What’s Your System?

Today I have my good buddy, Teshelle Combs, guest posting. She is the award winning author of the YA action/romance novel, The System, and YA contemporary fantasy novel, Core. Take it away, T!!

Tessa's photo

Hey everyone! I’ve launched a brand new series! ‘The System’ is YA, action/adventure, sci-fi/romance. And it’s gooood.
I wanted to share with you what it’s like to release an indie title, just in case you’re curious about seeing the inside of my brain.

6:30 am – Wake up way too early so you can make sure your book is actually up on amazon, even though you checked it 12 times the night before.
7:00 am – Refresh the page and check one more time.
7:15 am – Start tweeting about it for all your UK and EU fans who are probably on their lunch breaks. Freak out when they interact with you because you still can’t believe people think the virtual “you” is cool enough to talk to.
8:00 am – Check on your sales. They’re trickling in now.
9:00 am – Start annoying everyone who was dumb enough to sign up for your book release event on facebook. Tell them obvious things about how you’re ‘so excited.’ What you don’t tell them is that you’re having a series of small panic attacks. ‘What if no one buys anything? What if no one cares? What if they buy my book and they HATE it?!?!’
10:00 am – Eat breakfast, feed your baby, and juggle your phone in one hand so you can refresh you sales page every 30 seconds and see each sale as it rolls in because about now you’re manic and obsessing and you can’t stop checking.
11:00 am – Thank God your baby is napping and now you can get onto your lap and tweet and annoy more facebook and goodreads fans and thank people who are kind enough to retweet and share your book. Check on all the sites that agreed to promote you.
11:15 am – Freak out because you forgot to check your sales and OH MY GOD, some more people bought ‘The System’ and you may not end up being a failure after all!
12:00 pm – Eat before you pass out. Remember to blink. Remember to swallow the food in your mouth. Remember to breathe. Because by now you can see how well you’re ranking well on amazon.com and it’s giving you an aneurism.
1:00 pm – Post too many screenshots of your amazon ranking and beg people to get more copies because you’re DOING IT!
2:00 pm – Scheduled nervous breakdown. Because there’s no way someone can bottle up so many firework emotions for a whole day. Cry a little in the bathroom.
3:00 pm – Text your best friend and have her tell you to stop crying in the bathroom because you’re being ridiculous now.
4:00 pm – Call your mom and have her tell you to stop crying in the bathroom. But she tells you that you’re an inspiring, perfect human being in her eyes and she’s so proud and now she’s crying and you’re crying and everyone’s crying.
5:00 pm – You forgot that most people don’t sit on their phones all day while they’re at work. So now everyone is at home and on twitter and facebook and they’re being sweet and amazing and sales are picking up and you’re ranking number one in a few things.
6-9:00 pm – Keep yelling to your husband that you’re selling more books until he gets sick of hearing it. But you can’t stop yourself. For better or for worse, right??
9:30 pm – Gasp! Remember you’re doing a free promo of your first book alongside your launch of ‘The System.’ Check on the free stats for ‘Core.’ And realize that you’re KILLING IT. Then you start crying because OH MY GOD!
10-11:00 pm – It dawns on you. You’re indie. Which means you did this all on your own. And if it wasn’t for great friends and fans, you’d be nowhere doing nothing. And you go to bed with a smile. This is all you’ve ever wanted to do, and you’re doing it. You’re doing your dream.

The System cover art large

The System

1 + 1 = Dead.

That’s the only math that adds up when you’re in the System.

Everywhere Nick turns, he’s surrounded by the inevitability of his own demise at the hands of the people who stole his life from him. That is, until those hands deliver the bleeding, feisty, eye-rolling Nessa Parker. Tasked with keeping his new partner alive, Nick must face all the ways he’s died and all the things he’s forgotten.

Nessa might as well give up. The moment she gets into that car, the moment she lays her hazel eyes on her new partner, her end begins. It doesn’t matter that Nick Masters can slip through time by computing mathematical algorithms in his mind. It doesn’t matter how dark and handsome and irresistibly cold he is. Nessa has to defeat her own shadows.

Together and alone, Nick and Nessa make sense of their senseless fates and fight for the courage to change it all. Even if it means the System wins and they end up…well…dead.

Find the ebook for only 99 cents on Amazon!

Side note from Jamie: I got to Beta Read the first 5 chapters of The System and it’s AWESOME!
core-paperback

 

Cale can’t lie.

If only he could lie to the girl with the hard eyes and clenched fists, if only he could twist the truth, maybe he’d win her trust. But Cale can’t lie. And the only way to get ‘her’ is to tell her exactly what he is.

Journey through fight clubs, sky dungeons, and the perils of a forbidden world. Join Cale–an eighteen year old with one impossible secret–as he tears through the calloused blockade that is Ava Johnson.

