In Rememberance and Why Books Matter

This past Saturday a twelve-year-old boy in my Language Arts classes died unexpectedly. I’m heartbroken, I’m ripped apart, I’m still in shock. But I’m also comforted. I’m going to share this story to illustrate how fictional books CAN and DO make a difference, because I know what a lonely profession this can be sometimes.

My student drowned in a canal near his home. His brother and neighbor tried to save him but were unable to revive him. For those that know my novel, 18 Things, it’s about a girl who tries to save her best friend from drowning but can’t and the book is her dealing with the guilt over that experience. My student who died went through books like water, a rare thing for a middle school boy. In fact, the first day of school, after telling me to sit him in the front because he was very hyperactive and wouldn’t pay attention otherwise (HA! LOVED his honesty!) . . . when I introduced myself and told them I’m an author, he immediately asked where he could get my novel. Two days later, he proudly carried 18 Things with him to class and told me it was his new favorite book.

When 18 Truths came out a month ago, he quickly grabbed a copy to read. A couple of weeks later, he ran to class. I told him, “Slow down!” He apologized and explained he wanted to be the first one there because he wanted to ask me some questions about my new book. I said, Ask away! I expected an interrogation about the plot twist at the end (he was quite angry with me for not having book #2 out right away after the plot twist in book #1 . . . did I tell you this was a boy after my own heart?!). You can imagine my surprise when he started asking me all these questions about God. Book #2 takes place in the Underworld . . . a recent book reviewer called it the Christian version of Percy Jackson. My student wanted to know if I made all of it up or if it was in the Bible. I told him I made it up, that’s why it’s in the “Fiction” section in the bookstore.

B&N placement

But I told him I definitely focused on the goodness of God because I think of that as a universal truth. Yes, I know we’re not supposed to talk about God in public schools, but he brought up the subject and I can’t explain things any other way except that the conversation felt right. We talked about how a lot of books that take place in the Underworld don’t mention God at all. Or how many characters act like they don’t believe in God or don’t know if He exists, even ones that have angels and demons in the plot (City of Bones comes to mind, as that’s one of the 8 books our students are encouraged to read this year for school). It was a great discussion, and then the bell rang and that was the end of it.

Then two weeks ago I announced to my classes that we were going to study Romeo and Juliet. Of course I was instantly met with groaning and gnashing of teeth. But the discussion that followed about modern-day examples of groups of people not getting along got very heated.  My student mentioned the holocaust, and much to my surprise, not only did he know practically EVERYTHING about it, my other students knew virtually nothing. It was then that I realized he (the boy who died) is Jewish. The class was riveted listening to him. Anyway, at the end of class, he told me the lesson was epic, he’d never forget it, and that when he was older, he wanted to be one of those Jewish Christians but he didn’t want to tell his parents because he thought they might be mad. I told him I thought that already thinking about such things at age twelve was very impressive, and he said, “Well, I’m a very curious kid.” I laughed and agreed with him. Then he dropped this on me: “Actually, it was your books that got me thinking more and more about God.” Can you say tears? He thanked me for the lesson, told me to have a good afternoon, and was on his way. That was the type of boy he was. Well-mannered, kind, curious, generous, always a smile for everyone, an “underdog.” He classified himself as one since he was small for his age, but always said what he lacked in size he made up for with his big personality. I couldn’t agree more.

I’m honored to have been part of his journey, though I’m terribly sad tonight. When brainstorming ideas with his class about ways we can memorialize him, they mentioned naming one of my book characters after him in the last installment of my trilogy since he loved to read and loved my books. I thought the idea was perfect.

Today I attended his funeral. As I looked at the destroyed faces of his parents, I was humbled by how easily our babies can be taken from us at any time. Even though right now I’m still questioning God about why this happened, I’m comforted that in the midst of mourning, He comes to us. In the darkness, His spirit moves. At the point of our deepest despair, He is closest. If you pray, I’d ask that you keep his family, friends, classmates, and teachers in your thoughts this week as we figure out how to move on without him.

I will say I don’t question my purpose in being an author anymore. Yes, it’s tough work, but if the sole purpose of my books was to touch this young man’s life and draw him closer to God before he died, then that’s all the reason I need to know publishing this trilogy was the right decision.

