TFIOS Feels, ReadOn, Audible, and UtopYA Con

Let me first start off by saying that The Fault In Our Stars movie, based on the bestselling Coming of Age love story about two teens who just happen to have cancer by John Green, was AMAZING!!!

I took my 13yo daughter and her bestie to a special “Night Before Our Stars” event that was held at 600 theatres around the country the night before the official release. We each got a commemorative bracelet and autographed poster and afterward, you could tweet questions to the author, director, producer, and the three main characters of the cast. They did the live simulcast from a movie theatre in Atlanta (more on that later). There were sooo many feels while watching this film. I LOVED the book, but I don’t remember laughing and crying so hard (and simultaneously) when reading the novel. Something about seeing it brought to life on the big screen made it much more emotional for me. It’s not a movie I could watch over and over again because it’s so heartbreaking, but I do think it’s trying to send the same message I try to send with my 18 Things trilogy. Love is stronger than death in the end. It’s hard to tell someone that when they’ve just lost the most important person in their life (and I wouldn’t recommend it), but after time, I do think most come around to that realization. Anyway, I think the movie and the two main actors, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, deserve Oscar nominations. Doubt that will happen, but I’m sure they get the reward in the hearts of young adults (and wannabe YA like me) everywhere!

TFIOS Swag

TFIOS Swag

 

Other things I’ve been up to this week . . . I did my first live web appearance ON CAMERA for Jessica Porter, a book reviewer I’d met at a B&N event back in March. Check out the ReadOn with me (I’m up first), Leila Howland, Lindsay Cummings, and Amy Christine Parker (LOVE HER!).

readon

Then yesterday, Audible set me up with a local studio to record special features for my audio books of 18 Things and 18 Truths. I walked in and was met by a familiar face . . . I’d actually graduated high school with the owner! So thankful I knew him a little because I was really nervous and he immediately put me at ease. It took about 2 hours to record the Author’s Note, dedication, beginning chapter quotes, acknowledgements, and Literature Circle Questions for both books. He said I was a natural . . . I think I probably sounded like a dork. We’ll let you decide when it’s all finished! If you’re in the Southwest Florida area and need a studio, check out Paul L. Marshall Productions.

Jamie Recording

Other than that, I’ve been planning for my trip next week! I’m off to Nashville for the UtopYA Con (the Con for Women Writers of YA & the fans who love them). Super excited to meet up with my publishers sisters, Sharron Riddle Houdek and Krystal Wade, there (as well as blogger buddy Pk Hrezo). If you’re going, stop by Area 51, table 24! My daughter is coming with (who will turn 14 that weekend, sniff sniff) and she’s an aspiring author, so I’m psyched to have her come along and be inspired. On the way, we’re stopping in Atlanta because for some reason, we’ve never been! Lots of fun planned there too, including hunting down Theo James so I can touch his bicep (it’s on my bucket list). He’s filming Insurgent there along with Shailene and Ansel. How cool would it be to actually stumble upon them?! Keep your fingers crossed and if you’re in the Atlanta area, let me know if you spot any “Mineral” signs (code name).

"Now, now Jamie, you could get arrested for this." *lunges at Theo*

“Now, now Jamie, you could get arrested for this.” *lunges at Theo*

What have you been up to this week?!

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18 Truths Blog Tour Wrap Up, My Writing Process, and Shattered Secrets

Today I’m participating in Elsie Elmore’s blog hop. Elsie is one groovy chick! 
Here’s a little bit about her: 
ElsieElmoreOutside the city limits on a small patch of land in North 
Carolina, Elsie lives with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.

She’s a science nerd with creative tendencies. And the stories she writes come to her from life’s experiences after her mind has warped them almost beyond recognition. Her first YA PNr, The Undead, is due out this year from Curiosity Quills.

Before I answer four questions about my writing process for the blog hop, I need to give a shout out to my writer peeps who hosted me during my last week of my 18 Truths blog tour. Incase you missed it:

 Last Tuesday, I visited EDC Johnson with my 5 Tips For Writing Trilogies.

On Wednesday, Tyrean Martinson challenged me with the “1 Word Interview.”

Eliza Tilton brought out the teacher side of me when I guest posted on her blog on Thursday with 3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Reading.

Friday was Valentine’s Day, so I told Michelle Ziegler about meeting my husband.

On Sunday, I shared 18 Ways to Use 18 Things/18 Truths in Your Classroom with teacher/writer Lynn Jake.

And yesterday, I shared 18 Ways to Market Your Book with Pk Hrezo.

