY GOD!
10-11:00 pm – It dawns on you. You’re indie. Which means you did this all on your own. And if it wasn’t for great friends and fans, you’d be nowhere doing nothing. And you go to bed with a smile. This is all you’ve ever wanted to do, and you’re doing it. You’re doing your dream.

The System cover art large

The System

1 + 1 = Dead.

That’s the only math that adds up when you’re in the System.

Everywhere Nick turns, he’s surrounded by the inevitability of his own demise at the hands of the people who stole his life from him. That is, until those hands deliver the bleeding, feisty, eye-rolling Nessa Parker. Tasked with keeping his new partner alive, Nick must face all the ways he’s died and all the things he’s forgotten.

Nessa might as well give up. The moment she gets into that car, the moment she lays her hazel eyes on her new partner, her end begins. It doesn’t matter that Nick Masters can slip through time by computing mathematical algorithms in his mind. It doesn’t matter how dark and handsome and irresistibly cold he is. Nessa has to defeat her own shadows.

Together and alone, Nick and Nessa make sense of their senseless fates and fight for the courage to change it all. Even if it means the System wins and they end up…well…dead.

Find the ebook for only 99 cents on Amazon!

Side note from Jamie: I got to Beta Read the first 5 chapters of The System and it’s AWESOME!
core-paperback

 

Cale can’t lie.

If only he could lie to the girl with the hard eyes and clenched fists, if only he could twist the truth, maybe he’d win her trust. But Cale can’t lie. And the only way to get ‘her’ is to tell her exactly what he is.

Journey through fight clubs, sky dungeons, and the perils of a forbidden world. Join Cale–an eighteen year old with one impossible secret–as he tears through the calloused blockade that is Ava Johnson.

And fearless Ava, buried in secrets of her own, faces the most frightening truth of her dark life.

She must learn to need someone.

Amazon: Also 99 cents right now!!
Another side note: Teshelle did an author visit at my middle school with this book (her debut novel) and the kids went nuts for it! Had to skip over some of the steamier parts when reading it to my class though.

You can connect with Teshelle at any of these places:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teshellecombsbooks

Website: http://teshellecombs.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeshelleCombs

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7038103.Teshelle_Combs

Email: teshellecombs@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by Teshelle! And to everyone else, thanks for reading :-) Did you relate to Teshelle’s experience? I know I went through the same thing when publishing 18 Things and 18 Truths, even with the help of a publisher. If you’re still waiting patiently (HA!) to be published, don’t give up! Everything happens in God’s perfect timing.

News and Books

It’s the end of the school year, which explains why I’m a day late in posting my blog this week. Such a busy time as we wrap things up! I’m looking forward to sleeping in a little bit in just two weeks!

I hope all my friends who are Mom’s out there enjoyed your Mother’s Day weekend. Mine was fabulous! On Saturday, my 10-year-old spawn had her first piano/singing recital, a big milestone for my super shy girl. Then we went to Captiva Beach and ate at a fun place on the island called The Bubble Room, which is decorated like Christmas all year round and has the B*E*S*T cakes in the world!

All of that was enough to make my Mother’s Day complete, but then hubs and kids also bought me a box of my favorite Norman Love Chocolates, a book (the Official Illustrated Movie Companion guide to Divergent so I can drool over Theo James some more),  a Grumpy Cat shirt, and a new Huffy bike! I felt rather spoiled . . . not sure what I did to deserve all that as dinner rarely gets cooked and the house seldom cleaned between writing my 18 Things trilogy and teaching middle school, but I’ll take it :-)

Mothers Day

On to the book portion of today’s blog . . .  I’d like to feature a novel from my publishing sister, Ayden Morgen. I finally got around to reading Fall, the second New Adult book in her Ragnarok Prophesies series.  The first book, Fade, I read as soon as it was out in 2012 as a way of checking out books Curiosity Quills Press had already published. I wasn’t disappointed . . . read it in twenty-four hours! To be honest, many times sequels fall flat for me, but this one doesn’t! Ayden did an excellent job with her second installment . . . the characters were compelling, the myths and the world she created around them were awesome, and I had all the right feels along the way. A few times I wished there was more dialogue and that the pacing moved along a bit faster, but that’s just my ADHD talking :-) Overall, I really enjoyed this story and suggest ya’ll add Fall to your summer reading list! Check out the synopsis below if you still need more convincing!

fall cover

How do you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren’t strong enough to stop it.

Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.

It’s up to Arionna to stop him before it’s too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self destruction. This time, Arionna isn’t sure she can save him from himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?

Also, two of my blogger buddies recently released the covers to their sequels . . . be sure to watch for these good reads!

champion in flight cover

Coming June 2nd!!

