The Page Is A Mirror . . . Or Is It?

Most of you have seen the Twitter storm surrounding the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign within the past year. At GeekyCon last month, I attended a panel titled The Page Is A Mirror, and authors spoke on the power of representation, and how we see or fail to see ourselves reflected on the page, and what we want from YA moving forward . . . more diverse books!

Now Lee & Low, the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the US, started an information-collecting tool: a diversity survey for all publishing companies.

“It’s quite clear this data is essential, and the fact we don’t have it…problematic. This lack of information blinds diversity initiatives.”

Why do I want the big five to sign on? I teach English Language Arts to mainly eighth graders. The first day of school we discussed why as children in elementary school, they LOVED reading. Then they got to middle school, and they are in a FULL DOWNWARD SPIRAL when you ask them to read a few pages.

Holy Howling Dogs!! What went wrong?!

Many claimed they didn’t have time to read anymore. They have more responsibilities, more activities. To that end I asked how many watched reality TV and played video games on a regular basis. Almost all raised their hands. I told them they still had time to read.

But one class in particular got real. We spent 45 minutes discussing how they DID NOT see themselves reflected on the page in YA literature. They’re tired of seeing the same story over and over again. It’s the end of the world and another white girl or white boy is saving them all. All of whom are extremely good-looking. Most girls are skinny. Most guys have six-pack abs. Sure, some are poor, some live in a violent area. Maybe a few are gay. But where are the heroes with learning disabilities, physical handicaps, the ones who were physically abused by their parents, or molested by a creepy uncle, the ones who self harm to escape the real pain, the girls who weigh 150 pounds or more, the boys whose faces are covered in acne?

And I felt their pain. The first two novels I TRIED to publish? Number one was about a sixteen-year-old girl who cut herself to escape her horrific childhood, most notably a rape by a family member (*written in 2010). The second was about a biracial ballerina dealing with the prejudices of a hick town when she was forced to move there the last semester of high school (*written in 2011).

Responses from agents? Most often along the lines of, “Though these stories are important to tell, they’re hard to sell.”

Okaaay . . . so I wrote a YA romance with a paranormal twist and a love triangle. Guess what? Harlequin Teen, Sourcebooks, and TOR (a division of Macmillan) all requested the full. While I waited to hear back, I submitted to a contest on a whim and consequently, offered an immediate contract with a small publisher called Curiosity Quills.

In January 2013, CQ released the first novel in my trilogy, 18 THINGS. Two and a half years later, I feel we live in a different world. Change is in the air, and I hope the publishing industry changes with it. I hope we don’t miss this opportunity to create books teens want to read, pages that reflect them like a mirror, that speaks to THEIR experience. Imagine a world where teens rushed home to read a book instead of watch reality TV or inhale violent video games. Wow . . . what a place that would be. I’d want to live in that world.

Oprah quote

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 🙂

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*This was also my post for the #BigFiveSignOn bloghop . . . it’s a busy time of year for me with the start of school, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. You can sign up for that bloghop at SCWrite’s website.

lee and low

 

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18 THINGS FREE + Caleb’s Crusade

Free 18 Things

They say nothing in life is free, but that is a lie! Because for today & tomorrow,  for the first time ever, 18 Things (book #1 in my trilogy) is TOTALLY FREE on the Kindle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why would my wonderful publisher, Curiosity Quills, do such a thing? Read their message below:

“To round off our ‪#‎18Thoughts18Days‬ promo – in which you could win a $50 amazon Gift Card – and to celebrate the conclusion of the Amazon bestselling YA coming-of-age paranormal-romance My So Called Afterlife series, with the release of book three, 18 Thoughts, on January 27, 2015, we’re offering the first book in the series,
18 Things for free between 01.25.15 – 01.27.15!”

 

That’s right! The final installment of my trilogy releases TOMORROW! I’m so so sooo excited, you guys!!! My “Share Your Thoughts” bloghop is still going on through Wednesday, and it’s not too late to sign up! If you participate, you’ll be eligible to win one of fabulous 18 prizes, and so far, I’ve only had 9 participants, so what are you waiting for? Here’s the linky link:

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Today is also the last day you can tweet or FB the “thought of the day” for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card from my publisher. Click on this link for the Rafflecopter on their site (again, there’s only 130 something entries, so there’s a good chance at winning!).

