Six Sentence Sunday

  For Six Sentence Sunday, alls you have to do is post six sentences from your novel or WIP. This week my six sentences are from page 31 of 18 Things, the first book in My So-Called Afterlife YA trilogy, coming soon from Curiosity Quills Press. If you want to find out more, or check out some other great sets of six sentences, follow the linky link! Writers appreciate comments and constructive feedback!

Sliding my sunglasses to the top of my head, I look up at the sun and a cloud finally moves in front of it. For a moment, I block out the sounds of the lake around me and all I hear is the water and the wind. A warm and soft breeze blows across me like Conner whispering from the grave, “It’s okay. Go on, go on.” And it’s a release, a revelation, something I’ve heard so many times before but never listened to. Life does go on, and it should.

Sooo, whaddya think? If you are so inclined, I’d greatly appreciate it if you visit me over at J. Keller Ford’s YA Fantasy Author blogfest  . . . where she’s let people like me take over her blog this week and today is my turn! Come on, you know you want to:-)

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Top 5 Favorite Books of All Time

So today’s blogfest assignment is to name our top 5 books of all time. Like many of you, this is simply an impossible task for me. So I had to take out non-fiction books and all the classics and narrowed it down to my top 5 YA series since that’s what I’m writing myself.

1)  Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling — this is me being a nerd in line on the opening day of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. We stood in line 6 hours to get in and it was well worth it:-) I still haven’t forgiven my husband when last November he got to attend a red carpet event there as part of the hoopla surrounding the last movie DVD release. He met most of the stars but was unable to smuggle me in (he works for our local Fox news). Anyways, I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many HP shirts I own, but let’s just say plenty to wear a different one for each day of the week:-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)   The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis — this is my daughters and I standing next to the sword of the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe featured at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.( Can you tell I’m paranoid about using any pics other than my own after that post by Roni Loren?) I actually didn’t read this series until I was nineteen years old and got hired to work at a Christian bookstore. It was a very small mom-and-pop shop so one of the benefits of working there was we could read when it was slow so we could be better equipped to recommend books to customers. The first thing I picked up was this and immediately purchased the whole series. Yep, the downside of working there was spending my whole paycheck before I was out the door! So glad my daughters have gotten to enjoy these books though, and my students!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I enjoyed this series and movies so much that I started my own Sisterhood of the Traveling _____ (jacket, bracelet, necklace, ring. . . depends on the year). These are my 4 besties I met at college and we pass our journal and item of the year through the mail and then meet up once a year for a reunion. Three of us are spread across Florida, one is in Tennessee, and another in California.

 

 

 

4) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins . . . I first heard about this one at RWA Nationals in Orlando during July of 2010. What I heard is it was the most violent YA book ever written in contemporary fiction so of course I ran out and bought it, lol. I’m glad I waited to read books 1 & 2 until then b/c I only had to wait a month for book 3. Own just 2 shirts for this one, and a key chain:-)

5) The Internal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. This is the prequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments Series. To be honest, I’m kind of getting burned out on that series (#5 came out this year), but I love this prequel. Here’s the summary from the first book: When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Gray’s older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London’s dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

*I’ve told you mine . . . now tell me yours:-) If you’d like to join this blogfest hosted by my publisher, Curiosity Quills, you can sign up at Sharon Bayliss’s blog.

 

What’s On Your Bedside Table?

Perhaps you’ve heard of a little site called Goodreads? Incase you’ve lived under a rock for the past few years, I’ll tell you it’s the website where readers go to register the books on their reading lists as either read, currently-reading, or to-read. I mention this because to kick of Week 3 of the Buccaneer Blogfest, we’re supposed to highlight the last 3 books we’ve read on our blogs today. It’s pretty easy to discover the answer to this question just by checking out my Goodreads site so if you’re interested, check out the linky link above:-) If you haven’t started your own Goodreads account, I encourage you to do so (and add me as your friend while you’re there!). I’ve found lotsa great book suggestions and discussions on this site. It’s such a fun way to keep track of what you read and to interact with other readers, even authors! Authors are like rock stars in my book and this summer I’ve had the chance to interact with some of my favs like Susane Colasanti and Meg Cabot. And it’s a great way to support the authors you love. Reviews on Goodreads are like the fresh fruit, rainbow sprinkles and hot fudge added to our literary fro-yo cups (sorry–I’m on a frozen yogurt kick this summer).

If you want to check out other rock stars, visit some of the bloggers below! And don’t forget to read a book today! I’m hoping to finish Wilde’s Army and delve deeper into Jinx. What’s on your bedside table or Kindle? Inquiring minds want to know:~)

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Meet My Characters . . .

