18 THINGS FREE + Caleb’s Crusade

Free 18 Things

They say nothing in life is free, but that is a lie! Because for today & tomorrow,  for the first time ever, 18 Things (book #1 in my trilogy) is TOTALLY FREE on the Kindle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why would my wonderful publisher, Curiosity Quills, do such a thing? Read their message below:

“To round off our ‪#‎18Thoughts18Days‬ promo – in which you could win a $50 amazon Gift Card – and to celebrate the conclusion of the Amazon bestselling YA coming-of-age paranormal-romance My So Called Afterlife series, with the release of book three, 18 Thoughts, on January 27, 2015, we’re offering the first book in the series,
18 Things for free between 01.25.15 – 01.27.15!”

 

That’s right! The final installment of my trilogy releases TOMORROW! I’m so so sooo excited, you guys!!! My “Share Your Thoughts” bloghop is still going on through Wednesday, and it’s not too late to sign up! If you participate, you’ll be eligible to win one of fabulous 18 prizes, and so far, I’ve only had 9 participants, so what are you waiting for? Here’s the linky link:

Powered by Linky Tools

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


18thoughtsbanner

Today is also the last day you can tweet or FB the “thought of the day” for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card from my publisher. Click on this link for the Rafflecopter on their site (again, there’s only 130 something entries, so there’s a good chance at winning!).

You can retweet this status, then enter: https://twitter.com/jamiemayres/status/556937501232078848

Share on Facebook, then enter: https://www.facebook.com/CuriosityQuills/photos/a.385312724855334.97616.176690689050873/782716198448316/?type=1&pnref=story

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all the announcements out of the way, I want to share about a family & their charity that’s near & dear to my heart. Monqiue Whan and I were classmates in the same graduating class at Cape High, and I reconnected with her in August 2008 when I signed up to run a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team In Training. Afterward, her and hubby, Rob, started their own charity. And on release day, when you download or buy a paperback of 18 Thoughts, all of my royalties will be donated to their organization. But first, let me introduce ya’ll to this wonderful family.

Tell us a little bit about your family and your journey.
Rob and I had a family we always dreamed of, a boy and a girl. Sadly, our dream for a perfect little family quickly turned into a nightmare when our 3-year-old son, Caleb, was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2007. Bella, our daughter, was just 2 months old. Caleb underwent 7 months of treatment before he lost his battle 11 days after his 4th Birthday in 2008. Since then, Rob and I still keep up the fight. We fought so hard for those 7 months, we just couldn’t give up. Bella helped us a lot in the healing process. She was just 9 months old when her big brother passed away. We feel she helped us to do the simple things in life, like getting out of bed and making new memories. It has been almost 7 years since Caleb’s passing. One thing I can say is it never gets easier; you just get better at living the life of a grieving parent.

I can’t even . . . can’t even imagine. How did you find the strength to move on and start up Caleb’s Crusade?
Faith helped a lot, knowing that God is in control of our lives more than ever. We fought for 7 months next to our son. We saw him go through unimaginable treatment; he endured so much for such a young child. When Caleb passed, we still had a small fight in us. We still wanted to fight for him and other children who were fighting cancer. Maybe it was the anger we felt inside that our little boy died? When you witness children dying from a dreadful disease it is heartbreaking. No child should have to endure that. We saw our son take his first breath, and sadly, we saw our son take his last. We cannot give up on our children. It could be your child who is next, and we want you to know we will be there right with you fighting.

I remember when my cousin’s young son relapsed. You and Rob were the first ones to call to say Caleb’s Crusade would be there to help with anything they needed, and I was so grateful. How does Caleb’s Crusade differ from other cancer charities?
Caleb’s Crusade is pretty hands on, we are available to our families 24/7. We not only provide the financial support, but we also are there for emotional support too.We take our jobs of childhood cancer leaders very seriously. We know how devastating it is when you hear the words your child has cancer. Rob travels to DC and is a voice for our children; he fights for more federal funding for childhood cancer research and legislation that helps bring drugs to market for these sick and dying kids. On the national level, childhood cancer only receives pennies on the dollar. We just try to do as much as we possibly can. Yes, it is tiring and emotional, but we feel as though this is what Caleb would want us to do.

What a great way to honor him & leave a lasting legacy in his name. I know he’s smiling down from heaven at you and Rob for sure.

To learn more about Caleb’s Crusade, or to even donate, visit their website. And please, if you already plan on purchasing 18 Thoughts (& why wouldn’t you!), consider purchasing it on release day (which is when? TOMORROW . . . you guys are so good!) to benefit this wonderful organization. Also, did you know about shopping on Amazon Smile? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (*coughs Caleb’s Crusade). AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. So support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com.

 

Thanks for all your marketing help & enthusiasm! I’ll probably post again tomorrow because I’ll be up all night anyway, obsessively checking my Amazon rankings . . . I really can’t help myself sometimes. Self-control really isn’t my thing *opens mouth, inserts chocolate* Be sure to download 18 Things on your Kindle, too . . . what have you got to lose at FREE? It’s the BEST PRICE EVER!!!

Advertisements

New Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

god promises

Destruction Playlist by Sharon Bayliss

Last week I told you about Destruction by Sharon Bayliss. Today you’re in for a treat because Sharon is here to talk about one of my favorite things: music! When I write,  I love listening to the playlists I created for my 18 Things trilogy on Spotify, and you can check them out here if you’d life. But enough about me, take it away, Sharon!
Music is an important part of my writing process. I don’t listen to music while I actually write, but I’m most creative when I listen to music while I jog. Something about the music and exercise combination really makes my creative juices flow. I “write” most of my best scenes while jogging. I compiled some of the songs that I remember listening to while writing the original draft of Destruction in 2011 and 2012.Here are some of the lyrics that stood out to me:”Light up, light up

As if you have a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I’ll be right beside you dear”

Run by Snow Patrol

“And I am done with my graceless heart

So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart

‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn

It’s always darkest before the dawn”

 
Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine

“All the black inside me is slowly seeping from the bone

Everything I cherish is slowly dying or it’s gone”

Pyro by Kings of Leon

“Love; it will not betray you

Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free

Be more like the man you were made to be”

Sigh No More by Mumford and Sons

“We’re all weeping now, weeping because

There ain’t nothing we can do to protect you

O children

Lift up your voice, lift up your voice”

O Children by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“If Heaven and Hell decideThat they both are satisfied

Illuminate the “No”‘s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you

When your soul embarks

Then I’ll follow you into the dark”

I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie

Learn more about Destruction
 
Introducing a new dark wizard family drama, Destruction by Sharon Bayliss, Book One in The December People Series.
BUY NOW
An independent family-owned bookstore. The ONLY place to buy signed copies!
A locally owned book store in Austin, Texas.
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without. 
 
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.  

Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.


Destruction (Book One of The December People Series)

The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

What about you? Do you create playlists for your books? See any of your favorite songs on Sharon’s playlist? Do you listen to music while you write?

Criticism or Encouragement–Which One Will You Believe?

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

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

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

Feb 21 sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IWSGHEADER