The Next Big Thing

Lindsey R. Loucks tagged me in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop earlier this month and now I’m paying it forward. Thank you, Lindsey! I will answer ten questions about my book, and then tag five other authors for next week.

Here are the ten questions and answers:

1. What is the title of your book?
18 Things

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Caffeine and chocolate! I mean, it originally came from my cousin being diagnosed with leukemia and writing a bucket list story that happened to involve teenagers. Then I realized that’d already been done with A Walk to Remember, so I took out the cancer and put my own twist on it.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
YA paranormal romance . . . could fall under inspirational too.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood would play my main character, Olga, which is funny because Lindsey also picked her for one of her characters. I swear I didn’t copy . . . I had her mind for a few months now.

Oh heck, I’ll go ahead and pick the whole Jedi Order (that’s what my group of friends call themselves in the book . . .yep, Ima Dork).

Nate=Zac Efron (I had a crush on this kid since my daughter got “H.S. Musical” for her 6th birthday. Thank God he’s of legal age for me to lust after now, and 100x hotter!)

Conner=Landon Liboiron from “Degrassi: The Next Generation”

Sean=Corbin Bleu (yessss, I do love me some H.S. Musical!)

Kyle=Logan Lerman from Percy Jackson

Tammy=Jamie Lynn Spears from Zoey 101

Nicole=Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A teenage girl compiles a list of eighteen things to complete the year of her eighteenth birthday at the suggestion of her therapist as a way to heal from the pain of her best friend’s death and in the process discovers a big secret that will change her life forever. (And breathe . . . I’ve never had to do that before and I hope I never have to again, lol).

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by  Curiosity Quills Press.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About two months. Then I rewrote a few parts, polished, and scrubbed for *cough, cough* . . . um, too many months to keep track!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Stacey Kade’s Ghost and Goth Trilogy.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Lots of people, but mostly Jesus, George Lucas, and my hubby!

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?                                                                                                                     It’ll challenge your mind, turn your world upside down, make you question why you are here, make you fall in love with larger than life characters, and give you some good LOL moments (well, that’s what my betas told me so I’m hoping they’re not pathological liars) . Those are the makings of a true literary marauder. And I will hire those really scary clowns from Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights to chase you around your house until you buy it. Just kidding . . . maybe.

Tag! The following five people are IT!
1. Allison
2. Kirsten
3. Tamara
4. Pk hrezo
5. Nancy S. Thompson

Speaking of Nancy . . . I’d like to feature her AWESOME trailer for her upcoming book. Enjoy and see you next Wednesday–hopefully I can reveal my own book cover by then *squeeeeeeeee*

 

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What Are Your Genre Favs?

Oh, I love a good blogfest, and today, Alex J. Cavanaugh is hosting one! *Squee*
(P.S. I’m sure you guys are tired of me squee-ing all over my blog, but I’m just an excitable person!)
 
 
One blogfest, four favorites!
List your favorite genre of:
Movie
Music
Books
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!
 
Movie: Good-hearted Fun
Not sure if that’s an actual genre, if not, then I’m making it up (we’re writers, it’s what we do, hahaha).
Most of my favs probably border on stupid funny. Give me flicks like The Princess Bride, Nacho Libre, Napoleon Dynamite, Baby Mama, Spaceballs, The Jerk, Mystery Men (pretty much anything with Ben Stiler in it), and Elf (totally should’ve won an Oscar IMHO).
 
Music: Christian Rock
Okay, go ahead and poke fun at me! This one was a bit harder since I really listen to everything, but mainly the local Christian station because as their slogan states, “It’s safe for the little ears in your family,” and well, I like to shelter my children! As a teacher, I can tell  you that we don’t have enough innocence and wonder left in kids these days. There are no more mysteries, they know it all. Okay, I’ll stop preaching. Some of my favs I like to rock out to are: Building 429, Barlow Girl, Need to Breathe, Newsboys (seen them so many times in concert I feel like they’re my distant cousins), Third Day, Skillet, and Superchick.
 
Books: Everything YA
Especially paranormal and fantasy. If you need some good picks, I recommend The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices Series, The Hunger Games and Harry Potter (obviously), The Cambion Chronicles, Soul Screamers books, The Sweet Trilogy, Divergent Trilogy, Halflings Series, and The Kane Chronicles (and yes, all of those have at least a wee-bit of romance in them–every good book does!)
 