Today our Buccaneer’s blogfest assignment is to interview our characters. I decided to spend this fine Wednesday morning at Jumpin’ Java Coffee House, one of Olga’s favorite hot spots off Washington Street in her small hometown of Grand Haven, Michigan. I’m sitting at a table by the front window to keep an eye out for her. Ah, here she is, sporting Capri jeans and a red Wonder Woman t-shirt, her red curly hair done in french braid pigtails.

Me: Hey, girl. How are you today?

Olga: I’m happy! Is that for me? *points to a coffee mug in front of the empty seat*

Me: Of course! I know better than to approach you with a bunch of deep questions in the morning without giving you coffee first.

*takes a seat and groans after her first sip*Olga: Hmm, Chocolate-drizzled Snickers flavored whipped mocha. So . . . deep questions? How deep are we talking about here?

*Me grinning as I refrain from a That’s What She Said joke. Afterall, Olga is only seventeen years old*

Me: Umm, nothing too heavy. Lots of questions about Nate. Speaking of Nate, will he be joining us today?

Olga: He’s supposed to stop by after he finishes band practice with the Cantankerous Monkey Squad

Me: Awesome! Oh, I hope he brings his guitar and sings a song for us because that’s, you know, kinda sexy *fans self*

Olga: Hey, watch it! That’s my man you’re talking about.

Me: Right, sorry. So tell us a little bit about your story.

Olga: Well, it’s very emotional. Growing up, I was always a bit of an outsider but I always had my best friend, Conner, to keep me company. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. Then, last April, he died in a freak accident and I was there to see it all go down and wasn’t able to save him. I was really torn up about it, even downed an entire bottle of pain pills. That’s when my parents forced me to see a counselor and that’s where I met Nate. Ultimately our story is about love, grief, longing, self-doubt, growth, and the bonds of friendship. It has lots of fun stuff but it’s also poignant.

Me: Well, sounds like a beautiful story *toot, toot;~)* Now in the novel, 18 Things, your counselor tells you to write a life list of 18 things to do the year you turn 18. Is there anything on the list you wish you could take back?

Olga: Yessss! The roller coaster. Ugh . . . I can’t believe that . . . well, I guess I should let the readers find out what happens.

Me: For sure. *Get ready for shameless plug* Afterall, it’ll be released from Curiosity Quills later this year! What was your favorite thing from the list?

Olga: Going on my first date, of course! And speaking of the devil, here he is.

*At 5-foot-10, Nate enters wearing a blue t-shirt and baggy khaki corduroys, unfortunately covering up most of his lean and muscular body. He has a boyish face dominated by large, ocean blue expressive eyes, and his hair is crammed under a wool cap, a few coffee-colored strands peeking out onto his forehead*

Nate: Hello, ladies. *slides into chair next to Olga and sees her empty cup* Uh-oh, someone needs more coffee. *pulls out wallet*

Olga: It’s okay. I’ll get it. I know Jamie is dying to ask you some questions. *winks at me and walks over to the counter, the rich stimulating smell of brewing coffee drawing her closer . . .oh, sorry, POV problem for a second–hate those!*

Me: So Nate, when did you know you wanted to be more than just friends with Olga?

Nate: From the first moment I saw her.

Me: You’re just trying to score brownie points for when Olga reads this!

Nate: *holds up hands and laughs* I’m totally not! It’s the truth.

Me: Okay, then. Boxers or briefs?

Nate:  Boxers for sure. *adds suggestive eyebrow-wiggle as Olga walks over with 3 cups of coffee, one for each of us*

Olga: Everything okay here?

Me: Yes, of course. Totally behaving myself. So Nate, what’s the best thing about Olga?

Nate: She’s hot. *Olga slaps his shoulder* Kidding, well not really but I’d have to say everything. She gets emotional over things but not in a drama queen kind of way. She’s super smart and kind of dorky–loves to write poetry and  watch Star Wars and she’s never without a book. When I first met her last year she was all hunched over, like she was trying to disappear, so beautiful in her vulnerability. I knew right away I wanted to do something to make her feel better.

Me: Aww! That is so sweet. What would be your idea of a perfect date with Olga?

Nate: That’s easy. Of course it’s anywhere she is, anywhere she’d want to go.

Me: I like a boy who gives a girl what she wants! Olga–what’s your idea of a perfect date with Nate?

Olga: Hmm, probably grabbing a cup of coffee right here in the morning, then heading down the street to the beach and reading a good book while we’re stretched out on a towel next to each other, Nate strumming his guitar and serenading me. Then catching a movie at the theatre with the Jedi Order later.

Me: Oh, right. The Jedi Order is the reference you guys use for your group of friends in the book. Tell us a little bit about them too because they play a really important part.

Olga: Well, there’s Nicole. She’s the self-sacrificing best friend. Tammy is really strong. She puts up a front but she cares fiercely for her friends. Sean is a big goofball. Kyle is incredibly loyal. Conner is . . . was . . . bigger than life. He’s the one who started calling us the Jedi Order so we continued the tradition in his memory. Nate joined as an honorary member this year. He’s really honest and and definitely brings out the hidden risk taker in me.

