The TRUTH Comes Out!

Last week I posted “2 Truths and a Lie” about myself as part of the blogfest I hosted in honor of my sequel, 18 TRUTHS, coming out.

Well, today is my book birthday! Yay! Putting on my party hat and doing the happy dance around my living room. Also, it’s time to reveal the LIES so we can celebrate the TRUTH today!

truth

The options were:

1) I met my husband when I was 14, heard a voice in my head that said I would marry him one day, then actually married him when I was 18 years old.

2) I’ve been on two international mission trips and on one in Jamaica, I randomly met Queen Latifah, and then met Chris O’Donnell in Ireland on the other one.

3) This is my 13th year teaching public school, and I once had to save a child’s life who was choking on a mint in my classroom.

And the lie is . . . *imagine dramatic drumroll*

#2! I tried to hide the truth in a half lie, like most talented pathological liars 😉 I did meet Queen Latifah in Jamaica when we took one fun day on our trip and went to a waterfall. It was a secluded waterfall, not a heavy tourist attraction, but that was exactly what Latifah was looking for. She was hung over, so wouldn’t allow pictures, but did indulge people with autographs when asked. Very nice lady!

And I did kinda ‘meet’ Chris O’Donnell, but not in Ireland, although I thought I’d fool you with his Irish heritage! He also has family in Michigan, just like me! Last time my whole family went to MI, he was on our departing flight! I kept telling hubs it was him, but he wouldn’t believe me b/c he traveled alllll the way in the back, right behind us, without any fanfare. So when he passed our seats, I asked him, “Are you Chris O’Donnell?” He nodded and said, “Yes, I am.” I then hit hubs on the arm and yelled, “Told you so!” like any mature wife would 🙂 Then hubs wanted to bother him for an autograph, but he was with his rather large family and I told him we shouldn’t. Our kids were excited since they love the American Girl movie, Kit, in which he played Kit’s dad. (RANDOM SIDENOTE: I’m watching Jimmy Kimmel now & Chris O’Donnell is on . . . I’m taking this as a good sign, right?! Too funny!)

We had some really good lie detectors in our group! I didn’t announce this before, but if you guessed my lie correctly, you’ve won an ecopy (Kindle or Nook) of 18 Truths. I think there were at least a dozen of you . . . just email me through the Contact Me button at the top of the page ^ with the email you’d like me to send the file to!

THANK YOU to everyone who posted, played, and donated 18 prizes . . . I counted 44 who participated through blogs or Facebook, but I probably didn’t see all of Facebook. I’ll keep the Rafflecopter going while I’m on my blog tour. It’s at the top of my page to the RIGHT. And the tour has already started! Yesterday, I visited our Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh to discuss what Darth Vader taught me about failure. Today I’m at Teacher Writer’s blog, posting about a book ending I wish I could change.

I will say this. If you already plan on purchasing 18 Truths, will you consider doing so today? We’re going to try and push 18 Truths to the top of Amazon with a book bomb!

A book bomb means coordinating hundreds of sales on Amazon.com on one particular day (January 28th) for one particular book (18 Truths). It’s a great way to get a copy for yourself (ebook or paperback) at a great price, while raising money for a good cause! Because all the money from opening day sales will go to Gulf Middle (the school where I teach–and our library is in desperate need of an upgrade) and the United Mitochondrial Foundation in support of a local 6-year-old boy named Gavin Lawrey suffering from Mito disease (you can also purchase Mighty Mito Superhero, written by 9yo Makenzie Lawrey, who is a former student of mine. ALL her proceeds from her book will also go to UMF).

Can an ordinary middle school Language Arts teacher make Amazon’s Top 100 Best Selling List?

Most Super Big TRUTH ever: YES! But I will need to sell at least 500 books in the first 24 hours to do so. If this happens, I’ll donate my royalties from the entire first week to Gulf Middle and the Mito Foundation!

I want the younger generation to break free from low expectations and believe in impossible dreams—like their ordinary teacher making the New York Times Best Selling List! I hope it’s your heart’s cry to inspire the next generation as well. I also think 18 Things (Kindle book on sale for 99 cents this week!) and 18 Truths contain a powerful message for today’s youth. The trilogy is my humble attempt to put into words the message of a powerful work God did in me. Yes, it’s a fiction book, but at its core, it celebrates our significance to God. We are not forgotten. He collects our tears in a bottle. And going through hell is worth it if it leads us to the place God has. I hope my trilogy will not only entertain, but serve as a reminder of these timeless truths during this generation’s teen years—and throughout life (my oldest reader is 96).