You can retweet this status, then enter: https://twitter.com/jamiemayres/status/556937501232078848

Share on Facebook, then enter: https://www.facebook.com/CuriosityQuills/photos/a.385312724855334.97616.176690689050873/782716198448316/?type=1&pnref=story

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all the announcements out of the way, I want to share about a family & their charity that’s near & dear to my heart. Monqiue Whan and I were classmates in the same graduating class at Cape High, and I reconnected with her in August 2008 when I signed up to run a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team In Training. Afterward, her and hubby, Rob, started their own charity. And on release day, when you download or buy a paperback of 18 Thoughts, all of my royalties will be donated to their organization. But first, let me introduce ya’ll to this wonderful family.

Tell us a little bit about your family and your journey.
Rob and I had a family we always dreamed of, a boy and a girl. Sadly, our dream for a perfect little family quickly turned into a nightmare when our 3-year-old son, Caleb, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2007. Bella, our daughter, was just 2 months old. Caleb underwent 7 months of treatment before he lost his battle 11 days after his 4th Birthday in 2008. Since then, Rob and I still keep up the fight. We fought so hard for those 7 months, we just couldn’t give up. Bella helped us a lot in the healing process. She was just 9 months old when her big brother passed away. We feel she helped us to do the simple things in life, like getting out of bed and making new memories. It has been almost 7 years since Caleb’s passing. One thing I can say is it never gets easier; you just get better at living the life of a grieving parent.

I can’t even . . . can’t even imagine. How did you find the strength to move on and start up Caleb’s Crusade?
Faith helped a lot, knowing that God is in control of our lives more than ever. We fought for 7 months next to our son. We saw him go through unimaginable treatment; he endured so much for such a young child. When Caleb passed, we still had a small fight in us. We still wanted to fight for him and other children who were fighting cancer. Maybe it was the anger we felt inside that our little boy died? When you witness children dying from a dreadful disease it is heartbreaking. No child should have to endure that. We saw our son take his first breath, and sadly, we saw our son take his last. We cannot give up on our children. It could be your child who is next, and we want you to know we will be there right with you fighting.

I remember when my cousin’s young son relapsed. You and Rob were the first ones to call to say Caleb’s Crusade would be there to help with anything they needed, and I was so grateful. How does Caleb’s Crusade differ from other cancer charities?
Caleb’s Crusade is pretty hands on, we are available to our families 24/7. We not only provide the financial support, but we also are there for emotional support too.We take our jobs of childhood cancer leaders very seriously. We know how devastating it is when you hear the words your child has cancer. Rob travels to DC and is a voice for our children; he fights for more federal funding for childhood cancer research and legislation that helps bring drugs to market for these sick and dying kids. On the national level, childhood cancer only receives pennies on the dollar. We just try to do as much as we possibly can. Yes, it is tiring and emotional, but we feel as though this is what Caleb would want us to do.

What a great way to honor him & leave a lasting legacy in his name. I know he’s smiling down from heaven at you and Rob for sure.

To learn more about Caleb’s Crusade, or to even donate, visit their website. And please, if you already plan on purchasing 18 Thoughts (& why wouldn’t you!), consider purchasing it on release day (which is when? TOMORROW . . . you guys are so good!) to benefit this wonderful organization. Also, did you know about shopping on Amazon Smile? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (*coughs Caleb’s Crusade). AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. So support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

 

Thanks for all your marketing help & enthusiasm! I’ll probably post again tomorrow because I’ll be up all night anyway, obsessively checking my Amazon rankings . . . I really can’t help myself sometimes. Self-control really isn’t my thing *opens mouth, inserts chocolate* Be sure to download 18 Things on your Kindle, too . . . what have you got to lose at FREE? It’s the BEST PRICE EVER!!!

Share Your Thoughts Bloghop

To celebrate the release of 18 Thoughts, the third installment in my My So-Called Afterlife trilogy, I’m hosting a bloghop!