And fearless Ava, buried in secrets of her own, faces the most frightening truth of her dark life.

She must learn to need someone.

Amazon: Also 99 cents right now!!
Another side note: Teshelle did an author visit at my middle school with this book (her debut novel) and the kids went nuts for it! Had to skip over some of the steamier parts when reading it to my class though.

You can connect with Teshelle at any of these places:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teshellecombsbooks

Website: http://teshellecombs.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeshelleCombs

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7038103.Teshelle_Combs

Email: teshellecombs@gmail.com

Thanks for stopping by Teshelle! And to everyone else, thanks for reading 🙂 Did you relate to Teshelle’s experience? I know I went through the same thing when publishing 18 Things and 18 Truths, even with the help of a publisher. If you’re still waiting patiently (HA!) to be published, don’t give up! Everything happens in God’s perfect timing.

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I WRITE NAKED!

Welcome to the first hump day of the month, also known as the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. And co-hosted by yours truly this month, along with Sheena-kay Graham, Julie Musil, and Mike L. Swift.

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Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Did my title catch your attention? I’ve come to understand that the best writers don’t always have the best titles, but the most successful ones do. The truth is, we DO judge a book by its cover, and the cover and title go a long way into making a novel an instant best seller.

Titles for your blog are no different. A blog is a writer’s platform, and you need catchy titles if you want to stand out above the rest and entice readers to click on the little link you post to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages. Last year, one of my most popular posts was “Girls Gone Wild Spring Break.” I bet most of the people who found the post were sorely disappointed when it recounted my adventures with my two daughters during our spring break; which included a shopping spree, a Shell Factory outing, and a trip to Sea World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Hogsmeade--Welcome home, Jamie Ayres!

Hogsmeade–Welcome home, Jamie Ayres!

Another popular post in 2013? “Getting Lucky.” Again, not at all what people were probably searching for (it was about a 99 cent Kindle sale my publisher did around St. Patrick’s Day). I didn’t realize how many hits those posts received until I got my “Year In Review” report from WordPress in December. I was stunned! I thought my most popular posts would be revolving around my debut book release of 18 Things. It got me thinking about clever headlines, and the one you see above was instantly born in my mind when thinking of my Feb. IWSG post.

But then I also thought, is the kind of traffic attracted to my blog due to those misleading headlines really the type of traffic I want? I want to drive authentic interactions to my blog. This isn’t a numbers game for me. In fact, it’s not really about me at all. It’s about being part of a community of writers and readers. Still, it was too tempting to not write today’s headline of “I WRITE NAKED!” The truth is, I write in my pajama’s into the wee hours of the night, but I wanted to experiment and see if this ends up being my top post for 2014. For the record, I hope it isn’t.

Still, it never hurts to be original and catchy and bring a little scandal to your blog, as long as it actually ties in to what you’re posting about. Eye catching headlines have kept The National Enquirer in business for 88 years! Not that I read the supermarket tabloid, but staying in business for 88 years is something to be noted. Even if their content is lacking in truth, it doesn’t stop customers from impulse buying the tabloid in the checkout line because of their catchy titles pasted on the front page! And I figure out of all the ways to attract people to your blog, a catchy post title is probably the easiest. And I do want to attract people who wouldn’t normally stop by my blog. Hopefully, I’ve made my post interesting enough to hold the curiosity that got them here.

And maybe if they like my voice in the post, they’ll check out my novels, too. Maybe my books will inspire them. I’ve always hoped my books would not only entertain, but serve as a reminder that we are significant to God. We are not forgotten. He collects our tears in a bottle. And going through hell is worth it if it leads us to the place God has. I’ll never forget the fan mail I received after someone read 18 Things, telling me that the message in my book kept her from suicide. I’ve already received a similar message from a girl after reading 18 Truths, and it’s only been out a week. That’s what makes writing worth it for me . . . not the money (oh, just writing that made me LOL!) or star ratings or the reviews or the Amazon sales rankings.

Thankfully, I don’t have to write naked to make a difference, but a catchy title never hurt anyone, even if visitors were stopping by in hopes of finding pictures of topless spring breakers. One of my Facebook friends posted this as their status update just last week: “I find it horribly ironic that the turdnugget that stole my credit card info and went on a spending spree signed himself up for christianmatch.com, catholicmatch.com, and a porn site.”

People are always searching. You never know what your catchy title could lead them to!

What about you? Got any catchy titles I can steal? Hahaha! A big, supersized THANK YOU to Alex for letting me have the honor of co-hosting this month 🙂 If you haven’t checked out Alex’s book, Cassa Fire, the Kindle ebook is on sale for 99 cents right now!

