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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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 🙂

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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Tidbits From UtopYA Con 2014

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They say knowledge is power. I learned so much at UtopYA Con that every Wednesday this month I’ll be posting about it. Today, I’ll recap a few things our keynote speakers said.

First up is Sylvia Day with “What I Wish I’d Known Then.” She said writers make bad business decisions because they are afraid, seeking validation, or because they haven’t done their due diligence. Um, yes, yes, and yessss!!! Don’t be afraid to be a publishing whore & try everything! Also, don’t let deadlines dictate the quality of your books. Readers will wait for a good book, but they will drop you like a hot potato for a bad book. And read everything- things you don’t even think you’ll like. Finally, Dream Big & Plan Smart!

On Saturday, we heard from Gennifer Albin, who spoke on Empowering Female Writers & Readers. Her message revolved around a blog post she did on Hope (which you should read. WARNING: grab a box of tissues). Some thoughts that stuck for me during her speech:

Dreams don’t always fit in convenient boxes during life allotted stages. Art isn’t always meant to be created in quiet moments alone. There will always be naysayers- often these are the ones who should be offering us support. But use your words when you feel crippled.

I’ve been holding onto her words about hope. Sales for my sequel, 18 Truths, have been way down. I crunched some numbers & discovered I sold 1,582 ebooks of 18 Things the first year it was out. Since 18 Truths came out in January, I’ve sold 210 ecopies 😦 At this point, I’m wondering why do I even publish the last novel in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts, if nobody is going to read the darn book?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Sign up if you’re looking to offer some encouragement or need to be encouraged.

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?

 

To Publish or Not To Publish?

That is the question.

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I’m a firm believer that if we don’t have a big dream we’re striving toward, then we’re just kind of drifting through life. That’s why I made a bucket list back in 2008 when my cousin’s son was diagnosed with cancer. That’s why I put publishing a novel at the top of that list. And that’s why I started working toward that goal in the summer of 2009. Five years later, I have two novels published by Curiosity Quills, a small press, with the last installment of my 18 Things trilogy due in January 2015.

I thought waiting for it to happen would be the hardest part. If I could’ve put my dream in a microwave and made it happen in 30 seconds, I would have. But that’s not how most dreams work. Like most writers, I endured lots of discouragement while agents, editors, and even friends and family members told me it wasn’t going to happen. They weren’t mean about it. They all thought they knew best. But it wasn’t their opinion that mattered to me the most. I’m the one who has to live with my decisions when I lay my head on the pillow at night. If I gave up, what kind of example would that be to my kids and the students I teach every day, who I tell every day, DON’T GIVE UP! THAT VICTORY YOU NEED IS JUST RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! *shakes pom poms* Sure, I had my doubts from time to time,  but I learned to tune out the haters. I knew the path to publishing wasn’t paved with rainbows, unicorns, and puppies. I also knew God would make it happen when the time was right. And he did!

But then I discovered I was wrong (happens occasionally–hahaha). The hardest part wasn’t the 3 years I waited to get a publishing contract, the hardest part has been trying to juggle my teaching job, my writing career, being a wife to three needy children (yes, I counted my hubs as a child, lol–LOVE him though), volunteering at church, bible study and book club, cleaning and cooking (oh, who am I kidding?).

Here’s another thing I firmly believe: EVERYTHING you have is a gift from God, including your talents and abilities. And why would God give us these things if he didn’t want us to use them for his glory?

The thing is though, I NEVER EVER EVER want my own family to think my writing is more important than them, and when I’m in my writing cave (AKA dining room) chained to my laptop every summer, spring, and winter break, typing out what the voices in my head tell me to, I know that’s how they feel sometimes. So I told them after I publish my last book under my contract, I’d give up publishing for a while. My hubs and 10yo cheered (my almost 14yo said I should do what I want-she won’t have much time for me when starting high school in the fall anyway, which of course, made me crawl up like a baby and cry in the corner for an hour while shoving donuts in my mouth). My editor laughed. “Just keep telling yourself you’ll be able to do that.”

