We’re All Mad Here

There’s one movie release I’ll be counting down the days to all year . . . it’s just 9 months away (274 days). Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint: I make multiple references to it in 18 Things, 18 Truths, & 18 Thoughts!!!

Force Awakens

It even comes out on my favorite day . . . the 18th!! And some people think there’s no such thing as fate! Blegh.

Today I learned that for those who don’t know a thing about basketball, there’s now a fun little play on March Madness for the geek in all of us! This Is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament! You can check out the details here. I’m too late to make my own bracket, but you can bet I’ll be ready to win some awesome prizes next year! Plus, if you’re late to the game like me, you can still vote daily for your Light & Dark Side matchups! Seriously, how did I not know about this before? Apparently the good people of Wookieepedia have done this for the past two years!

One more movie I’m mad about is Insurgent, which features my three favorite words in the English language: Theo James Shirtless!!! And this one comes out this weekend!!

 

Of course, the preview looks like they’ve completely swayed from the book, but as we know, the BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER! So I’m putting my stick down because that horse is dead. I’ve already bought my ticket to see it tomorrow at 8pm (the AMC here always shows it a day early, which is very nice of them). Besties, Popcorn with sprinkle cheese, and Theo James Shirtless?! What more could a girl ask for?

Do you feel me? Are you counting down the days till the Force awakens? Will you see Insurgent? Does the sight of Theo James make you swoooon?

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Are Two Better Than One?

Four years ago, I got the chance to attend RWA Nationals after the venue moved from Nashville to Orlando due to unfortunate flooding. To save money, I planned on staying with a friend who lived forty minutes away from the Disney Swan & Dolphin Hotel, where the conference was held. Then I discovered Marisa Cleveland, a buddy who I’d met three months earlier at my local RWA chapter meeting, had a room in the hotel all to herself. Being the Reigning Queen of Awkward Situations, I crashed her room & took the couch. Little did I know Marisa was a natural introvert & too terrified of me to say no.

Risa & me at RWA Nationals

Risa & me at RWA Nationals

That’s how a beautiful friendship was born 🙂 Now that I’m done with writing my 18 Things trilogy, I’m forcing her into another situation that seems just as counterintuitive to sharing your hotel room with a stranger. Cowriting a novel! Authors are known for being control-freak Jedi masters of our fictional universes. That’s why when I attended utopYA2014, I made sure I attended the panel with Melissa Pearl & the mom and son author duo C.A. Kunz. Here are some of my notes in case, like me, you think cowriting could be a fun, refreshing process that yields a unique story.

TIPS:

Pick someone who is at similar points in terms of both their craft and career & treat each other as equals.

Be honest if there’s something you don’t like. We take criticism personally, but that has to take a back burner in the interest of writing the best story possible.

Make sure you know the other person’s writing style well so the reader doesn’t feel pulled out of the story with two very different tones-different than having two distinct voices, which can work very well because that can be attributed to the characters.

CHALLENGES:

If one person is waiting to hear back for next chapter, but their co-author is too busy and is left waiting when they are ready to move on with the story, it can cause friction. Make sure to set up a writing schedule & stick to it!  Equal commitment & a compatible writing pace is a must. Also helpful are similar tastes. For instance, do you bond over the same books, movies, music, and celebrities (like drool swoon-worthy Theo James)? That’s a good start.

 

Seriously, Jamie? This is getting ridiculous. I will let you touch my bicep if you leave me alone.

Seriously, Jamie? This is getting ridiculous. I will let you touch my bicep if you leave me alone.

Good idea to pick a person who has a final say in different areas, like grammar, fine-tuning of the plot, and research details. It’s like a choose your own adventure story! If you get stuck, have a bowl with worst case scenarios and pull one out & have that happen to your character.

If you are discussing something serious with the book, do it in person or Skype so your partner doesn’t misread what you’re saying. Email, text, or phone call at least once a day to ensure continuity and the development of a solid story arc, especially as you work toward the finale.

Have you ever thought about working with a partner? What do you think the pros and cons would be?

P.S. Speaking on Cons, I didn’t get the coveted tickets for the “Open At the Close” event at LeakyCon in Orlando on July 30th since they sold out in 5 minutes. If you dress up as a creepy/scary clown in your spare time, or know someone who does, please message me. I’m looking to hire one to chase a ticket holder around until they fork over their pass. Thanks for your help in this matter.

scary clown

 

TFIOS Feels, ReadOn, Audible, and UtopYA Con

Let me first start off by saying that The Fault In Our Stars movie, based on the bestselling Coming of Age love story about two teens who just happen to have cancer by John Green, was AMAZING!!!