*Thanks to everyone for your support with the release of 18 Truths! Because of you, I have 2 books continuing to trend in the top 100 for Coming of Age Fiction! Also, be sure to check the Rafflecopter Widget in the top right corner to see if you’re a winner of one of the 23 prizes that was up for grabs during the tour (I’ll email winners as well). And my publisher is still continuing the giveaway of 10 paperback copies of 18 Truths over at Goodreads. But hurry–ONLY 10 DAYS LEFT TO ENTER (don’t forget to add it to your TBR shelf while you’re there).

 Okay, now that you’re all caught up, here’s today’s blog hop questions.

 1)     What are you working on?

 I’m working on the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts. Here’s the blurb:

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld anxious to return to normal, but fate had other plans.

Now she’s caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, torn between past and present. All sorts of bizarre events has her senior year of high school becoming increasingly odd with every passing hour. Things like the new hottie at school reading her thoughts but nobody else’s and her best friend waking up from his coma acting like a completely different person. Now she must confront what she will—or won’t—do to save the lost soul her childhood friend has become and stare down her own perceived inadequacies to face a couple of tenacious demons, figurative and literal.

Everything she thought she knew about reality will require suspension of her disbelief as she walks the line between fear and faith, love and loyalty.

In the end, she’ll realize “normal” in the conventional sense of the word is the one thing she could never achieve.

2)    How does your work differ from others in its genre?

YA Paranormal Romance that circles around the truth of the goodness of God is not so common in my genre. When I sat down to write my trilogy, I knew I wanted a faith story that said something unique. I felt like I had an issue that wasn’t dealt with a lot in the YA publishing world . . . death and faith going hand in hand. When someone dies, especially someone young, most people cry out “Why God?” I wanted to write a story in which a teen experienced loss and was consumed with guilt, and how the loss inspired her to live freely. But I didn’t want to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end. My childhood Catholic roots, my obsession with the television show Lost, my need for radical hope even in the face of death, and my belief that we’ll always end up with the person we’re supposed to, became the ultimate catalyst for the 18 Things trilogy.

3)    Why do you write what you do?

The message of my trilogy is my heart’s cry. It’s my humble attempt to put into words the message of a powerful work God did in me. Yes, it’s a fiction book, but at its core, it celebrates our significance 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 hope my trilogy will not only entertain, but serve as a reminder of these timeless truths during this generation’s teen years—and throughout life (my oldest reader is 96). That’s why I write YA Coming of Age Fiction.

 4)    How does your writing process work?

 I’m a pantser by nature. So usually, I just sit my butt in the chair and write. After I’m done with my first draft, I fill in a plotting chart to make sure I’m hitting all my major and minor plot points at the right spots.

Thanks to Elsie for letting me play. And here’s 2 other peeps posting for the hop. Be sure to check them out!

MargoBondCollins Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up DeadFairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

Orians_Headshot copyAdopted at three-days-old by a construction worker and a stay-at-home mom, Vicki Leigh grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where she learned to read by the age of four and considered being sent to her room for punishment as an opportunity to dive into another book. By the sixth grade, Vicki penned her first, full-length screenplay. She is a member of SCBWI, a co-founder of The Writer Diaries, and her short story, PRINCESS UNAWARE, placed fifty-sixth in the 80th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in Children’s/Young Adult. Vicki is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Finally, I leave you with a special treat . . . the cover reveal for Shattered Secrets by Krystal Wade, releasing in just 2 weeks!

ShatteredSecrets

IWSG–Author Appreciation Day

Wow, I can’t believe it’s May 1st already! That means only 3 weeks left in the school year *squeeee* Sometimes I think us teachers are more excited for summer than the students, lol. This first Wednesday of the month also means it’s time for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

It’s been 98 days since my debut novel, 18 Things, released. 98 is a lucky number for me since it’s the year hubs and I tied the knot 🙂 But I’d say the thing I was most insecure about these first 3 months is what others would think of my book. Most of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads have been 4 or 5 stars so far (thank you, Jesus *wipes forehead*), but as my publisher submits 18 Things to Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble for in-store distribution, I sure could use some more reviews! So it seems perfect that Susie Levine is hosting a great blog hop to celebrate authors! Here’s what I read about it on Krystal Wade’s blog today:

huganauthor

Without the ratings, without the few sentences from a happy reader, it makes it harder for a new reader to come along and snatch up the book. How many times have you seen a book on Amazon and not purchased it because it didn’t have enough reviews?

Here you’ll find a link back to her original post and the sign-up code.

Make sure you write a review for a book you’ve read, loved, and never mentioned to your friends or family or Goodreads. Post it on your blog. On Amazon. On Shelfari. Wherever you like to rant and rave.

Authors are sometimes insecure and in need of a pick-me-up. So hug them!