Anyone a fan of American Ninja Warrior? Last summer and this summer, there’s been one girl to make it past the qualifying rounds. Both were gymnasts, the one from last year was a trapeze artist. That’s what my struggle reminds me of, a trapeze artist. It’s an analogy I came across in my daily devotional one day:

There’s a moment of truth where she swings out to catch the bar that’s swinging toward her. But in order to reach the bar, she has to let go of the one she is swinging on. If she doesn’t let go, she just swings back to where she started. But if she lets go, there’s a split second in time where she’s hanging in mid-air, thirty feet above the ground, and holding onto absolutely nothing.

That’s what faith looks like. Is giving up my dreams of being a professional author a lack of faith, or an act of obedience as I commit more time to my family? What’s more important? Faith or obedience?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Warrior, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join us the first Wednesday of every month as we release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic *shoots hand in the air*

 

 

 

IWSG-Beta Readers

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I’m sitting here tonight, anxious. April 15th wasn’t just tax day for me, it was the day I sent the last installment of my YA trilogy, 18 Thoughts, to my Beta Readers and critique partners. Three weeks later, I still haven’t heard anything. They all have busy lives and since I didn’t ask to have it back for another three weeks, I’m trying to keep those old insecurities from popping up again. But I’ve also read sooo many trilogies where I LOVED the first and second book, and then hated the third one, so sending this novel to other people who also love my characters was difficult this time around. But I know the only way to move beyond fear is to go through it, so I eventually turned it over . . . even though the ending I planned for the series two years ago when I started totally changed in the last three chapters!!! My 13yo daughter said since I pulled major plot twists at the end of 18 Things and 18 Truths, karma said my characters had to pull one on me in the last book! What can I say? Never underestimate the power of the “holy crap” moment. So I’m trusting what happened with the story was meant to happen all along and holding onto faith that I believe in what my characters told me, even while doubting myself. In the meantime, let’s hope I still have some nails left by the time my readers get back to me!

In other news, I was super excited to see Hot Topic carrying The Fault In Our Stars tees when I took my daughters to the mall this past weekend! I picked up these two to share with the 13yo . . . she’s much smaller than me but she hates tight clothing (praise the Lord!)

TFIOS shirts

 

I’m rereading the book now in preparation for the movie release on June 6th! Speaking of movies, I surprisingly made it to the theater twice this past week. First time was to see The Other Woman with my small group Bible study ladies. All I can say is HILARIOUS! I was afraid it’d be one of those chick flicks where the funniest parts were in the commercials, but not true at all. Definitely worth seeing. LOL funny. The other movie was a prescreening of The Neighbors. I went with hubs when he got tickets through his work. Bonus points for keeping Zac Efron shirtless for most of the movie but Seth Rogen and the Australian lady who played his wife (don’t know her name & I’m too lazy to Google it, even though the time it’d take to do so is probably equal to typing this . . . what can I say? I’m complicated) really carried the movie. Still, the film was too raunchy for my tastes, but it was free so I guess no money lost. And hubs took me to Tijuana Flats for dinner first . . . yes, it was Cinco de Mayo a day late, but who can beat their Taco Tuesday deal?!

What we did celebrate on May 5th was Revenge of the Fifth, the sequel to May the Fourth Be With You. All you fellow Star Wars nerds know what I’m talking about! Here’s a little pic of our celebration:

May 4th

So that’s what’s going in my world! What’s new with you? Don’t forget to thank a teacher this week–it’s National Teacher Appreciation Week! And don’t forget to visit other peeps in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

My Thoughts Aren’t Divided Over This One!

Sometimes when you read a friend’s book and want to review it, you’re divided because you didn’t love it. Just ask Jennifer Eaton . . . she hated my first novel, 18 Things. But she’ll tell you it wasn’t because the writing that sucked *wipes forehead* . . . it just wasn’t her thing.

When Jessa Russo sent out an email to organize her blog tour for her new release, Divide, I signed up to review the book right away. I KNEW loving her story wouldn’t be a problem because she’s A*M*A*Z*I*N*G! She could publish a grocery list and I’d buy it 🙂

The Book Blurb:

Divide cover

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

My Thoughts:

Jessa didn’t disappoint! She really knows how to get a story under way.  I immediately feel in love with Holland and Mick and cared about their happily ever after. There’s the triple D factor: desire, danger, and decision. Jessa nails them all with Divide.