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If you missed the Linky Link sign up (and most of you did because it wasn’t working–DOH!), here it is again! PLEASE join in the fun . . . only have 4 people signed up & 18 prizes to give away!

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Here’s what’s up, guys: Each person participating will post a thought (belief) that has defined their life, their way of thinking. Post up to 18 if you’re feeling adventurous, and be sure to post the badge below and link to this post as well! You can post any time between Jan. 21st and Jan. 28th. Then visit other participants to comment and connect with fellow bloggers/writers. I’ll pick 2-3 winners each day and keep this post updated as to who the winners were and what prizes are left (winners chosen through random.org)

Okay, so here’s my thought:

Day 10 Thought

Most of you know I’m an English teacher by day. When the students returned from Christmas break, I had them journal some New Year’s resolutions. Looking over the entries, I wasn’t surprised that most of them were self-centered. The next day, I showed them some resolutions from a hundred years ago, back when people focused on helping their country and community. And the resolutions that were focused inward were things like no flirting, no jealousy, no anger (which were considered vices in those days). It got us into a debate if those things were still considered immoral sins in today’s world. The flirting and jealousy were easy to disregard for most students because flirting is harmless (their words) and jealousy is something you can’t help, whether you’re a good person or not. But we had lots of different views about anger.

I will tell you this. I have noticed an alarming increase in the number of parents who encourage their teens to fight to ‘work out their problems.’ I get that when we’re angry, we get this primal feeling that rises up in us that’s out for blood. I’ve always had very strong opinions in life, and sometimes it’s difficult for me to control my emotions. So mustering up some righteous anger when the need arises without being cruel can be a challenge. Somehow though, I’ve avoided raising my fists to anyone in the past thirty-five years of being on this planet.

I’m a firm believer that, whether we agree with someone or not, we should honor their dignity. Love your neighbor and all that jazz. I remind myself that if they’re on God’s earth, then he cares about them, and so should I, even if they infuriate me.

While watching Obama’s State of the Union address, I was reminded of how easy it is to get wrapped up in the politics of polarization, to find myself shouting across the picket line (or the TV) . . . to draw that line in the sand and say I’m right, you’re wrong. But really, our love for our fellow man (or woman) should reach across lines and instead of distributing cruelty and harsh judgments, we should humble ourselves and dispense grace instead (IMHO).

What about you? Will you share your thoughts with me? Plleeeaaaase?! (After all, you don’t me to go all Hulk on your *#! . . . kidding, kidding).

Oh, and if you’re interested in winning a $50 Amazon Gift Card, simply share one of my thoughts of the day on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest up until release day, January 27th, and enter the rafflecopter (only about 100 entries here, so the odds are in your favor).

 

 

Will You Share Your Thoughts With Me???

To celebrate the release of 18 Thoughts, the third installment in my My So-Called Afterlife trilogy, I’m hosting a bloghop! On top of that, you have the chance to win one of 18 wonderful prizes donated by some terrific people just for playing!

1) Catch Me When I Fall paperback by Vicki Merkiel

2) Core ebook by Teshelle Combs

3) Core ebook by Teshelle Combs

4) The System ebook by Teshelle Combs

5) The System ebook by Teshelle Combs

6) $10 Amazon Gift Card from Eliza Tilton

7) Ever ebook by Jessa Russo

8) Evade ebook by Jessa Russo

9) Divide ebook by Jessa Russo

10) The Charge ebook by Sharon Bayliss

11) Destruction: The December People, Book One ebook by Sharon Bayliss

12) Watch Me Burn: The December People, Book Two ebook by Sharon Bayliss

13) The Undead ebook by Elsie Elmore

14) The Undead ebook by Elsie Elmore

15) Butterman Time Travel ebook by Pk Hrezo

16) Bella’s Point ebook by Elizabeth Seckman

17) Kiya ebook by Katie Hamstead

18) 18 Things paperback by Jamie Ayres

Those are some great prizes, right?! So let’s get this party started! If you don’t know what 18 Thoughts is about, here’s a little sneak preview:

