Carpe Diem!

ea058552963c4cf11c6f1e31d08d34c2

. . . One of my favorite quotes that I wrote at the front of my current journal. I’ve been given a lot of author opportunities as of late. There was my presentation about writing at the Lee County Reading Conference.

LCRC 2016

The third annual authors conference that I organized for my middle school, where I teach eighth grade English Language Arts. Here’s me with authors Kyle Prue, Jeff Strand, Liz Coley, Krystal Wade, Wendy Mills, Teshelle Combs, Erica Cameron, and Lisa Colozza Cocca.

GMS 3

Riverdale High School Literacy Festival. One of my favorite parts is doing the panel in the auditorium with the other authors. This year I got to promote 18 Thoughts!

RHS Lit 2016

A book signing at the largest independent bookstore in my county (check out the amazing book bridge–I want one in my house!). This is me with my editor and friend, Krystal Wade, who also happens to be an amazing author!

Krystal and me 2

And I have another author event at a middle school this Friday, followed by a visit to a book club who read 18 Things later this month!

I don’t mention this to brag, but to remind all of us how each day it’s up to us to look for new opportunities, and not to just further our careers. Every person I meet is an opportunity to uncover a new story, see a different perspective, discover a new friend.

Each place I go is an opportunity to try a new route, enjoy the scenery along the way, explore the surroundings, create adventure.

Each book, meal, conversation-Each Encounter–is an opportunity.

We’ve each been given our own unique talents and gifts to share with the world. Nothing makes me happier than shining my light and helping others to do the same. You never know what tomorrow may bring, so CARPE DIEM!!

~How have you seized the day lately?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

IWSGHEADER

 

 

Advertisements

Star Wars, Publishing, and a Guest Post

So I made it through my first quarter of teaching middle school Language Arts–WooHoo! I’m still loving it and to celebrate, I decided to do a Power Point Presentation with my classes on Wednesday and Thursday (Friday was a teacher work day for report cards) about the Top 10 Things Star Wars Taught Me About Writing, embedded with video clips from the movie to illustrate each point. We also enjoyed Yoda Soda and Wookiee Cookies and had a lot of great discussion. It got me wondering . . . are there any movies that have inspired your writing?

I’m also presenting a workshop titled 18 Things You Should Know About Publishing at the Lee County Reading Council Conference this coming Saturday, so if you have any top tips, please share them with me:-)

And now I have Mara Valderran, author of Heirs of War, to share about what inspires her: Music!

heirsofwar

Soundtrack Series Part 4: Worlds Turned Upside Down

I could really spend more than four posts discussing the music that inspires me to write, but I’m going to contain myself and wrap it up here. So far, I’ve talked about songs that inspire battle cries, broken souls, and broken hearts. But one of the most immediate conflicts in Heirs of War is the fact that the main characters’ worlds have been turned upside down. And fortunately, I have just the songs to help us understand their plights.

Skillet “Awake and Alive”

“I’m at war with the world and they try to pull me into the dark. I struggle to find my faith as I’m slipping from your arms. It’s getting harder to stay awake, and my strength is fading fast. You breathe into me at last. I’m awake, I’m alive. Now I know what I believe inside. I’ll do what I want, cause this is my life. Here, right now, I’ll stand my ground and never back down. I know what I believe inside. I’m awake and I’m alive.”

Isauria has been dreaming about Estridia and all its troubles for years, but I think, in some ways, that world was always more real to her than the one she lived in. If someone had given her the choice to either stay in the world she knew, where she has little to no social connections and felt constantly out of place, or be sent to Estridia with all its war and strife, she would have still chosen Estridia. Estridia felt more real to her. And once she gets there, she finds out she has this power to see other people in her dreams, and feels she has a responsibility to use it. Even though she has to be unconscious to use it, she feels more awake and alive than she ever has before. She has a purpose, and she is holding tight to it and never letting go.

