18 THINGS is FREE!

18 Things Sale (1)

Today & tomorrow!

If you could download, tweet, or Facebook, I’d greatly appreciate it!

Sample post:

For a captivating #YA filled with loss, adventure & love, 18 THINGS by @jamiemayres is FREE 8/21 & 8/22 https://smile.amazon.com/18-Things-My-So-Called-Afterlife-ebook/dp/B00B53VJ38/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471797740&sr=8-1&keywords=18+things#nav-subnav

Thanks, all! Hope you have an AWESOME week!

Which Way to Go?

Have you ever been at a crossroads in your life and didn’t know which way to go? Both paths have their positives and negatives, and your mind and heart are battling, so they aren’t helping either. When that happens, I pray for a sign of God’s will for me. I pray he’ll guide me to the one path that’s truly for my highest good and the good of those around me. I pray I’ll have the courage to follow his lead.

Two weeks ago, I was at a friend’s house. I’d never hung out at this friend’s house before, but this friend is also a teacher and works at my dream school doing my dream job. Her assistant principal called while I was there, asking if she knew of anyone who’d be interested in teaching tenth grade English for their international baccalaureate (IB) program (she teaches twelfth grade IB).  My friend asked me if I was interested. I was, but I kind of laughed at the offer. After all, I’d only been teaching middle school Language Arts for three years. She convinced me to at least take an interview, so we scheduled one for the next morning.

I was contemplating the new job offer all day, and then my mom showed up at my doorstop around five o’clock. My beautiful cousin, Angie, age forty-one, was dead. She’d traveled 14 hours by car a couple weeks earlier, and unbeknownst to her, a blood clot formed in her leg, eventually traveling to her heart and killing her.

Angie and me

Angie and me. She was a teacher, too. There were 400 people at her funeral. She made quite the impact.           R.I.P.

 

This was the third family member I’d lost in seven weeks. It’s hard to suffer the loss of someone you love, but I also know this is part of God’s plan, too. We’ll all die one day. None of us escapes it. Knowing we’re all part of some bigger destiny takes away some of the pain for me. As I stayed up late that night, too anxious and heartbroken to sleep, I realized the way to move beyond fear is to go through it and trust whatever is meant to be will be. The only reason I didn’t jump at the new job opportunity right away is because of my old anxieties, but God has steadfast belief in the abilities he’s given us, even when we doubt ourselves.

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My new classroom at Cape Coral High School, my alma mater!

I know this blog post isn’t focused on writing, but I think a lot of us, especially in the publishing world, tend to think of success in terms of how talented we are compared to ________ (insert favorite author’s name here) or how much money we make with our books (newsflash: I made $323 last month off 18 Things, so yeah, I’m not quitting my day job any time soon!).

But I think if we’re willing to seek the path the universe lays in front of us and keep moving forward through all the good days and not-so-good days, then that’s the true measure of success.

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage.

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#Love Wins

love wins

The month of June I read a novel for book club titled The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. As promised, ‘it illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war.’

I feel like you aren’t human if you can read a novel about the events surrounding the Holocaust and not be moved. This one was no different, but for some reason, it was even more poignant to me. Perhaps because I was reading it after the Orlando massacre. The tragedy happened while I was on vacation to Georgia and North Carolina to see family in the mountains, so I was shielded from most of the news coverage until we returned the week after.

My husband and I lived in Orlando for seven years. We graduated from the University of Central Florida. We got our first real jobs there. I gave birth to our two baby girls in The City Beautiful. We bought our first house there. A house that was just a fifteen minute drive to the Pulse nightclub. The husband of one of my best friends had a cousin who died in the shooting that night, which made it all the more real to me.

Reading The Nightingale set in France 1939-1945 and contemplating all the acts of terror still happening around the globe today, I’m reminded of how there are many events in our lives over which we have zero control. But we do have a choice to either press on or give up. Time and time again, I’m astounded at what humans have endured throughout history.