P.S. The 18 Truths blog tour is in full swing! If you’re interested, I visited J. Keller Ford’s blog on Monday when she asked me how I tap into my YA side when I write. And yesterday I visited Lindsey Loucks to talk about my favorite YA book couples. The Rafflecopter is still up too–you’ll find it at the top right corner of this blog ^

Reading Isn’t For Me

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“Reading isn’t for you? But you’re a Language Arts teacher and published author!” Before you pick up that stone, let me explain.

I teach reluctant readers every day and realized the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Did anyone see a recent poll in the associated press that only one in four adults read?

Raise your hand if you think it’s sad only 25% of our adult population reads books? Okay, now put your hand down, people are staring (welcome to my world . . . and it’s not because I’m extremely good-looking, no matter what Mom says).

And out of those adults, most admit to only reading four novels a year! This mentality doesn’t make sense to me because I’d much rather read than do ANYTHING else. There’s a quote by Groucho Marx that goes, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” HA! Raise your hand again if that’s you. (Again, put your hand down. People are laughing now.)

But I do understand this is a real mentality. I live with a husband who falls under the category of, “Reading isn’t for me.” In fact, he still hasn’t finished reading my debut novel, 18 Things, which released last January. Yeah, you read that right. LAST January. He said it’s his New Year’s Resolution to finish it in 2014. I’m not holding my breath, or I’d turn purple before you could say Ghastly Guilt Trip Glutton Reader!

And don’t even get me started on my middle schoolers! I’m required by my district to do a read aloud from a novel at least once a semester with each of my classes. This last semester, I chose 10 books that were award-winning YA literature and let each class (I have a total of seven) vote on what they wanted me to read. I thought they’d be motivated to listen if they picked the book. After all, I’m highly entertaining to listen to (aren’t most people with a coffee addiction? *downs eighth cup today*), so I wasn’t the problem. But I have to say, at times I wondered why I tried .While I do think students should be exposed to the beauty of actual literature (because they do read, but it’s usually just trash on the internet), I do not think my read alouds are having much effect on their capacity as readers. And at this stage of their lives as young students, more than anything, they need to read on their own. Otherwise, chances are, they’ll grow up and join the 75% of our adult population that gives the excuse, “Reading isn’t for me.”

Another quote. “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” –Napoleon Bonaparte

Raise your hand if you think the future of our world is looking bleak? (People are breaking out their smartphones now to take a picture of the freak who keeps raising their hand for no reason.)

I write and read as if breathing depends on it, so as an author and teacher, when I hear so many voices around me saying, “Reading isn’t for me,” I start to get more panicked than a sinner at church on Sunday.

When I think back to my own young adult days of reading (a long time ago in a galaxy far away), I can testify books made me everything I am. I started to believe in magic while taking up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, craved adventures while sailing the raft with Huck and Jim, developed courage while sitting around the Round Table with King Arthur, expanded my understanding of everyday communication when laughing with Amelia Bedelia, learned to accept people for who they are with an ugly duckling, appreciated the value of trying new things when eating green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, overcame difficulties with the Swiss Family Robinson, utilized my critical thinking skills while solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, repented and cared about others with Ebenezer Scrooge, craved true love and romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, reveled in the power of grace with Jean Valjean, and became a good friend and writer alongside a spider named Charlotte.

These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. The stories helped me to know I wasn’t alone (even though I sat by myself in the cafeteria), evolved my perceptions about the world around me and how to sympathize with others, entertained me when I was bored, and made me feel emotions I lacked from growing up in a dysfunctional family.

Already, I know my case for why reading is for everyone is being drowned out by the sound of kids inhaling violent video games, by the sound of teens receiving yet another text message, by you (if you’ve managed to read this far, then pat yourself on the back until you get a muscle cramp) getting distracted by some shiny new object posted to YouTube.

With the release of my second novel, 18 Truths, coming this month (January 28th!), I’m willing to do just about anything to get people to read (short of sprinting across the field during the upcoming Super Bowl with my book’s title painted across my bare chest).

18 Truths high resolution image

Most of you reading this post are probably veracious readers . . . any ideas on motivating those around me, young and old, to READ?

Because I don’t think the “Reading isn’t for me,” should hold up in the courtroom of life. What better way to satisfy our curiosities, learn what we need to know, and come together to make sense of this world than through a good book?

So yeah, my reply? “You’re right. Reading isn’t for you. It’s for everyone!”

Don’t forget to visit other bloggers in the Insecure Writers Support Group ! And as always, mucho thanks to our Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating this wonderful group!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others on Facebook or Twitter . . . I could use allll the help I can get with name recognition before my book releases! ❤

Quoth the Author, “NEVERMORE!” From the Great Beyond Blog Hop!

Angela Brown, Gwen Gardner, Roland Yeomans and Tara Tyler are offering more chances for people to win something in their FROM THE GREAT BEYOND BLOG HOP!

great beyond blog hop button

On October 30, participants write a post about a famous deceased author or celebrity they’d like to contact in their séance.