Me: I’m sure Conner would’ve loved your list and the way it brought all of you together this past year as a catharsis to heal and move on while honoring his memory. Will there be  a sequel to your story?

Olga: We’re just some of the many voices in your head. You tell me.

Me: Oh, right. Yes, yes of course there will be:-) Guess I should be putting some words on paper then. I’ll leave you two love birds to yourselves. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do *wink, wink*

Buccaneer Blogfest Week 2

To kick off week 2 of our blogfest, canny captains Sharon Bayliss and Courtney Young have ordered us to kidnap our first paragraphs from our novel or WIP and post them on our blogs, lest we walk the plank. Well, I dunno about you, but I’ve seen some monstrous sea creatures lurking in the waters below. Here’s hoping you find me first 150 words of 18 Things seaworthy because it’ll be published later this year by Curiosity Quills Press:

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.

“Hey, Olga. How are you holding up?” she asks, hunched over her steering wheel. As her best friend, I can tell when her smile is a patent fake, plus there are dark circles under her eyes 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. She’s the kind of person who thinks in practicalities. Usually I’d agree with being practical, but I’m beyond that now.

*Please leave a comment to tell me what yer thinks, or I may be swabbing the deck again tonight;-) And it’s still not too late to join our thrilling quest of world domination er, . . . building our platform and creating connections. Just click on the linky link below, mateys.

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This list will close in 19 days, 0 hrs, 31 min (8/3/2012 11:59 PM North America – Central Standard Time

Introducing *drumroll please* . . .

 . . . Marisa Cleveland. I can’t believe I have the good fortune of interviewing  my fellow SWFRW (Southwest Florida Romance Writers) buddy. I first met Marisa back in March of 2010 at my second meeting of our local chapter. Newbies can bring up to ten pages for a fellow member to critique. She returned my pages the following month and graciously took me under her wing, reading soooooooooo much more of my crap over the next two years. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to land a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills without her help *gives round of applause* So you’re in for a real treat.

Me: Give us 3 words to describe your personality.

Marisa:  romantic infinite dreamer

Me: Very accurate. You and Simon are still so in love I want to puke every time I see you. Ha! Just kidding about the puking part–more like punch you in the face;-)  Tell us about what you write.

Marisa:  I write about relationships.

Me: That’s a sweet way of saying it! (I’ll add that she writes both Adult Romance & YA paranormal novels–talking about herself is not her forte, lol). Can you give us a sneak peek into what it’s like to be an intern at The Seymour Agency?

Marisa: super fun, amazingly insightful, and reading until the words blur on the page/screen

Me: I bet! I’m surprised you don’t need glasses yet . . . maybe reading is your super power, hmm? What’s your favorite craft book for writing? Favorite fiction book?
 
Marisa: craft book: Whatever I’m reading currently to help with whatever I’m having problems fixing in my WIP. I have a minor *but totally appropriate* crush on Donald Maass, so his Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction are definite faves of mine. fiction book: too many to name. Atlas Shrugged helped define me in high school, but I will stop whatever I’m doing to read a new release from Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Sherrilyn Kenyon.
 
Me: Yessss, Phillips is a rock star! Never heard of Atlas Shrugged  *rushes off to open another window and Google it* Okay, last question: Tell us anything fun about yourself, related or unrelated to writing.
 
Marisa: Fun… hmmm… I’m pretty tame. I save my drama for my characters. But I do have one thing that’s not fun, but it’s sort of interesting. I’m like a vault. I keep secrets better than anyone else I know, and when I have a particularly juicy tidbit, I get a pimple like a twelve-year-old. Like the one I have now on my cheek. 😉
 
Me: Well, I can attest that Marisa is a very private person, which is why I totally freaked her out at RWA Nationals in August of 2010 when I asked to spend the night in her hotel room and even though I barely knew her, unloaded my entire life story in all its ugliness. LOL . . . somehow she still spoke to me afterwards. Marisa, that wasn’t too painful, right? Right?
 
Marisa:
 
Oh, well! You can get to know Marisa better by visiting her blog (well worth a follow), and she’s also fun to Tweet with (psst . . . when she reaches 500 followers, there may be a contest involving an agent involved). Thanks for stopping by, fellow scallywags. If you didn’t know, this is all part of the Buccaneer Blogfest during the month of July and it’s not too late to sign up! Our ship duties today included interviewing the person below us on the blogroll. You can go here to read my interview by A.K. Morgen🙂
 
~Enjoy your weekend, matey’s!