Holland is a girl fighting for her identity, seeking truths about what’s happening to her. She wants Mick, but she’s conflicted because of the beast living inside her. At the same time, she’s recovering from a major heartbreak and betrayal (who isn’t in high school, right?). She’s trying to be good, but she’s lost control of herself. Other issues pop up that create plot twists I never saw coming. The whole time, you’re LIVING each moment as the characters experience it because of Jessa’s flawless writing. It’s a character-driven story and an action-driven plot, and it’s darn hard to pull off both but this book does! I loved the tension woven throughout this YA fantasy/fairytale redux. Every scene is manipulated for maximum impact.

The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It came too soon, and I wanted to see MORE of Holland and Mick.

book hangover

If you want to find out more about Jessa, go here to visit her website (she also offers a full line of editing services! My publisher uses her for freelance & as my editor, I can vouch for her!)

DIVIDE: Amazon | Kobo | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

What else has everyone been up to? I have to say I saw two great movies this past weekend. Friday I rented The Spectacular Now from the Redbox, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, a coming of age film based on the novel by Tim Tharp. Lovely indie film. Then Saturday the fam and I saw Rio 2. I must admit I wasn’t too excited to see this one, but I laughed more than the 3 kids with us (okay, 4 if you include hubs, hahaha).

Also, now that 18 Thoughts is written, I’ve had time to exercise again! YAY! I met two girlfriends for a six-mile walk on Saturday morning and was able to show them the door I’m convinced leads to Narnia. I’ve never tried to open it, but how cool is this door?!

Narnia

I’ll be back next week with my IWSG post. Huge hugs to Alex who mentioned me in his A to Z blog post on Monday! Until we meet again, LONG LIVE ASLAN!

IWSG-Do I Belong Here?

I’ve been chained to my laptop since March 16th, trying to finish up the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts (can’t wait to show you the gorgeous cover!!!) . . . so I sorta forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month until I checked my inbox when I got home and saw Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog post. Oops!

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And I really wanted to tell the Insecure Writer’s Support Group all about my experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, so I’m taking a quick break from writing to blog. When my publisher submitted my name for this festival, I never actually thought they’d accept me. They always bring in HUGE authors for the super Saturday event held every March. This year was no different . . . W. Bruce Cameron, Sue Monk Kidd, Julia Quinn, Jill Shalvis, Rick Yancey . . . the list goes on and on, including . . . Jamie Ayres?

I attended the Friday night Evening With the Authors reception the night before, and Melody Carlson and Tyler Whitesides sat at my table!! Every kid I know is obsessed with Tyler’s Janitors series (I read the first book to four of my classes) and Melody Carlson has written over 200 books, won the Rita, and had one of her books made into a major motion picture. It was her novel, Diary of a Teenage Girl, that motivated me to write inspirational fiction for teens! Hubs had to keep kicking me under the table so I wouldn’t fangirl too much.

Then I got to the festival the next morning and caught Sue Monk Kidd’s speech before heading over to my tent. And it was, as Oprah would say (since Oprah did pick her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, as her book club pick), it was A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!

But as I walked to my tent, fear and worry gripped me. I would never speak as eloquently as Sue did and bring in the type of crowd that becomes standing room only, never have Oprah pick my book, never have my book chosen as a Sunshine State Read (as Tyler’s did), never have my novel made into a major picture, never win a national award. WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I’ll be the embarrassment of this festival and never invited back again. I bribed hubs and daughters to pretend they didn’t know me and to ask questions so it’d look like I had three fans at my tent.

