Handling Criticism

Have you ever had one of those days where you couldn’t get anything done because a hurtful situation was on instant replay in your mind? Maybe it was a bad review of your book or an emotional conversation with a friend or being treated unfairly at work or your kids not listening to you for the thousandth time.

That was me today. And with the release of 18 Thoughts, the final book in my 18 Things trilogy, coming in January, I thought today was good training. Because while I know plenty of people will LOVE the ending of my book, just as many could hate it. Knowing how to handle criticism is essential in life and especially if you want to last in the publishing business.

My initial reaction to criticism is usually the need to tell my side of the story, to prove I’m right and they’re wrong. But this holiday season, as I listen to my favorite Christmas carol, Silent Night, it’s been a reminder to find a quiet place before I respond instead . . . whether it’s eating lunch in my classroom while listening to my iTunes, taking the dog around the block, reading a book in my bedroom, enjoying a relaxing bubble bath, playing around on Pinterest, or sitting quietly on my back porch. Why? Because in the quiet, things make more sense. Having some quiet time brings me to a more rational place where I can respond to the situation with truth. Because in the quiet, I’m able to put myself in the other person’s shoes and understand why they said what they did, even if I don’t agree with it.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is even though multiple people are involved in the same situation, nobody sees things from the same perspective. So when we’re dealing with high emotions, whether it’s in a real relationship or with our book boyfriends, keep that in mind. Give your friend, coworker, family member, fellow author, or book reviewer the benefit of the doubt before you criticize them or respond to their criticism (and by the way, I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t ever respond to a mean book review).

With my next book release, I hope to stay ahead of the game by scheduling in some relaxation during the six week media blitz. Maybe if I pencil in some down time to relax and breathe, I’ll be able to respond with integrity when someone criticizes me because I’m not already pulling myself in a million different directions.

IWSGHEADER

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We meet around the blogosphere the first Wednesday of every month. Feel free to join us anytime and thanks to this month’s wonderful co-hosts:

Heather Gardner

Tonja Drecker

Eva E. Solar at Lilicasplace

Patsy Collins

And before I go, I wanted to give a shout out to my Curiosity Quills publishing sister, Sharon Bayliss. She has a shiny new cover out, take a look:

Watch Me Burn EBook

And to celebrate the cover reveal for The December People Book Two, from December 1-21, Sharon’s Book One, Destruction, is on sale for 99 cents! If you’re a fan of dark wizards and Urban-Fantasy, this is a MUST READ!

About Destruction

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.

Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Advertisements

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?

3 Books Sooo AWESOME You Won’t Believe It!!!

Two years ago in May, I entered a contest on a blog that changed my life forever. The blog was Sharon Bayliss, and the result was a publishing contract for my trilogy! On Sharon’s blog, I read about another success story from her contest. Her name was Jessa Russo, and I remember falling in love with her voice on her celebration post and wishing she lived in Florida instead of California because I knew we’d be great friends if she did. Who knew that a year later, she would be my new editor for the second and third installments of my trilogy! And by publishing my books, who knew I’d help inspire a dear friend named Tiffany Pastor who I met in college a long time ago in a galaxy far away (okay, not that far away, but the year 2000 does seem like forever ago) to write and publish her own book!

I owe these three ladies sooo much, so I wanted to highlight their new releases on my blog today!

First up is Sharon’s book, Destruction.

Destruction-Sharon Bayliss

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.

She had me at wizard!

Next up is the wonderfully talented Jessa with DIVIDE!

Divide cover

From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson. 


Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish. 

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her. 

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.
Who doesn’t love a YA Fantasy/Fairytale Redux?!?

DIVIDE: Goodreads | Amazon 

And last but not least is Tiffany Pastor, who really is a pastor! She married one of my good buddies in college & nobody wears that last name better (my daughter was even a flower girl in their wedding . . . didn’t use all her petals by the time she reached the alter, so she dumped her basket right there, lol). Her book, CHILDREN of the CITY, is a novel about child trafficking in America.

COTC cover
COTC tells the story of suffering through fictional characters and introduces the reality of darkness that so many people face every day. Research and statistics of atrocity are now given a face, given a name.BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT than the nuts and bolts of the plot is the “WHY” behind the story. This is MORE than just book sales and bestselling lists! This is an opportunity for people to UNITE and make a difference since 40% of her proceeds go back to freedom fighting organizations!COTC empowers people like you and me to rise up and partner with freedom fighters all over the world.