If you want to help, the most important thing you can do is to help us spread the word and download a copy of 18 TRUTHS for  yourself today!

Together we can do this! Let’s push 18 Truths to the top and believe impossible dreams!

And if you still don’t know what 18 Truths is about, here’s the synopsis:

18 Truths high resolution image

 Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. His mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart. Unfortunately, a series of mistakes threatens everyone around her and plants Olga in the center of cosmic events much larger than she ever imagined.

Only one thing is certain: the chilling truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched.

Can’t wait to see how many lies I guessed correctly! See you around the blogosphere and THANK YOU for your support 🙂

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Truth or LIES?

To celebrate the release of the second installment in my 18 Things trilogy, 18 Truths, I’m hosting a blogfest! On top of that, you have the chance to win one of 18 wonderful prizes donated by 18 terrific people (* LOOK TO THE RIGHT, TO THE RIGHT >>TO ENTER . . . as a free wordpress site, this was the best I could do to host a Rafflecopter–does anybody know a better way?!)

Okay, then! Let’s get this party started! If you don’t know what 18 Truths is about, here’s a little sneak preview:

Now, here are the dets for the blogfest! Each person participating will post 2 Truths and 1 Lie about themselves sometime between today and Jan. 27th. People hop around and try to guess the lie! Players will reveal their Lie on my release day, January 28th!

truth

1) I met my husband when I was 14, heard a voice in my head that said I would marry him one day, then actually married him when I was 18 years old.

2) I’ve been on two international mission trips and on one in Jamaica, I randomly met Queen Latifah, and then met Chris O’Donnell in Ireland on the other one.

3) This is my 13th year teaching public school, and I once had to save a child’s life who was choking on a mint in my classroom.

Okay, guys, Can You Handle The Truth *says in best impression of Jack Nicholson & doesn’t come even close* Please guess the lie in the comments below! And if you’re not playing yet, it’s not too late to join the party . . . You have until Jan. 28th! The Linky Link is below & don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter at the top ^ of the page!

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Can You Handle The TRUTH Blogfest (Kinda) Signup!

18 Truths  (click to add to your Goodreads shelf!) is coming in 13 days. Can you believe it? Almost a year has gone by since 18 Things released, the first installment of the trilogy, and it really is scary how time flies! But I’m so excited for readers to go on a new adventure with Olga!

I have a one week blogfest planned with lots of giveaways and then blog tour posts planned from January 27th through February 17th! (Full tour info to come . . . with 18 stops of course, and contest giveaways list is at the bottom of this post.)

Beginning January 22nd until release day, January 28th–I’ll be hosting the Can You Handle The Truth Blogfest. This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in.

truth

All you have to do is post a blog centering around the classic Two Truths and a Lie get-to-know-you game.

Players tell two truths and one lie. The object of the game is to hop around the blogs and determine which statement that each blogger posted is the false one.

I hope everyone who plays the Can You Handle The TRUTH? blogfest between January 22nd-28th will enter the Rafflecopter (and maybe post it on their own site) to win a number of prizes donated by 18 terrific people, including:

1) Jamie Ayres–18 Truths paperback + swag

2) Mara Valderran–Heirs of War ebook + swag

3) Eliza Tilton–Broken Forest ebook

4) Tara Tyler–query critique

5) Alex Cavanaugh–Cassa ebook

6) Ayden Morgen–ebook for Fade and Fall

7) Lynn Jake–journals

8) T.F. Walsh–Cloaked In Fur ebook

9) Sharon Bayliss–print copy of The Charge + critique of query and first chapter

10) Katie Hamstead–ebook of Kiya

11) Michelle Ziegler–homemade granola and bookmarks

12) Elizabeth Johnson–Moonflower ebook

13) Lindsey Loucks–signed bookmarks

14) Krystal Wade–ebook of Wilde’s Fire

15) Teshelle Combs–1 copy of Core (paperback) and 1 ebook copy of Core

16) Krista Rausin–2 copies of Mystic paperbacks

17) PK Hrezo–Butterman Time Travel ebook

18) Jessa Russo–Ever ebook

This is just my way of saying THANK YOU to all you wonderful peeps out there (like allll those peeps who donated–I’m blown away by their support!)

