Jaime Rush Interview & Synopsis Critique Giveaway!!

Today I’m kicking off summer right by interviewing another gal who goes by my name, USA Today Bestseller Jaime Rush. She’s got a new release today, so let’s get this party started  and give her a warm welcome . . . (while I pause for the virtual claps I want to say please stay tuned afterwards to hear how you can win a synopsis or query critique from Jaime, and her new book!)

 

JA:  This is your 24th book. Have you always known this was the route you wanted to take?

JR: Ever since I was a kid, I loved creating stories. I did go to community college for a while to be “practical,” but I sat in class daydreaming about my current book! So I gave myself a year off to see if I had what it took to write (I also worked full-time), and I did. I threw myself into learning everything I could about writing and the business, and hard to believe, but here I am, 18 years after selling my first novel!

JA:  Ah, I daydream alllllllll the time about quitting my job and pursuing my writing full-time–keeping my fingers crossed it’ll happen sooner than later. Now, Darkness Becomes Her, the 6th installment in your Offspring series, was released TODAY!! Can you tell us a bit about the book and how you came up with the idea for the series?

JR:  Here’s the blurb for the book: 

A man beyond redemption. A woman beyond hope. And a battle that will either kill them…or bring them back from the edge.

Lachlan McLeod has a mission: find the beast who put his brother into a coma. He’ll start with Jessie Bellandre, his brother’s girlfriend, who’s harboring a dark, dangerous secret that could get them all killed. But as they plumb the depths of Darkness, and the light he didn’t know existed in the shadows of his heart, not falling in love with her will be as hard as staying alive.

 

The series came from my love of television shows like Roswell and X-Files, long gone. I really liked the dynamics of people thrown together in a dangerous situation, which always tests your true character. And especially when those people already have “issues,” namely that they each deal with having some extraordinary psychic ability. Throw in that some shadowy government faction is hunting them down, that their abilities stem from a mysterious experiment each had a parent in, and that those parents are all now dead, and you’ve got the overall arc of the first four books. I didn’t even know all the facts, or how all the characters played in, which made it fun for me.

Now that I’ve completed the arc, it’s fun to spin independent stories while still weaving in the original cast. So new readers can pretty much jump into DARKNESS BECOMES HER without worrying about catching up on a lot of backstory.

JA: Very cool! I’m a huge fan of the series:) I have to ask . . . do you believe in psychic abilities?

JR: Absolutely, and I think we all have the ability to tap into our sixth sense. We’ve all had “gut feelings,” right? Everyone has a story about hearing a voice telling them to maybe get off the road or change lanes right before something happens that would have injured or killed them. I also know there are a lot of fakes out to take advantage of human nature’s need to know the future or understand the past.

JA:  Amen, sista! I personally don’t want to know what the future holds, what fun would that be?  What’s next for you now?

JR:  Unfortunately the publisher is holding off on going forward with more Offspring books. I have another Offspring novella coming out in September (TURN TO DARKNESS), with an unrelated group. And I do intend to write Magnus’s story, because I need to know what’s going on with him now that he’s … well, don’t want to give too much away!

 But, being a writer, I can’t not write, so I’ve got a new series in development that I’m super excited about: The Hidden.

Miami. A melting pot of cultures: American, Cuban, Haitian … Dragons, Angels, and sorcerers. Magick hides behind the glitter and sunshine, where humans imbued with the essence of deities keep the balance between angry and forgotten gods, demons, and those of their kind who cannot fight the seductive lure of their magick.

I’ve thrown myself fully into the paranormal and am just loving it! I’ve already written two novellas and the first book. The series will debut from Grand Central Publishing sometime next year.

JA:  Wow, you are one busy lady! With all the writing that you do, does it come easy for you? What’s your typical day like?

JR:  Sometimes it comes very easy. It’s magic when it flows. Other times, like now, it’s more like pulling teeth. Life can distract, plus the many other aspects of this business. I just work through it, because it’s a job as much as my passion.

That being said, I treat it like a job, getting to work in the morning, not letting myself get drawn into Facebook chats or games or trolling the internet. I work a lot, usually seven days a week, though family time is important. And husband time <grin>.

JA:  Thank you soooooooo very much for your interview, Jaime. Do you have any parting words of wisdom for us inspiring writers?

JR:  If you want it bad enough, whatever your dream, it matters not the odds of making it, how hard it is, or fitting it into your busy life, especially when you’ve got a full-time job and family. As you squeak in twenty minutes here and there, you are making progress. As you get those rejection letters/emails, you’re making progress. Every step takes you closer to your dream, and if you really, really want it bad enough, I believe you’re meant to make it happen. So never give up!

Want more Jaime Rush? She wrote 14 books under the name Tina Wainscott, most paranormal romantic suspense (but not Offspring). You can check them out at Tina Wainscott titles. She also participated her first anthology novella in 2010, Bitten By Cupid, and it hit #13 on the NY Times List. Be sure to check that one out, too!