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

I admit I usually star my books on goodreads, but I’m not great about leaving comments. I just went back and updated some of my more recent books to include some kind words, because they go a looong way 🙂 My publisher just sent me two surveys from my book this week, and I wish the readers would’ve posted it somewhere, because they were positive *YAY!* Instead, I’ll share them with you here:
“Great book…very impressed. I normally call the twists early, but this book surprised me. Very refreshing! Can’t wait for the next one!”
“I read a lot of books. YOUR BOOK I got lost in right from the beginning. I couldn’t put it down. It’s now one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read 18 Truths. I love the characters, plot, the quotes in each Chapter, and the flow of the story.
I would love to get this book in hardback, because I think you will be a future Best Seller.”
Awww, pretty cool, right? I seriously appreciate each and every review, even the ones less than 4 stars.
One new release you might want to check out and leave a review for is KIYA: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Teller. Click on the link to learn about her awesome blog hop!
Kiya-Facebook-Cover-PNG8

You can now buy it on Amazon and Kobo! To celebrate, here’s a quick excerpt from the book:

A smirk spread across his face and he chuckled.

“You are amusing. I hope you let the Pharaoh see that.”

“Oh, I will.” I smiled. “Once I no longer feel he may throw me to the crocodiles for it.”

He folded his arms and grinned at me.

“He needs someone who can make him laugh. He lives a very tiresome existence and never has a moment to relax.”

“Do you wish me to oblige?” I asked.

He nodded. “Oh yes, Kiya. Make him love you, make him hold you in his highest regard. That will humble our Great Queen and remove her from her station, so she no longer feels she and her daughters have a right to the throne.”

I sighed. “Well, I can do my best, but I am not as pretty as many, or as young.”

“But you are honest, and he will appreciate that among all the liars he is faced with every day.”

*Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?!?

And before I go, I just have to brag on my 12yo daughter for a second. Since the last time I blogged, she was awarded First Place for Level 2 entries in the WHOLE STATE OF FLORIDA for the Letters For Literature essay contest. She even won $100 with it! I’d love to share her essay about Lauren Myracle’s book, Thirteen, but it’ll have to wait until after the national judging is over. Keep your fingers crossed for her!

Oh, and if you’ve read 18 Things, you know all about my fictional band, Cantankerous Monkey Squad. My talented friend sang the spoof of the “Good Riddance” song I put in the book: “Ode to a Septic Tank.” Hope you enjoy a laugh, and if you do decide to post a book review, I hope you didn’t think 18 Things was crap! Hahaha . . . .

Terrific Thursday Mash-up!

I know what you’re thinking . . . Wow, back-to-back posts!? No worries, I’m still keeping my once a week slacker blogger status. I haven’t made enough money yet to hire those angry clowns to chase me around the house until I get stuff done. I just make exceptions for Curiosity Quills Publishing sisters like Gerilyn. But while I have your attention (hopefully), I’d also like to mention I’m on J.Keller Ford’s blog today for a guest post about What Made Me Write 18 Things. So check it out!

And my hubs has been insane in the membrane for this Thrift Shop rap by Macklemore *warning: if you do have a listen, there is quite a bit of inappropriate language if your kiddos are in the room* Probably because the thrift shop is hubs favorite place to buy some goofy T-shirts. Then I heard this interesting convo on the radio station about how some people are afraid of thrift shop clothes because demons can attach themselves to them?! This was in response to a segment on the 700 Club when a viewer wrote in to Pat Robertson and asked him about it. I don’t agree with his response, but I thought I should mention it here because it might spark a cool paranormal book idea for one of you . . . and because it leads into Gerilyn’s guest post on her true paranormal experience. Take it away, friend!

blogtourbanner for Buried

Okay, this isn’t a scary or spooky story (though, I guess the latter depends on the reader’s perspective), but I think it’s good to remember that not all paranormal experiences are.

The backdrop needed to understand this is that I live in my great grandmother’s house- the top floor of a two family home (my grandmother lives in the first floor house).  Great gram’ma, Mary Zenzian (maiden name Capp), was psychic—incidents from predicting the year of my sister’s birth as my mother and father walked out of the church on their wedding day to go to the reception, to feeling it when her brother, a cook in the army during WWI had received a severe grease burn on the face.  I spent a lot of days, from infancy to the age of four (when she passed away) with her.  As you can imagine, I don’t remember much, but my mother says there was a connection between gram’ma and me, and seeing I’m the only one to inherit even a touch of Mary’s ‘gift’, I would say I’m inclined to believe mom.

Okay, enough background info.

About a month after we first moved in, my husband and I were tasked with spending a week house/pet sitting for my parents.  The day we’re supposed to leave I’m puttering back and forth across the house, making certain the everything is packed and ready to go for the excursion.  It was the first morning since moving in that I’d been forced to make instant coffee, ’cause we were out of ground.  I don’t even know what made me notice it, but I walked through the kitchen and noticed that the coffee maker had been switched on.  It wasn’t fully electric- one has to manually press the button to start the pot.  I don’t think much of it, I just switch it off and keep going about what I’m doing. 