I can’t wait to visit each blog and read your entries! I’ve seen this question done before in author interviews & have used it in my classroom for years as an icebreaker, & it always provides lots of laughs!

Now to the (Kinda) part of this post: Don’t blog? Put the cover of 18 Truths or the blogfest badge ^ from above up on your FB wall and post your 2 Truths & a Lie under the photo, or pin it on Pinterest with your 3 statements in the comments, or tweet them.

Bloggers, sign up NOW for the blogfest in the LinkyTool below (and make sure you grab the 18 Truths badge to put on your blog and please link back to this site whenever you post). Let’s get this party started!

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Reading Isn’t For Me

IWSGHEADER

“Reading isn’t for you? But you’re a Language Arts teacher and published author!” Before you pick up that stone, let me explain.

I teach reluctant readers every day and realized the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Did anyone see a recent poll in the associated press that only one in four adults read?

Raise your hand if you think it’s sad only 25% of our adult population reads books? Okay, now put your hand down, people are staring (welcome to my world . . . and it’s not because I’m extremely good-looking, no matter what Mom says).

And out of those adults, most admit to only reading four novels a year! This mentality doesn’t make sense to me because I’d much rather read than do ANYTHING else. There’s a quote by Groucho Marx that goes, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” HA! Raise your hand again if that’s you. (Again, put your hand down. People are laughing now.)

But I do understand this is a real mentality. I live with a husband who falls under the category of, “Reading isn’t for me.” In fact, he still hasn’t finished reading my debut novel, 18 Things, which released last January. Yeah, you read that right. LAST January. He said it’s his New Year’s Resolution to finish it in 2014. I’m not holding my breath, or I’d turn purple before you could say Ghastly Guilt Trip Glutton Reader!

And don’t even get me started on my middle schoolers! I’m required by my district to do a read aloud from a novel at least once a semester with each of my classes. This last semester, I chose 10 books that were award-winning YA literature and let each class (I have a total of seven) vote on what they wanted me to read. I thought they’d be motivated to listen if they picked the book. After all, I’m highly entertaining to listen to (aren’t most people with a coffee addiction? *downs eighth cup today*), so I wasn’t the problem. But I have to say, at times I wondered why I tried .While I do think students should be exposed to the beauty of actual literature (because they do read, but it’s usually just trash on the internet), I do not think my read alouds are having much effect on their capacity as readers. And at this stage of their lives as young students, more than anything, they need to read on their own. Otherwise, chances are, they’ll grow up and join the 75% of our adult population that gives the excuse, “Reading isn’t for me.”

Another quote. “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” –Napoleon Bonaparte

Raise your hand if you think the future of our world is looking bleak? (People are breaking out their smartphones now to take a picture of the freak who keeps raising their hand for no reason.)

I write and read as if breathing depends on it, so as an author and teacher, when I hear so many voices around me saying, “Reading isn’t for me,” I start to get more panicked than a sinner at church on Sunday.

When I think back to my own young adult days of reading (a long time ago in a galaxy far away), I can testify books made me everything I am. I started to believe in magic while taking up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, craved adventures while sailing the raft with Huck and Jim, developed courage while sitting around the Round Table with King Arthur, expanded my understanding of everyday communication when laughing with Amelia Bedelia, learned to accept people for who they are with an ugly duckling, appreciated the value of trying new things when eating green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, overcame difficulties with the Swiss Family Robinson, utilized my critical thinking skills while solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, repented and cared about others with Ebenezer Scrooge, craved true love and romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, reveled in the power of grace with Jean Valjean, and became a good friend and writer alongside a spider named Charlotte.

These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. The stories helped me to know I wasn’t alone (even though I sat by myself in the cafeteria), evolved my perceptions about the world around me and how to sympathize with others, entertained me when I was bored, and made me feel emotions I lacked from growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Already, I know my case for why reading is for everyone is being drowned out by the sound of kids inhaling violent video games, by the sound of teens receiving yet another text message, by you (if you’ve managed to read this far, then pat yourself on the back until you get a muscle cramp) getting distracted by some shiny new object posted to YouTube.

With the release of my second novel, 18 Truths, coming this month (January 28th!), I’m willing to do just about anything to get people to read (short of sprinting across the field during the upcoming Super Bowl with my book’s title painted across my bare chest).