DON’T THESE BOOKS LOOK AWESOME!!! I hope you’ll check them out, and I hope you’ll forgive me for neglecting to visit your blogs the past month while I finished 18 Thoughts. Good news is I sent it to my CP’s last night! It is finished . . . until they rip the manuscript to pieces. A little warning: the series didn’t end the way I planned. My characters changed their minds with 3 chapters left. Don’t you just love it when they do that?!?

 

99 Cent Kindle Deal of the Day Part II

I’m helping with the 99 cent Kindle sale my publisher, Curiosity Quills, is having through Saturday. If you love to read YA paranormal romance *shameless plug* like 18 Things , then you don’t want to miss this one. I featured Jessa on my blog when her debut novel came out 6 months ago, and I absolutely LOVED her book. Check it out . . . .

Jessa's cover

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.


WHERE TO BUY: 

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

ADD EVER TO YOUR TBR!


Goodreads


ABOUT JESSA:

Jessa headshot

 

 An unashamed super fan of all things paranormal romance, Jessa Russo reads, writes and breathes paranormal YA, rarely straying from her comfort zone.

When not writing or reading, Jessa enjoys making memories with her awesome family and amazingly supportive friends, while secretly planning her next trip to New Orleans.

Jessa has won a few flash fiction contests and had a couple short stories published, but feels her greatest accomplishment is raising the coolest kid ever – a little girl with a Tim Burton obsession and a desire to save every animal she sees.

*Isn’t Jessa beautiful? I think that cover alone makes you want to read Jessa’s book, right?! And Jessa is seriously worth following everywhere, like Twitter and Facebook! She’s epic . . . I could go on forever about how much I love her and her book, but I’m supposed to meet her in real-life in May, and I don’t want to creep her out too much;-) Oh, and don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter on Sharon Bayliss’s site for the $75 Amazon gift card–our way of saying thanks for helping to promote this awesome sale~xoxo

99 Cent Deal of the Day–Legasea by Krystalyn Drown

So it’s day 5 of the Curiosity Quills 99 cent Kindle promotion sale for forty of our titles! I know many of you have already purchased 18 Things (Thank You!!), and today I’m highlighting another YA book you can grab for less than a buck this week! And don’t forget to help us celebrate by stopping by Sharon Bayliss’s blog to enter your name in our Rafflecopter for the $75 Amazon gift card!

Check out this cool sounding blurb from Legasea:

Legasea Cover

When sixteen-year-old Aileen Shay sees a dead girl floating in the bay during a midnight yacht party, she never imagines Jamie Flannigan, her new boyfriend, may be involved. The only thing she knows about Jamie is that he personifies the one thing she has been drawn to her entire life – the ocean. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes he knows more about the murder than he’s telling. When another girl is attacked, and Jamie refuses to answer her questions, Aileen searches for answers on her own.

Aileen learns that Jamie’s family belongs more to myths and legends than they do in the real world. They are selkies, and after the Flannigans threaten her family, Aileen suspects they are responsible for both attacks.

But they aren’t the only ones in her small fishing town who can keep a secret.

 As Aileen uncovers the truth about the murder, the selkies, and her own family, she learns why her soul is bonded to the sea. But with that revelation comes a choice – to permanently sever her connection with the water, which comes at a painful cost, or embrace a legacy that just might get her killed.

 

Krystalyn Drown pic

Krystalyn has spent the past 13 years working at Disney as everything from Aladdin’s harem girl to talent coordinator to spider expert. In the evenings, she does mad writing challenges with her sister. She currently lives in Florida with her family.

 

Personal Blog: http://krysteybelle.blogspot.com/

Short Story Blog: http://fictionfemmefatale.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @KrysteyBelle

*Sounds like a fun read, right? And what a cool name for the MC;-)

Guest Sharon Bayliss Shares Her Road to Publication!

Today I have the extreme honor of letting my publishing sister, Sharon Bayliss, take over my blog. A contest on her own blog this past May is what led my editor to 18 Things! Sharon, I’m forever in your debt, and you can stop by any time! Don’t forget, Sharon’s book, The Charge, and my book, 18 Things, are both on sale in the Kindle store for 99 cents until Saturday! Thanks to our publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, for running this wonderful promotion!