Okay, now for a guilty pleasure from any of these categories.
Johnny Stecchino
Johnny Stecchino is a 1991 Italian comedy film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni (the guy who won an Oscar for Life is Beautiful and stood on the back of the chairs and applauded. He’s one wild & crazy guy!)
Johnny Stecchino is about a kindhearted but bumbling idiot who likes to steal bananas.
I recommend inviting your friends over for banana splits and watching the movie.
Trust me, you’ll be ROTFL:-)
 
So, dear friends, what are your favorites?
 
 

Taking the New Adult Journey

Today I’m super excited to welcome a guest post by my Curiosity Quills sister, Ayden Morgen. Her New Adult novel, Fade, was just released. It’s downloaded onto my Kindle and as soon as I finish my edits I plan on devoting my weekend to reading it! Check out the book description:

What do you do when you realize that nothing in your life is what you’ve always believed it to be?

The death of Arionna Jacobs’ mother has devastated her, and Dace Matthews is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral animal caged in his mind. When they meet, Dace tumbles into Arionna’s mind as if he belongs there, and everything they thought they knew about themselves and the world around them begins to fall apart. Neither of them understands what is happening to them or why and they’re running out of time to figure it out.

An ancient Norse prophesy of destruction has been set into motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. The end is coming, and unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never unravel the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.

 

Doesn’t that sound A*W*E*S*O*M*E?!?! That’s a rhetorical question folks because yes, yes it most certainly does:-) Now without further delay, here’s Ayden in her own words about taking the journey into the world of New Adult novels:

Like many in my generation, I grew up reading Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High series. I discovered the books in the fourth grade, and quickly fell in love. Our local library had a seemingly endless selection of the books for me to choose from. When I made it through those, I eagerly saved my allowance to grab the newest addition to the series each time one hit the shelves.

My love for reading and writing young adult began there, and so did my adoration of the romantic side of the series as a whole. Elizabeth and Todd’s relationship left me swooning, as did Jessica’s passionate, but often brief love affairs with the boys of SweetValley. By the time I made it to high school, I’d added historical and contemporary romance to my reading list. And as with the SVH books, I fell in love.

Naturally, I soon decided to try my hand at writing historical and contemporary romance too, but discovered I had no clue what I was doing. As a high school student, I had no personal experience to dwell on. I imagined I understood what it must have been like to fall in love in the days of lavish parties for the nobility and abject poverty for the lower classes. I also imagined I had a clue what it was like to juggle a career or children with a budding romance in current times. But the truth was, I didn’t know.

By the time I finished high school, I’d grown frustrated with the poorly written and never completed manuscripts piling up in the corner. I yearned for a return to those early days when I could get inside a characters head and tell their stories well. And so I returned to my first love. Unlike with my attempts at historical and contemporary, I knew these characters. I passed them in the halls every day in high school, hung out with them in my bedroom, and spent countless hours on the phone with them. I was one of these characters, and writing their stories came naturally to me.

In college, my life changed rapidly. I struggled to juggle being a newlywed with being a full-time college student, a full-time volunteer, and a full-time home health aide. Even more challenging was the unexpected, early arrival of my critically ill nephew. He required frequent, long-term hospitalizations and around the clock skilled-care. My entire life turned upside down as we fought for his life, and I realized that I wasn’t the only one dealing with huge, frightening changes, either.

There were, literally, thousands of college kids my age facing the same sorts of challenges, but no one was writing about those kids. New adults like me were overlooked or outright ignored in the publishing industry, leaving us reading novels that no longer fit quite well, or with those still years beyond where we were in their lives. I didn’t have any grand plan to change that, but I did decide I didn’t want to be stuck writing characters that didn’t always reach far enough just because that’s the way it’d always been done.

And so my quest to write those characters I could relate to began in earnest. As with young adult, the new adult genre fit me. I knew those characters, because I was one of those characters. At twenty-eight, in many ways, I’m still one of those characters. I don’t know what it’s like to be thirty-five and at the height of a very successful career, but I do know what it’s like to be a newbie in the career field, or any of a thousand things new adults deal with daily. And I remember what it’s like to be that college student whose life changed overnight, too.