I took my 13yo daughter and her bestie to a special “Night Before Our Stars” event that was held at 600 theatres around the country the night before the official release. We each got a commemorative bracelet and autographed poster and afterward, you could tweet questions to the author, director, producer, and the three main characters of the cast. They did the live simulcast from a movie theatre in Atlanta (more on that later). There were sooo many feels while watching this film. I LOVED the book, but I don’t remember laughing and crying so hard (and simultaneously) when reading the novel. Something about seeing it brought to life on the big screen made it much more emotional for me. It’s not a movie I could watch over and over again because it’s so heartbreaking, but I do think it’s trying to send the same message I try to send with my 18 Things trilogy. Love is stronger than death in the end. It’s hard to tell someone that when they’ve just lost the most important person in their life (and I wouldn’t recommend it), but after time, I do think most come around to that realization. Anyway, I think the movie and the two main actors, Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, deserve Oscar nominations. Doubt that will happen, but I’m sure they get the reward in the hearts of young adults (and wannabe YA like me) everywhere!

TFIOS Swag

TFIOS Swag

 

Other things I’ve been up to this week . . . I did my first live web appearance ON CAMERA for Jessica Porter, a book reviewer I’d met at a B&N event back in March. Check out the ReadOn with me (I’m up first), Leila Howland, Lindsay Cummings, and Amy Christine Parker (LOVE HER!).

readon

Then yesterday, Audible set me up with a local studio to record special features for my audio books of 18 Things and 18 Truths. I walked in and was met by a familiar face . . . I’d actually graduated high school with the owner! So thankful I knew him a little because I was really nervous and he immediately put me at ease. It took about 2 hours to record the Author’s Note, dedication, beginning chapter quotes, acknowledgements, and Literature Circle Questions for both books. He said I was a natural . . . I think I probably sounded like a dork. We’ll let you decide when it’s all finished! If you’re in the Southwest Florida area and need a studio, check out Paul L. Marshall Productions.

Jamie Recording

Other than that, I’ve been planning for my trip next week! I’m off to Nashville for the UtopYA Con (the Con for Women Writers of YA & the fans who love them). Super excited to meet up with my publishers sisters, Sharron Riddle Houdek and Krystal Wade, there (as well as blogger buddy Pk Hrezo). If you’re going, stop by Area 51, table 24! My daughter is coming with (who will turn 14 that weekend, sniff sniff) and she’s an aspiring author, so I’m psyched to have her come along and be inspired. On the way, we’re stopping in Atlanta because for some reason, we’ve never been! Lots of fun planned there too, including hunting down Theo James so I can touch his bicep (it’s on my bucket list). He’s filming Insurgent there along with Shailene and Ansel. How cool would it be to actually stumble upon them?! Keep your fingers crossed and if you’re in the Atlanta area, let me know if you spot any “Mineral” signs (code name).

"Now, now Jamie, you could get arrested for this." *lunges at Theo*

“Now, now Jamie, you could get arrested for this.” *lunges at Theo*

What have you been up to this week?!

News and Books

It’s the end of the school year, which explains why I’m a day late in posting my blog this week. Such a busy time as we wrap things up! I’m looking forward to sleeping in a little bit in just two weeks!

I hope all my friends who are Mom’s out there enjoyed your Mother’s Day weekend. Mine was fabulous! On Saturday, my 10-year-old spawn had her first piano/singing recital, a big milestone for my super shy girl. Then we went to Captiva Beach and ate at a fun place on the island called The Bubble Room, which is decorated like Christmas all year round and has the B*E*S*T cakes in the world!

All of that was enough to make my Mother’s Day complete, but then hubs and kids also bought me a box of my favorite Norman Love Chocolates, a book (the Official Illustrated Movie Companion guide to Divergent so I can drool over Theo James some more),  a Grumpy Cat shirt, and a new Huffy bike! I felt rather spoiled . . . not sure what I did to deserve all that as dinner rarely gets cooked and the house seldom cleaned between writing my 18 Things trilogy and teaching middle school, but I’ll take it 🙂

Mothers Day

On to the book portion of today’s blog . . .  I’d like to feature a novel from my publishing sister, Ayden Morgen. I finally got around to reading Fall, the second New Adult book in her Ragnarok Prophesies series.  The first book, Fade, I read as soon as it was out in 2012 as a way of checking out books Curiosity Quills Press had already published. I wasn’t disappointed . . . read it in twenty-four hours! To be honest, many times sequels fall flat for me, but this one doesn’t! Ayden did an excellent job with her second installment . . . the characters were compelling, the myths and the world she created around them were awesome, and I had all the right feels along the way. A few times I wished there was more dialogue and that the pacing moved along a bit faster, but that’s just my ADHD talking 🙂 Overall, I really enjoyed this story and suggest ya’ll add Fall to your summer reading list! Check out the synopsis below if you still need more convincing!

fall cover

How do you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?

