Love, Honor, and Hope

Hi, guys! Sorry I missed my weekly post last Wednesday, but the fam and I took a road trip on our way to UtopYA Con in Nashville. I have so much exciting news to share with you about the 18 Things trilogy, but more on that later . . . today I want to share about the Love, Honor, and Hope blog blitz. Please read below for the dets and help support our veterans as July 4th approaches next week.

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Love, Honor, & Hope – A Benefit for the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation

Eight authors are joining forces to support one fantastic cause. Beginning June 24, 2014, Love, Honor, & Hope, an anthology of eight full-length novels, will be available for 30 days at the low price of $0.99. That’s right, just 99 pennies. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation.

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PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, affects approximately 19% of the military men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq—and that’s just those who have been diagnosed. The percentage is expected to grow as more of our military members seek treatment. It’s a heartbreaking trend for the men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedoms, especially with benefits being cut and promotions being threatened.

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The United States War Veteran’s PTSD Foundation is a non-profit charity that focuses on providing FREE care to combat military members, both active and veterans. They can’t do it alone, which is why we’ve made the decision to step up and do something. All eight of the authors have their personal reasons for supporting this cause.
Cherime MacFarlane, author of Heart of the Hunter said, “For me, it’s the way a very quiet man, my uncle, receded into the background whenever a family function took place. I did understand he came back from WWII that way. A young man, easy going and quick to laugh became a recluse. My father also served in WWI, as did a second uncle who returned far from the mischievous young man he was before the war claimed his youth. I was a young mother during the Vietnam era. I had friends who did not come back from Vietnam. I had other friends who did come home but were permanently damaged by the things they saw. For me, this is an opportunity to give back something to the men who served their country when the call came. My uncles and father are gone now, but I do hope, in some small way, to pay it forward for them. This is a tiny step, but as the man once said, every journey begins with that first step.”

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It’s easy to sit back and talk about helping our veterans and active military members. To step up and help is something all together different. We are answering the call for help.
Will you answer? All it takes is for you to log on to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and spend 99 cents, and then hopefully share the great news on our labor of love. Not only will you receive eight full-length novels for your enjoyment, you will also tell our men and women who suffer from this terrible and debilitating illness that we’ve got their backs.

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Love, Honor, & Hope is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble from June 24 to July 23. It includes the following full-length novels:

Out of the Box Awakening – Jennifer Theriot

Early One Morning – Aubree Lane

Lost and Found – Jennifer Yarbrough

Scary Modsters – Diane Rinella

Tropical Dreams – Kelly Cozzone

Sisters of the Night – Linda Lee Williams

Heart of the Hunter – Cherime MacFarlane

Piece of Heaven – Sammie J

Get it here at B&N.

Get it here at Amazon.

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What’s The B*E*S*T Christmas Gift You’ve Ever Received?

WSK Tour Button Final

Today, as part of the Winter’s Sweet Kiss blog tour, I asked the anthology authors this question:

What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

Here’s what they had to say . . .

 

Michelle Ziegler:

 

If I have to pick a thing, it was my kindle, duh.  But my husband was my best Christmas gift really. We had our first date on Christmas; he goes out of his way to make sure each Christmas is better than the last. Oh and he always makes sure to have gifts I can open early so that I don’t open the real gift until Christmas.  I am no good with surprises.

 

Shaya Roy:

Well, I’m not Christian, and in my family, we don’t really have a tradition of exchanging Christmas  presents. Although we do celebrate Christmas 🙂 The best presents I’ve ever received otherwise are – wait for it – books. So predictable, right? But seriously, if you introduce me to a new author who becomes my next favorite, I’ll love you forever. *cough*andmayhintatmorepresents*cough*

 

Lily Carlyle:

When I was growing up, we had only two Christmas albums (yes, albums!), both from Woolworth’s. To this day, the opening of Perry Como’s version of “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” can make me feel like I’m six years old, with all the attendant anticipation and wonder. But my least favorite song on the album was Barbra Streisand’s “The Best Gift.” A slow ballad celebrating the birth of a child, its beauty was lost on me.

 

Thirty years later, I was pregnant with my second child, due on December 26. To everyone’s relief, she arrived early—on December 21. Anna, my little Winter Solstice Baby (as I started calling her when she told her preschool teacher that she was a Christmas baby and must, therefore, be Jesus) with her dark hair, dark eyes, and smooshed nose and left ear, was undoubtedly the most beautiful, best gift I’ve ever received.