Usually, I don’t get a thrill from getting the chills. But since it’s All-Hallows’-Eve, I’d like to use my séance to shine a light on the dark tales of Edgar Allan Poe, the American author known as the master of the macabre. Poe used the trademark elements of Gothic horror to explore the depths of human emotion like nobody’s business. It’s no mystery why the name Poe came to symbolize an entire genre! “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher” are two of my most loved short stories to read, and I even have a T-shirt of his most famous poem, “The Raven.”  His career influenced loads of other writers, and I certainly hope he doesn’t quoth his character and tell me “NEVERMORE!” when I ask him for some writerly advice.

And of course there’s that scandal to ask him about, the one that most readers find very frightening indeed! That at the age of 20, Poe moved in with his aunt, uncle, and cousin after his father left and his mother died. It was there in Baltimore that he met his 7-YEAR-OLD cousin Virginia, who he fell madly in love with and married when she was only 13 (how unlucky!). She died 18 (well, I do LOVE that number) years later in 1847, and Poe died only 2 years after Virginia’s death . . . . So yeah, I’d like to know why he married someone within his family, and someone so young at that! Also, I find many conflicting reports on the subject of Poe and his wife, specifically their ages and if they were first or second or third cousins. So I’d like to clear that up for the students that I teach, too.

Now, I can’t let you leave without a treat! Otherwise, the spirits might haunt me, just as these questions about Poe do. Sooo, here’s Christopher Walken (a guy I find truly creepy) reading “The Raven”

*If you didn’t get a chance to participate, but still would like a prize, go visit the posts and comment and they’ll enter those, too. After haunting the blogs and reading the posts, the spirits will select winners from the commenters and from the posters, to be announced on October 31. The prizes will be frightfully good, including copies of books and more! Hopefully, you will join us for a ghostly good time!

So, who would you like to contact in a séance if you could? Have a Happy and safe Halloween! I’ll be busy doing an author visit at another local middle school. The librarian told me I’m their treat for the day! You think I can demand they pay me in candy if they want to buy 18 Things?!

Guest Post from E.D.C. Johnson, Author of Moonflower

Today, I’m excited to welcome a fellow author to my blog. But first, I just have to post this music video, because it’s A*M*E*S*O*M*E*S*A*U*C*E (okay, I admit that I use that word in ridiculous amounts on this blog, along with excessive squees, exclamation points, smiley faces, and hearts, but I mean it in the truest definition of the word here). I seriously LMBO watching this & didn’t anticipate the surprise at all (and wonder if they got J.J. Abrams to direct it considering all the lens flares, hahaha).

So, if you didn’t find that funny, it’s okay, you’ve just lost your sense of humor 😉 Now, here’s a little bit about E.D.C. Johnson before we get started with the interview.

EDC Johnson

EDC Johnson grew up in the Midwest, graduating from Michigan State University with her BFA in Art Education and her MA in Art Education from Western Michigan University. She currently lives with her husband and daughter in Palm Harbor, Florida. Her decade of experience as a public school art teacher has inspired her to write fiction novels that will entice young readers. You may see some of her illustrations in Renee Mallet’s: Fairies, Mermaids, and Other Mystical Creatures.

J: Tell us about what you write.

EDC: I write young adult paranormal fantasy romance novels (and yes I believe paranormal and fantasy are two different things, with Moonflower bordering on both).  It is my desire to write books that will entice students to read. My illustrations are a segway for those young readers that are intimidated by novels.  The writing I do is not childlike.  It respects their real life struggles as they become adults and I write in a way that addresses important issues, which appeal to the young and “more experienced” alike.

J: As a middle school teacher Language Arts teacher, I applaud your efforts! Can you tell us what part of your main character is in you?

EDC: Josephine Woods is much like me at her age.  I put a few of my quirks in her.  Like me, she doesn’t eat eggs and she hates to cry.  Her experience with her father’s death was inspired from my interactions at the age of 16 with my own paternal grandfather on his deathbed.  Her propensity for inner monologue reflects the inner dialog I live each day as I personally over analyze the interactions I have with others.  I’m sure there are even nuances that I’m not aware I wrote into her but these are a few of the big ones.

J: It’s funny how those nuances sneak in there! Many of my friends often say they think of my MC in 18 Things as me, but I thought I was hardly like her (not a geek at all, okay, that’s a total lie!) Can you tell us something fun about yourself, related or unrelated to writing?

EDC: I like to travel and hope to do much more in the future.  I have been lucky enough to travel around the world to Paris, France; Seoul, South Korea (and outlining areas); Costa Rica; all over Ireland; the Bahamas and of course Canada.

J: That’s awesome! Out of those places, I’ve been to the Bahamas (three times on cruises), Canada (we used to camp there when I lived in Michigan), and I also went all over Ireland (in the summer of 1999 with a group of friends from college).