Unlike when I was that kid though, new adult novels have begun to find their place in the publishing industry, and to give an entire generation of twenty-somethings like me a voice we lacked then. We can skim the list of upcoming titles and find characters we can relate to, whether they’re high school seniors, college freshman, or nearing the end of those crazy years when everything changes, and we don’t always deal as gracefully as we might wish.

The journey here hasn’t been easy. There were times while writing Fade when I felt like, literally, the only one in the world starting out with a nineteen year old heroine. I had so many questions, but six years ago, finding someone who knew the answers to those questions was no easy feat. That’s changed drastically since Fade first began taking shape, and so has the willingness of publishers to take a chance on those of us who mix young and new adult characters and situations in our works. Personally, I couldn’t be happier about that!

xoxo,

A.K.M. 

A.K. Morgen lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband, and three crazy pets. Her debut young adult novel, Fade (The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book One) is available now from Curiosity Quills Press. You can learn more about Ayden and her writing at: http://akmorgen.com. You can also find Ayden on Twitter (http://twitter.com/akmorgen), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AKMorgen1), and on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/AKMorgen).

 

 

Insecure Writers and Cover Reveal

It’s the first Wednesday of the month! DO you knOW WHat time it is? Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG–Woot, woot! If you’d like to join our Insecure Writer’s Support Group, just follow the link:~)

So last week I shared pics of my fam’s trip to Star Wars Celebration VI in O-town and promised to share some insights this week.

Do you ever wonder why you do this? Why you research, plan and plot, write, revise, ect . . . over and over again, many times without seeing the fruits of your labor for a loooooooooooooong time (3 yrs for many;-) While I walked around the Orange County Convention Center, it hit me. Stories, good stories, make us feel emotions and experiences we wish we had in our everyday lives. Sometimes in a world where I feel like nobody is real anymore (just look at ‘reality TV’), I can delve into a book and live in the world of the characters for a few moments (okay, usually for a few hours, lol) and feel like all is right with the world again. Because these rock stars, I mean, authors, have such talent, it makes me believe in mankind and our purpose here. Some people meditate or take Pilates, I read & write. It’s my therapy (along with a steady diet of chocolate and coffee. I think my pen name should be “Caffeine Girl”).

There’s another reason why I write and you may or may not share my sentiments. Besides needing it as much as the air I breathe, I look at it as a calling, just like my teaching job. I realize not everyone believes in callings and I’m not trying to preach at ya. But I do believe we’re all born with God-given talents and I think writing is one of mine. If it was a money thing, I’d go out and get another job (and I wouldn’t be a teacher either for that matter). It’d be a LOT easier, let me tell you! But in life, we all have those, “Luke, I AM YOUR FATHER” moments.

Love my daughter's Darth Vader mask with Ahsoka shirt-we all have a little bit of angel and devil in us

Love my daughter’s Darth Vader mask with Ahsoka shirt-we all have a little bit of dark and light in us

If I can impart some wisdom from those moments that happen to me to somebody else through my novel, then I think that’s awesomesauce. Like I said, writing & reading are therapy to my soul. In life, I’m a complete mess. I may have the Coach purse to fool you into thinking that I have it all (it was a gift from my students last year,  how cool is that), but trust me, people look at me walking down the school hallways and say, “Man, that Jamie Ayres is a complete mess! Look at her!” And I praise God for that, because He uses people like that to make a difference. So I write it into my characters, but the nice thing about that is I can make them shine on the pages by the time I’m done. Too bad it’s not that easy in real life. But nonetheless, our destinies aren’t thwarted by failures. George Lucas once said in an interview, “Even when Anakin became Darth Vader, he was still the chosen one.” So don’t give up on your stories if you’re feeling doubts and concerns over appearing foolish or weak. Darth Vader was still able to overthrow the emperor after the task seemed impossible all those years!

One more thing before I go, Krystal Wade’s cover reveal!

Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it just draw you in? Krystal’s a fellow Curiosity Quills author (not to mention the BEE–some of you get that, heeheehee). The last book in the trilogy is out in exactly 2 months *sQUee* Here’s the blurb:

Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?

Well, until next Wednesday . . .

May the Force be with you:~)