Katy Perry “Wide Awake”

“I’m wide awake. Yeah, I was in the dark, I was falling hard with an open heart. How did I read the stars so wrong? And now it’s clear to me that everything you see ain’t always what it seems. Yeah, I was dreaming for so long.”

Sometimes, worlds getting turned upside down can be really hard and hurtful. That’s exactly how it is for Rhaya. One of my best friends, who knows this series almost as well as I do, actually introduced me to this song and informed me that it was Rhaya’s. After listening to it, I couldn’t agree more. True, Katy Perry might have been talking about a relationship with a person when writing this song, but to me this is about Rhaya’s relationship with the world of Estridia. When she’s first dropped into Anscombe, she loves it. A world full of magic? It’s every fantasy lovers’ dream! But the more she gets to know the world and the society around her, the more problems she sees. She’s forced to realize that she’s been viewing the world through rose-colored glasses, and the fall to reality is very hard for her. It’s something I can’t wait to explore in the next book with her.

That wraps up my musings on musical inspirations for Heirs of War! Thank you, Jamie, for letting me spend some time on your blog! And thank you, readers, for spending that time with me. I’d love to hear what inspires you. Is it music? Or television? Other books?

~Mara Valderran

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

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…

18 THiNGs bOOk bomb!!!

Hi Everyone,

The release date for 18 Things is almost here! You guys have already helped me soooo much over the past 2 1/2 years, but I can’t stop my quest for world domination now;-) Especially with the Little Blue Lady from Jennifer Eaton’s blog trying to stop me! Sooo . . . On January 24th we’re going to try and push 18 Things to the top of Amazon—and I need your help!

This book has a message that obviously, I think, teens (or anyone over the age of 12) need to hear. Many would say an inspirational young adult book put out by a small publisher isn’t supposed to do well. So . . . wouldn’t it be cool to drive 18 Things to the top on January 24th? Will you join me in being part of a grassroots success story? I don’t have the money or resources to rely on slick marketing or targeted ad campaigns— instead my sales have to be driven by ordinary people like you spreading the word in your circles of influence. Here’s how it works: Every book on Amazon.com has what’s called a “Sales Rank” which is updated hourly. Because these rankings update every hour a book can drop quickly out of sight—or come soaring to the front. The Book Bomb will coordinate hundreds (maybe thousands) of people ordering 18 Things on the same day (January 24th) instead of sales being spread out over months, and raising it to a place where tens of thousands of new people will see it.

The book bomb is a great chance to get a copy for yourself (plus one to give away) at a great price—and help get the book in front of thousands of new people—all at the same time! Now, you might be asking yourself these questions:

Why Amazon?

  • Small Publisher: Since I signed with a small publisher, 18 Things won’t be sitting on bookshelves across America. It may be stocked at a few local bookstores in Lee County and in Grand Haven at best. Amazon.com is the easiest way to order 18 Things from wherever you happen to be on January 24th, whether it’s an ebook for $7.99 or a paperback for $12.99.

Why 2 copies?

  • Free Shipping on Paperbacks: If you order two or more copies you get free shipping because your grand total will be over $25. Just make sure you click on the Free Super-Saving Shipping option at Checkout

Who would you give your extra copies away to?

  • Local Library/School/Youth Groups: Order an extra copy to donate to your local library, school, or someone in your church youth group. Did you know that 80% of book sales happen via word-of-mouth? This would help create some great buzz!
  • Birthday Present: Yes, Christmas has past, but I’m sure there’s a young adult in your life with a birthday coming up (maybe even their 18th birthday!)
  • Graduation: Looking for a graduation gift for the young adults in your life (whether it is high school, middle school, or even college)? Order 18 Things! It may not be for another 3-4 months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order it on January 24th!
  • Friends can order together: Maybe you can’t think of anyone to give your extra copies to. But remember, when you spend $25 or more on Amazon, you get free shipping! So order with a buddy!