Okay, now for the lightning round, The Fabulous Fun Five! (for my students reading my blog, and you know who you are, brownie points if you can tell me in class tomorrow what kind of title that is)

M&Ms or Skittles? Skittles

CD or iPod? CD

DVD or Movie Theater? DVD

Day or Night? Night

Staying In or Going Out? Staying In

Wow, I didn’t guess that last one with all your travels 🙂 Be sure to check out Moonflower, and spread it around the blogosphere like peanut butter and jelly!

Moonflower Cover

Synopsis: After Josephine Wood’s father dies of cancer, her mother up-roots the two of them and moves to the city. Josie hates her city life, but her teenage issues are of little consequence when they have a car accident and she wakes up in a strange land alone. Lost, with her school backpack as the only connection to her world, Josie struggles to find her way home. She is found by Lucius Conrí, the son of a Marquess, who possesses royal blood and the gift to shift into a wolf’s form at will. Can the kind-hearted Lucius help her find her way while winning her love, or will she fall for Donovan Conrí his older, more serious brother and heir to the Conrí wealth?

Thanks for visiting, EDC, and I wish you the best on your publishing journey!

I’d like to know what everybody is reading this week. I’m reading Gone by Lisa Gardner for book club, and I since I’m A*L*W*A*Y*S reading a YA book, I also picked up Possession by Elana Johnson this past weekend. I’m enjoying both of them . . . reviews to come soon 🙂

The Lure of Fools . . . Oh, How I Pity Them!!!

Today I’m pleased to welcome another CQ Author to my blog, Jason King! Who is Jason King and what does he write? I’m glad you asked!

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BLURB:

“Adventure is the lure of fools, and excitement glamour to the gullible. The siren song of the world is as music to the wanderer’s feet, but that dance leads only to the soul-less grave.” So Jekaran’s uncle has warned him. But that doesn’t stop him from leaping at the exhilarating chance to single-handedly rescue a beautiful woman from a gang of lecherous thieves.

But the bored farm boy quickly finds that he is no match for the group of angry street thugs, and only escapes death by bonding a magical sword that grants him the strength and skill of a master swordsman.  Unfortunately, a peasant wielding such magic is forbidden and punishable by death.

Thus Jekaran finds himself a fugitive with his fate tied to that of the exotic and mysterious, Kairah; a fey woman who must deliver a dire warning to the king that, if heeded, could prevent the very extinction of humanity.

Lure of Fools Cover

ENDORSEMENT:

“A deep and intriguing magic brings a fresh feel to fantasy in this visually stunning journey.  Jason King weaves powerful stories that grip the reader to the last word with a perfect blend of amazement, fear, love, and destiny.  Anybody drawn to dangerous adventure won’t be able to resist The Lure of Fools.  It’s Lloyd Alexander for a new millennium.”  -James Wymore

HA! Toooo funny he mentions Lloyd Alexander . . . I just read his short story, The Stone, with my class today!

And now, a word from our sponsor (or Jason giving a short introduction;-)

This is a promotional reading of the first chapter of my new book, THE LURE OF FOOLS, from Curiosity Quills Press. It’s an action/fantasy adventure in the same vein as books by Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, or Jim Butcher.

My friend Mark Hanson is an actor and was a great sport doing the reading with next to no prior notice. Right now Lure of Fools is available for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo, but the paperback will be available before the end of the month. I will also be signing at Salt Lake Comic Con in September, so if you’re in the area come say hello. Enjoy!

Anyone can read the first three chapters by going here.

The rest of the book’s info can be found on Curiosity Quill’s website. And please share! If you’ve ever been a debut author, you know the exciting feeling of sharing your baby novel with your millions of rabid fans . . . but we can’t deliver to those fans if they don’t know we exist yet!

Congratulations on your debut, Jason, and I hope your release is as magical as your book:-) I pity the fool who doesn’t check out this great story! (Sorry, was I the only one hearing Mr. T’s voice through this entire post because of the title? Hmm, probably!)

Girls Gone Wild Spring Break, Ever’s Birthday, and we have a Grave Winner!!!

I’m baaaack! It was our version of Girls Gone Wild this spring break! We shopped till we dropped on Monday at the Coconut Point Mall and visited the Shell Factory on Tuesday, which included the Nature Center, mini golf (I came in 2nd), paddle boats, and round 2 of Hermit Crab races (my 9yo already won the first race she entered in August, and she picked the winner again). Wednesday was put aside for errands that needed to get done. Thursday we went to Sea World and Friday to Islands of Adventure, where I proceeded to drink 5 frozen butterbeers at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. . . SO?! When I asked Ashley what her favorite part of the trip was, she said the food, lol. We did enjoy eating at Three Broomsticks for lunch and dinner! And the pit stop for brunch at Cracker Barrel on our way home wasn’t too shabby either! Their syrup is to die for.