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Branded Character Interview and Am I A Real Person!?!

Wait? Back-to-back posts from me? Couldn’t be! I know, I know . . . but I’m shaking things up a bit for Katie Teller/Hamstead in honor of her new release this month, Branded.

branded_katie_hamstead TALL

Her characters, Ali and Nick, have stopped by for an exclusive interview!

Q: Tell us a little about yourselves.

Ali: Ah… I’m Ali, and I’m not an alcoholic.

Nick: Smart A. I’m Nicholas Qasim, I’d barely finished my bachelors at the University of Technology, Sydney, when the attack happened.

Ali: Let’s not talk about that.

Nick: Agreed.

Q: You two went to the same high school, but were never friends then. Why do you think that is?

Ali: He was two grades above me, and a super nerd.

Nick: *Laughs* Yup, I’ll take that; gaming, comics, anything nerdy you can think of and that was me. She never would have talked to me if I’d tried.

Ali: You don’t know that.

Nick: Really?

Ali: Okay, yeah, I probably would have blown you off.

Q: You guys are best friends now. Do you think things would have been different if you’d become friends before Ali met Damien?

Nick: *Stares at feet*

Ali: Maybe. Nick’s an awesome guy. I mean, yeah, in high school I would have ignored him, but I think if we’d met up after I graduated we would have been friends. He’s as loyal as they come. Who doesn’t want that?

Nick: Thanks, Ali.

Q: What is the earliest memory you have of each other?

Nick: Her walking into school with her older brother, Andrew, who, by the way, is more of a nerd than me.

Ali: That’s true.

Nick: All of us guys thought she was a hottie and wondered why Drew had her with him.

Ali: They have no taste.

Nick: Anyway, later she had tons of girls surrounding her, but Drew seemed to have vanished. A few days later we found out he hated having her at the same school as him and hid to avoid being associated with her.

Q: And you, Ali?

Ali: My earliest memory of Nick? Hmm… let me think… probably around the middle of ninth grade, so his eleventh grade, I remember him getting this math award. The school made a huge deal about it, and presented it in front of everyone. I think it helped you get your scholarship, right?

Nick: Yeah.

Ali: The school made a big deal out of that, too. But he was pretty shy about it. Unlike me, he didn’t thrive in the limelight.

Nick: Didn’t they have you and the choir sing at that assembly?

Ali: Ahh… Oh, no, that was the vocal ensembles. So yes, I sang.

Nick: I loved that. Ali is the best singer, you should hear her.

Ali: *Scoffs* I am not. You’re totally bias.

Nick: Nope, you’re the best. People would stop what they were doing to listen to you. I remember being late for class several times because you were practicing for something or another.

Ali: Stalker.

Nick: I’ll take that.

Ali: *Shoves his shoulder, grinning.*

Q: So, one last question: What do you want to do if/when the war ends?

Nick: Repair the bridges that have been broken. I hate the thought that people will hate me and my family and other like us because of everything that’s happened. Fear will make things like this happen again, so I hope to bring understanding and peace.

Ali: I just want to live my life, have a family, and enjoy being free without fear. I want to keep the people I haven’t lost with me for the rest of my life.

Sounds like a good plan! I mean, war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Buy Branded here. About the book:

Terrorists have invaded Sydney, and Allison King barely escapes her brother’s wedding reception alive. She and her siblings flee, but their parents are killed by firing squad.

Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.

But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.

Also, visit Katie’s site to enter her Rafflecopter giveaway! And once again, I want to thank everyone for supporting me on my 18 Truths Blog Tour and playing along! I’ve contacted everyone personally to let them know they’re winners, so if you’re here looking for the prize list, it’s up at the top right-hand corner of my site ^ . . . $25 Amazon gift card and my swag pack were the first prizes to go!

What do you think of Ali and Nick? If you have time, I’d appreciate a visit over at Jennifer Eaton’s blog. She asked me an interesting question today: Am I A Real Person? You be the judge 🙂 Also, my publisher is making the Kindle version of 18 Things only 99 cents tomorrow for a BookBub promotion . . . I’d really appreciate some social media shout outs to help move it up in the rankings! THANK YOU!!