Now, here are the dets for the bloghop! Each person participating will post a thought (belief) that has defined their life, their way of thinking. Post up to 18 if you’re feeling adventurous, and be sure to post the badge below and link to this post as well! You can post any time between Jan. 21st and Jan. 28th. Then visit other participants to comment and connect with fellow bloggers/writers. I’ll pick 2-3 winners each day that week and keep this post updated as to who the winners were and what prizes are left (winners chosen through random.org)

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Sound good? Or confused? Let me share some thoughts with you as examples. My publisher created an AWESOME countdown campaign last Friday, which marked 18 days until 18 Thoughts releases. Each day, they’ve been sharing a ‘thought’ on their social media sites with the hashtag #18days18thoughts & asking people to share. Each day that people share, they can enter the Rafflecopter on Curiosity Quills website for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!  Take a look at their fine examples (and nooo, you don’t have to include a fancy graphic in your post).

Day 17 Thought

Day 16 Thought

Day 15 Thought

Day 14 Thought

And of course, I’d love it if you got in on the action & shared some of the daily thoughts wherever you hang out online. Only 13 days away until release, woot woot!

The Sign-Up Link is below for the bloghop! I sincerely appreciate your support in helping me end this series with a bang!

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P.S. 18 Things is just 99cents for the Kindle, and 18 Truths (book 2) is reduced to $2.99 for the Kindle for the FIRST TIME EVER! They’ll stay that way through the countdown 🙂

 

Time to Rise Up!!

On Friday, I got an infected cyst about the size of a golf ball removed from my lower spine. I wish I could post a picture here because it really did look like an alien, but I’m afraid most of you would immediately puke. It was so big, the doctor had to remove it in the OR instead of his office, and it required a five inch incision. I’ll spare you the pic of my stitches as well. When he took out E.T., it was even more HUGE! I asked if I could take a pic (I have a thing for pictures now that I’ve joined Tumblr and Instagram last week), but apparently it’s illegal to take pictures in the OR (learn something new every day).

I’m a COMPLETE BABY when it comes to doctor stuff, which is why the cyst got so big in the first place (and I’m a workaholic & didn’t want to miss teaching or meeting my 18 Things trilogy deadlines). Of course, they’re testing it for cancer, but nine times out of ten the cyst is benign. But someone in our writing community is not so lucky and is suffering with cancer now. Please read about how you can help below. And please, for the love of all chocolate and coffee, make sure you take care of any medical issues straight away. If you need encouragement to do so, just ask me to send you those pictures.

 

“We all know how fragile life is, especially when faced with a life threatening illness.” ~Nic, Flirty and Dirty Book Blog.

 

Fiction introduced us. Reality binds us together.

 

Stephanie Thomas—co-founder of The Indie Bookshelf—has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Stephanie isn’t only a blogger; she’s a loving wife, and mother to three young boys.

 

In the independent author community, we have an extraordinary network of fellow authors, and readers. A special group of people who bridge this gap—helping authors connect with readers—is book bloggers. These men and women dedicate hours upon hours to reading and reviewing our works, and spreading the word to help us reach new readers.

 

Now, one of these women needs our help.

 

100% of the proceeds of the Rise Up anthology (volumes one and two) will go directly to Stephanie and her family to help them on this unexpected leg of their journey together.

 

Inside the pages of this collection, you’ll find amazing works of fiction. But please remember the reality, and help support Stephanie and her family.

 

Included in Volume Two of this collection are the following novels:

Rise Up Vol 2

Rise Up Vol 2

 

* 1. Always There – Carol Ann Albright-Eastman

* 2. Republic – Charles Sheehan-Miles

* 3. Seeds of Hate – Melissa Perea

* 4. In The Fields – Willow Aster

* 5. Bar Crawl – Andrea Randall

* 6. Totaled – Stacey Grice

* 7. Running from Forever – Ashley Wilcox

* 8. Crossing Paths – Melanie Stinnet

* 9. Going Home – Rhonda Dennis

* 10. Never Goodbye –  Kerri Williams

* 11. Without Boundaries – CJ Azevedo

* 12. Binds – Rebecca Espinoza

* 13. The Forgotten Ones – Laura Howard

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on Kobo

And if you’d like to give these wonderful authors a ‘like’ on Facebook for being so awesome, here are their links:

 

https://www.facebook.com/CarolAnnAlbrightEastman

 

https://www.facebook.com/CharlesSheehanMiles

 

https://www.facebook.com/authormelissaperea

 

https://www.facebook.com/willowasterauthor

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAndreaRandall

 

https://www.facebook.com/staceygriceauthor

 

http://www.ashleywilcoxauthor.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieStinnett

 

https://www.facebook.com/authorrhondadennis?fref=ts

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kerri-Williams-Author/347733968580393

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/CJ-Azevedo-Author/348248455274917

 

https://www.facebook.com/rebeccanespinoza

 

https://www.facebook.com/LauraHoward78

I hope you support this cause . . .it’s wonderful to see our own coming together, as they always do. I’ll try to be about as much as I can this week, but I’m visiting my dad in West Michigan & he lives in the woods, so WiFi is a bit tricky. If you happen to be near Grand Haven on July 26th, I’ll be doing a reading & book signing at The Bookman (you’ll remember the book store plays a prominent part in my books if you’ve read them!) at 11am. Fingers crossed that some people show up!

Love, Honor, and Hope

Hi, guys! Sorry I missed my weekly post last Wednesday, but the fam and I took a road trip on our way to UtopYA Con in Nashville. I have so much exciting news to share with you about the 18 Things trilogy, but more on that later . . . today I want to share about the Love, Honor, and Hope blog blitz. Please read below for the dets and help support our veterans as July 4th approaches next week.

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Love, Honor, & Hope – A Benefit for the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation

Eight authors are joining forces to support one fantastic cause. Beginning June 24, 2014, Love, Honor, & Hope, an anthology of eight full-length novels, will be available for 30 days at the low price of $0.99. That’s right, just 99 pennies. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation.

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PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects approximately 19% of the military men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—and that’s just those who have been diagnosed. The percentage is expected to grow as more of our military members seek treatment. It’s a heartbreaking trend for the men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedoms, especially with benefits being cut and promotions being threatened.

LHH_SMteaser

The United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation is a non-profit charity that focuses on providing FREE care to combat military members, both active and veterans. They can’t do it alone, which is why we’ve made the decision to step up and do something. All eight of the authors have their personal reasons for supporting this cause.
Cherime MacFarlane, author of Heart of the Hunter said, “For me, it’s the way a very quiet man, my uncle, receded into the background whenever a family function took place. I did understand he came back from WWII that way. A young man, easy going and quick to laugh became a recluse. My father also served in WWI, as did a second uncle who returned far from the mischievous young man he was before the war claimed his youth. I was a young mother during the Vietnam era. I had friends who did not come back from Vietnam. I had other friends who did come home but were permanently damaged by the things they saw. For me, this is an opportunity to give back something to the men who served their country when the call came. My uncles and father are gone now, but I do hope, in some small way, to pay it forward for them. This is a tiny step, but as the man once said, every journey begins with that first step.”

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It’s easy to sit back and talk about helping our veterans and active military members. To step up and help is something all together different. We are answering the call for help.
Will you answer? All it takes is for you to log on to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and spend 99 cents, and then hopefully share the great news on our labor of love. Not only will you receive eight full-length novels for your enjoyment, you will also tell our men and women who suffer from this terrible and debilitating illness that we’ve got their backs.

LHH_OOBAteaser

Love, Honor, & Hope is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from June 24 to July 23. It includes the following full-length novels:

Out of the Box Awakening – Jennifer Theriot

Early One Morning – Aubree Lane

Lost and Found – Jennifer Yarbrough

Scary Modsters – Diane Rinella

Tropical Dreams – Kelly Cozzone

Sisters of the Night – Linda Lee Williams

Heart of the Hunter – Cherime MacFarlane

Piece of Heaven – Sammie J

Get it here at B&N.

Get it here at Amazon.

