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!

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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Happy*New*Year’s*Eve*Treat!!!

Ten hours until 2015 and counting!! And I have 2 things to celebrate.

#1: My publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, is hosting a side-wide sale from January 1-3, with a whopping EIGHTY-SEVEN! titles discounted to just 99 cents! 18 Things is included in this sale, the first book in My So-Called Afterlife Trilogy. And with the last book, 18 Thoughts, releasing on January 27th, NOW is the perfect time to purchase and read if you haven’t already done so (I know some of you stubborn readers wait until a trilogy is completed before reading).

CQ sale

Which leads me to #2 . . . the trailer for 18 Thoughts is here! Check it out and let me know what you think. I made it myself, and I mainly use it for my school visits.

 

See you next Wednesday for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post! Until then, I’ll be wearing my party hat because 2015 is going to be the B*E*S*T year yet!

I’m Thankful . . . Sooo Thankful

Happy*Thanksgiving*Eve!!! I’ve had an extremely busy month, so I had to step away from this blog and most of social media for a while, but I’m glad to be back, celebrating my favorite holiday.

I love Thanksgiving because of so many things. I love waking up with the fam at the crack of dawn so we can run the Turkey Trot 5k, something I’ve done since high school. I love coming  home to my mom bringing over breakfast quiches and helping me get our feast started while we all watch the Macy’s Day Parade on TV. I love knowing we’ll be getting ready for Christmas the next day. But to me, Thanksgiving is a little bit better than Christmas because it’s all about being thankful for what you have, rather than wishing for what you don’t. This message has been especially important these past few months.

As most of you know, we took in a homeless family at the beginning of September. If you knew this single mom and her three kids and heard their story, chances are, it’d change the picture in your mind of what homelessness looks like. Since then, we’ve moved in a new house while they’re still staying in our foreclosed home (nobody has come knocking on the door yet, even after it was sold at auction *fingers crossed*). We’ve been so blessed by our new rental, which is only a half mile from our daughter’s high school (also our alma mater–where I met my hubs when I was 14). With her being involved in so many activities, this is exactly what we wanted, and came at the exact price we needed! So you see, karma is a wonderful thing. I hope this holiday season you help someone in need if you’re able to do so. Anyway, here are the promised pictures . . . better late than never, right?

house front

Front view . . . our 10yo loves running up and down the stairs . . . not annoying at all 😉

 

 

 

Our backyard . . . I've always wanted to be on the water! Fun Fishing times, but being that it's Florida, beware of gators!

Our backyard . . . I’ve always wanted to be on the water! Fun Fishing times, but being that it’s Florida, beware of gators!

 

My first home office . . . and it looks right over the water from the second floor! Beeeaaauuutiful!!!

My first home office . . . and it looks right over the water from the second floor! Beeeaaauuutiful!!!

And you want to know something else I’m thankful for? YOU!! For supporting me in my writing endeavors. I’m thrilled to announce the last installment of My So-Called Afterlife trilogy is coming out on January 27, 2015! JUST 2 MONTHS AWAY!!! If you have a minute, I’d be ever so grateful if you added 18 Thoughts to your Goodreads and help spread the word!

Sample tweet or FB post: Add the last book of the  trilogy by   to your Goodreads now! Only 2 mo until it all ends!

THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Also, I know most of you will be shopping this weekend. My 14yo daughter and I host a blog on my publisher’s website called The Jedi and the Padawan. If you’re looking for ideas for the geek or hipster in your life, we’ve got ya covered!

New Beginnings

Last night when I tried to think of something to blog about today, I had nothing. I felt defeated, and my heart was heavy. These past six weeks haven’t been easy. If you follow this blog, you might recall how I recently got in touch with my best friend from childhood (you can read about that divine intervention here). Basically, I got fan mail from a girl named Kerri this summer, which lead me to think about my old bestie named Kerri, and I immediately felt this overwhelming need to find her. After searching, I came across her mom’s obituary from the day before. She died at the age of 57 from MS. This lady was a second mom to me from grades 4-12, and I just pictured her up there tapping God’s shoulder, going “I’m glad I’m home, but can you please send someone to help out my daughter?”

A few weeks later, when she was going to be a homeless single mom with three kids, we took them in. We told her they could stay, all expenses paid, until November 20th, which is when the foreclosure on our home will go through. You might be surprised by this, but between being a teacher and my book sales for 18 Things and 18 Truths, I still don’t have a lot of extra cash (*snort*), but I can say without a doubt this was the right thing to do. That doesn’t mean sharing a 1,700 sq ft home with eight people, five of them kids between the ages of 14 and 9, hasn’t been challenging! Then this past Saturday, our fridge broke and we lost all the food in it. At this point, there’s no reason to replace it, so it was just another challenge.