Many have concluded that the secret to survival is remembering love is greater than evil. That’s why the hashtag #lovewins has trended for over a year now. Maybe it’s why I can’t leave a little bit of romance out of my books. Remembering that #lovewins produces the endurance which sees us through all the tough stuff we face in this life. And in the meantime, we write, because it’s good therapy for our souls, as is reading a good book. I highly recommend The Nightingale, or *shameless plug* 18 Thoughts . . . because what’s summer without a book in your hand and toes in the sand? It’s a good life, after all is said and done.

faithhopelove

 

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage.

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In Rememberance

“You saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place.”~Deuteronomy 1:31

One week ago my grandpa passed away peacefully in his  home. He was 80; he was also the last living grandparent I had . . . although I’m thankful he’s not suffering anymore like he had been for the past two years, it’s hard to lose this great generation.

From his obituary: “If you saw Doug out and about, he always had a smile and a story to tell. After retiring, he enjoyed spending time on the water with family and friends. Whether it be at Hardy Dam or Lake Michigan, you never knew where the adventure would take you, but it was always filled with laughter, love, and a memory that would be shared for years to come.”

I hope the same can be said of me when I’m gone. Every time I lose someone here on earth, it reminds me to pray for clarity of my purpose in this lifetime. There are days I feel my life doesn’t have enough meaning or depth, but I try to put my talents and skills to the best use and to show love and grace to others.

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Grandpa in the beginning . . . just starting out on his own.

As writers, we know that every story must have a beginning and an end. A final chapter. God knows our alpha and omega, but he lets us be the authors of our own stories. Each life is a book, not to be read, but a tale to be written. What a dangerous freedom! It’d be much safer for him to dictate our every feeling, word, action . . . but then it wouldn’t be love. Love is chosen. So he hands each child a pen and whispers write carefully. That’s good advice for life and for our fictional stories as well. Write carefully.

Doug

Grandpa in the end. R.I.P.

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage.

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May the Fourth Be With You

May 4

Today is the most important of all holidays, especially with the reboot of the Star Wars saga this past Christmas. And if you didn’t know, Disney plans to release a new Star Wars film every December through 2019! I saw a tweet about this from YA author Victoria Aveyard:

“Mother, tell me what Christmas season was like?”

“We don’t speak of it. We call it Star Wars season now.”

Instead of Merry Christmas, it’s May the Force Be With You.

Hahaha! Of course, we’re being facetious. But to celebrate today, I’m teaching the Hero’s Journey to my eighth grade English students since Luke’s journey is one of the most famous examples. I thought it might help you with your story to see the specific plot points that conform to the structure.

The Call: Luke Skywalker receives the message from the Droid R2D2 that princess Leia is in trouble. He sets off to find Obi Wan Kenobi.
The Decision: Luke finds Obi Wan and learns of his Destiny. Luke’s decision is rendered irrevocable when his uncle and aunt are killed and his home is burned.
The Preparation: Luke sets off to aid the rebellion. Along the way, he gathers a crew of companions and learns the ways of the Force from his mentor Master Yoda. The concept of a Mentor is a reoccurring motif in the Hero’s Journey.
The Obstacles: Most of the second and third movies show intermediary steps that Luke must accomplish in order to become strong enough to defeat the Emperor. Along the way, he encounters a “Shadow,” an evil figure that mirrors those things the hero most fears or dislikes about himself. In Luke’s case, that “Shadow” is Darth Vader. During “The Obstacles” portion of the story, Luke is separated from his friends and forced to face the ultimate evil alone.
The Climax: Luke faces the “Shadow” and is able to overcome the Emperor without falling to the “Dark Side.”
The Return: Having overcome the enemies and returned peace to the galaxy, the major characters are reunited. Luke returns to his friends a changed man ready to move forward. In the final scene, Luke sees the ghosts of his fallen mentors Obi Wan, Yoda, and (in the remastered version) Anakin Skywalker, his father. In the final shot, Luke turns his back on the ghosts and returns to his friends.

Are you celebrating May the Fourth Be With You? If so, do share! 

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage.

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Carpe Diem!

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. . . One of my favorite quotes that I wrote at the front of my current journal. I’ve been given a lot of author opportunities as of late. There was my presentation about writing at the Lee County Reading Conference.