Then it happens again, 4 or 5 times, again.  Now, my husband wouldn’t touch the coffee maker ’cause if our house has a barista, then it’s me, and he knows it, and our son, Alex, was only 1 at the time and not nearly tall enough to reach the counter the coffee maker was on.  I can’t figure out what’s happening, but I don’t want to leave the house with the thing plugged in, in case it keeps malfunctioning, which could possibly start an electrical fire.  I unplug it and we leave for the house sitting chore.

At the end of the week, my mother helps us bring all of our stuff (and Alex) back into the house and we cross through the kitchen.  I see the coffee maker (now, thankfully having ground coffee in my possession) and I—thinking I’m joking- quip to my mother, “Did gram’ma have a thing about coffee?”

My mother just looks at me for a moment and then says, “Yeah.  She would get up before anyone else in the morning and put a fresh pot of coffee on the stove—you could smell it throughout both floors.  Why?”

So, I tell her about what happened while we were packing.

Her Vulcan-plucked eyebrows shoot up.“Your great grandmother clearly doesn’t want you drinking instant coffee.”

Thirteen years later, I only ever drink instant coffee in extreme, caffeine-deprived emergency . . . and I apologize aloud for it every, single time.

Buried

Book One of The Paranormalville Trilogy

Fane’s Cove isn’t the average coastal town- not with wandering apparitions, disembodied voices and poltergeist activity occurring on a regular basis- but the residents are used to it.  As far as they know, it’s simply always been that way.  Somehow, Cadence McKenna can’t shake the feeling that normal-seeming new resident Grey Addison is hiding something stranger than all of the town’s odd happenings combined and she’s determined to find out what that is.

Buried is a YA paranormal / urban fantasy tale by Gerilyn Marin, serialized and published at Curiosity Quills, every Tuesday.

*Oh, I love a grandmother who doesn’t let her granddaughter drink instant coffee *gag*

One more cool thing I wanted to share. It’s something my fabulous editor and friend, Krystal Wade, emailed me this week. It’s a link to another post by Agent Rachelle Gardner, who talked about manuscript perfection. She also discussed author rights and responsibilities, and why thinking negative thoughts can be a good thing. I found it very insightful.

So was my Thursday post T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C?! Did you check out any of the links? Want to read Buried? Are you gonna pray first before you pop some tags;-)

IWSG: Spread the Love

Did you know my debut novel, 18 Things, released on January 24th?! If you did, then my six-week blog tour was a success:-) If you missed my last post of the tour, you can check it out here. You know I LOVE lists, so it’s no surprise I wrapped things up with one! If you’re thinking about querying, you don’t want to miss it.

So what now? I probably should get to all that writing of an actual book that I neglected to write guest posts instead. But first, I want to share the love, baby! The heart of the IWSG is to share and encourage and I think these things fall under both, in addition to making you cry, but no worries . . . there’s a good laugh at the end if you stick around! *Thanks to Elodie for bringing Chad and Bridget to my attention*

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

First: Chad Morris

Chad is in a hospital, being there for his nine-year-old daughter as she recovers from surgery to remove a brain tumor. As the mother of a nine-year-old daughter myself, I can’t even imagine this. Obviously, he can’t promote his book release, but we can! We can give him the book launch he deserves. If you feel inclined, please mention his book on Twitter, Facebook, on your blog, on Pinterest, ect . . . .

The Inventors Secret

Book Blurb for The Inventor’s Secret:

Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar.

Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world. Twin siblings Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their famed grandfather’s inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins begin following a trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall.

Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather’s greatest secret–a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality.

Second: Bridget Zinn

Bridget’s debut novel, POISON, releases in a week. Sadly, Bridget died from cancer in May 2011. Being published was her dream, and her husband and friends would appreciate some love in helping her dream become reality. Her husband set up a website that talks about the ways you can help.

poison

Book Blurb for Poison:

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Third: Krystal Wade

Krystal is the one who turned my dream of publishing a book into reality. She keeps insane hours and answers every email I have in record time. She’s not editing books anymore so she can devote her time to writing, and right now you can “buy” the first book in her trilogy for FREE!!! But today is the last day of this promotion, so HURRY!!!

Wilde's Fire

Book Blurb for Wilde’s Fire:

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made.

Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

*I think all of these stories sound pretty awesome, don’t you?

I’m looking forward to reading them with my twelve-year-old daughter.

