Easter Basket Full of Books Giveaway!

On St. Patrick’s Day I loaded up the fam to attend the annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival. This is an event I look forward to every year. It’s at Centennial Park on the Caloosahatchee River and the beautiful weather/scenery always attracts A-list authors. This year I got to hear Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie,

Obert Skye,

My daughter Kaylee with the very funny Mr. Skye

Lauren Oliver,

and Anna Godbersen (sorry, no pic b/c my camera died) under the Teen Tent. I always love, love, love watching the authors up on the stage and imagining myself being invited to speak one of these days. Some of the other YA authors we’ve seen there in the past were Jeff Kinney, Lois Lowry, R.L. Stine, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Ridley Pearson, Chris Claremont, and Lauren Myracle.

Almost every author has the same format . . . read a bit from their latest manuscript and then hold a Q & A session. There’s always about a thirty-second awkward pause before the first question and I cringe in my seat, but I’m never brave enough to ask the first one either, lol. You can definitely tell there are plenty of wanna-be-authors like me in the audience by their Q’s about publishing. Pretty much all the authors said it took them 5 yrs to break into publishing and many say a Creative Writing degree is a frivolous pursuit (but I still want one, if only I had some time and $).

Anyways, even though I may be an unpub’d nobody, I still have gained over 300 blog followers this year and I think that’s something to celebrate so I stood in the loooooooong line for autographs at the festival in preparation for my Easter Basket Full of Books give away:):) See the pictures below for the goodies:

*Note: Peace, Love & Baby Ducks isn’t autographed since Ms. Myracle was there last year and it’s the only ‘used’ book in the bunch, but I thought it was a good read and couldn’t resist throwing something with baby ducks on the cover in the Easter basket!



Short synopsis of each book:

Delirium: Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until 95 days before her 18th bday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

Luxe: In Manhattan in 1899, 5 teens of different social classes lead dangerously scandalous lives, despite the strict rules of society and the best-laid plans of parents and others.

The Gateway to Foo: When fate brings 14-yr-old Leven and 13-yr-old Winter together, they discover that for mankind to continue dreaming, the gateway between reality and dreams needs to be found & demolished.

Peace, Love & Baby Ducks: 15-yr-old Carly’s summer volunteer experience makes her feel more real than her life of privilege in Atlanta ever did, but her younger sister starts high school pretending to be what she’s not, and both find their relationship suffering.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Anthology of 3 stories based on the hit TV series.

All you need to do to enter is subscribe to this blog and leave a comment below. If you’re already a follower (thanks)– just leave a comment. I’d really love a follow or shout out on Twitter, too: jamiemayres

That’s it! Pretty simple, right? The winner will be chosen randomly and I’ll announce the lucky duck on my blog next Wednesday when I post for Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG. Seriously ya’ll, thanks so much for coming back each Wednesday to visit little ole’ me!!

So have you thought of your reading festival plan for when you’re a big New York Times Bestseller? Standard read a page followed by Q & A? More interactive like building a story with your audience improv style? Slideshow anyone? I remember when I heard Ally Carter speak at the 2010 RWA Nationals her advice for these things was to always be  yourself, but preferably yourself after 2 drinks, lol. Anyways, would love to hear your ideas:):):)

~Until next week, Happy Reading & Happy Writing!

Interview With the Extraordinary Author, PJ Sharon

*UPDATE: Thank u, THank yOU, thANk YOu–I’m now over 300 followers! I promised some sort of prize for every time I gained another 100 followers this year and I’m staying true to my word. Soooo b4 today’s interview, I just wanted to say . . .  be sure you check in next Wednesday to find out how you can win a YA Easter Basket {full of books, of course} ~Big Hugs to all my cyber buddies:):):)

Today’s guest author is PJ Sharon, a very busy gal with the release of her latest YA novel, Savage Cinderella. Take a dive into the extraordinary life of PJ:

PJ Sharon is the author of several independently published, contemporary young adult novels, including HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES. Her stories have garnered several contest finals, including two awards for ON THIN ICE, and a place in the prestigious Valley Forge Romance Writers and the Florida Romance Writers Golden Palm contest for SAVAGE CINDERELLA.Writing romantic fiction for the past six years, and following her destiny to write Extraordinary stories of an average teenage life, PJ is a member of  RWA, CTRWA, and YARWA. She is mother to two grown sons and lives with her husband and her dog in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA.

JA: Thanks for joining us today, PJ! Tell us how your book came about.

PJ: Thanks for having me here today, Jamie. The story came about one day when I was walking with my dog in the woods and started wondering what it would have been like to grow up in the wild raised by wolves or bears. I immediately “saw” my main character, Brinn, running through the woods, dark hair flying, and a bear running alongside her. I’ve answered this question a few times and it probably sounds strange to anyone who isn’t a writer. Once I had the image in my mind, I couldn’t let go of it and the story questions started flowing. Why would she stay in the wild? Maybe she’s afraid of someone. Well who could that be? Maybe she was kidnapped….ooohh…chills. I started writing when I got home and didn’t stop for three weeks. At that point I had 60,000 words written. That was in 2009.

