Enjoying the Journey

Today my baby graduated from elementary school. HOLY CRAP! How’d that happen? Wasn’t she just starting kindergarten YESTERDAY?!

When I considered this post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I thought of how my writer’s journey has flown by in its various stages too. From vomiting ideas onto paper in 2009, to attending my first writing conference in 2010, to getting involved in critique groups in 2011, to querying & entering a contest & winning a contract in 2012, to publishing my first book in 2013, my second in 2014 & waiting, waiting, waiting on sales . . . to finally selling over 25,000 books so far this year after the release of my third novel, 18 Thoughts.

I worked hard toward my goals, just like my daughter did during her formative school years, just as I’m sure you do now and always! So let’s take a moment to be grateful for the journey, to recognize how far we’ve come, no matter how far we still have to go. The start of June is the perfect time to do so with vacations, picnics, barbecues, and that feeling of happiness and nostalgia and carefree attitude that only summer seems to bring.

Which brings me to an announcement . . . You won’t see much of me during the next two months. Thanks to my buddy, Kyle Prue (who gave me the idea), my girls and I are having a “Summer Unplugged.” Quite simply, we’re going to enjoy each other’s company instead of our electronics. I pray God would help us see the blessings right in front of us during this time, because sometimes the busyness & shiny objects of life has a way of obstructing our vision.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~Henry David Thoreau

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!

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#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…

A MONSTER GIVEAWAY! 

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!!!

That’s my ENTIRE TRILOGY!

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….

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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!

 #ReadOrWriteAnywhere

Wholehearted Thanks

For those who have spent a good amount of time writing, editing, researching, polishing, marketing, querying, emailing, networking, sweating, crying, hoping, praying . . . one thing is abundantly clear: Being a writer is not a job for the weary.

Despite the massive amounts of coffee and chocolate I consume on a daily basis to combat tiredness juggling being an author & an English teacher (not to mention a mom and wife), I have moments of absolute cartwheeling, unicorn-over-the-rainbow joy, and one of the them came this past weekend.

It’s not nice to boast, and please don’t think I’m trying to do that. I’m here to say THANK YOU to those who’ve supported me since I first started writing in 2009

Thank-You

. . . and to give encouragement to those who think they’ll never sell any books. I’ve been you.

Soooo imagine my surprise when I discovered I sold a total of 25,679 books sold in ONE MONTH! WHAAAT?!

I know many authors wouldn’t ever think of that number as being a big deal, especially when one considers it’s the result of sales from 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts combined, not just one novel. But honestly? It’s more sales in one month than all two years of sales combined for me, and it’s a lot better than selling eight copies a month (my all-time low).

So throw your virtual hands up in the air and have a dance party with me, knowing we CAN succeed if we never give up, never lose hope (and maybe consume an unhealthy amount of caffeine). And with my whole heart, I thank you for your support. ❤ ❤ ❤

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This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join us the first Wednesday of every month and post your own thoughts!

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?

In Memoriam, 18 TRUTHS just 99 cents today, & Other Updates

Whew! What a week! But before I tell you what I’ve been up to, I want to pay tribute to a very special lady who influenced me in a wonderful way. Many know that my main character in my trilogy, Olga Worontzoff, was named after my grandmother. She passed yesterday, but we rejoice. At 97, she had already buried a son & was ready to go & she went peacefully. As I do author school visits, I’ll be thinking of her as I discuss the fictional Olga, nowhere near as cool as the real one. R.I.P. GG.

My sisters & I with GG and G'pa . . . being silly (always)

My sisters & I with GG and G’pa . . . being silly (always)

I’m so glad she lived a long life, long enough to see herself immortalized in my trilogy, which thrilled her to no end. One of those books is 18 TRUTHS, the second book in my trilogy, which is just 99 CENTS on the Kindle in her honor. 18 Truths was dedicated to her & you’ll find this inscription at the front:

“For GG, the real Olga Worontzoff. You are one of a kind. I’m sorry I never learned to count in Russian, but I hope this makes up for it in some small way. xoxo”

99 cents is the lowest price I can make it. Today & tomorrow only –you can pick it up here  🙂  If you could spare a tweet or Facebook shout out, I’d appreciate it:

Retweet Link or cut & paste: 2/26 & 2/27 only, 18 TRUTHS!! “An achingly beautiful story of life, loss and hope.”

Facebook: Meet the fictional Olga Worontzoff to honor the real one. 18 Truths just 99 cents today & tomorrow only: http://www.amazon.com/18-Truths-So-Called-Afterlife-Book-ebook/dp/B00I34D1GU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424927626&sr=8-1&keywords=18+truths

Thanks, friends. And now onto some happy news . . .