Friend Jaime on Facebook or Myspace or Twitter  or visit her website

Jaime has graciously agreed to help me celebrate 400 followers by offering a synopsis or query critique–your choice:) But please limit it to 2 pages. Also, her publisher is offering her book for a giveaway! To enter for either, just leave a comment below and then stop by here next Wednesday to see if you’re the winner & claim your prize:) Until then, Jaime will be stopping by so feel free to leave a question for her!

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Curiosity Quills Contest

I didn’t plan on posting until my usual Wednesday blog, but then I heard abou this & thought I’d kick the start of my summer off right . . . by entering an awesome contest of course:) Stop by Sharon Bayliss’s blog to sign up! Here are the dets according to her page:

To celebrate the 5/13 release of the YA fantasy, Wilde’s Fire by Krystal Wade, we’re having an awesome editor judged contest with Curiosity Quills Press! Our honorable judge will be none other than the Curiosity Quills Acquisitions Editor for Young Adult, Krystal Wade.
 
What can you win? Only the best possible prize. A chance at a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills. By 5/25, post your query and first 500 words on your blog. I recommend that you refer to Curiosity Quill’s submission guidelineswhen crafting your query. They don’t need the bio section, they like to judge a work by its merits only. You can go slightly more or less than 500 words so you’re not stopping in the middle of a sentence. From 5/25-5/28, pop over to the other blogs and comment on entries. Contests like this are a great way to get useful feedback from a lot of people. So let’s make it useful! Please post meaningful and helpful feedback that we can use to improve our work. Constructive criticism is encouraged but of course, unhelpful meanness will not be tolerated. If you’re lucky, you may even find comments from Curiosity Quills editors themselves.
 
Well, here goes nothing . . .
 

Seventeen-year-old Olga Gay Worontzoff is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet. She thinks her biggest problems are an awful name (after her grandmothers of course) and not going to prom with Conner, her best friend and crush since kindergarten. But while out sailing together, Conner is struck by lightning, and Olga feels responsible for his death.

Now the sarcastic, nerdy girl who never missed a day of school is lost, unwilling to get out of bed. To help battle depression, her therapist suggests a plan: compile a list of eighteen things to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday.

But the therapist has a big secret. She’s really a spirit guide and the eighteen things aren’t what Olga thinks, it’s really her after-death purification process. A week after Conner’s killed, the choice to take twenty pain pills ended up costing Olga her life. So while her friends help her fire-walk, try out for the cheerleading squad, break a world record and sail again, the only one it’s reality for is Olga, and Nate, the new hottie in town who brings a fun factor to her list while he unknowingly travels through the purification process with Olga. Then he complicates things by asking her out on her first date. She wants to put into practice what her ‘life,’ . . . er, death lessons have taught her, but of all the quests, opening up her heart to love again is the hardest of all. Time is running out and the journey to finding themselves again must be completed, or they risk losing their souls forever.

18 THINGS, a contemporary YA with a paranormal twist, is complete at 70,000 words. A younger version of The Bucket List meets The Sixth Sense, it is stand-alone but has series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

*First 500 Words*

OTTAWA COUNTY LIGHTNING STRIKE:

TEEN KILLED, GIRL SURVIVES

[FROM THE GRAND HAVEN TRIBUNE,

APRIL 2, 2013, REPORTER MELISSA TRACY]

A 17-year-old boy struck by lightning on Lake Michigan has died, authorities said late Tuesday night. A girl who was also on the sailboat when the lightning struck survived.

Ottawa County Coroner, Michael Wallen, told the Grand Haven Tribune that Conner Anderson died at the North Ottawa Community Hospital from heart failure following injuries from the lightning strike.

Paramedic John Croley told GHT that the teens rented a sailboat around 3pm yesterday afternoon and Anderson was struck by lightning around 8pm. The strike caused him to fly off the boat into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan. Since the teens weren’t wearing life jackets, the 17-year-old girl, Olga Worontzoff, had to jump into the water to retrieve Anderson. After swimming back to the boat, with Anderson’s body draped over a lifebuoy nearby, she managed to dial 9-1-1 on Anderson’s cell phone. That’s when she apparently noticed Anderson wasn’t breathing and administered CPR before being rendered unconscious after a gust of wind knocked the sailboat boom into the back of her head.

Anderson was in cardiac arrest when the Coast Guard arrived and was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later. Worontzoff regained consciousness while being loaded into the ambulance on shore, Croley said, and was treated for a Grade 3 concussion and moderate hypothermia at the hospital before being released.

*

Once I smashed my hand in the car door. The thought of returning to school today feels worse than that. I shove my book bag into the backseat of Nicole’s idling silver Honda Civic.

“How are you holding up?” she asks, hunched over her steering wheel. As her best friend, I can tell when her smile is a fake, plus there are dark circles under her eyes that no amount of cucumber slices could cure.