18 Truths Blog Tour Wrap Up, My Writing Process, and Shattered Secrets

Today I’m participating in Elsie Elmore’s blog hop. Elsie is one groovy chick! 
Here’s a little bit about her: 
ElsieElmoreOutside the city limits on a small patch of land in North 
Carolina, Elsie lives with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.

She’s a science nerd with creative tendencies. And the stories she writes come to her from life’s experiences after her mind has warped them almost beyond recognition. Her first YA PNr, The Undead, is due out this year from Curiosity Quills.

Before I answer four questions about my writing process for the blog hop, I need to give a shout out to my writer peeps who hosted me during my last week of my 18 Truths blog tour. Incase you missed it:

 Last Tuesday, I visited EDC Johnson with my 5 Tips For Writing Trilogies.

On Wednesday, Tyrean Martinson challenged me with the “1 Word Interview.”

Eliza Tilton brought out the teacher side of me when I guest posted on her blog on Thursday with 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Reading.

Friday was Valentine’s Day, so I told Michelle Ziegler about meeting my husband.

On Sunday, I shared 18 Ways to Use 18 Things/18 Truths in Your Classroom with teacher/writer Lynn Jake.

And yesterday, I shared 18 Ways to Market Your Book with Pk Hrezo.

*Thanks to everyone for your support with the release of 18 Truths! Because of you, I have 2 books continuing to trend in the top 100 for Coming of Age Fiction! Also, be sure to check the Rafflecopter Widget in the top right corner to see if you’re a winner of one of the 23 prizes that was up for grabs during the tour (I’ll email winners as well). And my publisher is still continuing the giveaway of 10 paperback copies of 18 Truths over at Goodreads. But hurry–ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER (don’t forget to add it to your TBR shelf while you’re there).

 Okay, now that you’re all caught up, here’s today’s blog hop questions.

 1)     What are you working on?

 I’m working on the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts. Here’s the blurb:

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld anxious to return to normal, but fate had other plans.

Now she’s caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, torn between past and present. All sorts of bizarre events has her senior year of high school becoming increasingly odd with every passing hour. Things like the new hottie at school reading her thoughts but nobody else’s and her best friend waking up from his coma acting like a completely different person. Now she must confront what she will—or won’t—do to save the lost soul her childhood friend has become and stare down her own perceived inadequacies to face a couple of tenacious demons, figurative and literal.

Everything she thought she knew about reality will require suspension of her disbelief as she walks the line between fear and faith, love and loyalty.

In the end, she’ll realize “normal” in the conventional sense of the word is the one thing she could never achieve.

2)    How does your work differ from others in its genre?

YA Paranormal Romance that circles around the truth of the goodness of God is not so common in my genre. When I sat down to write my trilogy, I knew I wanted a faith story that said something unique. I felt like I had an issue that wasn’t dealt with a lot in the YA publishing world . . . death and faith going hand in hand. When someone dies, especially someone young, most people cry out “Why God?” I wanted to write a story in which a teen experienced loss and was consumed with guilt, and how the loss inspired her to live freely. But I didn’t want to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end. My childhood Catholic roots, my obsession with the television show Lost, my need for radical hope even in the face of death, and my belief that we’ll always end up with the person we’re supposed to, became the ultimate catalyst for the 18 Things trilogy.

3)    Why do you write what you do?

The message of my trilogy is my heart’s cry. It’s 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). That’s why I write YA Coming of Age Fiction.

 4)    How does your writing process work?

 I’m a pantser by nature. So usually, I just sit my butt in the chair and write. After I’m done with my first draft, I fill in a plotting chart to make sure I’m hitting all my major and minor plot points at the right spots.

Thanks to Elsie for letting me play. And here’s 2 other peeps posting for the hop. Be sure to check them out!

MargoBondCollins Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up DeadFairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Orians_Headshot copyAdopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. She is a member of SCBWI, a co-founder of The Writer Diaries, and her short story, PRINCESS UNAWARE, placed fifty-sixth in the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in Children’s/Young Adult. Vicki is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Finally, I leave you with a special treat . . . the cover reveal for Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade, releasing in just 2 weeks!