Friday night was a visit to a book club! It was bittersweet because they’ve hosted me every February for 18 Things, 18 Truths, and now 18 Thoughts. I told them I’d continue to crash their February meeting even if I didn’t have a book out 🙂

Sue Book Club

Saturday I was a presenter and vendor at the Lee County Reading Council Conference, where people not only showed up to my class, but I sold out of books . . . like all of them! Check out my fancy new banner below that my publisher sent me (does that make me legit now?!).

my banner

 

Then yesterday was the young adult author conference at my middle school. From left to right is Amy Christine Parker (Gated, Astray), Teshelle Combs (Core series, The System), Eliza Tilton (Broken Forest, Wicked Path), Me (in the SW dress & tights, duh!), Krista Rausin (Mystic), Vivi Barnes (Olivia Twisted, Paper & Plastic), Jeff Strand (I Have A Bad Feeling About This), Trish Doller (Where the Stars Still Shine), Lynne Matson (NIL), & Christina Farley (Gilded & Silvern).

GMSYAC

 

Today & tomorrow I’m at the Riverdale Literacy Festival, which includes a Barnes and Noble panel and signing with fourteen other YA Authors on Thursday night in Fort Myers. Thanks sooo much to Morgan and Fallon from Seeing Double In Neverland for putting this together!! Stop by if you’re local!

B&N Event revised

 

*What have you been up to this week???

 

 

 

 

 

18 Things FREE + Yours Truly on The Morning Blend!!!

I’m posting a day early this week to let you know that the first book in my trilogy, 18 THINGS, is completely FREE on Kindle until midnight.

As if that weren’t enough excitement, I was featured on a local talk show called The Morning Blend today. Check out the clip below.

 

Also, my blog tour is in full swing. In case you’re interested, you can check out my true life story on instalove over at the Paisley Reader (posted just in time for Valentine’s Day . . . hope everyone had a lovely weekend).

And on Monday, the awesome Gwen Gardner had me share a paranormal scene from my latest novel, 18 Thoughts.

Tomorrow, I’ll be featured on Writerly Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Crystal Collier . . . see if you can guess my lie to win the ebooks of my trilogy!

Finally, if you’re free from 4-5pm on Saturday, join me and several other Curiosity Quills YA Authors for the online #ReadOn Event:

ReadOn Review 2

Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards (Kind of)

Hubs & I pimping our ride!

Hubs & I pimping our ride!

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy series gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records lists Harry Potter as not only the best-selling book series in history but the highest-grossing film series in history. Only the Bible has more translations. And I should probably mention she became the first billionaire author on the entire freakin’ planet. As I walked around Universal Studios for the Harry Potter Celebration this past weekend, on the heels of my 18 Thoughts release, all of those ‘thoughts’ on her instant success made this struggling author wonder if Jo really does know magic. I mean, she was the same as me when I started . . . an unpublished nobody. No connections in the business. No money to hire an editor to proofread her work or a publicist who could reveal the secret to marketing success. So, how did she do it? Well, I did some recon when I returned for my trip, and it turns out, Rowling and I started out differently in a HUGE way. *Confession time* My name is Jamie, and I’m a pantser. Rowling, on the other hand, planned Harry Potter for FIVE YEARS after she first birthed the idea during a train ride. Have you heard of the 10,000 hours of practice theory? Author Malcolm Gladwell says it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. You can read more about his theory here. If I divide 10,000 by 5 years, I get 2,o00. Then if I divide that number by 52 (# of weeks in a year), I get 38.5 . . . assuming Jo put that much time in every week working on HP (and judging by most Neurotic Authors like myself, I’m betting she did), she meets the criteria of putting in 10,000 hours of ‘practice’ before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. I started writing in the summer of 2009. I finished the last book in my trilogy in the summer of 2014. I’ve put in the practice. And now . . . I’ve actually planned out my next book! Success is always a struggle. My recent release left me feeling depressed. But I’m not going to think about the sales. I’m going to be laser focused on my writing this next year. I know it’s unrealistic to think I’ll be the next JK Rowling (and really, the world doesn’t need another JK Rowling . . . we are each created to do our own unique thing in this world), but I don’t believe in magic (okay, let’s be honest, I’m still holding out hope for my letter to Hogwarts). I believe in hard work. It’s the only way to get to where you need to go. And I don’t care if it takes me another five years . . .

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”–J.K. Rowling One nice review of 18 Things (the first book in my trilogy) by blogger Bruce Blanchard really encouraged me this week, so please stop by & show Bruce some love if you can! He’s over at darkenwulfbytes. Coincidentally, 18 THINGS IS STILL JUST 99 CENTS! Not sure how long that’ll last (maybe my publisher forgot to change it back to $4.99?), so snatch up your Kindle version while you can! Make sure you check out other blog posts for the monthly edition of IWSG, the brainchild of A*W*E*S*O*M*E Head Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG As a sidenote, thank you to all the bloggers who participated in my “Share Your Thoughts” bloghop. You are eligible to win a prize (I’m looking at you TF Walsh, Kristina Stanley, Stephen Tremp, Head Ninja Captain, Michael D’Agostino, Roland Yeamans, Diane Wolfe, Susan Kane, Tonja Drecker, Sherry Ellis, Tangent Shell, Carrie-Anne, & L.G. Keltner)! Some of them have already been snatched up, and the early bird gets the worm! So email me at info@jamieayres.com to tell me what prize you’d like before they’re all gone. 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 *Also, if you’d like to enter ANOTHER GIVEAWAY (and if you wouldn’t, go ahead & slap yourself), then check out my Rafflecopter at the top right on this blog. Here’s what’s up for grabs: $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card+$25 Starbucks Gift Card+18 Things & 18 Truths signed paperback+ an Alice in Wonderland Hot Topic Tank+Star Wars journal *You can also enter to win 1 of 10 18 THOUGHTS paperbacks my publisher is giving away on Goodreads! Finally, I leave you with a special treat. A little clip from A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal this past weekend: Behind the Scenes Film Talent Discussion– What’s Your Favorite Spell? (I think Dumbledore might’ve been drunk for this discussion . . . toooo funny!)  Have a magical day 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k8tf442UNo