Speaking of my first-born, she started a new blog with her four best friends this past weekend while they were having a slumber party. If you write middle grade, you’d be wise to give them a follow, and they’d be forever grateful in return!! Kaylee even wrote the first post about tips for surviving middle school! That post is the first thing that will have you laughing, or at least it did for me!

Staying with the topic of daughters, I must share this Father of the Bride video Ellen posted yesterday. No, it’s not a clip from the movie . . . and even though that flick is one of my favorites, I must say that this video tops it for me! Get ready for your second laugh!

*So how’d I do? Did I make you laugh or cry or both?

 

WHat ARe yOUr 18 THiNGs? Blogfest (kinda) Signup! Not just for bloggers anymore!

Amazon links are live to purchase 18 Things! Yay–Thanks for your support!

Update: This just in! Tyrean, Laila, Penny, and Tonja Drecker  are my Thursday and Friday winners! Pk Hrezo and Sharon Bayliss are Saturday’s winners! Danielle Bailey and Carrie-Anne are Sunday’s winners! Tangent Shell and Lynn Lovegreen are Monday’s winners! Darlene Steelman and L.G. Keltner are Tuesday’s winners! Julie Myers and Vicki Trask are Wednesday’s winners! Stephen Tremps, Morgan Katz, Kirsten, and Lencre are Release Day Winners!

YAHOO! You helped bring 18 Things to a place of influence today–#3 in paranormal fantasy hot releases, #9 in Coming of Age hot releases, and #36 overall!!! 

Winners, just use the contact button above ^ and tell me which one of the fabulous 18 prizes you’d like:-) If it’s crossed out, that prize is taken (duh! LOL) and Congrats!!!

18 Things  releases in ten days. Can you believe it? You may have to pinch me! It’s been 7 months since I signed my contract, and it really is scary how time flies! But we’re back from our FREE Disney cruise (yes, feel free to slap me out of jealousy), and feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to do this thang!

So, I have a one week blogfest planned with lots of giveaways and then blog tour posts planned from January 21st through the end of February! (Full tour info to come, and contest giveaways list is at the bottom of this post.)

Beginning January 17th until release day, January 24th–I’ll be hosting the What Are Your 18 Things Blogfest. This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in.

jamiebucket

All you have to do is blog about things on your bucket list.  If you don’t have a bucket list, you should, and now is the perfect time to start! If you’re not sure what a bucket list is (blasphemy!), it’s something completely personal that each person should do (IMHO). It’s a great reminder that gives an extra boost to live life to the fullest and keep us looking forward, even when life wants to drag us down sometimes. Finish a marathon? Read the top 100 books?  I’m looking for fun, heart-pumping, poignant, or inspirational things that you want to want to do, or maybe already crossed off your list. And it doesn’t have to be 18 Things . . . it can be anywhere from 1-18 things (I just needed my title to get out there. Marketing trolls said so!)

Anyone who posts their 18 Things between January 17th-24th can enter to win a number of prizes, including:

*$10 Amazon card from Lindsey Loucks

*$10 Starbucks gift card from Marisa Cleveland

*Signed paperback copy of 18 Things, donated by Marisa Clevleland

*Contemporary Thriller Book, Dead Witness, from Joylene Nowell Butler

*YA Urban Fantasy book, Reaper’s Novice, from Cecilia Robert (2 copies to give away)

*a set of bookmarks, also from Cecilia

*First page critique from Nancy S. Thompson

*ebook copy of Nancy S. Thompson’s contemporary thriller book, The Mistaken

*First page critique from Tonya Kuper, agent intern for The Seymour Agency

*Krystal Wade’s signed copy of Wilde’s Fire

*Jessa Russo’s ebook of her YA Paranormal Romance novel, Ever

*First page or query critique from PK Hrezo

*An 18 page document on Inspirational Tips and Advice for Creative Writing by Taylnn (A.K.A. Ink in the Book)

*A set of inspirational bookmarks (donated by moi)

*an ebook copy of 18 Things

*First page, query, or synopsis (up to 3 pages) critique from Jamie Ayres

*Critique of first 20 pages of W.I.P. from Jamie Ayres

Yes, there are 18 terrific prizes! This is just my way of saying THANK YOU to all you wonderful peeps out there:-) I will use RANDOM.ORG to pick 2 winners each day (4 winners on January 24th–release day!), and winners, you get to choose your prize. So, early bird gets the worm, my friends!

I can’t wait to visit each blog and read your “18 Things.”

Now to the (Kinda) part of this post: Don’t blog? Put the cover of 18 Things or the bucket badge ^ from above up on your FB wall and post your bucket list item under the photo, or pin it on Pinterest with your bucket list item in the comments, or tweet one of your 18 Things. Use the words “18 Things” somewhere to go with the picture and link back to this blog wherever you decide to post. All non-blog entries will still be available for the awesome prizes! Just remember to link to me so I know you participated!!