ShatteredSecrets

Arranged Marriages . . . Valentine’s Day/Moonless Blogfest

Moonless blogfest

Today, I’m participating in Crystal Collier’s Valentine’s blog hop, along with her AMAZING co-hosts: Pk HrezoTammy Theriault, and Michael Di Gesu. in honor her Moonless book release. But first, I wanted to mention that the 18 Truths blog tour is still in full swing. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway in the upper right corner of my blog . . . 18 terrific prizes up for grabs, including a $25 Amazon gift card and a ton of books!

And in case you missed it, I interviewed my characters, Nate and Olga, over at Mara Valderran’s blog on Thursday. On Friday, I posted my top 10 Valentine’s gifts on A.K. Morgen’s blog. On Saturday, I visited Jessa Russo with some of my favorite quotes from 18 Truths. And yesterday, I shared my favorite cupcake recipe with K.D. Rausin, as well as an excerpt from 18 Truths.

But enough about me, check out the details to Crystal’s new book:

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

BUY IT HERE

So here’s the question: If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, whom would you beg your parents to set you up with? Why? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.)

This is a tough one! So many choices! But keeping with historical England, I decided to go with Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices. He is so brave, so loyal, so caring, so fun, so sarcastic, so selfless, and who can forget, sooo H*O*T! Yes, he’s also ridiculous, arrogant, cursed, mysterious, and broken, and those things shouldn’t make me want him more, but it does! I think I could bring out the softer side of him just like Tessa did, the side that loves books and writes poetry.

Find the rest of the hop below!

And while you’re at it, enter to win one of these great prizes here!

CC Valentines Giveaway image

1. Le&ndra Wallace 2. Crystal Collier
3. Robyn Campbell 4. PK HREZO
5. Kimberly Afe 6. Dawn Brazil
7. Madeline Jane 8. Christine Rains
9. Meradeth Houston 10. Tammy Theriault
11. Brinda Berry Blogs 12. J.L. Campbell
13. Heather Musk – Reading, Writing and Everything in between 14. Elizabeth Seckman
15. Rachel Schieffelbein 16. Libby Heily
17. Donna Hole 18. Kyra Lennon
19. Janie Junebug’s Literary Lover 20. Ashley Nixon
21. Jamie Ayres 22. Title by Jaq
23. SA Larsen 24. Heather M. Gardner
25. suzannes-tribe 26. Ellie Garratt
27. C. M. Keller 28. Bish Denham
29. E.J. Wesley 30. Michael @ In Time …
31. Catherine Stine’s Idea City 32. Nana Prah
33. Eva Lefoy 34. Trisha @ WORD STUFF
35. Writer’s Block 36. Stephen Tremp
37. erica and christy 38. Mary-andering Among the Pages
39. C.M. Brown 40. Madeline Mora-Summonte
41. Jay Noel – Writer on Fire 42. Chrys Fey
43. Kittie Howard 44. Swagger Writers
45. Tyrean’s Writing Spot 46. Swords and Stilettos
47. Katharina Gerlach’s author page 48. Sabrina’s Writing Reflections
49. Carrie-Anne’s Magick Theatre 50. Queendsheena

I WRITE NAKED!

Welcome to the first hump day of the month, also known as the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. And co-hosted by yours truly this month, along with Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, and Mike L. Swift.

IWSGHEADER

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Did my title catch your attention? I’ve come to understand that the best writers don’t always have the best titles, but the most successful ones do. The truth is, we DO judge a book by its cover, and the cover and title go a long way into making a novel an instant best seller.

Titles for your blog are no different. A blog is a writer’s platform, and you need catchy titles if you want to stand out above the rest and entice readers to click on the little link you post to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages. Last year, one of my most popular posts was “Girls Gone Wild Spring Break.” I bet most of the people who found the post were sorely disappointed when it recounted my adventures with my two daughters during our spring break; which included a shopping spree, a Shell Factory outing, and a trip to Sea World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Hogsmeade--Welcome home, Jamie Ayres!

Hogsmeade–Welcome home, Jamie Ayres!