 

Terri:

The Laura Ingles Wilder Little House on the Prairie gift set when I was 7. A gift from my grandmother, these books started my love affair with reading – and dreaming of time travel.

 

Annabelle:

In December 2003, I was six months pregnant with my first child. We’d just bought a house and were looking forward to our first Christmas in our own home. But in the first week of December, at 25 week pregnant, I went into labor. I had no idea I was in labor and went to the ER thinking I had a kidney stone. Alas, with contractions two minutes apart, they pumped me full of drugs and kept me overnight. I spent the rest of the month confined to my couch, on several medications, doing everything in my power to keep my little boy cooking in my belly. When Christmas day came, I unwrapped my gifts from my husband and my family, watched from the couch as my mother cooked us a Christmas dinner, and celebrated the fact that I had managed to stay out of the hospital. As anticlimactic as it seems, the best gift I ever received was my son NOT being born on Christmas day.

 

And now, a little bit about Winter’s Sweet Kiss:

Blurb: When Wayne Edwards moves to town, Lillian Douglas experiences stirrings she thought were long dead. Guilt ridden over betraying her deceased husband and the feelings Wayne inspires, Lillian reluctantly lets him in. Secrets of the past – an old promise emerges, but will it threaten their forever?

MELT By Shaya Roy

Blurb: Newlyweds in an arranged marriage, Naina and Dev go to the mountains of Shimla, India in search of snow. Unfortunately, they find fifteen inches more than they expected.
Being snowed in with her husband is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives Naina an excellent excuse to snuggle up to her deep, quiet man, but every time Dev spurns her, a little more of her heart drips away. Melting the ice around her husband’s heart before the snow outside does might take more pride than Naina’s ready to surrender.

ONE IN A MILLION SNOWFLAKES By Michelle Ziegler

Blurb: Angela is in love with someone she can never have–her best friend, Rebecca’s older brother.

Stranded in the bitter cold after a disastrous blind date with yet another company Christmas party looming, a standing offer from the boss’ nephew gets a little more appealing. Desperation. Not a good sign. Surely when Rebecca rescues her from the blinding snow, she can also convince Angela to just go to the party alone. She can always count on her best friend.

That is, as long as she never finds out about Angela’s secret crush.

 

AN UNEXPECTED WREATH By Annabelle Blume

Blurb: Stella’s got everything she needs in life: a great job, a beautiful house, and her independence. But on last minute trip to the local Christmas tree lot she finds something, or rather someone, she desperately wants – Grayson. An emergency trip to Target, an unexpected wreath, and a little Christmas magic make the season much brighter.

 

SANTA BEBE By Lily Carlyle

Blurb: Disillusioned by men and her belief that they see her only as an object, Bebe is determined to find a man with money. Her geeky, but unfailingly kind, next-door neighbor James tries to convince her of the possibility of real love, even as she reveals to him the troubled childhood that made her so cynical about relationships. When her mother dashes her hopes for a perfect Christmas, Bebe finds herself turning to James once again, and in the process, learning a lot about herself and the promise their relationship holds.

Goodreads

Rafflecopter Link for Group Giveaway: $10 Amazon Gift Card & paperback copy of Winter’s Sweet Kiss

Purchase Links:

Amazon (Print) Amazon (Kindle Copy)
Createspace (Print Only)

*Now it’s your turn to tell me: What’s the best present you ever received?! In case I don’t blog again before next Wednesday, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

IWSG–Do I Have the Magician’s Secret?

When my YA debut novel, 18 Things, released to instant best-seller status on Amazon on January 24th, many people emailed me asking what my secret was. Sure, my sales couldn’t rival those of Stephen King or anything, but as an unpublished nobody, the sales were pretty awesome! (Psst . . . here’s an insider tip  you may not know. Have your buds buy your book AND also a bestseller of a similar sort (something huge like Stephen King) to get Amazon to recommend your book alongside theirs. Didn’t know this until after release day. DOH!)

Anyway, the answer is yesss, I do know magic . . . because I know all of YOU! The first important step I took to success? Immersing myself into the blogging community at the start of 2012. Now, I’ve had this blog since August 2010, but I didn’t give it the love and attention it needed until I made it my 2012 New Year’s resolutions (ha! sometimes those things do work!) So, I thought the Alex J. Cavanaugh’s IWSG was the perfect place to share my journey . . .