99 cent Lucky Book Sale

Take it away, Sharon . . . .

No one could call me an overnight success. I’ve been chasing my dream of publication for fifteen years. Granted, I have had a lot of distractions during that time, college, marriage, children…you know, life in general, but I always returned to work on my goal of publishing a novel.

I am proud to say that on March 2, 2013, my dream came true. I published my debut novel, The Charge, with Curiosity Quills Press.

So how did I finally get it done? 

In 2009 I started writing the novel that would eventually become The Charge. It went through so many drafts and total overhauls, early beta readers can only barely recognize the final published result. In the summer of 2011, I did my first round of serious querying. I went the “normal” route of querying agents. I had a few positive moments, some blog contest wins and an occasional positive query reply, but overall, the query process was soul-draining and ultimately unsuccessful.

Fortunately, I wasn’t thwarted. After rewriting my query almost fifty times (yes, I counted), I finally realized and accepted that the query wasn’t the problem. There were problems with the basic structure of the story.

So, I essentially started over. And this time, I write the query first. When I felt like I had an awesome query after only a few tries, I knew I had finally figured it out. 

I got to work re-writing the story and when I was done, it just felt different. I knew I had gotten it right. I had two amazing beta readers look over The Charge. They made some excellent suggestions and I went to work on yet another significant revision. 

One problem my beta readers pointed out was that The Charge didn’t fit well into the YA genre (which was where I had been querying it) because my main character was 18 and out on his own. I agreed, but aging him up or down proved difficult. Read more about my journey to discover the new adult category in the article, “18-Year-Old Characters are Strictly Prohibited.”

Despite the categorization problem, I felt excited and confident about The Charge, so I set out to query agents again and entered some contests. And…

Still nothing.

Although I felt like I had made significant strides and was very proud of The Charge, the general consensus from the agents was, “no.”

I didn’t want to shelve The Charge, but I was discouraged and decided to at least move on to something else for a while. So, I wrote a completely different novel (but that’s a whole other story). I was feeling very excited about this new novel and was about to start querying it, but then something unexpected happened.

The publishing industry moves slowly and I’m not very patient. So, I had moved on before The Charge had really gotten a chance. I hadn’t thought about The Charge in a while, and then I learned that it had made it through the first round of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition. Then, a month later, The Charge became a quarterfinalist. I didn’t move to the semi-finalist round, but I did win a very positive Publishers Weekly review.

My success in the ABNA contest made me rethink everything. The expert judges and the Publishers Weekly reviewer thought it was great! The agents who read my query may not have fallen in love, or thought they would have trouble fitting it into the correct marketing box, but that didn’t mean the book wasn’t worth publishing. So, with my renewed confidence, I tried something new, I queried small publishers directly. And since small publishers were open to the “New Adult” category, I was able to query it in the category it really belonged in.

It didn’t take long at all for me to get some full requests, and in about a nanosecond in publishing time, Curiosity Quills Press made me an offer. I have to admit, I was thrilled but also discombobulated. Things had happened quickly and not the way I had expected. I had no agent to help me negotiate the contract. Even after lots of research and consulting with friends, there was no way to be 100% certain that I was doing the right thing. But my gut told me it was the right thing to do, and I know I made the right choice.

My journey to publication was long and often painful, but I believe it all happened for a reason. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Jamie, and for all your support along the way!

*My pleasure, Sharon! I bet you’re wondering what The Charge is about after that post. Here’s the blurb:

The Charge Cover copy

When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren’s brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever—he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead. 

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who’s itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can’t stay away from. Convincing her he’s not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories—not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID. 

*You can visit Sharon’s blog to learn more about her, and to enter our $75 Amazon gift card giveaway 5 of us are doing to say thanks for spreading the word about the 99 cent sale, woot woot!!

So, have you had the chance to read The Charge yet, or adding it to your TBR list? Interested in the $75 gift card (well, duh, who wouldn’t be, right?!) Stop by tomorrow . . . I’ll be highlighting another wonderful book participating in the 99 cent promo!

❤ Jaim-O

The Luck of the Irish Brings you 18 Things for 99 Cents (and much more!!!)