Bloggers, sign up NOW for the blogfest in the LinkyTool below (and make sure you grab the 18 Things badge to put on your blog). Let’s get this party started!

Powered by Linky Tools

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

WHat ARe yOU wAItiNG fOR? EvERyTHing You wantED For CHristmas is Here!!

One month until Christmas . . . have you started your shopping yet? I’ve gotten very little gifts so far due to working on my final edits for 18 Things (which I just sent to my editor, so keeping fingers crossed), but before I head out to the mall, I wanted to let you all in on a few blog hops and giveaways that are sure to get you into the holiday spirit! You can thank me later;-)

Don’t wait for Santa to stuff your stockings because Dawna Raver and Courtney Young want to stuff your e-reader full of amazing titles! There is no need to wait in line or fight a crazy crowd for this HOT deal.

Also, it’s week three of Krystal Wade’s Wildest Moments Tour/Blogfest, and as promised, she has another very special giveaway planned. Plus, it’s not too late to sign up for a last-minute entry!!

Also, here’s an agent pitch contest you DO NOT WANT TO MISS! Check it out at Brenda Drake’s site (I was her 1,000th follower today–how awesomesauce is that?! And she writes under the influence of coffee like me–LOVE!)

Plus, who doesn’t want to be interviewed by David Spade and showered with presents by Ms. Claus? I’m in-how about you? Click here for the dets.

And last but not least, have you ever attended a Christmas party where you bump into the person who was always there for you during the last year? And you thank them for being such a Rock Star, or in this case, Head Ninja Master, right? Welcome to the “Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest.”

Thanks to all the wonderful elves who put these events together! Now, you don’t want people to nickname you the Grinch this Christmas season, do you? Well, then tell me: Which one are you signing up for? ALL of them?

My Wildest Moment

Krystal Wade is hosting the Wildest Moments Blogfest in honor of the release of her latest novel, Wilde’s Meadow. This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in.

All you have to do is blog about a time you did something wild, something life changing. Jumped from a perfectly good airplane? Quit your job to write full-time? I’m looking for fun, heart-pumping, or inspirational stories that you have experienced. “Wilde” things you’ve completed on your quest to grow up or move on. Anyone who posts their Wildest Moments between November 12th-23rd can enter to win a Kindle FIRE ($199), Kindle Fire Skins, or a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

Well, this blogfest really caused me to think . . . something I try not to do too much of. Hmm, should I blog about almost drowning myself in a septic tank (nah, played out–who hasn’t done that before, am I right or am I right? Oh, no one? Okay, moving on!), meeting my husband (first day of h.s.–only time I literally heard a voice in my head & it said & I quote, “You are going to marry that boy some day” WHAT?!), the misadventures with my sweetmates my freshman year of college (during which I unknowingly joined a cult), having a baby at 20 when I was a full-time college student (yep, didn’t plan that one but yep, I’d also been married since 18 so stop judging me. Oh, now you are judging me & calling me stupid for getting married so young. It’s okay, I still love you;-), totaling my car in a wreck on Dec. 11, 2007 resulting in my first ambulance ride and ER visit (I love me some ribs, but not when they’re mine & they’re broken), being a contestant on The Love & Marriage Show on our Royal Caribbean 7-night cruise (I think our friends, Luke & Cheri Thomas, hired government spies to erase the memory of our answers–TMI!), running a marathon (post-race tip: CHECK BEHIND YOU BEFORE YOU LAUNCH A SNOT ROCKET!!!), traveling around Ireland for 2 weeks performing street skits as part of a college missions trip (and discovering why the Irish don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day–b/c they don’t need an excuse to get drunk like that EVERY DAY!), or even becoming a writer (and finally discovering an up-side to being a pathological liar).

All those things have helped form me into the wild chick I am today (which you’ve probably concluded is a rambling doofus by now), but I’d say the wildest thing I ever decided to do is become a teacher. I always had the desire to teach and write, but after I stayed at a orphange in Jamaica the summer after my freshman year in college, I knew I had to change my major to education. It was calling me. In the past 12 years since I started educating the youth of America, I’ve become all too familiar with AIP’s, IEP’s, PDP’s, PMP’s, RTI’s, ESE, ESL, SLD, ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD . . . is your head spinning yet? I know mine is! It’s hard to keep up with everything I need to do for each student, individualizing their education when there’s such a limited amount of time in our day. We call it the constipated curriculum because they just keep piling on more and more! Pretty soon we’ll have our own TV show, “Teachers Gone Wild.” But we won’t be topless. We will be in a bunch of padded rooms where all the shiny objects are safely hidden away, sniffing glue bottles and new Expo markers;-)

I’m Miss Viola Swamp–the meanest substitute in the world! With my co-worker, and one of my biggest cheerleaders:-)

How about you? What’s your wildest moment? Which one would you say is more wild: becoming a teacher or becoming a writer?? Don’t forget to sign up for Krystal’s blogfest!