The hunt to find the right home to rent stepped up. But when you live in a town that’s continually ranked in the top 10 cities for the most foreclosures, it’s a tough market to find a rental in because EVERYONE HAS LOST THEIR HOME 😦

At every turn, something fell through. When I found out this morning the next two houses we were interested in were already off the  market, I wasn’t surprised. I sighed, went to my dentist appointment to get my two crowns in (does that make me a princess now?), came home, and decided to take Kerri out to lunch and not worry about it (for once).  When we got back to the house, not only did she have a call saying she got hired at an AMAZING restaurant, there was an alert for the PERFECT house from a realtor.

Here’s the thing. If I hadn’t anticipated my dental work not being an all day affair, I would’ve only taken off a half day, but based on past experience, I took a full. Because I took that full, I was able to respond the moment it was listed, go see it, and get an application. As I left, another lady was coming in who also wanted to rent the property. Keep in mind this was THE SAME HOUR THE PROPERTY WAS LISTED! I was racing the other applicant to the office, lol. But Daddy didn’t nickname me Jeff Gordon for nothing 😉

Plus, if the fridge didn’t break on Saturday, I wouldn’t have been looking so diligently because I figured we still had 6 weeks, and I would’ve missed this A*W*E*S*O*M*E deal!!

So yeah, WE GOT THE HOUSE! Thank you, Jesus! I couldn’t have asked for a better house for us, at the exact amount I prayed for, on the water (BONUS! Anyone have a paddle boat for sale?!), and down the canal, a view of my daughter’s high school. Being close to her school was the #1 thing I wanted since she’s involved with a million things and it’s only her Freshmen year (apparently, that’s what you need to do to get into an ivy league college . . . she’s done months hours of research).

When I got home from the realtor, I hugged Kerri and told her the move in date was October 15th because the office has to wait seven days. She looked at me and said, “October 15th would’ve been Mom’s 58th birthday.” Looks like Mom is up there bugging God about both of her children 🙂

Speaking of numbers, it’s also October 8th. Dan and I got married on August 8, 1998 because we like the significance the number 8 holds in the Bible . . . it’s the number of new beginnings.

Life is full of trade-offs. We lost a good woman, but gained an angel. We’re losing a house, but God is blessing us with a better one. It’s a whole new chapter in our lives, and I’m lucky to go forward with such an awesome Father (and angel mama) looking out for us.

Whatever you’re going through, hold onto faith that our God is sufficient to supply all our needs. When we hold onto faith, we gain wealth beyond belief.

god promises

The #1 Reason I Published a YA Novel

Today I’m posting about my publishing journey as a contribution for the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. I give Alex J. Cavanaugh and his Ninja Army permission to use my entry.

Title: The #1 Reason I Published a YA Novel

Topic: Publishing

One-line bio: Jamie Ayres writes young adult inspirational love stories with a paranormal twist by night and teaches young adults as a middle school Language Arts teacher by day.

Books Published: 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts (coming January 2015)

Blog: http://www.JamieAyres.com

Entry:

Writing is work. It’s work I’ve greatly enjoyed, but it’s still work. If writing is work, publishing is hard work. After publishing my first novel, 18 Things, I’ve come to know how much time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, attention, heart, and soul goes into publishing a book. I’ve had my own limits tested.

These days it feels like ninety percent of my writing career is researching, marketing, promoting, socializing, facebooking, blogging, tweeting, speaking, drinking coffee and consuming massive amounts of chocolate, etc . . . and about ten percent of actual writing. So when I received my first royalty statement, I’ll admit I felt like throwing up.

Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t become an author to make tons of money. I wasn’t wearing any rose-colored lenses, expecting my debut novel to land on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

But the royalties the first months were so small, I had to ask myself, why even continue doing this? If it was money I wanted, I could easily get a part-time job waiting tables and probably make more in a week than I would in a month of book selling.

I was at a crossroads in my life. Both paths, the Published Author and the Hobby Writer, had their good and bad points. But just like so many times before, I let faith carry me forward.

I took the profit motive off the table to get myself back in the saddle and write the next two installments of my trilogy, 18 Truths and 18 Thoughts. Because of the talents God has given me, I looked at my book as a gift to the world to empower young people. And it’s the belief I had all along . . . I just forgot about it for a little while.

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*What challenges have you faced on your road to publication?

Don’t forget to check out other authors in the Insecure Writers Support Group. Alex’s A*W*E*S*O*M*E co-hosts today are Kristin Smith, Elsie, Suzanne Furness, and Fundy Blue! We meet online the first Wednesday of every month 🙂

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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