In addition, I know many of you have asked when you can get your autographed copy. If you’d like your own copy autographed but don’t live in my area, email me through my website at jamieayres.com and I’ll send you an autographed sticker you can place inside your book! Or, can I just say Southwest Florida makes a great vacation spot, so come on down and I’ll sign it in personJ

Finally, please do not feel obligated to participate. It would be easy (and understandable) for you to view this as very self-serving on my part. After all, I’m the author and I’m asking you to buy copies of my book! But being self-serving is not my intention. I’m only asking that if you already planned on buying my book, please do it on release day verses another day. My motivation for the book bomb is the same one that drove me to write the book: to inspire others. Think back to your own young adult days of reading, even if it was you as a very young adult, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.

I can testify that stories made me a better person growing up. I’ve always lived in two worlds. One is the world where I actually live, and the other is where I took up residence in Narnia and Hogwarts, sailed the raft with Huck and Jim, laughed at the absurdities of life with Yossarian, ate green eggs and ham with Sam I Am, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, wept over injustices with Scout Finch, craved romance with Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and learned about being a good friend and a good writer from a spider named Charlotte. These characters made me believe in a world where I could go anywhere and be anything I wanted to be. Why do I love to read stories? Because I love to know I’m not alone, I want someone to understand me, they remind me of my past, they instill in me a sense of pride in my fellow citizens of the world, they give me a new perspective, they make me laugh and entertain me, and sometimes they make me feel emotions I wish I had in my everyday life. But they always challenge me to become like the characters in the books that inspire me. They challenge me to get out of my hiding place and step out in faith, and to not give up so easily. That’s the heart of 18 Things, and my whole trilogy, and I want to share it.

sm18-things

Do you want to share it too? Do you have any tips on how to plan for success? Do you plan on buying 18 Things on January 24th? Help spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, or on your website or blog? Let me know in the comments so I can give you a HUGE virtual hug:-)  Two weeks until the Amazon links go live on release day! We don’t have much time!

Your Excited and Extremely Grateful Blogger Friend,

Jamie Ayres

P.S. Stop by next Wednesday for the dets on “What’s Your 18 Things?” blogfest! A TON of giveaways, including books, giftcards, bookmarks, and critiques!! My way of giving back to all you wonderful peeps~Love you guys!!

What Draws You to Read and Write YA/NA?

Today I’m kicking off my sandals (yes, I’m wearing sandals . . . it’s still 85 degrees where I live . . . POLO!  Oh sorry, just blogging pool side)–anyway, where were we? Oh yes! Jessa Russo, my CQ sister who like me, reads, writes and breathes paranormal YA, is here to tell us what drew her to read and write in this kick butt genre.

Woot, woot!! Take it away, Jessa.

I started reading at an early age – as I believe we all did – and when I was in middle school I became obsessed with Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. (Me too! Love R.L. Met  him at a reading festival 2 yrs ago and he made up an AWESOME story right there on the spot with the kiddos suggestions!) But I feel like we didn’t have much along the lines of young adult back then, and honestly, I can’t remember anything after my Christopher Pike obsession. I think I just quickly followed in my mom’s footsteps and began devouring Steven King and Dean Koontz (I have gotten weak in my 30s. Used to read these guys, but now they just freak me the eff out!) when I’d been ready to move past Christopher Pike.

As an adult, I continued feeding my love of mystery and paranormal with Sandra Brown, more Dean Koontz, Heather Graham …

And then I had a baby, and decided I didn’t have time to read. So I didn’t read for a lot of years. (Ohmigosh, are we sistas from another mother? Me tooooooo!)

One day, everything changed. My friends were suddenly obsessed with this new teeny-bopper book called Twilight. And I mean REALLY obsessed. Yes, I made fun of them. Yes, I made a LOT of fun of them. They were claiming ‘Team Edward’ and ‘Team Jacob,’ and all I could think was ‘Team Get A Life.’ So then the movie came out, and I had friends going to midnight showings with their teen cousins/sisters/daughters/etc. And they were as excited if not more so than the teens! I was amazed. (Now YOU are freaking me the eff out–I’m putting on my cool foil hat now so you can stop reading my mind and stealing my memories!)