Another cool thing was hubs booked our hotel through Expedia.com and so he didn’t know what we were getting for the $69 a night deal, but it ended up being the Rosen Centre and the desk lady put us on the 24th floor without charging us extra because she liked my husband’s Star Wars shirt. See . . . it pays to be dorky:-) Check out our view of O-town:

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Hogsmeade--Welcome home, Jamie Ayres!

Hogsmeade–Welcome home, Jamie Ayres!

But this blog really isn’t about me. Well, technically everything is about me, lol. But I try to share the love! So today I welcome blogger buddy Lindsey R. Loucks all the way from the Land of Oz! I’m sooo happy to pay it forward to Lindsey today. Not only did she offer up a $10 Amazon gift card for my 18 Things blogfest, but she also hosted an interview with 18 fun questions for my blog tour. I can’t wait to purchase her debut novel, The Grave Winner, when it releases on May 15th. That’s only 6 short weeks away, so please help me today with creating some much deserved buzz for this YA paranormal fantasy romance novel!

Single tree in field during winter 2

OMG . . . is that cover not freakin’ A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!?! Here’s the blurb:

Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead — just like the prom queen did.

While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging. 

She should have listened.

Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.

With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.

YIKES!! My arm hair is standing up just reading the blurb. Here’s the 411 on Lindsey:

Lindsey Loucks author pic

Lindsey R. Loucks works as a school librarian in rural Kansas. When she’s not discussing books with anyone who will listen, she’s dreaming up her own stories. Eventually her brain gives out, and she’ll play hide and seek with her cat, put herself in a chocolate induced coma, or watch scary movies alone in the dark to reenergize.

As a teacher for the past 12 years, I covet your school librarian job! I aspire to be one myself, and just passed my Media Specialist Certification test *woot, woot! Here’s where you can stalk find more about Lindsey:

Add The Grave Winner to Goodreads.

Check out Lindsey’s website.

Follow Lindsey on Facebook.

Follow Lindsey on Twitter.

*AND THE FUN CONTINUES . . . .

You may recall me blogging a couple weeks ago about the lovely and talented Jessa Russo when her debut novel, Ever, was part of the Curiosity Quills 99 cent sale. Well, today Ever is celebrating its 6 month book birthday, so put on your party hat!

Jessa's cover

To celebrate, visit Jessa’s website to enter the rafflecopter. ONE winner will receive this AWESOME Prize Pack, which includes the following:

 

Paperbacks:

EVER by Jessa Russo (me!)

FADE by A.K. Morgen

 

E-books:

BURIED by Gerilyn Marin

WILDE’S FIRE by Krystal Wade

DARK MATTER (Book Two in the Elemental Enmity Series) by Christie Rich

18 THINGS by Jamie Ayres

THE CHARGE by Sharon Bayliss

THE GATHERING DARKNESS by Lisa Collicutt

DEVOUR by Andrea Heltsley

 

Swag:

EVER Swag

DEVOUR Swag

 

Misc:

Query Critique by Sharon Bayliss

One Query + 1st Chapter Critique by Eliza Tilton

 
LINKS:
 
*So, how was your Spring Break if you had one? Plan on reading The Grave Winner? Participating in Ever’s half-birthday?

The Leprechaun Strikes One More Time!

Today is the last day for the Curiosity Quills Press 99 cent Kindle promotion for 40 of their titles. If you haven’t checked out 18 Things, now is your last chance to do so for under a buck! A girl on Facebook told me she read it in one day and it was the best 99 cents she ever spent, lol. Another book I want to highlight that’s part of the sale is Fade by A.K. Morgen. I read her NA Urban Fantasy book in one day too! 

Fade

Book Blurb:

What do you do when you realize nothing in your life is what you’ve believed it to be?

When Arionna Jacobs loses her mother in a tragic accident, her world is turned upside down. She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father. Dace Matthews, a teaching assistant at her new college, is torn in two, unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him.

When they meet, everything they thought they knew about life unravels. Dace has intimate access to Arionna’s mind, and something deep within her fights to rise to the surface. They don’t understand what’s happening to them or why, and they’re running out of time to sort out the strange occurrences around them.

Their meeting sets an ancient Norse prophesy of destruction in motion, and what destiny has in store for them is bigger than either could have ever imagined. Unless they learn to trust themselves and one another, they may never resolve the mystery surrounding who they are to one another, and what that means for the world.

 

FADE is available from Curiosity Quills Press at Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo. You can learn more at http://akmorgen.com or by following Ayden on Twitter or Facebook.