Not only does the Kindle e-book for 18 Things go on sale today for 99 cents, but it was just an overall AWESOME week to be an author! A new local bookstore opened up in my town, and I also got to participate in the Southwest Florida Reading Festival yesterday. I sat at a vendor’s table with my local Romance Writer’s group from 10-4pm and actually sold 17 books! I know that’s not breaking any records, but I’m always humbled anyone wants to read my book! Annnd, while I was there, I got invited by the Lee County Reading Council to be the guest author speaker at their End of Year banquet next month *squeeee*

Plus, people left me warm fuzzy messages this week after finishing 18 Things. On Twitter, Cheryl had this to say: “Just finished 18 Things. Way to reinforce my belief in God and life. It was much-needed. I feel whole again after reading your book.” Isn’t that the greatest DM ever?! Thanks for letting me share, Cheryl!

Also got this message on FB from a middle school Language Arts teacher: “I ordered one of your books from amazon and all my students want to read it at the same time. Just placed another order for several copies.” LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

And finally another FB message from a coworker: “Tomorrow we will be able to check off running a 5k – thank you Jamie Ayres for motivating me to finally do something about my bucket list!” WOW, can you see the HUGE smile on my face from where you are sitting?!?

If that doesn’t make you want to read 18 Things, then you just might be a broken person. Well, okay, I am too . . . that’s why I wrote 18 Things! So let’s get down to the Nitty-Gritty!

99 cent Lucky Book Sale

For the 99 cent sale, several of us at Curiosity Quills Press wanted to do some kind of shared giveaway on our blogs. The point of the giveaway is to call attention to the 99 cent sale and get people to spread the word (via rafflecopter). We figured it didn’t make much sense to give away our 99 cent ebooks, but we could all put in toward a Kindle Fire or Amazon gift card. Who wouldn’t be interested in that, right? WordPress doesn’t support rafflecopter *shakes fist in air* but you can enter the giveaway on Sharon Bayliss’s site! (The link should be live sometime soon–thanks for helping to spread the word!) Here’s the list of participating books:

18 Things by Jamie Ayres *Woot, wOOt!!*

Once Upon a Changeling by V.J. Chambers
Cappuccino Heaven by Michelle Wright
The Space Whiskey Death Chronicles by William Vtika
The Charge by Sharon Bayliss
Ever by Jessa Russo
Blow up the Roses by Randy Attwood
Theocracide by James Wymore
Fade by Ayden Morgan
The Green Man and Other Short Stories by Rand Lee
The Gathering Darkness by Lisa Collicutt
Sanity Vacuum by Thea Gregory
Legasea by Krystalyn Drown
The Devil You Know (Nick Englebrecht Trilogy Book 1) by K.H. Koehler
Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish by Andrew Buckley
Nefertiti’s Heart by AW Exley
Paradise Earth: Day Zero by Anthony Mathenia
Death by Chocolate by Johanna Pitcairn
Bone Wires by Michael Shean
Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean
The Green Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson
The Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson
Danger in Cat World by Nina Post
One Ghost per Serving by Nina Post
The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse by Nina Post
The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse by Nina Post
Wilde’s Fire (Darkness Falls Series Book 1) by Krystal Wade
Wilde’s Army (Darkness Falls Series Book 2) by Krystal Wade
World’s Burn Through (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 1) by Vicki Keire
Shadowed Ground (Chronicles of Nowhere Book 2) by Vicki Keire
Wet Dream by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
The God Particle by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
The Department of Magic by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Christmas in the Morgue by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Family Cursemas (The Megamillionaire Murders, Vol 1) by Rod Kierkegaard, Jr.
Dinosaur Jazz (Jurassic Club) by Michael Panush
El Mosaico, Vol. 1: Scarred Souls by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 1: American Nightmares by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 2: Cold Wars by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency, Vol. 3: Red Reunion by Michael Panush

That’s a whole enchilada of awesome books!!! I’m hoping to see 18 Things trend in the top 100 in a few categories again and create some much-needed buzz, and would really appreciate it if you helped spread the word in your realm of influence!