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

So, first thing’s first: I truly appreciate EVERY reader who bought my book, even the ones who hated it and gave it two stars. I appreciate you taking the time to give me honest feedback, and it’ll make me a better writer. I know I can’t please everyone, and honestly, my book won’t be for everyone. About that same time I took that leap into the blogging community is when I finally embraced that God had given me a gift besides teaching to empower young people. And the good news it, every teenager that I’ve heard from so far *fingers crossed* has absolutely loved it. They are my target audience, so if I’ve inspired them even a little, that’s my success. I could care less about best seller status . . . I only wanted that to push it to a place of influence to reach others. I took profit off the table a long time ago. Not that I wouldn’t like it. I’m a teacher by day, and Lord knows I could use some extra cash. But if that’s truly what I was after, I would’ve gotten a part-time job a long time ago. It would’ve been less work for way more money. But like teaching, writing is my PASSION. I take it very seriously that people are inviting me to entertain them every time they buy a book.

But let me say this to people asking me how I did it and assuming I’m quitting my day job soon because I’m rich: DO NOT assume that once you write a book and it trends in the top 100 on Amazon in a few categories that you will become rich and famous. Amazon is being stingy with my exact figures, and all I have is how many ebooks were bought on release day . . . somewhere between 120-150. So my cut is anywhere between $245-$340. I’ve already given that much away in charitable contributions. So nope, not in it for money! Still, not bad for one day’s sales, if only the trend would continue!!  *BTW, if you didn’t know, which I didn’t, Amazon’s cut is a 30% commission. Here’s what I watched unfold with tears (of joy) on January 24th:

 

overall sales ranking on amazon 

For one night, I was ahead of John Grisham. This blows my mind!

 

beating James Patterson

And I’m under James Patterson–my literary hero! Here’s hoping his success rubs off on my book:-)

 

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And #3 in Hot Releases for Paranormal-now THAT is beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding.

Now, I was bummed my paperbacks weren’t available release day like they were supposed to be, because I spent a lot of time organizing this Book Bomb event on Facebook. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out here. I have no clue how many paperbacks I’ve sold so far . . . hopefully another 150 since 313 had RSVP’d to my Book Bomb Event (the paperbacks became available the next day, Jan. 25th). But turns out, paperbacks are more of an advertising thing, not profit, especially with other physical retailers. So yeah, beginning to see why Amazon is so appealing to authors from a business side of things. Still, my goal is to get my books into the hands of READERS, so I’m not taking it off of B&N.  But just Fyi, my print sales from B&N leaves me with about seventy-five cents per sale. Yes, I did say CENTS. After 3 1/2 years into this writing business, do you see now why I say it’d make more sense to just get a part-time job at the Outback restaurant or something if money is what I was after? (I say Outback b/c when my hubs worked there in 2005, he brought home more money than I did as a teacher that year!!)

But hey, seventy-five cents a copy is still better than the 3 years of rejections I had piling up. Every book bought is validation . . . every 4 or 5 star review is another validation . . . I’m on the right path. This is what God had in mind for me from the beginning:-) So what if I have no money? I’m rich in spirit, faith, love, family, & friends! You all are truly the magic!!!

But my realm of influence only spreads so far, since I’m not rich and famous. So you might be wondering what will I do now to get my sales up? Because of right now as I type this post, I’m #45, 681 in the Kindle store and #74, 434 for paperbacks on Amazon. Yep, not exactly trending in the top 100 anymore! Well, I feel like I’ve done my part. I did a bucket list blogfest the week leading up to release, with a giveaway of 18 donated prizes *thanks again, peeps!!!* That was helpful in spreading the word. Now I’m on a blog tour with 18 stops, which goes until the end of this month. Here are the most recent posts since last Wednesday’s blog, incase you missed the links around Twitter and my Author’s Facebook page:

Stop #6: Gwen Gardner’s blog: My guest post on writing paranormal: Do You Believe What You Write? I share my real-life story about a time I met an angel, so check it out!

Stop #7: Jennifer Eaton’s blog: Where the Little Blue Lady from outer space interrogates interviews me *highly amusing, IMHO*

Stop #8: Marcy Blesy’s blog: Interview focusing on a first time author’s perspective *Marcy interviewed me on HER release day for her new book, Confessions of a Corn Kid. She didn’t even tell me it was her release day until afterward–how’s that for selfless?!