 

*Also, don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter on Sharon Bayliss’s site for your chance at winning a $75 Amazon gift card! And on that note, I’m outta here! Today is the official start of my spring break with my daughters and hubby, and I promised them I’d take a break from social media as well. See you on April 1st, and that’s no joke;-) 

 

Guest Sharon Bayliss Shares Her Road to Publication!

Today I have the extreme honor of letting my publishing sister, Sharon Bayliss, take over my blog. A contest on her own blog this past May is what led my editor to 18 Things! Sharon, I’m forever in your debt, and you can stop by any time! Don’t forget, Sharon’s book, The Charge, and my book, 18 Things, are both on sale in the Kindle store for 99 cents until Saturday! Thanks to our publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, for running this wonderful promotion!

99 cent Lucky Book Sale

Take it away, Sharon . . . .

No one could call me an overnight success. I’ve been chasing my dream of publication for fifteen years. Granted, I have had a lot of distractions during that time, college, marriage, children…you know, life in general, but I always returned to work on my goal of publishing a novel.

I am proud to say that on March 2, 2013, my dream came true. I published my debut novel, The Charge, with Curiosity Quills Press.

So how did I finally get it done? 

In 2009 I started writing the novel that would eventually become The Charge. It went through so many drafts and total overhauls, early beta readers can only barely recognize the final published result. In the summer of 2011, I did my first round of serious querying. I went the “normal” route of querying agents. I had a few positive moments, some blog contest wins and an occasional positive query reply, but overall, the query process was soul-draining and ultimately unsuccessful.

Fortunately, I wasn’t thwarted. After rewriting my query almost fifty times (yes, I counted), I finally realized and accepted that the query wasn’t the problem. There were problems with the basic structure of the story.

So, I essentially started over. And this time, I write the query first. When I felt like I had an awesome query after only a few tries, I knew I had finally figured it out. 

I got to work re-writing the story and when I was done, it just felt different. I knew I had gotten it right. I had two amazing beta readers look over The Charge. They made some excellent suggestions and I went to work on yet another significant revision. 

One problem my beta readers pointed out was that The Charge didn’t fit well into the YA genre (which was where I had been querying it) because my main character was 18 and out on his own. I agreed, but aging him up or down proved difficult. Read more about my journey to discover the new adult category in the article, “18-Year-Old Characters are Strictly Prohibited.”

Despite the categorization problem, I felt excited and confident about The Charge, so I set out to query agents again and entered some contests. And…

Still nothing.

Although I felt like I had made significant strides and was very proud of The Charge, the general consensus from the agents was, “no.”

I didn’t want to shelve The Charge, but I was discouraged and decided to at least move on to something else for a while. So, I wrote a completely different novel (but that’s a whole other story). I was feeling very excited about this new novel and was about to start querying it, but then something unexpected happened.

The publishing industry moves slowly and I’m not very patient. So, I had moved on before The Charge had really gotten a chance. I hadn’t thought about The Charge in a while, and then I learned that it had made it through the first round of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. Then, a month later, The Charge became a quarterfinalist. I didn’t move to the semi-finalist round, but I did win a very positive Publishers Weekly review.

My success in the ABNA contest made me rethink everything. The expert judges and the Publishers Weekly reviewer thought it was great! The agents who read my query may not have fallen in love, or thought they would have trouble fitting it into the correct marketing box, but that didn’t mean the book wasn’t worth publishing. So, with my renewed confidence, I tried something new, I queried small publishers directly. And since small publishers were open to the “New Adult” category, I was able to query it in the category it really belonged in.

It didn’t take long at all for me to get some full requests, and in about a nanosecond in publishing time, Curiosity Quills Press made me an offer. I have to admit, I was thrilled but also discombobulated. Things had happened quickly and not the way I had expected. I had no agent to help me negotiate the contract. Even after lots of research and consulting with friends, there was no way to be 100% certain that I was doing the right thing. But my gut told me it was the right thing to do, and I know I made the right choice.

My journey to publication was long and often painful, but I believe it all happened for a reason. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Jamie, and for all your support along the way!

*My pleasure, Sharon! I bet you’re wondering what The Charge is about after that post. Here’s the blurb:

The Charge Cover copy

When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren’s brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead. 

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who’s itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can’t stay away from. Convincing her he’s not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID. 

*You can visit Sharon’s blog to learn more about her, and to enter our $75 Amazon gift card giveaway 5 of us are doing to say thanks for spreading the word about the 99 cent sale, woot woot!!

So, have you had the chance to read The Charge yet, or adding it to your TBR list? Interested in the $75 gift card (well, duh, who wouldn’t be, right?!) Stop by tomorrow . . . I’ll be highlighting another wonderful book participating in the 99 cent promo!

❤ Jaim-O

The Luck of the Irish Brings you 18 Things for 99 Cents (and much more!!!)