Those called to stand guard against the end are broken, and Sköll and Hati run free. Now Arionna Jacobs and Dace Matthews face a threat unlike any before. Ragnarök is coming and they aren’t strong enough to stop it.

Arionna thought she understood sacrifice, but she never counted on her destiny tearing Dace apart. Ever since she nearly died, he has been consumed with guilt. Now it threatens to turn him into the monster he always feared.

It’s up to Arionna to stop him before it’s too late, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and Dace is hurtling toward self destruction. This time, Arionna isn’t sure she can save him from himself. Can she convince him to let the past go, or is her true destiny to sacrifice her heart in exchange for the lives of the people she loves?

Also, two of my blogger buddies recently released the covers to their sequels . . . be sure to watch for these good reads!

champion in flight cover

Coming June 2nd!!

And PK Hrezo will release her sequel to Butterman Time Travel on August 31st! But you can add it to your Goodreads today!

induction day cover

So that’s what I’ve been up to . . . how has your week been? Wish me luck–tomorrow I chaperone a trip to the local waterpark for our 6th and 7th grade students. I only hope no pictures of me in a bathing suit end up on Instagram *shudders*

Something Like Awesome . . .

Trish Doller Trish Doller  writes books (her website says so), but you find those in the doller bin where she works at B&N as a bookseller. Hahaha! Sorry, but you know I can’t resist a corny joke. For the record, her last name isn’t pronounced like dollar, and you should know this because there’s no doubt in my mind you’ll become her biggest fan if you pick up one of her books. I just finished Where the Stars Still Shine a few weeks ago, and it was so awesome, I emailed her right away to see if I could get an exclusive interview. Everybody give it up for Trish, woot woot!!

Tell us a little bit about Where the Stars Still Shine. What was the catalyst for this particular novel?
Stars began with a trip to Tarpon Springs, which is a small tourist town on the Gulf coast of Florida. There’s a significant Greek-American culture there and a lot of the tourist attractions revolve around Greek food and the sponge diving industry. So while I was walking around the tourist area, I started thinking what it would be like to be dropped into that town and expected to be Greek. And when I started thinking about who I might drop into Tarpon Springs, Callie’s character started coming to life.
How long have you wanted to write? Are you a plotter or a pantster?
I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been able to write, but I didn’t write with an intent to be published until about 2006 when I had an idea that wouldn’t let me go. I tend to be a pantser when I write, but I do have a rough plot in my head. I know the direction I want the story to go and then I let the characters take me there.

 

Tell us about your publishing journey. How has the experience been so far?

something like normal
My publishing journey started in early 2008 when my agent sold my first book to Random House. I was working on revisions when my editor was laid off. My new editor wasn’t in love with the book so my contract was cancelled and that book was never published. While we were on submission again, I started working on the book that would become Something Like Normal and after sending the first few chapters to my agent, she decided to submit it to a few of her favorite editors. Bloomsbury bought it and the rest is pretty much history. Bloomsbury bought Where the Stars Still Shine and they’ve also bought my upcoming book, which is still untitled. I’ve been really happy with my experience. Both of my books are doing well and I’m always thrilled to hear from teenagers who love them.  where stars still shine

 

 

Were you ever tempted to censor yourself when writing this novel, especially in the famous chapter twelve?
I think I had moments when I worried that maybe I’d gone too far, but it was more important that Callie learn what a healthy sexual experience looks like. And I think there’s a positive message for all girls that sex doesn’t have to be shameful and that a good partner considers your needs as well as his own. As a parent, I know that’s a really uncomfortable thing to talk about with girls. We don’t like to think about our daughters as sexual beings. But I’d rather take the heat for writing a scene that’s “too sexy” than not talk about these things.

 

Tell us what you’re working on now. Will there ever be another story featuring Callie and Alex . . . at least a short story or novella showing us what happens to them five or ten years down the road? *gets down on hands and knees and begs with hands folded in prayer*
My next book is a sexy (because this is me) psychological thriller about a girl who takes a dangerous road trip with two boys—one of whom is not what he seems. It’s still untitled but it will be coming out in either June or July 2015. I’m also working on a full-fledged adult novel about a young woman who goes to sea in an effort to get over her boyfriend’s suicide. That one is just a manuscript right now—no book deals to report—but I’m really excited to write that one. And as of right now, I don’t have anything planned for Alex and Callie, but they might make a cameo appearance in my next planned YA novel.

Oh, I love the sound of that idea!! Thanks so much for stopping by, Trish! Be sure to check out both of her A*W*E*S*O*M*E novels!! What’s everyone else been up to? See Divergent yet? I saw it twice already, and when I finish writing 18 Thoughts (over 70,000 words now!), I plan on celebrating by seeing it again. I’m swooning over Theo James (Four), especially after I found out he’s a musician too. Check out this adorable video of him singing (I think I just got pregnant watching it).