My Thoughts Aren’t Divided Over This One!

Sometimes when you read a friend’s book and want to review it, you’re divided because you didn’t love it. Just ask Jennifer Eaton . . . she hated my first novel, 18 Things. But she’ll tell you it wasn’t because the writing that sucked *wipes forehead* . . . it just wasn’t her thing.

When Jessa Russo sent out an email to organize her blog tour for her new release, Divide, I signed up to review the book right away. I KNEW loving her story wouldn’t be a problem because she’s A*M*A*Z*I*N*G! She could publish a grocery list and I’d buy it ūüôā

The Book Blurb:

Divide cover

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate‚ÄĒthat she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales‚ÄĒshe unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

My Thoughts:

Jessa didn’t disappoint! She really knows how to get a story under way.¬† I immediately feel in love with Holland and Mick and cared about their happily ever after. There’s the triple D factor: desire, danger, and decision. Jessa nails them all with Divide.

Holland is a girl fighting for her identity, seeking truths about what’s happening to her. She wants Mick, but she’s conflicted because of the beast living inside her. At the same time, she’s recovering from a major heartbreak and betrayal (who isn’t in high school, right?). She’s trying to be good, but she’s lost control of herself. Other issues pop up that create plot twists I never saw coming. The whole time, you’re LIVING each moment as the characters experience it because of Jessa’s flawless writing. It’s a character-driven story and an action-driven plot, and it’s darn hard to pull off both but this book does! I loved the tension woven throughout this YA fantasy/fairytale redux. Every scene is manipulated for maximum impact.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It came too soon, and I wanted¬†to see¬†MORE of Holland and Mick.

book hangover

If you want to find out more about Jessa, go here to visit her website (she also offers a full line of editing services! My publisher uses her for freelance & as my editor, I can vouch for her!)

DIVIDE: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

What else has everyone been up to? I have to say I saw two great movies this past weekend. Friday I rented The Spectacular Now from the Redbox, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, a coming of age film based on the novel by Tim Tharp. Lovely indie film. Then Saturday the fam and I saw Rio 2. I must admit I wasn’t too excited to see this one, but I laughed more than the 3 kids with us (okay, 4 if you include hubs, hahaha).

Also, now that 18 Thoughts is written, I’ve had time to exercise again! YAY! I met two girlfriends for a six-mile walk on Saturday morning and was able to show them the door I’m convinced leads to Narnia. I’ve never tried to open it, but how cool is this door?!

Narnia

I’ll be back next week with my IWSG post. Huge hugs to Alex who mentioned me in his A to Z blog post on Monday! Until we meet again, LONG LIVE ASLAN!

Destruction Playlist by Sharon Bayliss

Last week I told you about Destruction by Sharon Bayliss. Today you’re in for a treat because Sharon is here to talk about one of my favorite things: music! When I write, ¬†I love listening to the playlists I created for my¬†18 Things trilogy¬†on Spotify, and you can check them out here if you’d life. But enough about me, take it away, Sharon!
Music is an important part of my writing process. I don’t listen to music while I actually write, but I’m most creative when I listen to music while I jog. Something about the music and exercise combination really makes my creative juices flow. I “write” most of my best scenes while jogging. I compiled some of the songs that I remember listening to while writing the original draft of Destruction in 2011 and 2012.Here are some of the lyrics that stood out to me:”Light up, light up

As if you have a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I’ll be right beside you dear”

Run by Snow Patrol

“And I am done with my graceless heart

So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart

‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn

It’s always darkest before the dawn”

 
Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine

“All the black inside me is slowly seeping from the bone

Everything I cherish is slowly dying or it’s gone”

Pyro by Kings of Leon

“Love; it will not betray you

Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free

Be more like the man you were made to be”

Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons

“We’re all weeping now, weeping because

There ain’t nothing we can do to protect you

O children

Lift up your voice, lift up your voice”

O Children by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“If Heaven and Hell decideThat they both are satisfied

Illuminate the “No”‘s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you

When your soul embarks

Then I’ll follow you into the dark”

I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

Learn more about Destruction
 
Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.
BUY NOW
An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!
A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can‚Äôt imagine living without.¬†
 
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own‚ÄĒshe is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children. ¬†

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.


Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)

The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

What about you? Do you create playlists for your books? See any of your favorite songs on Sharon’s playlist? Do you listen to music while you write?

3 Books Sooo AWESOME You Won’t Believe It!!!

Two years ago in May, I entered a contest on a blog that changed my life forever. The blog was Sharon Bayliss, and the result was a publishing contract for my trilogy! On Sharon’s blog, I read about another success story from her contest. Her name was Jessa Russo, and I remember falling in love with her voice on her¬†celebration post¬†and wishing she lived in Florida instead of California because I knew we’d be great friends if she did. Who knew that a year later, she would be my new editor for the second and third installments of my trilogy! And¬†by publishing my¬†books, who knew I’d help inspire a dear friend named Tiffany Pastor who I met in college a long time ago in a galaxy far away (okay, not that far away, but the year 2000 does seem like forever ago) to write and publish her own book!