Here’s an easy Tweet you can copy: The Luck of the Irish brings you the YA coming of age love story, 18 Things, for 99 cents! Happy St. Patricks’ Day #99cents #Kindle

Okay, before I go I just have to share my 9yo daughter’s funny relationship with Siri. She saved and saved for an iPod Touch 5 and finally bought it on Thursday. My hubs and I don’t have Smart phones, so this was her first introduction to Siri.  On Friday morning, I got out of the shower and heard Ashley talking to somebody. Me: Who are you talking to? Ash: Siri! Can you believe she’s never had pizza? I told her to try CiCi’s. Me: Um, you do know Siri is a computer, right? hahahahahaha! Then this morning hubs and I are talking and Ashley goes, “Shhh, I just asked Siri a question and she needs to concentrate!” LOL. And if you haven’t asked Siri who let the dogs out, Ashley highly recommends it! I do love how Siri is helping my kid with her speech problems. She has to speak clearly in order for Siri to understand her, which leads me to wrap up my St. Patrick’s Day announcement with this:

Siri St. Patrick's Day

Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG

*Scroll down if you’re here for IWSG, or read the first part too if you want to win some cool YA books*

Well, it’s been a nonstop joyride of swashbuckling fun this past month participating in the Buccaneer Blogfest. Many thanks to our charming rogue pirates Sharon Bayliss and Courtney Young. I know the last post is supposed to be on Friday but as a teacher, I’m back to school this week (hence, missing my post on Monday) and it’s just madness this time of year. Now I know I’ll have a blood debt to pay for this, so no worries, I’m giving away 5 books. Hosting a Rafflecopter or even adding a Google Friend Connect Widget seems super complicated on wordpress (anyone have tips they can share??) so instead I’ll use my trusty Mega Timer I utilize in my classroom. I’ll number the comments one through . . . well, however many people comment (you think we can beat my record of 55 comments from one post? Hmm, I wonder what Alex’s is? No doubt that’ll look pathetic next to his, lol), then I hit the random selector button and TA-DA! I’ll have 5 different winners and will announce them here next Wednesday as I return to my regular weekly schedule. Once I announce them, you’ll need to email me within 24 hrs and tell me which book you’d like. That means the early bird gets the worm . . . if someone else already emailed me and chose the book you wanted, you’ll have to pick your 2nd choice (sorry, Charlie!). Here are the books I’m giving away from my bookshelf (all YA paranormal/fantasy/science fiction and in great condition).

by Lisa McMann, even autographed!

by Lisa McMann, even autographed!

by Amanda Hocking, the exemplar of self-publishing eBooks

by Amanda Hocking, the exemplar of self-publishing eBooks

by James A. Moore, twice nominated for Bram Stroker Award & writer for Marvel Comics

by James A. Moore, twice nominated for Bram Stroker Award & writer for Marvel Comics

by Pam Bachorz, loved the FL setting & twisted ending

by Pam Bachorz, loved the FL setting & twisted ending

by Julia Karr, this one is my fav out of the five

by Julia Karr, this one is my fav out of the five

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog during the month of July . . . somehow I reached the 1,000 followers mark during it *throws confetti* Quite a few from other countries too like Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Ireland! Yay:-) I’d love it if you gave me a follow before entering the contest, or visit the Follow Me button at the top of my site for other choices at stalking me;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, now it’s time for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s IWSG! This is my first one since my pub deal (since I missed July’s posting).

According to the Ninja Master’s website, the Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Oh my gosh, soooo insecure about publishing my first novel, 18 Things, with Curiosity Quills Press soon! You know how they have the 7 Stages of Grief? I think writers go through something similar:
Step 1: Excitement–the OMG moment where someone FINALLY offers you a contract for publishment *squeal*
Step 2: Shock–your body goes numb & nothing going on around you registers
Step 3: Disbelief–nope, this can’t be for real. They made a mistake. They’ll be calling any minute now to retract their offer.
Step 4: Bargaining–Oh God, I’ll give anything for this to be real. I won’t yell at my husband anymore for never putting his dirty socks in the laundry basket. I’ll have more patience for my kids and students. I’ll walk the dog 3x a day. I’ll treat my body like a holy temple & won’t consume massive amounts of chocolate. Just please, please, please let this happen! (say allllllllll of this with your fingers & toes crossed in the prayer position)
Step 5: Guilt–how did I sign a contract before this totally AWESOME blogger buddy who writes waaayyy better than I do? That’s not fair!
Step 6: Acceptance–reality sets in & you remember everything happens for a reason & God has finally given you your shining moment
Step 7: Hope–that everyone (mostly) will fall in love with your novel when they read it and post rocking reviews
 
This quote I read sums it up nicely:
“A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public with his pants down.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay
 
*What about you, dear writers? Do you agree with my 7 stages? Have any stages to add? Comments make me smile:-)
 
~Cheers & Go Team USA!!! I have a major case of Olympics LOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!

