Big Book Giveaway!!

Hi, all!

How was your weekend? Mine wasn’t too shabby . . . read to/gave away books to kids at the hospital with the Lee County Reading Council, packed up nonessentials in the house, tried a new restaurant with friends that had great burgers/BBQ, and attended my book club. Still only halfway through this month’s pick though, The Goldfinch. Anyone else pick up this Pulitzer Prize winner and have trouble getting through it?

Anyway, the real reason for my surprise blog today is to invite you to Teshelle Comb‘s Big Book Giveaway and Sole release event on Facebook. I’ll be there from 7-8pm, giving away ecopies of my books, and she has lots of other cool stuff going on from 11am-1am, so stop by if you get the chance!

 

 

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Gwen Gardner: Demon Holes vs. the Knight Bus

Today you’re in for a treat because Gwen Gardner is here to guest post, woot woot! I first came across Gwen on the blogosphere because we both had our debut into the publishing world around the same time, her with Giving Up the Ghost, and me with 18 Things. I’m pretty sure it was our Ninja Captain that brought us together. If you don’t know Gwen yet (go ahead & slap yourself), allow me to introduce her.

Gwen Gardner author photo

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter.

Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face – but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate – not necessarily in that order.

Knight Bus vs. Demon Hole

Thanks for hosting me today, Jamie!

I know Jamie is a Harry Potter fan and so am I! We’re both still waiting for our owls from Hogwarts with our invitations to attend. Well, Jamie would be one of the professors, for sure. Probably Muggle Studies, because she’s so good at human nature. I’m sure I’d be sorted into Griffindor where I’d excel at Defense Against the Dark Arts. At least, my characters might or might not agree with that.

I mean, I get them into dark and dangerous situations, but I get them out again, don’t I?

Indigo Eady is a ghost-whispering teen psychic and the protagonist in my Afterlife novella series. In Second Death (book I), I did sort of have her sucked down into a demon hole. She later compared it to that scene in Harry Potter’s The Prisoner of Azkaban where Harry inadvertently hails the Knight Bus.

The Knight Bus rescues witches or wizards in trouble and takes them where they need to go. There’s a scene where Ernie Prang is driving and throws a switch to maneuver between two muggle buses and so the Knight Bus shrinks to about six inches wide, squeezing all on board into a fun-mirror deformed version of themselves.

Well, according to Indigo, that’s what it feels like getting sucked down a demon hole. Sort of like being squeezed through the gullet of a snake. Slow, arduous and suffocating.

But that’s where the similarity between the Knight Bus and a Demon Hole ends. The Knight Bus is completely dangerous, true. It averages about one accident per week. None of the seats or beds is bolted down and so they slide all over the place. And being squeezed like that can’t be good for the mind or body. But at least they offer beds and hot chocolate!

Demon Holes–well, you can imagine what a nightmare they are. Indigo hasn’t quite forgiven me for the following scene, where she found herself all alone in the cemetery… at night…

Second Death cover

 

I reminded myself we were still in Gertrude’s Garden. We’d already seen how easy it was to go from one dimension to another without even trying. Yeah, maybe that was it. I should wait right there for Badger and Simon to get back. I folded my arms over my chest. Clamped my teeth together to keep my chin from wobbling. “Yeah, I’m just going to wait right here,” I spoke aloud, continuing to scan the area. “Sounds like a good plan, Indigo,” I answered myself. I glanced left and right. “I’ll just sit and wait,” I mumbled, backing up to the Earl’s headstone and sliding down into a sitting position. I waited and waited. And waited some more. I’ll admit that patience wasn’t my best virtue.

I changed position, using my left hand to shift to a more comfortable spot. That’s when I felt it. A general tugging sensation, followed by a swarm of orbs swirling up my arm. A squeezing numbness encompassed my body, like I was being swallowed whole by a boa constrictor, suffocating slowly, inch by inch, while contracting muscles pushed and sucked me further and further down into the bowels of…

SPLOT!

I lay on my back, no idea what had just happened, only that I couldn’t breathe. Panic was about to set in when my lungs finally expanded. I sucked in air like a fish gasping for water. Scrambling to my feet, I found myself in a narrow, dusky corridor, lit intermittently by orblight sconces along the walls. The floor and walls were uneven and dirt-packed, with roots protruding, some big, some small. The impression of being deep underground clung to me, like I’d been buried alive. I struggled to control my breathing, which threatened to turn into full-on hyperventilation.

You really landed in it this time, Indigo Eady. Under the freaking cemetery! I whimpered, which echoed and dwindled to silence down the corridor.

What do you think? Has Indigo forgiven me?

Thanks, Gwen! I loved your HP analogy, & this book sounds A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!

Don’t forget to follow Gwen on social media! She’s a hoot!!

Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Amazon / B&N

You can buy her book now on Amazon or iTunes!!

Jamie Ayres In The News!!!

Hi, all!

Sorry I haven’t been around as much to comment lately . . . A LOT of stuff happening. A big part of that is three kids, ages 13, 12, and 9, moved in with us last Tuesday. Helping five kids with homework takes a lot of internet time away, lol.