I entered some contests and placed in both the Sheila and the Golden Palm. I tried to sell this story to traditional publishers but got a lot of rejections based on the fact that Brinn is eighteen and Justin is twenty-three. They wanted me to age them down to keep it to the traditional model of YA, but I just couldn’t cave in. The characters needed to be the ages they were to make the story work for several reasons. I got comments about some POV problems, an issue I eventually resolved after learning more about the craft of writing. There were also some issues of believability. Several industry professionals said that the idea of a girl surviving in the wild without anyone finding out about her and reporting her was extremely unlikely. Ironically, shortly after I finished the book, Jaycee Dugard was found, having lived for eighteen years in the back yard of a known sex-offender. Now THAT is beyond belief!

JA:  Absolutely! I remember watching Jaycee’s interview last summer with Diane Sawyer . . . beyond belief and heartbreaking. What effect do you hope your book will have on your readers?

PJ:  My main goal is always to tell a great story that will entertain and inspire readers. Beyond that, I want to share the message of hope with teens that no matter how difficult life is, it can always get better. I love writing stories that blend grim, real life tragedies with powerful, life affirming triumphs. If it takes a sweet romance to make that happen, I’m all for it!

JA: I’m  with you . . . I like a strong heroine but romance makes the world a better place:)    

Tell us about your writing process–Are you a plotter or a pantser?

PJ:  I like to think I’m a recovering pantser. I love the creative process of just free writing, but I found out after several first draft manuscripts that it makes for a bear revising. Now I do a character grid and establish the goal, motivation, and central conflict of the story. I usually write a chapter or two off the top of my head so I know what the general feel of the story will be and where it’s going. Then I make a time line that plots the three or four major turning points and the black moment. I write in spurts, sometimes getting three chapters done in a day, then I have to stop, read back and tweak it to add details and clarify that I’m heading in the right direction. I do research as I go, and sometimes get stuck for a few weeks trying to find just the right information to bring the story to life. I like having input from critique partners once I’ve got the first fifty pages or so, but that’s getting more difficult lately since all of my critique partners are becoming very busy published authors, LOL.    

JA: I’m a pantser, but I hope to be a retired one like you!

What’s your favorite book on the craft of writing and your favorite novel? What do you love about these books?

PJ:  Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass had endless great advice on how to craft a story, create well drawn characters, and put together a winning novel. The workbook was really helpful in putting together all of the information I’d been learning at workshops and conferences.

My favorite novel is OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon. That woman can spin a powerful yarn! I love her descriptions, the fabulously accurate and detailed research that goes into one of her novels, and most of all I love her characters. They jump off the page in bold relief, dragging me into their lives, and making me wish I was part of their adventures. The love scenes between Jamie and Claire are the sweetest, most authentic love scenes I’ve ever read.

JA: I’ll need to check out Outlander for sure! I just read The Breakout Novel this past summer, sounds like I need to ask for the workbook for my birthday:)     

 Tell us something fun about yourself, related or unrelated to writing.

PJ:  Let’s see…fun…hmmm…well, I sing opera, have a black belt in karate, and I can still do a sit spin with the best of them, although I don’t get to ice skate very often anymore.

JA: You really are extraordinary! Thanks for being here, PJ, and gOOd luCK on your blog tour!

Here’s the dets on PJ’s book:

Eighteen year-old Brinn Hathaway has survived on her own in the Northwest High Country of Georgia since she was left for dead in a shallow grave by the man who kidnapped her as a child. When a young nature photographer, Justin Spencer, catches the wild girl on film and the two form a tentative friendship, Brinn must decide if coming out of hiding is worth the hope—and  the danger—that may await her.

For those of you interested in purchasing the book, follow the link:


Also, PJ is worth a follow! Check her out:

On her Website: http://www.pjsharon.com

Twitter: @pjsharon

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pjsharonbooks

Until next week, Happy Reading & Writing ya’ll!!!

The Lucky 7 Meme

I’ve been tagged by Nancy S. Thompson for The Lucky 7 Meme!

Here are the rules:

  • Go to p. 77 of current WIP
  • go to line 7
  • copy down next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs & post them as they’re written
  • Tag 7 other authors
  • Let them know

My 7 lines are from my novel, 18 THINGS, & the MC has just snuck out with her friends for the first time, all part of a life list compiled of 18 things she’s doing to help her live life to the fullest after a traumatic experience. Nate is a new hottie in town, whom she met at her therapist’s office. He brings a dose of fun to her list, but also complicates things by stirring up feelings she swore she’d never have again. Soooooooooo here is goes (wow, that took almost 7 lines to explain my 7 lines, lol. Sorry–I tend to babble) . . .

