Listening to Your Intuition

In the beginning of July, I received an email from a fan named Kerri. Immediately, I thought of my childhood best friend with the same name, even spelled the same way! I knew it wasn’t the same girl I once counted as a sister, but my heart began pounding out of my chest, and I didn’t ‘think’ . . . maybe I need to find her today? I KNEW! Granted, I’d tried many times to search for her online but to no avail. I hadn’t had any contact with her since I married in 1998. Her last name was different. I had no idea where she lived. Make a looong story short, I paid one of those stalker sites a dollar that EVENTUALLY led me to finding my long-lost friend that day. Her mom, who might as well have been my mom from fourth to eighth grade, died the day before, too young at the age of 57. Was the immediacy I felt at the need to find her THAT particular day a coincidence?

Kerri and I reunited at her mom's memorial

Kerri and I reunited at her mom’s memorial

So what does this have to with writing?

On July 23rd, I received an email with my first round of edits for the last novel in my 18 Things trilogy. She had this to say about my ending:

“Then the epilogue happens. I’ve never been so angry and confused and bipolar in my emotions as what this ending gave to me. NOT in a good way. I edited this AS I READ IT for the first time. That was my immediate, instinctual reaction. If this were a finished, completed MS that I’d picked up and were reading to review for enjoyment, the rating/review would not be positive.”

krystal and me

My editor and me at the UtopYA2014 conference ❤

*deep breaths*

Between a family drama and health problems, I had to let this one simmer a couple of weeks because I wasn’t sure how to respond. But when I finally returned to her comments, I realized she was right. Sometimes the gruffest critiques can be the best. They make you evaluate what YOU really want as an author and go from there (a wise CP reminded me of that). And I realized the ending I, THE AUTHOR, wanted all along, wasn’t the right one . . . neither was the one my editor hoped for. Like my first two books, it may be an ending that hardly anyone expects. I know I didn’t!

But like my 14yo daughter said, “Well, Mom, you pulled total surprise endings in your first two books . . . don’t you think it’s only fitting your characters do the same thing to you for the final book?”

Still, I was flipping out . . . BUT THIS WASN’T WHAT I PLANNED?! WHAT DO I DO?!?! I should note that I never ‘planned’ to write an epilogue either. My characters had already surprised me with an extra I didn’t expect. But this time around, I was leaning toward cutting the epilogue completely, and the final chapter was one I hadn’t thought of until mulling things over after my editor’s email.

I was at a crossroads. And like so many other times in life, I followed my intuition. Never would I have ‘planned’ my ending this way, but I know . . . not think, not hope, not pray . . . I KNOW it’s the right one. Funny thing was, when I went back and examined some things in 18 Truths, it’s like my subconscious knew this ending was coming all along. Just took me a while to catch on!

Do you find yourself immediately listening to that little voice nudging inside of you, or does it take a few wrong tries before you realize your intuition was somehow right all along?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month, so feel free to join us if you need support or would like to give some encouragement! We’ve been going for three years strong now!

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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 🙂

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:

DSC06180

 

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?

18 THINGS IS HERE!!!

Jennifer Eaton reminded me that in all my excitement for release day, I neglected to post a new blog. I updated last week’s post, but forgot that wouldn’t send out new notifications to my followers! DOH! *smacks forehead*

So . . . Amazon Kindle links are live to purchase 18 Things! And for print! Or for your Nook. Yay–Happy Book Birthday to me:-) Thanks for your support! I also did a guest post on my editor’s blog today!

Here is a sample tweet for all your busy peeps who like to copy and paste:

18 Things by Jamie Ayres now available!! If you like YA love stories that inspire and are geek friendly, check it out: http://www.amazon.com/18-Things-ebook/dp/B00B53VJ38/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359069761&sr=8-1&keywords=18+things+by+jamie+ayres …

Even if you’re not buying, please hit the “Like” button under the title on Amazon to give it a boost! You can also add it to your Goodreads.

I hope you enjoy 18 Things if you do check it out and will recommend 18 Things to others. If you don’t love it, please feel free to share your thoughts with me through email. Constructive criticism is always welcome, and I want the sequel, 18 Truths, to be even better:-)

I will update this post with the full tour info ASAP, and here is the post for the blogfest incase you’re still hopping away or looking to claim your prize. I had 50 people participate, and I have 18 stops booked for the blog tour, which goes through the end of February *squeeee*

Cheers and Happy Reading~Jamie

18 Things cover print sample