Stop #9: Amy Kennedy’s blog: 18 Things You Should Know About Writing *things I WISH I would’ve known when starting out!*

9 down, 9 more to go! The other thing I did was sent out a press release. I only got 2 responses so far. Here’s an article from the Grand Haven Tribune. Grand Haven is the wonderful community where 18 Things is set. If you’ve never visited this small town during the summer, add it to your bucket list!

And soon I’ll be going on a local news show called The Morning Blend. What else? Hmm . . . my first local library event is next Wednesday, as well as my first school author visit! I’ll be a part of two book festivals coming up–one in March in the Fort Myers area and another in April in Orlando. I’ll be happy to blog my experiences afterward and tell you if I think it was worth the effort. In the meantime, I’m contacting YA book blog reviewers. Three have already agreed to read and review. I love these girls better than coffee and cakepops!! They provide an enormous service to us little authors, for the love of reading! LOVE it!

Sorry this post was longer than usual, but inquiring minds were asking me. Now I’ve probably crossed the line of TMI (as usual).

Do you have any strategies for magic that I left out?!

Have your read 18 Things yet?

One thing I will caution against is don’t read the whole book waiting for the paranormal. It’s only like 10% paranormal, and it has to do with the God aspect. I didn’t choose the categories on Amazon, and have no idea how those appear, but I was still extremely grateful to be trending in them. But if you only love reading purely paranormal books, then 18 Things isn’t for you. I think it’s still a decent book (although, some people would argue that point!), and if you felt cheated, the sequel is 90% paranormal to  make up for it;-)

OH! One more thing before I return to working on my next book . . . my CQ partner in crime totally surprised me with this book trailer. I didn’t even ask anyone to do it, but she did because she is awesome. Seriously, if you look up awe*some in the dictionary, Courtney Worth Young’s picture is next to it, in all her HP Geek Glory:-) Enjoy!!!

Writing Paranormal: Do You Believe What You Write?

Hi, ya’ll!

It’s been a whirlwind week since my debut novel, 18 Things, released last Thursday. Terrifying and thrilling all at once! I’ll go into more details on next Wednesday’s post for the IWSG.

But today, I’m guest blogging at Gwen Gardner’s site, a wonderful YA Fiction Author and half of the Indies 4 Hire business. The topic is Writing Paranormal: Do You Believe What You Write? My post focuses on angels, and I share my personal encounter with one when I was eleven years old.

This is just one of 18 blogs I’m stopping by during my six week blog tour! Here are some others in case you missed it:

Stop 1: Ciara Knight’s blog (1/21) My Mash-Up of YA Awesomeness guest post

Stop 2: Laura Jordan’s blog (1/22) My School Visit Outline

Stop 3: Krystal Wade’s blog (1/24) *This is my wonderful, steadfast editor who talked me off the edge a time or two*  I answer the question: What part of me is in Olga?

Stop 4: Alex Cavanaugh’s blog (1/25) My super shout-out from the Head Ninja Master!

Stop 5: Ayden Morgan’s blog (1/28) 10 Rues for Creating Bucket Lists

If you’ve read the book, created your bucket lists, and acknowledged the vast empty hole in your heart that is exactly Jamie Ayres shaped, I hope you’ll recommend it to others and share your thoughts about 18 Things on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble *which you’ll find yourself wanting to do—Jedi Mind tricks were included in your purchase, so I left you no choice*  The sales have stayed in the top 100 books on Amazon in one category or another (and those categories are a hoot!), until today *wipes tear* So now it’s up to word of mouth to push it forward.  

I’m really BLOWN AWAY by your support. Kimberly at Art of Infiltration shared twenty-two books she enjoyed reading last year (or wanted to read this year) with her seventh grade class. She said the kids were excited about three books – Possession by Elana Johnson, CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh, and 18 Things!!! WOWIE, WOW, WOW!!! Kimberly, can you see my HUGE grin all the way from Florida? 

Well, I hope to see your beautiful faces around the blogosphere during the 18 Things tour!  And if you have a book coming out, please let me know. I’ll gladly return the favor and be your biggest cheerleader! I’m really good at those high kicks;-)

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!!