Reading Resolutions


Happy New Year! For the past three years, in addition to a New Year’s Resolution, I set a reading resolution for myself. This year’s goal was 40 books, and I met my goal right before Christmas (you’ll see 45 on the list, but 5 were rereads, so I’m not really counting those). In this post I offer my list in the hopes you’ll pick one of them up in 2019. I listed my top 5 Nonfiction picks, then my top 5 Fiction picks (sooo hard to narrow that down), but the rest of the list is in no particular order. I can honestly say I enjoyed every book . . . I’m kind of a book whore 🙂

  1. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah *NF
  2. Everybody Always by Bob Goff *NF
  3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell*NF
  4. The Glass Castle: A Memoir  by Jeannette Walls *NF
  5. Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother *NF
  6. Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda
  7. Violent Ends
  8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  10. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  11. Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes
  12. Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
  13.  Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  15. THE LEAVING by Tara Altebrando
  16. BEHELD by Alex Flinn
  17. Unwind (Unwind Dystology)
  18. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
  19. Unbelievably Bound by JC Reimer
  20. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
  21. The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi
  22. Side Effects May Vary
  23. Under the Feet of Jesus
  24. Emergency Contact by Mary H K Choi
  25. Love Does by Bob Goff
  26. Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills
  27. Faultlines by Lucienne Diver
  28. Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas
  29. Fences by August Wilson
  30. Maus by Art Spiegelman *Reread
  31. Looking For Alaska by John Green *Reread
  32. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse *Reread
  33. My One Word by Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen
  34. The Stand by Stephen King *Reread
  35. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut *Reread
  36. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
  37. Visual Note-Taking For Educators by Wendi Pillars
  38. 180 Days by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle
  39. Write What Matters: For Yourself, For Others by Tom Romano
  40. Books for Living: Some Thoughts on Reading, Reflecting, and Embracing Life by Will Schwalbe
  41. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi 
  42. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
  43. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  44. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom
  45. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

My goal for this year is 45 books! What’s your New Year’s Resolution? (Mine is to be content . . . there’s lots to be said for being content in our daily lives, and I’m looking forward to living with a word that reminds me to do that.) Any book resolutions? Cheers to Happy Reading in 2019! May the words you read open up new ways of thinking, inspiration, and possibilities!






2017 Reflection

At times, it seemed like there was no end to the horror that was/is 2017. To quote Star Wars: “So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.”


Not only did the world seem to be falling apart, my youngest daughter turned 13 in January. I firmly believe there’s no harder job in today’s society than raising a teenage girl. And our oldest daughter started her senior year of high school! So I didn’t write much. I tried to write a novella, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Time with my kids is too precious. The other hard part about being a parent is letting them go, no matter how crazy they make you sometimes!

The only book related thing (outside of reading a ton of novels & pestering all of my students to read them) I really did was plan a literacy festival for my high school. I organized classroom visits for 15 YA authors with $8,000 in grant money received. Then the last hour of the day, the entire school headed out to the football field for food, games, activities, & prizes. Students got to get their books signed by the authors and take pictures with them there. It was a great day, and we’re hosting our 2nd annual festival in March. If you’re a teacher and would like more info on putting on author events for your school, feel free to email me! Or if you’re a YA author in the Florida area (or don’t mind traveling to Southwest Florida even though we can’t pay you) who would like to participate in future events, then please contact me!

So as I look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, was there anything I would do differently? Yes. I think it’s the same thing I remind myself every year, every single year. To remember to slow down and enjoy the journey. This may seem like a small thing to many, but since I’m a task-oriented person, it’s sadly not an easy thing for me.

How was your 2017?

This has been another 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.


Prose Pet Peeves

I read 16 books this summer from start to finish . . . others I started but never finished. Two of the novels I did finish but had some trouble with were written by the same author: Cormac McCarthy. For all his fame, I’d somehow never read any of his works. I started with The Road because I heard many high school English teachers using that one with success in their classes. Then I moved onto No Country For Old Men because I thought that title fit better with my curriculum; this year I’m focusing on international mindedness and appreciating other cultures/viewpoints. In the end, I didn’t add McCarthy to my syllabus because I just couldn’t get over his lack of punctuation. I didn’t want my students to start modeling his style and go, “But McCarthy did it!” when I broke out the red pen.