I take two puffs from my asthma inhaler. “Just drive.”

She snaps her fingers. “I know just what you need. Some Espresso To Go.”

What I need is Conner.

His funeral was yesterday. I’m so not ready for this but Mom is making me, thinks she knows best. I know Mom isn’t trying to be cruel, although at times I wouldn’t put it past her. She’s just the kind of person who thinks in practicalities. To her, going back to school seems like the logical next step to moving on because if she lets me stay home, then it’s making Conner’s death even bigger since as the probable valedictorian, I never miss school. She and Dad are back to work today too, always setting the ‘good’ example, even though they knew Conner well and are grieving with me. I guess it’s their way of coping with things. Usually I’d agree with being practical, but I’m beyond that now. There’s no way to make Conner’s death bigger since I’m the one responsible for not saving him and that’s the biggest truth that’ll ever affect my life. Nothing will ever be important to me again.

 
 

New Contest

Last week the awesome ladies over at The Bookshelf Muse celebrated Random Acts of Kindness in the writing community. Even though their giveaways are over, I never had time to participate. But there is a dear friend of mine hosting a contest on her blog that I feel is a random act of kindness so I thought I’d devote this week’s post to her (better to show up late to a party rather than never, right? rIGHt? lol . . . )

So hop on over to Marisa Cleveland’s page to participate in her one page agent critique contest going on until June 1st . . . gOOd luCK & don’t forget to check out The Bookshelf Muse as well if you haven’t before. Until next week (which, not to rub it in, but I’ll be off for summer vacation for 2 months by then. Yeah, I’m a brat)–CHEERs!!! 

P.S. My daughter won a Kindle Fire at middle school yesterday. I just had to share (hey, it falls under the random acts of kindness theme.) I thought it was pretty cOOl b/c on the way to school I was praying for her to have a good dAY at sCHool & she snORted during my prayer, snortED! I told her to have fAITH & she said ok . . . then that happened & it meant her horrible year ended on a totally gOOd note. I guarantee you there’s not a kid who will get more use out of it!

OK, now I’m really done ya’ll:) So stop by next week to hear about another contest hosted by yours truly!

 

I’m Watching You William!!!

I really enjoyed reading about everyone’s First Loves yesterday through Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blogfest. I don’t think my almost 12-yr-old Kaylee will say it’s ‘love’ yet–but today she’s been with her first boyfriend for 9 months *waits while everyone says the collective awwwwwwwww*. Now, of course her dad wasn’t thrilled when she said yes to her first  boyfriend (a ‘check one’ note was passed in the hall, soooooo sweet, right?), but it’s all very innocent and they’ve known each other since first grade. Still, Dan struggles with being that father that has to intimidate their daughters boyfriends (if you’ve ever met my hubby, you know he’s one big goofball). He for sure doesn’t have that Rodney Atkins persona from that country song “Cleaning This Gun.”  But he does have a secret weapon . . . the little sister! Please take the time to watch this hilarious 40 second video my 7-yr-old made warning Kaylee’s boyfriend, William. They get soooooooooo excited to see their views go up on You Tube & have dreams of Ellen having them on her show someday, lol.

*Also, very excited for almost 400 followers now:) Stay tunned . . . I’ll have another special treat for you when I reach that milestone! So please help spread the word~thanks & cyber hugs!!

IWSG-Soooo Little Time . . .

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and do you know what time it is . . . Alex J Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

Writing is my passion and when I don’t get my fix I feel depressed. I’ve had that feeling a lot lately, especially in May with only 16 more school wakeups for the school year (thank God–the end is near!). Among working full-time as a teacher, I’m also a mom to two girls (and sometimes my 33-yr-old hubby;) . . . add in guitar practice for Kaylee on Monday and Sunday nights, bible study group on Tuesday nights, horse riding lessons for Ashley on Wednesday afternoons, blogging (writing and commenting), trying to workout (which I fail miserably  at most of the time), house work and family commitments on the weekends, and trying to read (can’t wait for City of Lost Souls out on May 8th!), time is of the essence.

Usually my summer is when I write a full novel, then spend the rest of the school year slowly editing it, over and over and over again. But next year I am switching grade levels so much of my summer will be spent learning new curriculum and making Smartboard lessons to go along with said curriculum. I’ll also be studying for my media specialist degree since our librarian is retiring after the 2012-2013 school year and I’m hoping to replace her (unless I get that BIG book deal before then, HA!).

So now that I’ve vented, anyone have any pointers for me? How do you squeeze in writing time with a full-time job, family and hobbies?

*Ok, I wrote this last night & saved as a draft before heading to Bible study, then guess what the teaching was on? The Race, the Place & the Pace of life, lol. Funny how that happens. I came to the conclusion that I somehow need to spend more time in God’s infinite presence so I can have more peace about all the things in my life. So I’ll end with this thought of the day: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

By jamieayres Posted in IWSG