18 Truths high resolution image

Most of you reading this post are probably veracious readers . . . any ideas on motivating those around me, young and old, to READ?

Because I don’t think the “Reading isn’t for me,” should hold up in the courtroom of life. What better way to satisfy our curiosities, learn what we need to know, and come together to make sense of this world than through a good book?

So yeah, my reply? “You’re right. Reading isn’t for you. It’s for everyone!”

Don’t forget to visit other bloggers in the Insecure Writers Support Group ! And as always, mucho thanks to our Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating this wonderful group!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others on Facebook or Twitter . . . I could use allll the help I can get with name recognition before my book releases! ❤

18 TRUTHS You Need to Hear for 2014

HaPPy*NEW*YEAR*Awesome*People*of*THe*UnivERse!!!!

18 Truths high resolution image

Did you catch the “18 Truths” on my new book cover? Do you agree with them? The truth can be a complicated thing, can’t it? In the new year, I’m hoping for more courage and faith to speak from truth, every day in every way. I hope to shut out some of the media and to lessen its influence in shaping my perception. I hope to stay focused on what’s right and true, even if other people around me disagree with my decisions. Perhaps, in doing so, the younger generation surrounding me in my home and at school will view me as a model for courage and truth, and like a trail of bread crumbs, they’ll follow my lead, and we’ll all affect 2014 in a positive way. At least it’s a nice thought 🙂

Okay, enough resolution stuff. The TRUTH IS I  need your help in planning for the release of 18 Truths on January 28th! But I wouldn’t ask for your help without telling you a little bit about the book first, so check out the blurb:

Lying is unbearable, betrayal is inevitable, and choosing which path to take is impossible.

Olga Gay Worontzoff ended her senior year as an eighteen-year-old girl totally in love with Nate, enjoying their new romance and about to attend the university of her dreams. Now she’s spending her summer in the weird subculture of the Underworld, with charmingly witty and powerful angels, and problematic demons, trying to rescue Connor, the best friend and secret crush she was unable to save during a freak accident.

But Nate has other things on his mind, mainly Grace. She’s their first assignment as joint spirit guides, and Olga’s feeling hurt and jealous. His mysterious behavior has Olga questioning everything she believed about him and now she must decide whether to stick to their plan, or follow her heart. Unfortunately, a series of mistakes threatens everyone around her and plants Olga in the center of cosmic events much larger than she ever imagined.

Only one thing is for certain: the truths uncovered during her journey will leave no one untouched.

Tell me the truth, does the blurb pull you in? If so, would any of you be interested in an interview (even a character interview), a guest post by me, a book review, a book playlist, or maybe just featuring my cover image, promotional blurb, and author bio on your site? Perhaps sometime in the month of January or February?

Also, last year I hosted a blogfest for the release of the first installment in my trilogy, 18 Things. Fifty bloggers participated by posting 18 Things they had on their bucket list, and I was able to give away 18 awesome prizes during release week! I’d like to duplicate that type of fun, so I’m planning a 1 Lie and 8 Truths blogfest (a twist on the 2 truths and a lie icebreaker I do with my students when they switch into new teams every month). People will post 1 lie and 8 truths about themselves, and we’ll try to find the lie. I figured it’s a fun way of getting to know each other, while tying in the number 18 and the truth theme. Sound good? If so, please consider signing up when I post the link on Jan. 15th. Also, if you have any swag to donate for the blogfest . . . books, giftcards, bookmarks, journals, critiques . . . I’d be eternally grateful, and that’s the truth!

Your interest and support really mean a lot to me. If you’d like to help with either the blog tour or blogfest giveaways (or both!), please let me know in the comments below, or email me through the Contact Me tab above^

Getting my book out there is just a small part of what I hope to accomplish in 2014. I’d also love to be a blessing to other bloggers, so please know I will pay it forward.

Oh, and I can’t go without also revealing my NEW cover for 18 Things. My publisher decided to revamp it for the release of the sequel so we could brand the series a bit better.

18 Things revised cover high resolution

What are your resolutions for the new year? Any truths you hope will rule your life in 2014? My faith is high, and I’m so grateful we get to share in this journey together from every corner of the planet around the blogosphere! Thank you, truly, for always answering my call for help when I need it!

~Cheers!!!!

❤ Jamie