I owe these three ladies sooo much, so I wanted to highlight their new releases on my blog today!

First up is Sharon’s book, Destruction.

Destruction-Sharon Bayliss

David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.

Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can‚Äôt imagine living without.¬†
 
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own‚ÄĒshe is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children. ¬†

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.

She had me at wizard!

Next up is the wonderfully talented Jessa with DIVIDE!

Divide cover

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate‚ÄĒthat she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales‚ÄĒshe unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.¬†


Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish. 

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her. 

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.
Who doesn’t love a¬†YA Fantasy/Fairytale Redux?!?

DIVIDE: Goodreads | Amazon 

And last but not least is Tiffany Pastor, who really is a pastor! She married one of my good buddies in college & nobody wears that last name better (my daughter was even a flower girl in their wedding . . . didn’t use all her petals by the time she reached the alter, so she dumped her basket right there, lol). Her book, CHILDREN of the CITY, is a novel about child trafficking in America.

COTC cover
COTC¬†tells the story of¬†suffering through fictional characters and introduces the reality of darkness that so many people face every day. Research and statistics of atrocity are now given a face, given a name.BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT than the nuts and bolts of the plot is the ‚ÄúWHY‚ÄĚ behind the story. This is MORE than just book sales and bestselling lists! This is an opportunity for people to UNITE and make a difference since 40% of her proceeds go back to freedom fighting organizations!COTC¬†empowers people like you and me to rise up and partner with freedom fighters all over the world.

DON’T THESE BOOKS LOOK AWESOME!!! I hope you’ll check them out, and I hope you’ll forgive me for neglecting to visit your blogs the past month while I finished 18 Thoughts. Good news is I sent it to my CP’s last night! It is finished . . . until they rip the manuscript to pieces. A little warning: the series didn’t end the way I planned. My characters changed their minds with 3 chapters left. Don’t you just love it when they do that?!?

 

IWSG-Do I Belong Here?

I’ve been chained to my laptop since March 16th, trying to finish up the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts (can’t wait to show you the gorgeous cover!!!) . . . so I sorta forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month until I checked my inbox when I got home and saw Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog post. Oops!

IWSGHEADER

And I really wanted to tell¬†the Insecure Writer’s Support Group¬†all about my experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, so I’m taking a quick break from writing to blog. When my publisher submitted my name for this festival, I never actually thought they’d accept me. They always bring in HUGE authors for the super Saturday event held every March. This year was no different . . . W. Bruce Cameron, Sue Monk Kidd, Julia Quinn, Jill Shalvis, Rick Yancey . . . the list goes on and on, including . . . Jamie Ayres?

I attended the Friday night Evening With the Authors reception the night before,¬†and Melody Carlson and Tyler Whitesides sat at my table!! Every kid I know is obsessed with Tyler’s Janitors series (I read the first book to four of my classes) and Melody Carlson has written over 200 books, won the Rita, and had one of her books made into a major motion picture. It was her novel, Diary of a Teenage Girl, that motivated me to write inspirational fiction for teens! Hubs had to keep kicking me under the table so I wouldn’t fangirl too much.

Then I got to the festival the next morning and caught Sue Monk Kidd’s speech before heading over to my tent. And it was, as Oprah would say (since Oprah did pick her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, as her book club pick), it was A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!

But as I walked to my tent, fear and worry gripped me. I would never speak as eloquently as Sue did and bring in the type of crowd that becomes standing room only, never have Oprah pick my book, never have my book chosen as a Sunshine State Read (as Tyler’s did), never have my novel made into a major picture, never win a national award. WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I’ll be the embarrassment of this festival and never invited back again. I bribed hubs and daughters to pretend they didn’t know me and to ask¬†questions so it’d look like I had three fans at my tent.

Guess what? I had 103 people show up to my tent! By comparison, Ricky Yancey had 131, so I’d say that’s not too shabby for my spot at the Young Adult stage! FYI, I’m reading The 5th Wave by Yancey now, and it’s absolutely awesome. Now I certainly didn’t speak as eloquently as Sue Monk Kidd, but I realized God didn’t need another Sue Monk Kidd. He needed a Jamie Ayres to speak to whoever was destined to be there that day. And afterward, I had an actual line at the autograph table. How freakin’ cool is that! I didn’t even bribe the people to be there ūüôā

So if you get invited to an event that’s just a tad bit out of your comfort zone? Don’t let your feet tread easily on the well-worn path and stay in your little box. “Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Don’t know who said that, but it’s on a picture in my dining room, and it’s a darn-good quote!¬†Believe all things are possible . . . hey, maybe 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts will be made into movies one day. If so, I vote for Theo James¬†to play the angel, Riel!!! Touching his bicep has been added to my bucket list of things that could possibly earn me another restraining order but is totally worth it ūüėČ

P.S. This Saturday, I’ll be in Orlando at the UCF Book Festival from 9-3:30pm with a few other authors at the Curiosity Quills table . . . stop by if you’re in the area–I’d love to meet you!