5 kids

But I wanted to share something exciting! Florida Weekly interviewed me for their paper last week. You can see the online version here.

FL Weekly

I like that I’m above all those best sellers, hahaha!

What have you been up to? Hope to catch up soon 🙂

The Best Suicide Prevention Plan?

“Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord lightens my darkness … You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your help has made me great. You have made me stride freely, and my feet do not slip.” 2 Samuel 22:29, 36-37

Unfortunately, sometimes the darkness we face is too much … too much pain, too  much trouble, too much opposition, too much sadness, too much debt, too much stress, too much … you fill in the blank. When it feels like the darkness is too big, it threatens to overwhelm us. What can we do?

Sometimes people feel like there is nothing to do. They take their own lives.

As a teen, there were two instances when I felt this same way.

The only thing that stopped me was God’s saving grace. Part of my experience served as inspiration for 18 Things and 18 Truths, both of which touch on the issue of suicide attempts. You can read part of my personal testimony on an old guest post I did on Gwen Gardner’s blog if you’re curious.

So what’s the point of all this?

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Visit the Official World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook Event Page and join people from all over the world who are supporting the cause, survivors of suicide and the many volunteers and practitioners worldwide who work to alleviate suffering through evidence-based research and practices.

It only takes a minute to help someone. And if you’re out there reading this, feeling like the darkness is too much, please let me offer you encouragement from my experience.

I would not still be here without asking for God’s help and wisdom. Just time spent thinking/praying about God’s will for my life and reading his word comforts and heals me. From this practice, I think you’ll find God is, and always has been, waiting to help. He wants what’s best for you, but we don’t see the big picture, we only see ourselves. He’s working on things we don’t understand. My pastor gave the analogy of remodeling  your house–it always takes longer and cost more than we think. And we’re not always committed to the process like God is . . . because he thinks eternally. He’s building an everlasting soul. He’s not going to duct tape over your problems for a temporary solution. But if we believe God is smarter than us and has way more experience and his love is FREE, then maybe we just found the best suicide prevention in the universe.

do something

http://www.vevo.com/watch/matthew-west/do-something/USUV71400004

 

 

 

 

Listening to Your Intuition

In the beginning of July, I received an email from a fan named Kerri. Immediately, I thought of my childhood best friend with the same name, even spelled the same way! I knew it wasn’t the same girl I once counted as a sister, but my heart began pounding out of my chest, and I didn’t ‘think’ . . . maybe I need to find her today? I KNEW! Granted, I’d tried many times to search for her online but to no avail. I hadn’t had any contact with her since I married in 1998. Her last name was different. I had no idea where she lived. Make a looong story short, I paid one of those stalker sites a dollar that EVENTUALLY led me to finding my long-lost friend that day. Her mom, who might as well have been my mom from fourth to eighth grade, died the day before, too young at the age of 57. Was the immediacy I felt at the need to find her THAT particular day a coincidence?

Kerri and I reunited at her mom's memorial

Kerri and I reunited at her mom’s memorial

So what does this have to with writing?

On July 23rd, I received an email with my first round of edits for the last novel in my 18 Things trilogy. She had this to say about my ending:

“Then the epilogue happens. I’ve never been so angry and confused and bipolar in my emotions as what this ending gave to me. NOT in a good way. I edited this AS I READ IT for the first time. That was my immediate, instinctual reaction. If this were a finished, completed MS that I’d picked up and were reading to review for enjoyment, the rating/review would not be positive.”

krystal and me

My editor and me at the UtopYA2014 conference ❤

*deep breaths*

Between a family drama and health problems, I had to let this one simmer a couple of weeks because I wasn’t sure how to respond. But when I finally returned to her comments, I realized she was right. Sometimes the gruffest critiques can be the best. They make you evaluate what YOU really want as an author and go from there (a wise CP reminded me of that). And I realized the ending I, THE AUTHOR, wanted all along, wasn’t the right one . . . neither was the one my editor hoped for. Like my first two books, it may be an ending that hardly anyone expects. I know I didn’t!

But like my 14yo daughter said, “Well, Mom, you pulled total surprise endings in your first two books . . . don’t you think it’s only fitting your characters do the same thing to you for the final book?”

Still, I was flipping out . . . BUT THIS WASN’T WHAT I PLANNED?! WHAT DO I DO?!?! I should note that I never ‘planned’ to write an epilogue either. My characters had already surprised me with an extra I didn’t expect. But this time around, I was leaning toward cutting the epilogue completely, and the final chapter was one I hadn’t thought of until mulling things over after my editor’s email.

I was at a crossroads. And like so many other times in life, I followed my intuition. Never would I have ‘planned’ my ending this way, but I know . . . not think, not hope, not pray . . . I KNOW it’s the right one. Funny thing was, when I went back and examined some things in 18 Truths, it’s like my subconscious knew this ending was coming all along. Just took me a while to catch on!

Do you find yourself immediately listening to that little voice nudging inside of you, or does it take a few wrong tries before you realize your intuition was somehow right all along?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month, so feel free to join us if you need support or would like to give some encouragement! We’ve been going for three years strong now!

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