Fate, Truths, and Worms

Today Author Elizabeth Seckman and I are swapping blogs . . . you can check out my guest post about fate on her blog here. If you’re looking for my Wormfest post, scroll to the bottom 🙂

Hi Jamie!!!     elizabeth seckman

Thanks for swapping blogs. I think I like you side bars better. So neat and tidy…amazing you trusted my sloppy self to take over!

Don’t worry, I’ll clean up when I go 😉

Congratulations on your new book, 18 Truths! Love the title, btw.

I missed the opportunity to join the 18 Truths blog tour, so I am so happy to get a second chance to finally tell some truths…

 

1. I’m afraid of going into the basement alone at night. Dittos on the outside. My imagination starts creating evil creatures in unlit corners and I can’t take it. 

 

2. I couldn’t read proficiently until I was in the third grade. 

 

3. I failed kindergarten. 

 

4. I almost failed the first and second grades. (I probably could have been diagnosed with a phobia, but that wasn’t as cool in the seventies as it is now!)

 

5. I was an extremely shy child. If a stranger talked to me, I would hide. 

 

6. I hated school until my best friend, Kelli, moved to my town in the third grade.

 

7. By the fourth grade, I was repeatedly put in the corner for talking in class.

 

8. I wrote my first “book” in the sixth grade. (a two page novel…LOL)

 

9. My first kiss was with my husband. I was in the seventh grade; he was in the eighth.

 

10. By the time I was in the eighth grade, I was so good at faking book reports I am almost ashamed. I would win prizes for so many books read…only half of them actually existed.

 

11. By the time I hit high school, few people would have ever guessed I was shy. I still loathed new situations and public speaking, but I was content and happy in my little pond. 

 

12. My freshman year, my husband asked me out on a date and I asked, “Why?”

 

13. I once called my husband ignorant in front of our entire history class. He still reminds me of the moment. 

 

14. My high school did compatibility matches and my husband ranked as my #1 match and I was matched in the top 5 on his. Would I maybe want to go out on a date? No. Told him if he was the last guy on earth, I’d possibly become a lesbian.

 

15.  I asked my husband to prom because I didn’t want another girl to have him. In college I told him he was going to marry me. (You’re seeing I have some serious issues, right? Yes, he is a very patient man.)

 

16. My husband and I were married for ten years before I told him what he did in high school to make me so vengeful. To this day, he says, “Seriously? That made you THAT mad?” (It was a comment not fit for a nice blog like Jamie’s!)

 

17. I have a potty mouth. I’m banking on Jesus getting my fractured self into Heaven.

 

18. I only do my hair when I am going “out”. I rarely ever go “out”.

Fate Intended is the third book in the Coulter Men Series.  Trip is the last of the Coulter sons to find love. He’s a handsome man with all the skills a young spy needs to succeed. But when it comes to love, he misses the target. Jane is a sweet beauty who may or may not be wanted for murder. She’s hiding out as a cleaning lady when chance brings her and Trip together. It looks like a happily ever after is in the cross hairs until reality tries to destroy what fate has intended.

Fate

Elizabeth Seckman is a simple chick with a simple dream…to write stories people want to read.

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In honor of Wormhole Week, Stephen Tremp, Alex J Cavanaugh, and L. Diane Wolf are hosting this blogfest:

Wormfest

Name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology with unforeseen consequences will go too far and set mankind back. (And they can be the same thing.) Example: De-Extinction, or bringing back extinction species through back breeding, genetic engineering, and cloning. With all the breakthrough discoveries mankind is on the cusp of, are we playing God? 

I’m going to go with artificial limbs and medicines for science advances. And for going too far I’d say Big Bro watching us. After the Edward Snowden incident last year, the Obama Administration and the “Intelligence” community (HA!) have been under fire for reading emails and monitoring the Internet of regular citizens with no cause–essentially invading our privacy and throwing our rights out with the baby in the bath water or whatever. I’ve never been good with idioms 😉

How would you answer the above question? Do you believe in Fate? Did you LOVE Elizabeth’s 18 Truths as much as I did?! If you’re in the Fort Myers area this Saturday, I hope you’ll come hear me speak under the teen tent at 12:45pm at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival 🙂

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

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 🙂