About Me, Part 2

Believe it or not, I’m much happier when curled up in my Papasan chair from Pier 1, reading a good book, than I am talking about myself and trying to promote my blog. The scared little girl inside me tells me I’m not original enough & I don’t have anything important to say, that nobody likes me. With that in mind, here’s how I got started:

I started blogging in August of 2010. I was motivated upon returning from RWA Nationals in Orlando. At first I started just to show agents/editors I had initiative and was willing to have a presence on the web (and I didn’t want anyone else claiming jamieayres.com before I was a famous author–lol). It was exciting to have my own website but with the start of another school year and trying to write, I rarely posted more than once a month and the only people who read it were a handful of friends and family that pitied da fool (me). Last summer when I couldn’t afford to attend Nationals again, I decided to participate in Deana Barnhart’s Gearing Up To Get An Agent blogfest and that allowed me to finally connect with other bloggers. I loved interacting with aspiring authors all summer long, but once school started again, it was hard to keep up with posting my own blog and commenting on others. Then when I was ringing in 2012 at a New Year’s Eve party, I spoke with an agent who told me when she’s deciding between two similar writers she’s interested in, she’ll take the one with more of an online presence if their writing is equal. Soooooo that motivated me. I’ve posted every week since then (mostly) and try to comment on all the blogs I follow as much as possible. Ultimately it lead to signing a contract with Curiosity Quills Press last month after I particpated in a contest  hosted by fellow blogger buddy, Sharon Bayliss.

Some things I’ve learned: (taken from a blog post by fikshun b/c I couldn’t have said it better myself:-)

Focus on your own blog. Make it the best blog it can be. Don’t worry about how well other blogs are doing. Seriously. This really isn’t a competition. The more writing & book blogs the better:-)

Find your voice and stick with it. I’ve said it before. And I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers who have also said it. But it bears repeating because it’s so important. The only thing that distinguishes you from another blogger is your voice. Let it speak for who you are. Don’t try to adopt someone else’s voice or style. Your blog readers are there because they want to hear what you have to say, in your own words, not in someone else’s.

Focus on your content. Mix it up. Keep it interesting. Don’t let yourself or your blog get bored or boring. Find something entertaining or promotional or informational or fun and talk about it. You don’t always have to meme to fill the spaces. Come up with something of your own.

*One thing I’d like to know is how to create an AVI and a blog button with a grab code.

Okely dokely–this post is long enough & there are plenty of blogs to visit today that I know will have tons of fantastic  information to share . . . and it’s not too late for YOU to sign up for the Buccaneer blogfest, too. Your thrilling, high-seas adventure awaits, matey!

Arrrr! Ahoy Mateys!

Blimey! The Buccaneer Blogfest sure snuck up on me! Capn’s Sharon Bayliss and Courtney Young thought up this wild, swashbuckling ride and there’s still time to sign up! Just click on one of their linky links or yer may be trapped in Davy Jones’ Locker forever;-)

First on board is to introduce meself to ya’s. Well this one is smooth sailing fer me since me had ter write & submit an Author’s Bio last month to Curiosity Quills Press. Here’s what me came up with me fellow saucy wenches:

Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a public school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. She lives in southwest Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She spent her youthful summers in Grand Haven, Michigan and this setting provided the inspiration for her debut novel, 18 Things. She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you.

Part 2 of today’s quest includes following each other on our social media sights. Here me links be:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Google+

YALitChat

Now check back here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the month of July fer this grand nonstop joyride filled with more devilish fun than yer can ever imagine. I’ve got me own blood debt to pay now–off to visit me fellow buckos blogs. Yo-ho-ho . . . a pirate’s life for me!

Six Sentence Sunday

For Six Sentence Sunday, alls you have to do is post six sentences from your novel or WIP. This week my six sentences are from page 4 of 18 Things, the first book in My So-Called Afterlife trilogy, coming soon from Curiosity Quills Press. If you want to find out more, or check out some other great sets of six sentences, follow the linky link! Writers appreciate comments and constructive feedback! Okay, here goes nothing:

They aren’t the condolence kind of letters, the ones shoved in my locker. These notes detail the steps of treating hypothermia so I won’t kill anybody else, asking how a genius girl can be so dumb. Notes telling me my ashes should be spread over Lake Michigan, not Conner’s, so why don’t I just kill myself? They are full of the things I suspected my fellow classmates felt all week long. I don’t hold hard feelings towards my anonymous writers; their thoughts echo my own. The boy they loved was gone and the one responsible still walks among them. 

~ Enjoy your Sunday!

Letter to my YA self

Hi, ya’ll! Today I’m a guest on Krystal Wade’s blog . . . she’s not only a fellow Curiosity Quills author, she’s also the YA Acquisitions Editor who offered me my contract, so please don’t make me look bad in front of her! Hop on over and leave a comment. In this post, I’ve hijacked Doc Brown’s Delorean to deliver a letter to myself the first week of high school:-) For those of you too young to know what I’m talking about *shakes head* . . . . watch this video first.

Godspeed . . . .