Election Day Treat Better Than All The Starbucks and Chocolate in the World Combined!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update: It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! It happens the first Wednesday of each month–a time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. With everything happening right now in my life, I don’t have time for a long post, so please enjoy the interview I did yesterday with my editor and fellow author (below). Rest assured I am feeling quite insecure as I go through massive edits of my debut novel, 18 Things, fixing mistakes I thought I had moved beyond in my writing (passive voice, anyone?). I’m striving towards a release date for the end of January so please keep your fingers crossed for me! If you leave a comment, I promise to return the favor:-)
 
HaPPy*Election*dAY. Yeah, that is 13 exclamation points in honor of our 13 original colonies because, I dunno, I like the number 13 and that’s the patriotic connection my brain made. Also probably the longest blog title ever. Any who, you’re probably whining about what a total time suck these long lines are in order to cast your vote (unless you’re dorky like me and actually enjoy waiting in loooong lines and shooting the poop with your fellow Americans because let’s face it . . . .where else can I find such a captive audience? They’re not gonna leave and throw away their vote just to get away from little ole me)
 
But like I was saying, if you’ve followed my blog at all since June, then you’ve probably heard of my editor and author extraordinaire, Krystal Wade. And she’s here ya’ll! On my blog for the first time! *squeeeeeeeeeeeee* It’s so fitting she’s visiting today because
 
1) her trilogy is all about uniting clashing people and forming an army prepared to fight in order to defeat Darkness (hmm, sounds like Election Day stuff to me!)
 
2) she also works in Washington DC as a . . . . well, I’m not sure exactly because it’s probably classified, as most things with politics are. The only thing you need to know is she leads a very glamorized life, right Krystal?
 
KW:
 
Krystal? Um, she seems to be away from Trellian right now. Don’t ask me what that means though. I just know it pops up a lot when I’m trying to Google Stalk, I mean, Chat. I can’t imagine why because I’m definitely not the demanding writerly type at all. But the point is, even though her life may not be all dinner parties and ball gowns, she is for sure the most busiest gal I know. Oh, you caught that little grammar mistake, did you? Well, I happen to be going through massive edits right now and it’s my way of dealing with them in a passive aggressive manner. Hahaha, look at all that passive language while I am being passive aggressive. *Just joking, Krystal. I shall never take thy name of the BEE in vain~big hugs!*
 
JA: What draws you to read and write New Adult?
 
KW: I don’t primarily read NA. I enjoy a wide variety of books–middle grade, young adult, upper young adult, new adult, *but Jamie Ayres debut YA novel, 18 Things, is by far the best thing I’ve ever read* Are you laughing yet? All these distinctions. When I set out to write Wilde’s Fire, I had no idea what category the book would fall into. Frankly, there’s a part of me that still doesn’t know what category my works fall into. Katriona is 20, but a lot of her trials and tribulations are things many people younger than her can relate to; she’s just been a bit more sheltered in life.
Back on track here . . . I’m such a rambler! I love firsts. First loves, first kisses, first awkward moment when you realize you like a boy–or girl, first date, first time driving a car, first time you venture away from home. This is when people truly discover who they are, and this is what sells the “MG-YA-NA” literature for me: there are so many firsts.
 
Wait, I don’t remember mentioning 18 Things in my . . . .
 
JA: Oh, moving on! It’s election day and your release day for Wilde’s Meadow was yesterday, you don’t have time to dillydally. So tell us, how did you get to where you are now?
 
KW: I once told someone that if someone wrote a book about my life, they’d title it: From There to Here: How She Did It. But I can sum my life up in one word (and this applies to everything: my teen years, my early twenties, my writing career): DETERMINATION.
You can overcome many obstacles, achieve amazing goals, and live a wonderful life . . . if you’re determined.
 
JA: Sooo true! Writing is not a parade of peppermint puppies. It is work. I’d love to claim that quote but it’s Chuck Wendig’s. Can you tell us about your triumphs?
 
KW: Let’s see . . . triumphs? I’ve been seriously writing for shy of two years, published three books, am a major player inside a growing publishing house, and do not plan on stopping any time soon. 🙂
 
JA: Okay, seriously, with 3 books published within 6 months you are busier than a president running an election campaign! Any time I go to open my mouth to complain about something, I’m gonna think of you. You ‘re the meaning of my life. You’re my inspiration. You bring feeling to my life . . . . hang on a sec, someone is at the door.
 