LCRC 2016

The third annual authors conference that I organized for my middle school, where I teach eighth grade English Language Arts. Here’s me with authors Kyle Prue, Jeff Strand, Liz Coley, Krystal Wade, Wendy Mills, Teshelle Combs, Erica Cameron, and Lisa Colozza Cocca.

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Riverdale High School Literacy Festival. One of my favorite parts is doing the panel in the auditorium with the other authors. This year I got to promote 18 Thoughts!

RHS Lit 2016

A book signing at the largest independent bookstore in my county (check out the amazing book bridge–I want one in my house!). This is me with my editor and friend, Krystal Wade, who also happens to be an amazing author!

Krystal and me 2

And I have another author event at a middle school this Friday, followed by a visit to a book club who read 18 Things later this month!

I don’t mention this to brag, but to remind all of us how each day it’s up to us to look for new opportunities, and not to just further our careers. Every person I meet is an opportunity to uncover a new story, see a different perspective, discover a new friend.

Each place I go is an opportunity to try a new route, enjoy the scenery along the way, explore the surroundings, create adventure.

Each book, meal, conversation-Each Encounter–is an opportunity.

We’ve each been given our own unique talents and gifts to share with the world. Nothing makes me happier than shining my light and helping others to do the same. You never know what tomorrow may bring, so CARPE DIEM!!

~How have you seized the day lately?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

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Love Is In The Air

It’s February already? Time flies when you’re having fun! February means Valentine’s Day! I know not everybody celebrates this holiday, but hopefully you’ll show yourself a little love this month. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t stuck to your resolutions (especially those writing ones–you’re not alone!), treat yourself to a Starbucks, have a GNO (girls or guys night out), take a long bubble bath, or ignore some chores and read a good book instead! Speaking of good books, I’d like to show the love to one of my favorite authors!

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Melissa Landers, a fellow proud sci-fi geek who isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public (see why I love her?!) just released STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I met Melissa two years ago at the first reading festival I did to promote my debut YA, 18 Things, and since she’s a former teacher who left the classroom to ‘pursue other worlds,’ I was immediately inspired by her (being a teacher myself).

STARFLIGHT (pitched to her editor as Overboard, a classic romantic comedy, meets Firefly, an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season despite the adorable Nathan Fillion) follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue.

If you love sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT, available in stores & online. Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Don’t forget to show some love to all the writers in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, a guy/ninja who is totally out of this world! We post the first Wednesday of every month to share and encourage and to offer a safe haven for writers of all kinds!

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I WANT CHANGE!

One of my favorite quotes is:

change

Why? Because I don’t think it’s right to notice or talk about what’s wrong in the world if you’re not going to do something to make the situation better.

As an author, one problem I’ve had with my last two books is lack of reviews.

18 Things, the first book in my YA trilogy, which released in January 2013, has 188 reviews with an overall 4.1 rating.

18 Truths released the following January. Two years later, it has only 50 reviews with a 4.7 rating.

Then, most pitiful of all, is 18 Thoughts with just 27 reviews and a 4.8 rating, which released almost one year ago.

So what did I do over my Christmas break? I was a bad writer (because I didn’t write a word in my WIP), but a very good friend, because I read six books by different authors I know and left a review! Now, most of you wouldn’t know I left you a review because if I use my regular name and email address, the gods at Amazon take my review down because *gasps* I’m a writer. SO WHAT?! I was being the change I wish to see in the world🙂

A writer lives and breathes by reviews and word-of-mouth! I keep getting all these reader surveys, which are nice, but my inner toddler stomps her feet and yells, “BUT WHY NOT PUT A REVIEW ON AMAZON INSTEAD AND HELP A SISTER OUT?” Because most of these people got my first novel for FREE and are wondering if/when the next two books will be free.

Can you hear my horrible Chewbacca growl from here?

By the way, if you don’t think reviews are important, then you might want to check out Kristen Lamb’s blog. Her last three posts have been about this topic, and I couldn’t have said it better myself (or funnier).

Any of you have insights on getting more reviews? Do you wish to be the change in my world (HA! See what I did there!). If you’d like to read any of my books in exchange for an honest review, just let me know!