According to McCarthy: “There’s no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks. I mean, if you write properly you shouldn’t have to punctuate.”

If you say so. But my annoyance at his lack of punctuation took me out of the story time and time again. Then it made me insecure. Do I use toooo much punctuation?! Is that my problem? I definitely haven’t achieved the success of McCarthy with my 18 Things trilogy.


What are your pet peeves when reading?

This has been another 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. Check out the co-hosts this moth for some more reading/writing/editing pet peeves:

Christine Rains
Dolarah @ Book Lover
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Yvonne Ventresca
LG Keltner




18 Things Sale (1)

Today & tomorrow!

If you could download, tweet, or Facebook, I’d greatly appreciate it!

Sample post:

For a captivating #YA filled with loss, adventure & love, 18 THINGS by @jamiemayres is FREE 8/21 & 8/22

Thanks, all! Hope you have an AWESOME week!


May the Fourth Be With You

May 4

Today is the most important of all holidays, especially with the reboot of the Star Wars saga this past Christmas. And if you didn’t know, Disney plans to release a new Star Wars film every December through 2019! I saw a tweet about this from YA author Victoria Aveyard:

“Mother, tell me what Christmas season was like?”

“We don’t speak of it. We call it Star Wars season now.”

Instead of Merry Christmas, it’s May the Force Be With You.

Hahaha! Of course, we’re being facetious. But to celebrate today, I’m teaching the Hero’s Journey to my eighth grade English students since Luke’s journey is one of the most famous examples. I thought it might help you with your story to see the specific plot points that conform to the structure.

The Call: Luke Skywalker receives the message from the Droid R2D2 that princess Leia is in trouble. He sets off to find Obi Wan Kenobi.
The Decision: Luke finds Obi Wan and learns of his Destiny. Luke’s decision is rendered irrevocable when his uncle and aunt are killed and his home is burned.
The Preparation: Luke sets off to aid the rebellion. Along the way, he gathers a crew of companions and learns the ways of the Force from his mentor Master Yoda. The concept of a Mentor is a reoccurring motif in the Hero’s Journey.
The Obstacles: Most of the second and third movies show intermediary steps that Luke must accomplish in order to become strong enough to defeat the Emperor. Along the way, he encounters a “Shadow,” an evil figure that mirrors those things the hero most fears or dislikes about himself. In Luke’s case, that “Shadow” is Darth Vader. During “The Obstacles” portion of the story, Luke is separated from his friends and forced to face the ultimate evil alone.
The Climax: Luke faces the “Shadow” and is able to overcome the Emperor without falling to the “Dark Side.”
The Return: Having overcome the enemies and returned peace to the galaxy, the major characters are reunited. Luke returns to his friends a changed man ready to move forward. In the final scene, Luke sees the ghosts of his fallen mentors Obi Wan, Yoda, and (in the remastered version) Anakin Skywalker, his father. In the final shot, Luke turns his back on the ghosts and returns to his friends.

Are you celebrating May the Fourth Be With You? If so, do share! 

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.


Love Is In The Air

It’s February already? Time flies when you’re having fun! February means Valentine’s Day! I know not everybody celebrates this holiday, but hopefully you’ll show yourself a little love this month. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t stuck to your resolutions (especially those writing ones–you’re not alone!), treat yourself to a Starbucks, have a GNO (girls or guys night out), take a long bubble bath, or ignore some chores and read a good book instead! Speaking of good books, I’d like to show the love to one of my favorite authors!

Starflight image

Melissa Landers, a fellow proud sci-fi geek who isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public (see why I love her?!) just released STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I met Melissa two years ago at the first reading festival I did to promote my debut YA, 18 Things, and since she’s a former teacher who left the classroom to ‘pursue other worlds,’ I was immediately inspired by her (being a teacher myself).

STARFLIGHT (pitched to her editor as Overboard, a classic romantic comedy, meets Firefly, an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season despite the adorable Nathan Fillion) follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue.

If you love sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT, available in stores & online. Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Don’t forget to show some love to all the writers in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, a guy/ninja who is totally out of this world! We post the first Wednesday of every month to share and encourage and to offer a safe haven for writers of all kinds!


#ReadOrWriteAnywhere Monster Giveaway!!!