Another popular post in 2013? “Getting Lucky.” Again, not at all what people were probably searching for (it was about a 99 cent Kindle sale my publisher did around St. Patrick’s Day). I didn’t realize how many hits those posts received until I got my “Year In Review” report from WordPress in December. I was stunned! I thought my most popular posts would be revolving around my debut book release of 18 Things. It got me thinking about clever headlines, and the one you see above was instantly born in my mind when thinking of my Feb. IWSG post.

But then I also thought, is the kind of traffic attracted to my blog due to those misleading headlines really the type of traffic I want? I want to drive authentic interactions to my blog. This isn’t a numbers game for me. In fact, it’s not really about me at all. It’s about being part of a community of writers and readers. Still, it was too tempting to not write today’s headline of “I WRITE NAKED!” The truth is, I write in my pajama’s into the wee hours of the night, but I wanted to experiment and see if this ends up being my top post for 2014. For the record, I hope it isn’t.

Still, it never hurts to be original and catchy and bring a little scandal to your blog, as long as it actually ties in to what you’re posting about. Eye catching headlines have kept The National Enquirer in business for 88 years! Not that I read the supermarket tabloid, but staying in business for 88 years is something to be noted. Even if their content is lacking in truth, it doesn’t stop customers from impulse buying the tabloid in the checkout line because of their catchy titles pasted on the front page! And I figure out of all the ways to attract people to your blog, a catchy post title is probably the easiest. And I do want to attract people who wouldn’t normally stop by my blog. Hopefully, I’ve made my post interesting enough to hold the curiosity that got them here.

And maybe if they like my voice in the post, they’ll check out my novels, too. Maybe my books will inspire them. I’ve always hoped my books would not only entertain, but serve as a reminder that we are significant 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’ll never forget the fan mail I received after someone read 18 Things, telling me that the message in my book kept her from suicide. I’ve already received a similar message from a girl after reading 18 Truths, and it’s only been out a week. That’s what makes writing worth it for me . . . not the money (oh, just writing that made me LOL!) or star ratings or the reviews or the Amazon sales rankings.

Thankfully, I don’t have to write naked to make a difference, but a catchy title never hurt anyone, even if visitors were stopping by in hopes of finding pictures of topless spring breakers. One of my Facebook friends posted this as their status update just last week: “I find it horribly ironic that the turdnugget that stole my credit card info and went on a spending spree signed himself up for christianmatch.com, catholicmatch.com, and a porn site.”

People are always searching. You never know what your catchy title could lead them to!

What about you? Got any catchy titles I can steal? Hahaha! A big, supersized THANK YOU to Alex for letting me have the honor of co-hosting this month 🙂 If you haven’t checked out Alex’s book, Cassa Fire, the Kindle ebook is on sale for 99 cents right now!

P.S. The 18 Truths blog tour is in full swing! If you’re interested, I visited J. Keller Ford’s blog on Monday when she asked me how I tap into my YA side when I write. And yesterday I visited Lindsey Loucks to talk about my favorite YA book couples. The Rafflecopter is still up too–you’ll find it at the top right corner of this blog ^

Spreading Good News and 3 Parts To A Kickbutt Love Triangle

It’s Sunday! I hope you remembered to count your blessings today 🙂 Here are some of mine from this week:

  • 18 TRUTHS released on Tuesday to instant best-selling status on Amazon: #3 in Coming of Age, #3 in Children’s Paranormal, #9 in Children’s Sci.Fi. It’s still trending in the top 40 in the first two categories. Hoping it never leaves the top 100 as people remain faithful to share its message with others!
  • 18 THINGS has also trended in the top 100 for Coming of Age and Paranormal with its 99 cent Kindle sale, going on through Tuesday, Feb. 4th
  • So far, all the reviews have been 5 stars on Amazon, Goodreads, and B&N.com (only one on there, but still). And yesterday, my publisher forwarded me my first end-of-book survey. The reader rated everything excellent and left me a message at the end: ‘Jamie, this book was a wonderful piece of literature. I enjoyed 18 Things but 18 Truths was way more than I expected. I was glad that the book left me satisfied but still wanting/waiting for more. I loved how you kept God at a true state in most teenagers minds. They have questions, confusion and searching when it comes to finding, relying, and trusting God. Any young person reading this book may feel relief. It’s never too late to find the truth and believe. When my daughters are older this is a definite read for them.’ . . . how awesome is that?!
  • 18 TRUTHS blog tour kicked off to an awesome start, with posts continuing through Feb. 17th! Incase you missed it, on Wednesday I posted an exclusive interview with Nate on Katie Teller’s blog. On Thursday, it was another exclusive interview with Conner on T.F. Walsh’s blog. On Friday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Conner and Olga together over at Tara Tyler’s blog. Then yesterday, I shared my 18 Truths playlist on Teshelle Comb’s blog.
  • My former student and my daughter’s BFF, 9-yo Makenzie Lawrey, also released her book, Mighty Mito Superhero, to instant best-selling status. On release day, she trended in Amazon’s top 500 in the whole store! And in her first 4 days of release, she sold over 500 copies! That’s more than I can say! The best thing? ALL the proceeds from her book go toward the United Mitochondrial Foundation in honor of her little brother, Gavin. Please share about her book and/or buy yourself a copy to help her reach her goal of raising 1 Million Dollars!
  • The 18 Truths Rafflecopter Giveaway has over 130 entries now! You can enter at the top right of my blog ^ until Feb. 17th for the chance at winning one of eighteen wonderful prizes donated by fantastic people! One of those fantastic people happens to be EDC Johnson, and today, she’s visiting my blog! YAY! Take it away, Elizabeth!

EDC Johnson

Three Main Aspects That Make a Good Love-Triangle

There are three main aspects that make a good love-triangle:  both of the potential romantic leads need to have contrast, there must be both pros and cons for the protagonist to be involved with either choice and finally the protagonist must be riddled with indecision.

In my novel Moonflower, the two love interests, Lucius Conrí and Donovan Conrí, are brothers with very different personalities.  Not only is Donovan the older brother, he was raised to be the next heir as Marquess.  He serves in the military and takes his future very seriously.  In great contrast Lucius, as the younger brother, knows that he is not destined for greatness like his brother.  He did not have the luxury of countless tutors preparing him for his future.  Konrad, an old alchemist, was his only teacher but also became a mentor and friend.  He is a hard worker but focuses his energy in the here-and-now.  These qualities present two distinct choices, no Ménage à trois in this YA book.

For a love triangle to truly sizzle the characters need flawed realism.  If any character is too good to be true then it gets annoying and pointless.  Donovan has some in-your-face pros and cons.  At first the reader may not be sold on him as a possible love interest.  Although he is smokin’ hot, Donovan’s demeanor is judgmental, exclusive and self-important.  Our heroine, Josephine Woods, has to peel away his layers to discover his inner self.  His confidence, maturity and passion make him a total babe.

Lucius is the younger energetic brother with a bit of growing up to do.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and acts impulsively.  Despite his weaknesses he has lots of love to give and a kind heart.  He wants the best for all the people in his land.  Lucius is crazy about Josie and, hey, what girl doesn’t like that?!

These amazing qualities and intriguing flaws makes it difficult for Josie to decide which brother is the one for her.  Throw in her desire to return home, away from them altogether, and she becomes apprehensive to invest too much into either of the two boys.  The inner struggle Josie has debating between Donovan and Lucius is the crown to this royal affair.  The suspense and the process excites the reader and allows them to develop a favorite brother to root for.  Team Donovan or team Lucius, which will you be?

Moonflower Cover

EDC Johnson grew up in the Midwest, graduating from Michigan State University with her BFA in Art Education and her MA in Art Education from Western Michigan University. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Palm Harbor, Florida. Her decade of experience as a public school art teacher has inspired her to write fiction novels that will entice young readers. You may see some of her illustrations in
Renee Mallet’s: Fairies, Mermaids, and Other Mystical Creatures.

You can find more information about EDC Johnson and her novel Moonflower at:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Moonflower-EDC-... (KINDLE SALE NOW FOR ONLY 99 CENTS!!)

Website:  http://www.edcjohnson.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EDCJohnson

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/EDCJohnson

*What are some blessings your thankful for this Sunday? Rooting for the Broncos or the Seahawks tonight? Read 18 Truths or Moonflower yet? Do you agree with Elizabeth’s thoughts on love triangles? See you on Wednesday, when I help co-host for the IWSG!