Eventually, one of my uber-obsessed friends brought over a pirated DVD of Twilight (Yes, it was still in theaters/No, I don’t condone pirating/Yes, I watched it. The shame! lol) And I almost enjoyed it, but I felt like something was missing. So, she convinced me to read the book, leaving me with her well-worn, prized copy. (*takes foil hat off* phew! I read the books before the movie, back in the summer of 2009 when my sisters dragged me to Target and told me I had to read it)

{Insert reluctant me: Fine. I’ll read it.}

Fast forward twenty-four hours, and I was like a drug addict searching for a fix. I was calling libraries and friends, posting on MySpace, doing whatever I could to locate the next installment. (Apparently I was too cheap to buy it at the time, though I am now the proud owner of the boxed set.) *grin* (Hey, you have to save money for Starbucks coffee and cake pops, right?!)

I read the entire set in under two weeks – which would have been less time had I not had to locate each one and borrow it from friends. (Which should have driven me to fork up the cash to buy the set, but whatever!)

Well, the point of that story is to tell you that after that, I was hooked. It was like suddenly, someone had opened my eyes and said, “Jessa! Wake up! You DO have time to read, you silly goose!”

{Insert happy me: “OMG I HAVE TIME TO READ! And I am happy! YAY!”}

*Big thanks to Stephenie Meyer.*

Now you know what got me started in YA, but what is it exactly that draws me to read and write YA?  

Well, for starters, there’s so much more room for creativity in YA. So much more innocence, growth, and exploration. But aside from that, I already know what it’s like to be a grown up. I have a mortgage. I have bills I worry about paying. I have debt. I have a marriage to nurture. I have a daughter who depends on me to make all the right choices for her life. I have all of the stuff that comes with adulthood. (I hear ya! Being “mature” sure sucks sometimes, which is why I so rarely act my age.)

So yeah, maybe I want to read about that young adult innocence that I left behind a long time ago. Maybe I want to read about that first kiss I will never have again. Or that first love that makes you feel like you’re going to crumble in on yourself and combust into a million pieces all at the same time. Or even that first heartbreak that you swear you will never ever recover from. (Well, I recovered just fine, but the guys didn’t;-) Kidding, kidding–I met my hubby when I was 14 so I’m kinda a spoiled brat)

I will never have those feelings again. And I’m not complaining – I wouldn’t trade my happily ever after for any of that – but I do miss those first feelings, that innocence that comes with adolescence. The mistakes and regrets, the joys and the triumphs … even the pain.

THAT is why I love YA.

THAT is why I write YA.

There’s something so special, and so unique about that time in our lives, and it is over in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon you’re facing down your thirties and wondering what happened to the hot seventeen-year-old you used to see in the mirror. (For me it was 28, IDK why but 28 was my hot year. Maybe there’s something to that “golden birthday” thing b/c I was born Aug. 28th. I’ll spare you the year!)

Well, I can tell you – she has gray hairs, wrinkles, and goes to bed at nine because she’s too tired to stay up late anymore, and when she does, it takes days to recover.

She’s also staring down into gorgeous blue eyes that believe she hung the moon, and loving the husband she always dreamed she’d have. So it’s a good thing. But every so often, she likes to be reminded that youth is an amazing thing too.

Well said, Jessa! I hope you didn’t mind me randomly commenting on your post . . . it’s what I do! If you haven’t read Jessa’s new book, check out the blurb below. It’s next on my TBR list *squee*

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.
 
Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.
 
Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.
 
Some girls lose their hearts to love.
 
Some girls lose their minds.
 
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.
 

To learn more about Jessa and Ever, visit her website.