And PK Hrezo will release her sequel to Butterman Time Travel on August 31st! But you can add it to your Goodreads today!

induction day cover

So that’s what I’ve been up to . . . how has your week been? Wish me luck–tomorrow I chaperone a trip to the local waterpark for our 6th and 7th grade students. I only hope no pictures of me in a bathing suit end up on Instagram *shudders*

IWSG-Beta Readers

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I’m sitting here tonight, anxious. April 15th wasn’t just tax day for me, it was the day I sent the last installment of my YA trilogy, 18 Thoughts, to my Beta Readers and critique partners. Three weeks later, I still haven’t heard anything. They all have busy lives and since I didn’t ask to have it back for another three weeks, I’m trying to keep those old insecurities from popping up again. But I’ve also read sooo many trilogies where I LOVED the first and second book, and then hated the third one, so sending this novel to other people who also love my characters was difficult this time around. But I know the only way to move beyond fear is to go through it, so I eventually turned it over . . . even though the ending I planned for the series two years ago when I started totally changed in the last three chapters!!! My 13yo daughter said since I pulled major plot twists at the end of 18 Things and 18 Truths, karma said my characters had to pull one on me in the last book! What can I say? Never underestimate the power of the “holy crap” moment. So I’m trusting what happened with the story was meant to happen all along and holding onto faith that I believe in what my characters told me, even while doubting myself. In the meantime, let’s hope I still have some nails left by the time my readers get back to me!

In other news, I was super excited to see Hot Topic carrying The Fault In Our Stars tees when I took my daughters to the mall this past weekend! I picked up these two to share with the 13yo . . . she’s much smaller than me but she hates tight clothing (praise the Lord!)

TFIOS shirts

 

I’m rereading the book now in preparation for the movie release on June 6th! Speaking of movies, I surprisingly made it to the theater twice this past week. First time was to see The Other Woman with my small group Bible study ladies. All I can say is HILARIOUS! I was afraid it’d be one of those chick flicks where the funniest parts were in the commercials, but not true at all. Definitely worth seeing. LOL funny. The other movie was a prescreening of The Neighbors. I went with hubs when he got tickets through his work. Bonus points for keeping Zac Efron shirtless for most of the movie but Seth Rogen and the Australian lady who played his wife (don’t know her name & I’m too lazy to Google it, even though the time it’d take to do so is probably equal to typing this . . . what can I say? I’m complicated) really carried the movie. Still, the film was too raunchy for my tastes, but it was free so I guess no money lost. And hubs took me to Tijuana Flats for dinner first . . . yes, it was Cinco de Mayo a day late, but who can beat their Taco Tuesday deal?!

What we did celebrate on May 5th was Revenge of the Fifth, the sequel to May the Fourth Be With You. All you fellow Star Wars nerds know what I’m talking about! Here’s a little pic of our celebration:

May 4th

So that’s what’s going in my world! What’s new with you? Don’t forget to thank a teacher this week–it’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! And don’t forget to visit other peeps in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

My Thoughts Aren’t Divided Over This One!

Sometimes when you read a friend’s book and want to review it, you’re divided because you didn’t love it. Just ask Jennifer Eaton . . . she hated my first novel, 18 Things. But she’ll tell you it wasn’t because the writing that sucked *wipes forehead* . . . it just wasn’t her thing.

When Jessa Russo sent out an email to organize her blog tour for her new release, Divide, I signed up to review the book right away. I KNEW loving her story wouldn’t be a problem because she’s A*M*A*Z*I*N*G! She could publish a grocery list and I’d buy it :-)

The Book Blurb:

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.

My Thoughts:

Jessa didn’t disappoint! She really knows how to get a story under way.  I immediately feel in love with Holland and Mick and cared about their happily ever after. There’s the triple D factor: desire, danger, and decision. Jessa nails them all with Divide.

Holland is a girl fighting for her identity, seeking truths about what’s happening to her. She wants Mick, but she’s conflicted because of the beast living inside her. At the same time, she’s recovering from a major heartbreak and betrayal (who isn’t in high school, right?). She’s trying to be good, but she’s lost control of herself. Other issues pop up that create plot twists I never saw coming. The whole time, you’re LIVING each moment as the characters experience it because of Jessa’s flawless writing. It’s a character-driven story and an action-driven plot, and it’s darn hard to pull off both but this book does! I loved the tension woven throughout this YA fantasy/fairytale redux. Every scene is manipulated for maximum impact.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It came too soon, and I wanted to see MORE of Holland and Mick.

book hangover

If you want to find out more about Jessa, go here to visit her website (she also offers a full line of editing services! My publisher uses her for freelance & as my editor, I can vouch for her!)

DIVIDE: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

What else has everyone been up to? I have to say I saw two great movies this past weekend. Friday I rented The Spectacular Now from the Redbox, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, a coming of age film based on the novel by Tim Tharp. Lovely indie film. Then Saturday the fam and I saw Rio 2. I must admit I wasn’t too excited to see this one, but I laughed more than the 3 kids with us (okay, 4 if you include hubs, hahaha).

Also, now that 18 Thoughts is written, I’ve had time to exercise again! YAY! I met two girlfriends for a six-mile walk on Saturday morning and was able to show them the door I’m convinced leads to Narnia. I’ve never tried to open it, but how cool is this door?!

Narnia

I’ll be back next week with my IWSG post. Huge hugs to Alex who mentioned me in his A to Z blog post on Monday! Until we meet again, LONG LIVE ASLAN!