I point at Nicole. “Don’t even open that Pandora’s box.”

Nate looks offended, which is so not what I was going for. I wonder what Conner would think of all this. Whenever I picture him now, he’s buttoning up his Kurt Cobain grunge style flannel, holding up three fingers in the Scout Sign, reminding me to always be prepared. But you can’t prepare for falling in love, which is why I don’t want to. Give me my place on the school math team over having a boyfriend any day. Algebra, geometry, calculus, that’s something I can fall in love with. Something precise, a formula I can figure out that always works and never disappoints, never hurts.

“What took you guys so long?” I ask Nicole, trying to avoid Nate’s frown as he fidgets with his iPod Touch.

So that’s it–what’d ya think? Here are my 7 taggers:

1.   Jennifer M. Eaton

2.  Angela Quarles

3.  Shell Flower

4. Nicole Zoltack

5. Kirsten

6. Kristi Bernard

7. Callie Kingston

Check out these 7–they’re worth a visit and a follow:) Until next Wednesday . . . hope your week is lucky!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

It’s the first Wednesday of March (don’t forget to spring ahead this Sunday) so it’s time for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s IWSG. BTW, his new book, CassaFire is now available–can I get a woot, woot!?! It’s on my TBR list for Spring Break next week:)

So I have plenty of insecurities about my novel going out to 3 editors this week, which is a first, well the fact that it’s actually requested is a first. HA! But I don’t want to talk about it and jinx anything, so instead I’ll share some more conference notes from where the 3 requests came from.

THE ART, CRAFT, AND BUSINESS OF WRITING FICTION By: Linnea Sinclair (AWESOME workshop teacher- if you ever get a chance to take one of her online classes, you should! And her novels aren’t too shabby either!!)

  • Never forget that writing is an art and a craft but also a business.
  • The art of writing comes from the muse that drives you. It’s what demands you write the story when you could be watching TV.
  • Far too many writers rest on their art alone. This is why they’re writers and not authors. *Can I get an Amen!?!*
  • The craft of writing is the process that fine-tunes what your muse gives you (Grammar, Sentence Structure, Pacing, Vocabulary, POV, Conflict). It helps you present your writing so that it’s not only interesting to your readers, but saleable to an agent or editor (who you MUST REACH FIRST before you’ll ever reach readers). *shrugs, maybe not with the E revolution*
  • The business of writing is the most forgotten part of writing. It’s what all writers must keep in mind as they balance their art and their craft.  The editor or agent who reads your work is very aware of the business of writing. They have to justify their purchase/expenditure. If you understand the business of writing as well as you understand the art & the craft, you can increase your chances of publication. Business consideration includes genre, current market sales, proposed market trends, author’s experience in self promotion, author’s willingness and ability to self promote, the uniqueness of the author’s voice, and the cleanliness of the manuscript.

Questions every writer who wants to be an author must answer:

1. Why should someone read my book?

2. What’s my book’s tag line?

3. Am I willing to make the commitment of time to become a published author?

So how about you friends . . . what are your answers to these interesting questions? Inquiring minds want to know:):):) Only need 15 more followers to reach the 300 milestone & host another contest . . . just saying;) 

This book by Rita award winning author, Linnea Sinclair, is being made into a movie!

By jamieayres Posted in IWSG

Sunshine Award

Here are ‘The Rules’ for this award:

1) Thank the person who gave it to you (Thank you to McKenzie over at The Ubiquitous Perspective!) 2) Write a post about it. 3) Answer the questions below. 4) Pass it on.

Answers to questions:

  1. Favorite Color? Red (I’m a teacher, hello?!? LOL)
  2. Favorite Animal? Pygmy Puff (hmmm, how many dorks know what I’m talkin bout?)
  3. Favorite Number? 8 (got married on 8/8/98 & the #8 in the Bible means new beginnings:)
  4. Favorite (non-alcoholic) drink? Barnie’s Santa’s White Christmas Coffee
  5. Facebook or Twitter? Both, at first I only did Twitter to stalk authors/agents/HP stars, but now I’m lovin it! But they do keep me from getting my work done.
  6. My passion? Writing of course!
  7. Getting or Giving presents? Giving fo sure yo! But I love getting Blogger Awards:):):)
  8. Favorite pattern? Red & white checkered
  9. Favorite day of the week? Wednesday=Over the Hump Day and blogging day for me
  10. Favorite flower? Daisy–named my dog after it (cute little Basset Hound)

I’m passing along this award to my favorite blogger, someone who brings a little sunshine to my life every day . . . my daughter, Kaylee. She’s a free spirit–someone who teaches me every day to never take ‘no’ for an answer on matters that count and to believe that amazing things really can be done.

Check out her blog at: http://peaceloveandponcho.wordpress.com/