Summer is about to begin! 

But just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we should stop reading and writing. I’ve teamed up with the YA Chicks and many participating authors on a global campaign to encourage readers, writers, students, and teachers to share pictures all of the places—both ordinary and extraordinary—where they are reading and writing. This is open to all readers/writers of both middle grade and young adult books!

You can also take part in…


32 Readers Will Win A Book!

32 Readers Will Win A Book!

I’ll be giving away ONE PAPERBACK EACH OF 18 THINGS, 18 TRUTHS, & 18 THOUGHTS!!!


And there’s more! Authors participating in this campaign aren’t just giving away books, but critiques, swag and/or Skype visits, too!!!

So are you ready?

Drum roll….


Can you guess where I am?

Here are my 5 clues:

*It’s adjacent to the Caloosahatchee River

*There are lots of bamboo trees around (extra hint: used in light bulb filaments)

*One of the most visited historic home sites in America

*You’ll find the Botanic Research Corporation Laboratory on the property, which was constructed to help discover a rubber tree plant that could grow more quickly in the U.S. (extra hint: think tires)

*Open to the public since 1947, visitors can tour the gardens, the lab, the estate, as well as the museum, which features lots of inventions!

Once you’ve figured out where I’m reading, head over to the YA Chicks site and:

  1. Officially enter the giveaway by inputting each author’s name and your guesses about our locations. Every author location you guess correctly increases your chances to win.
  2. For even more chances, post a picture of yourself reading or writing on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag).

For writer prize packs:

  1. Post pictures of yourself writing in a fun location on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere. Then follow the directions on the Rafflecopter giveaway to let us know you did it.
  2. For even more chances, gather your writer friends together and post a group shot with the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag). And hey, since you’re already together, why not host a write-a-thon?

For teacher prize packs:

  1. Post pictures of your class reading or writing on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag).
  2. Then let us know you did it when you enter the Rafflecopter. If you don’t have a Twitter or Instagram, you can email your picture directly with the picture pasted directly into the email (no attachments–we won’t open them) AND the subject, “Read or Write Anywhere.”
  3. You can also check out the YA Chicks Read or Write Anywhere lesson plan, available on their site.

We will keep the giveaway open from 9 am on May 22nd– 12 pm on May 31st so entrants have plenty of time to hunt for clues.

And I also have an exclusive giveaway here on my blog today! 4 complimentary copies of my 18 Thoughts audiobook! You need to be registered at Audible/Amazon to redeem your prize – if you aren’t, you’ll be prompted to register prior to redemption – but you do not need a paid membership plan.

How do you claim your prize?! Just make sure you like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, then leave a comment below . . . first 4 people to do so get the prize 🙂 (If you’re already a follower, please share this blog post and tag me). Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Now, what are you waiting for? Get out there and READ OR WRITE ANYWHERE!


We’re All Mad Here

There’s one movie release I’ll be counting down the days to all year . . . it’s just 9 months away (274 days). Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint: I make multiple references to it in 18 Things, 18 Truths, & 18 Thoughts!!!

Force Awakens

It even comes out on my favorite day . . . the 18th!! And some people think there’s no such thing as fate! Blegh.

Today I learned that for those who don’t know a thing about basketball, there’s now a fun little play on March Madness for the geek in all of us! This Is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament! You can check out the details here. I’m too late to make my own bracket, but you can bet I’ll be ready to win some awesome prizes next year! Plus, if you’re late to the game like me, you can still vote daily for your Light & Dark Side matchups! Seriously, how did I not know about this before? Apparently the good people of Wookieepedia have done this for the past two years!

One more movie I’m mad about is Insurgent, which features my three favorite words in the English language: Theo James Shirtless!!! And this one comes out this weekend!!


Of course, the preview looks like they’ve completely swayed from the book, but as we know, the BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER! So I’m putting my stick down because that horse is dead. I’ve already bought my ticket to see it tomorrow at 8pm (the AMC here always shows it a day early, which is very nice of them). Besties, Popcorn with sprinkle cheese, and Theo James Shirtless?! What more could a girl ask for?

Do you feel me? Are you counting down the days till the Force awakens? Will you see Insurgent? Does the sight of Theo James make you swoooon?

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!