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)

18thoughtsbanner

 

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!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

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 🙂

 

Want to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card? Share 18 Days of 18 Thoughts!!!

18 thoughts campaign

The conclusion of my Amazon bestselling YA coming-of-age inspirational paranormal romance My So Called Afterlife series is now just 18 days away, with the release of book three, 18 Thoughts, on January 27, 2015.

To celebrate the conclusion of the series, my publisher Curiosity Quills, would like to invite you to read Book One: 18 Things, and Book Two: 18 Truths at a special introductory price of 99 cents and $2.99 respectively. [Please note these prices apply to Amazon US only. Prices for Amazon UK, Canada, Australia etc. may vary]

Additionally, they’re hosting a special Rafflecopter giveaway, where you could win a $50 Amazon gift card, simply by sharing one of the 18 Days of 18 Thoughts graphics and promo information over the next 18 days. You can visit their website for the rafflecopter & links to their social media platforms for your chance to enter every day!!!

https://curiosityquills.com/news/18-days-18-thoughts/

Or you can use these social media links:

Retweet: https://twitter.com/jamiemayres/status/553770435423522816

Share the Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcuriosityquills.com%2Fnews%2F18-days-18-thoughts%2F&t=18+Days+of+18+Thoughts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/154529830940212195/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/share?url=https://curiosityquills.com/news/18-days-18-thoughts/&gpsrc=frameless

Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/xqMU8Iy0tP/?modal=true

Tumblr: http://jamiemayres.tumblr.com/post/107658802428/curiosityquills-want-to-win-a-50-amazon-gift

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/cws/share?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcuriosityquills%2Ecom%2Fnews%2F18-days-18-thoughts%2F&isFramed=true&token=#state=&from_login=true

And that’s not all, nope, that’s not all! They’re also hosting a Goodreads giveaway, in which residents of the US and Canada can win one of 10 signed copies of 18 Thoughts!

Please consider sharing to help get the word out. More exciting announcements/giveaways coming soooon!!!

No Worries??? I Wish!!!

Recently we moved into a new house. We sorted through nine years of accumulated stuff, and it felt gratifying to finally throw out a lot of unnecessary junk.

It’s a good analogy for our emotions, too. Many of us have a habit of holding onto feelings we should’ve let go a long time ago. Too frequently, we allow the words of others and the discouragements of life to build up in our hearts and minds.

I’m struggling with this as I prepare for the release of the last book in my trilogy, 18 Thoughts, later this month (January 27th!!).

When I released my first book, 18 Things, I donated all of my opening day sales to charity, but I didn’t tell anyone at the time. Then last year when I released the sequel, 18 Truths, the only reason I announced it was to promote the charity I was donating to this time around (Mitochondrial Foundation) and help out the sales of a 9-yr-old girl who had written a book that was benefitting the same charity (her book released the same day–it was planned that way). Half of my sales were going to the charity and the other half was going to the media center at the middle school where I teach English Language Arts. Then all of a sudden, I had people calling me out, saying it wasn’t right for me to ‘guilt’ them into buying my book because of the charity aspect. That never even crossed my mind. And honestly, I think a person has to be pretty broken if that’s their first thought about why I must be doing something to give back to my community and promote literacy with adolescents. But ya know what? It still broke me. I was crying in my bathroom for days. I had serious doubts about finishing the trilogy. But then I went to two book festivals shortly after and had long lines of teens telling me how my novels changed their lives . . . even saved some of them.

Here’s the thing. We can’t wait nine years to clear out the crap we’ve been holding onto. If we don’t rid ourselves of emotional baggage on a daily basis, we’ll get so bogged down, we’ll barely be able to move.

Olga’s story (my heroine in my series) has been all about faith.

18poster

Walking in faith can be a difficult road. For whatever reason, it’s easier to remember the hurtful things of the past and start worrying about the future (at least for me). Author Ed Foreman says worry is “nothing less than the misuse of your imagination.” My 2015 wish for all of us is that we’ll doubt, worry, and fear less, and free up that space in our heads for our stories instead.

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post our thoughts the first Wednesday of every month. Feel free to join us, or just add your own thoughts in the comment section below.

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