Top 5 Favorite Books of All Time

So today’s blogfest assignment is to name our top 5 books of all time. Like many of you, this is simply an impossible task for me. So I had to take out non-fiction books and all the classics and narrowed it down to my top 5 YA series since that’s what I’m writing myself.

1)  Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling — this is me being a nerd in line on the opening day of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. We stood in line 6 hours to get in and it was well worth it:-) I still haven’t forgiven my husband when last November he got to attend a red carpet event there as part of the hoopla surrounding the last movie DVD release. He met most of the stars but was unable to smuggle me in (he works for our local Fox news). Anyways, I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many HP shirts I own, but let’s just say plenty to wear a different one for each day of the week:-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)   The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis — this is my daughters and I standing next to the sword of the White Witch from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe featured at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.( Can you tell I’m paranoid about using any pics other than my own after that post by Roni Loren?) I actually didn’t read this series until I was nineteen years old and got hired to work at a Christian bookstore. It was a very small mom-and-pop shop so one of the benefits of working there was we could read when it was slow so we could be better equipped to recommend books to customers. The first thing I picked up was this and immediately purchased the whole series. Yep, the downside of working there was spending my whole paycheck before I was out the door! So glad my daughters have gotten to enjoy these books though, and my students!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. I enjoyed this series and movies so much that I started my own Sisterhood of the Traveling _____ (jacket, bracelet, necklace, ring. . . depends on the year). These are my 4 besties I met at college and we pass our journal and item of the year through the mail and then meet up once a year for a reunion. Three of us are spread across Florida, one is in Tennessee, and another in California.

 

 

 

4) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins . . . I first heard about this one at RWA Nationals in Orlando during July of 2010. What I heard is it was the most violent YA book ever written in contemporary fiction so of course I ran out and bought it, lol. I’m glad I waited to read books 1 & 2 until then b/c I only had to wait a month for book 3. Own just 2 shirts for this one, and a key chain:-)

5) The Internal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. This is the prequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments Series. To be honest, I’m kind of getting burned out on that series (#5 came out this year), but I love this prequel. Here’s the summary from the first book: When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Gray’s older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London’s dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

*I’ve told you mine . . . now tell me yours:-) If you’d like to join this blogfest hosted by my publisher, Curiosity Quills, you can sign up at Sharon Bayliss’s blog.

 

Buccaneer Blogfest Week 2

To kick off week 2 of our blogfest, canny captains Sharon Bayliss and Courtney Young have ordered us to kidnap our first paragraphs from our novel or WIP and post them on our blogs, lest we walk the plank. Well, I dunno about you, but I’ve seen some monstrous sea creatures lurking in the waters below. Here’s hoping you find me first 150 words of 18 Things seaworthy because it’ll be published later this year by Curiosity Quills Press:

Once I smashed my hand in the car door. The thought of returning to school today feels worse than that. I shove my book bag into the backseat of Nicole’s idling silver Honda Civic.

“Hey, Olga. How are you holding up?” she asks, hunched over her steering wheel. As her best friend, I can tell when her smile is a patent fake, plus there are dark circles under her eyes no amount of cucumber slices could cure.

I take two puffs from my asthma inhaler. “Just drive.”

She snaps her fingers. “I know just what you need. Some Espresso To Go.”

What I need is Conner.

His funeral was yesterday. I’m so not ready for this but Mom is making me, thinks she knows best. I know Mom isn’t trying to be cruel. She’s the kind of person who thinks in practicalities. Usually I’d agree with being practical, but I’m beyond that now.

*Please leave a comment to tell me what yer thinks, or I may be swabbing the deck again tonight;-) And it’s still not too late to join our thrilling quest of world domination er, . . . building our platform and creating connections. Just click on the linky link below, mateys.

This is a Blog Hop!


You are next… Click here to enter
This list will close in 19 days, 0 hrs, 31 min (8/3/2012 11:59 PM North America – Central Standard Time