Not only does the Kindle e-book for 18 Things go on sale today for 99 cents, but it was just an overall AWESOME week to be an author! A new local bookstore opened up in my town, and I also got to participate in the Southwest Florida Reading Festival yesterday. I sat at a vendor’s table with my local Romance Writer’s group from 10-4pm and actually sold 17 books! I know that’s not breaking any records, but I’m always humbled anyone wants to read my book! Annnd, while I was there, I got invited by the Lee County Reading Council to be the guest author speaker at their End of Year banquet next month *squeeee*

Plus, people left me warm fuzzy messages this week after finishing 18 Things. On Twitter, Cheryl had this to say: “Just finished 18 Things. Way to reinforce my belief in God and life. It was much-needed. I feel whole again after reading your book.” Isn’t that the greatest DM ever?! Thanks for letting me share, Cheryl!

Also got this message on FB from a middle school Language Arts teacher: “I ordered one of your books from amazon and all my students want to read it at the same time. Just placed another order for several copies.” LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

And finally another FB message from a coworker: “Tomorrow we will be able to check off running a 5k – thank you Jamie Ayres for motivating me to finally do something about my bucket list!” WOW, can you see the HUGE smile on my face from where you are sitting?!?

If that doesn’t make you want to read 18 Things, then you just might be a broken person. Well, okay, I am too . . . that’s why I wrote 18 Things! So let’s get down to the Nitty-Gritty!

99 cent Lucky Book Sale

For the 99 cent sale, several of us at Curiosity Quills Press wanted to do some kind of shared giveaway on our blogs. The point of the giveaway is to call attention to the 99 cent sale and get people to spread the word (via rafflecopter). We figured it didn’t make much sense to give away our 99 cent ebooks, but we could all put in toward a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift card. Who wouldn’t be interested in that, right? WordPress doesn’t support rafflecopter *shakes fist in air* but you can enter the giveaway on Sharon Bayliss’s site! (The link should be live sometime soon–thanks for helping to spread the word!) Here’s the list of participating books:

18 Things by Jamie Ayres *Woot, wOOt!!*

Once Upon a Changeling by V.J. Chambers
Cappuccino Heaven by Michelle Wright
The Space Whiskey Death Chronicles by William Vtika
The Charge by Sharon Bayliss
Ever by Jessa Russo
Blow up the Roses by Randy Attwood
Theocracide by James Wymore
Fade by Ayden Morgan
The Green Man and Other Short Stories by Rand Lee
The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt
Sanity Vacuum by Thea Gregory
Legasea by Krystalyn Drown
The Devil You Know (Nick Englebrecht Trilogy Book 1) by K.H. Koehler
Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish by Andrew Buckley
Nefertiti’s Heart by AW Exley
Paradise Earth: Day Zero by Anthony Mathenia
Death by Chocolate by Johanna Pitcairn
Bone Wires by Michael Shean
Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean
The Green Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson
The Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson
Danger in Cat World by Nina Post
One Ghost per Serving by Nina Post
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post
The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse by Nina Post
Wilde’s Fire (Darkness Falls Series Book 1) by Krystal Wade
Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls Series Book 2) by Krystal Wade
World’s Burn Through (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 1) by Vicki Keire
Shadowed Ground (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 2) by Vicki Keire
Wet Dream by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
The God Particle by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
The Department of Magic by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Christmas in the Morgue by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Family Cursemas (The Megamillionaire Murders, Vol 1) by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Dinosaur Jazz (Jurassic Club) by Michael Panush
El Mosaico, Vol. 1: Scarred Souls by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 1: American Nightmares by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 2: Cold Wars by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 3: Red Reunion by Michael Panush

That’s a whole enchilada of awesome books!!! I’m hoping to see 18 Things trend in the top 100 in a few categories again and create some much-needed buzz, and would really appreciate it if you helped spread the word in your realm of influence!

Here’s an easy Tweet you can copy: The Luck of the Irish brings you the YA coming of age love story, 18 Things, for 99 cents! Happy St. Patricks’ Day #99cents #Kindle

Okay, before I go I just have to share my 9yo daughter’s funny relationship with Siri. She saved and saved for an iPod Touch 5 and finally bought it on Thursday. My hubs and I don’t have Smart phones, so this was her first introduction to Siri.  On Friday morning, I got out of the shower and heard Ashley talking to somebody. Me: Who are you talking to? Ash: Siri! Can you believe she’s never had pizza? I told her to try CiCi’s. Me: Um, you do know Siri is a computer, right? hahahahahaha! Then this morning hubs and I are talking and Ashley goes, “Shhh, I just asked Siri a question and she needs to concentrate!” LOL. And if you haven’t asked Siri who let the dogs out, Ashley highly recommends it! I do love how Siri is helping my kid with her speech problems. She has to speak clearly in order for Siri to understand her, which leads me to wrap up my St. Patrick’s Day announcement with this:

Siri St. Patrick's Day