Insecure Writer's Support Group

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Two FREE Gifts!!

Do you get mixed feelings of nostalgia and excitement before the new year like I do? I’ve heard many say they’re glad Christmas is over so life can continue as ‘normal,’ but not me. My house aglow with twinkling lights, spiced eggnog and warm apple cider drinks, surprise carolers from the neighborhood church, heartwarming specials on TV, more time with loved ones, our kids and their cousins dutifully performing their own play for the family on Christmas Eve . . . that, I could do all year. The world is different the week of Christmas, reminding us of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. We temporarily forget our obsession with warring and put away our weapons. We climb down our ladder to success to put up lights instead while remembering the light of the world who came to save us all. He is the reason for the season. Those who go through the year without giving him much thought suddenly hear the carol being performed by a group of children in the mall, “O come, let us adore him,” and tears swell up in their eyes as there’s a repenting silence among the crowd of shoppers who have paused to stop and listen.

Christmas lights

Now lights are coming down, shoppers exchange unwanted gifts, holiday decorations and sweets are discounted to 75% off, and the credit card bills are in the mail. Everything is back to our new ‘normal.’ The war of terror resumes.

I know celebrating Christmas year round wouldn’t really solve our problems. But I can’t help but wonder, if God can do so much with such apprehensive prayers lamely presented at Christmas time, how much more could he do if we truly sought him every day?

Christmas has come and gone, but there are actually a thousand reasons everyday to be happy, but if we don’t have peace in our hearts, we’ll never be happy. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Whatever 2016 brings, don’t submit to circumstances. Submit to the Lord who controls circumstances. Unlike worldly peace where we wish for the absence of conflict, this peace is confident assurance in any circumstance. With Christ’s peace, we have no need to fear the present or future. There’s not enough Christmas traditions to bring lasting peace. Only God can.

Emmanuel. He is with us. God came near. That’s gift number one. And he will be with us allll year round; not just in December. I hope we’ll all remember that in 2016.

Gift number two is my book, 18 THINGS, is FREE today and tomorrow! Please help me spread the post-Christmas cheer🙂

Sample social media post: 

Love, faith & bucket lists! Looking for an excellent YA book for the ? 18 Things by is FREE:

 

*HaPPy*nEW*yEAr*frIEnds!!!

Another Year In the Books

It’s that time again already . . . reflecting on the past year. In preparation, I read my blog posts from last December. 2014 was rather crappy, and I looked forward to 2015 being a lot better. And the truth is . . .

IT WAS AMAZING!!!

It's been a magical year!

It’s been a magical year!

But not for the reasons I anticipated. This time last year I was still really focused on writing. The last installment of my YA trilogy, 18 Thoughts, was getting ready for release, and I anticipated an increase in sales and a fulfillment in my professional life I’d never experienced before.

Except even though I had more book sales this past year than in my previous two years combined, that fulfillment never came. Instead I felt empty and unmotivated in the area of writing. So after my media blitz, I took a break. In the past, if I didn’t have my daily writing time, it’d send me into a FULL DOWNWARD SPIRAL, eating cookies in a corner, nearly ODing on sugar, and making horrible Chewbacca howling noises. Probably not a healthy place to be. But I didn’t write again until mid-July, and then I finished a stand alone novel in a month. In August, school was back in session, leaving no time to edit as I taught eighth grade English for the first time. Maybe I’ll find editing time before 2015 ends (I do have 2 weeks off starting December 18th, but there’s also Star Wars, and NOTHING will take that away from me).

Sooo maybe I won’t.

And that’s okay. I’ve been so focused on writing, writing, writing since 2009 . . . from trying to get a book deal to getting a book deal to honoring that book deal and all it entails. This year, I finally felt like I had my life back. I’ve spent way more time with my wonderful family. I even made my 15yo daughter smile sometimes instead of scowl at me. So yes, this year has been a miracle.

How about you? Any surprises in your life this year? (Good, I hope, not like an unexpected incoming FaceTime or discovering your Starbucks app is empty. There’s nothing more terrifying than that.)

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This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!