Guess what? I had 103 people show up to my tent! By comparison, Ricky Yancey had 131, so I’d say that’s not too shabby for my spot at the Young Adult stage! FYI, I’m reading The 5th Wave by Yancey now, and it’s absolutely awesome. Now I certainly didn’t speak as eloquently as Sue Monk Kidd, but I realized God didn’t need another Sue Monk Kidd. He needed a Jamie Ayres to speak to whoever was destined to be there that day. And afterward, I had an actual line at the autograph table. How freakin’ cool is that! I didn’t even bribe the people to be there 🙂

So if you get invited to an event that’s just a tad bit out of your comfort zone? Don’t let your feet tread easily on the well-worn path and stay in your little box. “Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Don’t know who said that, but it’s on a picture in my dining room, and it’s a darn-good quote! Believe all things are possible . . . hey, maybe 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts will be made into movies one day. If so, I vote for Theo James to play the angel, Riel!!! Touching his bicep has been added to my bucket list of things that could possibly earn me another restraining order but is totally worth it 😉

P.S. This Saturday, I’ll be in Orlando at the UCF Book Festival from 9-3:30pm with a few other authors at the Curiosity Quills table . . . stop by if you’re in the area–I’d love to meet you!

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:

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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 🙂

Criticism or Encouragement–Which One Will You Believe?

Perhaps if we’re friends on Facebook, you recall this status from me on January 29th, the day after 18 Truths came out . . .

“129 books–that’s what I sold yesterday. So far from my goal of 500 And on top of that, I have people bad mouthing me behind my back? Seriously, you may be broken if you think inspiring young people to DREAM BIG & to READ & give back to charity isn’t something I should be promoting? And congratulations, b/c now you’ve broken me, too. I don’t feel like working on book 3 anymore, & I don’t know when I will.”

After some much needed encouragement, a nap, and some chocolate, I pulled myself together and pressed on. Good thing too, because just 3 weeks later, this happened after my publisher ran a BookBub 99 cent Kindle deal for my first book, 18 Things . . .

Feb 21 sales

That’s #114 in the whole Kindle store!!! Almost crossed “Make it to the top 100 of Amazon” off my bucket list. Sooo close. And I was #1 in Children’s Paranormal, #1 in Children’s Coming of Age, and #2 in Children’s Fantasy . . . I really liked that one because I found myself in a Suzanne Collin’s sandwich (Catching Fire was #1 and Hunger Games #3). The trend continues! Both of my novels are still trending in those first two categories. But with success comes a great feeling of vulnerability. Envy happens from people you thought you could trust, people in the industry and even people who aren’t.

It seems God always leads me to the right book at the right time. My ladies Bible Study group is currently reading Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst. Chapter 10 is titled “Negative Inside Chatter.” And I quote, “Realities based on runaway feelings rather than truth always lead to one thing–insecurity . . . Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And lies are what reign in the absence of truth.”

Yep, I’m finding my own personal set of 18 Truths inside Lysa’s book.

Have you ever had a friend who was the exact opposite of what you need? She/he put down everything and everyone in your life, under the disguise of trying to be helpful. *Raises both hands high in the air* I’ve kept some of these relationships alive because I felt like they’re probably the only people being honest in my life, but why do I give them such control? I wrestle with enough negative influences in my world without being bombarded by them in my so-called friendships. So I finally realize I need to discontinue some relationships because I’m beginning to be influenced in a negative way toward things. Instead of me appreciating the blessings of this journey, these people were leading me to focus of the few things that were wrong. That’s not how I want to live my life.

It was actually a story titled How the Brain Takes Criticism I saw on CBS Sunday Morning show that lead me to severe these relationships (check out the article if you have time). That, and the sudden loss of my twelve-year-old student last week. Life is simply too short to feed the negative.

Can I just encourage you that we don’t have to covet what someone else has. That means we think God is insufficient to supply for us. Maybe you haven’t been through enough to believe that yet, but I have, so let me reassure you! When we hold onto faith that our best days are ahead, we can celebrate the success of others instead of being bitter about things. If you didn’t get something, trust that it’s only because God has something better for you down the road. But you can never drag anger, jealousy, or bitterness to the place God has for you. So seriously, let it go. Those are such wasted emotions. Choose to be inspired by the success of others . . . it means dreams really do come true 🙂

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a blog hop that posts the first Wednesday of every month, founded by Head Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. P.S. My publisher dropped 18 Things to 99 cents again because I’m part of a huge festival tomorrow and Friday and on the news Friday to promote my books! Also, 18 Truths is on sale for $2.99 through the weekend, too! Hope you’ll check them out or help spread the word 🙂 🙂

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