Oh, hey folks. I’m back. Sorry for our interruption. Just a little matter about a restraining order and not being allowed within 3 states of Krystal Wade. I know that’s just Krystal’s way of saying she’s thinking about me. She cracks me up. Krystal, why don’t you tell us about some of your failures while I sign this paperwork for the nice officer?
 
KW: Sometimes I get so tired, so overwhelmed with all the things I have going on in my life, that I stress and freak out over everything. There are times I want to go into a shell and shut off the world. So my failure is my ability to manage my stress. With a full time job fifty miles from home, three kids, writing, editing, playing my part in the publishing industry, there are so many things to stress over.
 
JA: I hear ya, sista! You know what I heard helps? Reading books to unwind, books like Wilde’s Fire, Wilde’s Army, and Wilde’s Meadow, and 18 Things. I’m not just saying that to be self-serving. *coughs* How did you ever overcome the odds?
 
KW: DETERMINATION. 🙂
 
JA: Oh, yeah, duh! As you know, Krystal, you have to tell me things 50 times before I get it.
 
Well, that about does it for me. Did we keep you entertained during your long line?
 
Oh wait, before I forget, beginning the second week of November–that’s the 12-16–Krystal will be hosting the Wildest Moments Blogfest. This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in. She’s asking people to write about their wildest moment, then she’s going to read and choose a winner (Kindle Fire!) on December 5th. I’m participating, so that should be reason enough to join;-) Just visit her website link at the bottom, and you can also grab her badge on my site to the right>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
Wilde’s Meadow Blurb:
 
 
Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.
 
Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?
 
About the Author: Krystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers–who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas–sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read. How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute?
 
Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.
 

Insecure Writers and Cover Reveal

It’s the first Wednesday of the month! DO you knOW WHat time it is? Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG–Woot, woot! If you’d like to join our Insecure Writer’s Support Group, just follow the link:~)

So last week I shared pics of my fam’s trip to Star Wars Celebration VI in O-town and promised to share some insights this week.

Do you ever wonder why you do this? Why you research, plan and plot, write, revise, ect . . . over and over again, many times without seeing the fruits of your labor for a loooooooooooooong time (3 yrs for many;-) While I walked around the Orange County Convention Center, it hit me. Stories, good stories, make us feel emotions and experiences we wish we had in our everyday lives. Sometimes in a world where I feel like nobody is real anymore (just look at ‘reality TV’), I can delve into a book and live in the world of the characters for a few moments (okay, usually for a few hours, lol) and feel like all is right with the world again. Because these rock stars, I mean, authors, have such talent, it makes me believe in mankind and our purpose here. Some people meditate or take Pilates, I read & write. It’s my therapy (along with a steady diet of chocolate and coffee. I think my pen name should be “Caffeine Girl”).

There’s another reason why I write and you may or may not share my sentiments. Besides needing it as much as the air I breathe, I look at it as a calling, just like my teaching job. I realize not everyone believes in callings and I’m not trying to preach at ya. But I do believe we’re all born with God-given talents and I think writing is one of mine. If it was a money thing, I’d go out and get another job (and I wouldn’t be a teacher either for that matter). It’d be a LOT easier, let me tell you! But in life, we all have those, “Luke, I AM YOUR FATHER” moments.

Love my daughter's Darth Vader mask with Ahsoka shirt-we all have a little bit of angel and devil in us

Love my daughter’s Darth Vader mask with Ahsoka shirt-we all have a little bit of dark and light in us

If I can impart some wisdom from those moments that happen to me to somebody else through my novel, then I think that’s awesomesauce. Like I said, writing & reading are therapy to my soul. In life, I’m a complete mess. I may have the Coach purse to fool you into thinking that I have it all (it was a gift from my students last year,  how cool is that), but trust me, people look at me walking down the school hallways and say, “Man, that Jamie Ayres is a complete mess! Look at her!” And I praise God for that, because He uses people like that to make a difference. So I write it into my characters, but the nice thing about that is I can make them shine on the pages by the time I’m done. Too bad it’s not that easy in real life. But nonetheless, our destinies aren’t thwarted by failures. George Lucas once said in an interview, “Even when Anakin became Darth Vader, he was still the chosen one.” So don’t give up on your stories if you’re feeling doubts and concerns over appearing foolish or weak. Darth Vader was still able to overthrow the emperor after the task seemed impossible all those years!

One more thing before I go, Krystal Wade’s cover reveal!

Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it just draw you in? Krystal’s a fellow Curiosity Quills author (not to mention the BEE–some of you get that, heeheehee). The last book in the trilogy is out in exactly 2 months *sQUee* Here’s the blurb:

Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?

Well, until next Wednesday . . .

May the Force be with you:~)