Happy, Happy, Happy

Two weeks ago I left on a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas with the cast of Duck Dynasty. It was something I won on the radio last May. If you’ve ever watched the show, you know Phil is famous for saying those words in my blog title, “Happy, Happy, Happy!”

cruise montage

It got me thinking, is that the legacy I’m leaving behind for my own kids? Will they look back on their childhood and think Mom was happy, happy, happy? I try to be a positive person, but if I’m honest, being happy is something I’ve struggled with these last few months. Most of it is stress related around circumstances I can’t control. But the more I thought, the more I decided that if the situation can’t change, why have a bad attitude about it? Might as well be grateful for all the good things I have. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, then CHRISTMAS, it’s the perfect time of year to change my stinkin’ thinkin. Because make no mistake, your thought life comes out in your real life. Just like if you eat junk, your clothes will get too tight to fit into them (I’m starting my diet on Monday, I SWEAR!). Natural cause and effect relationship (there’s nothing more annoying than a teacher who just won’t stop 😉

I don’t know what struggles you have today, but whether it’s writing related or not, I encourage you to be happy, happy, happy. Then all those positive thoughts will spill out into your life and eventually, YOU can be the change you wish to see in the world (Gandhi).

Oh, and I’d be REALLY happy, happy, happy if you’d download my first YA novel, 18 Things, FOR FREE November 6-7th. Apparently, it’s a Pixel of Ink special, which I’d never heard of until my publisher notified me of the sale. And please feel free to share the good news on social media. THANK YOU!

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!

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Fear Not

negativeLast night I met a teen who told me she put up some stories on Wattpad and asked if I could give her some feedback. She then said something like, “I don’t think they mean anything though. They’re probably not even good.”

I swear, if I hear one more soul saying those words, I’m going to repeat Bloody Mary into a mirror just for a break (and because it is October! BOO!)

Thing is, even after publishing three books, I still have those negative thoughts. Especially last month when I didn’t make the top 20 entries in this contest where 10 agents were making offers on multicultural manuscripts. I admit, I felt like I wasn’t good enough to make it and didn’t touch my manuscript for two weeks. Then I realized . . .

Almost everyone I’ve talked with or listened to on panels took five years or five books to truly ‘make it.’ Why, after three books, would I give up? We have to put in the work if we want to reap the reward.

Don’t ever be intimidated to show off your work. Each one of us is unique and has a story to tell. And if we never share, we’ll never get feedback, and we’ll never improve.

There’s a Bible verse I kept reminding myself of every time I hear about another mass shooting, and I realized tonight it applies to sharing our art as well. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 . . . which is why saying Bloody Mary in the mirror doesn’t frighten me 😉

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!

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What YA Authors Can Teach Us About Writing

This past weekend my teenage daughter and I made our second pilgrimage to GeekyCon in Orlando for their YA Lit Track. Some of the authors we listened to were Veronica Roth, Maureen Johnson, Leigh Bardugo, Jenny Han, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Stephanie Perkins, Jason Reynolds, Ransom Riggs, Adam Silvera, Holly Black, Courtney Summers, Robin Wasserman, and Sabaa Tahir!!

GeekyCon

Today I’ll share some notes I took during the panels. I tried to give some order to my convulted thoughts, but I’m going through Con withdrawals, so bear with me.

Page Is A Mirror: Authors talked about stories that inspired them, and in some cases changed the way they saw themselves and the act of writing. They addressed the power of representation, how we see or fail to see ourselves reflected on the page, and what we want from YA moving forward.

Some Notes:

A lot of books portray diverse characters, but that’s the whole storyline & not just a person who is going through something who happens to be Asian, Puerto Rican ….

Jason Reynolds said he was looking for a character in books that did fit all his cultural codes but couldn’t find it. He found it in music and movies instead.
Authors also discussed if they feel the pressure to write about their own “group” . . . Impossible to portray everyone in the culture, & we have to swallow readers expectations or it becomes a different book, but we also have to remain sensitive. We want to write what we want to write but feel a responsibility to reach out. For instance, there’s enough images of poor, scary black teenagers, so it’s important to change that. Another stereotype is Pakistan being considered as part of the Middle East and people there speaking Arabic when it’s really part of South Asia and the official language is English. We can learn a lot from another culture who isn’t our own & it’s important to have these discussions so we do learn. There is a call for white authors to make their books more diverse but important to understand the culture so it’s absorbed into the story & it feels organic. It’s hard because there’s this Internet Witch Hunt whenever an author gets something wrong & people calling them out with a vengeance (used Mosquito Land by David Arnold as an example)… But you can’t write colorblind because our country isn’t colorblind so if we do, it feels cheap.

Let’s Make Out & Explode: The Art of Creating Love and Fight Scenes

Notes on Love Scenes: It’s hard sometimes when writing romantic scenes to distinguish between what’s real & what’s wish fulfillment … and then sometimes we include things in books that did happen in real life, but it ends up sounding psycho on the page. Other times, it sounds so cheesy you think it’ll never stick but readers eat it up. Think of ‘And so the lion fell in love with the lamb’ line in Twilight or Okay? Okay. in TFIOS & how it became so romantic. The simmer became a beautiful boil.

Keep in mind when writing YA, it’s going to be awkward for a teens first time. Certain body part words are jarring in YA so be mindful of that. Make sure you include the other person in the scene too & what’s going on with them- not just the POV main character. Scenes need strong emotional core readers can relate to & characters who can learn from their mistakes, except learning a lot faster so our readers can learn from them in return. Ambiguity isn’t really rewarded in YA. As kids we want the happily ever after, but many of the panel authors also feel obligated to not have full closure in their books because that’s not life, and it’s also comforting to know others aren’t certain either. Always keep in mind, what’s the end result you want from a scene?

Notes on Fight Scenes: It doesn’t matter if we blowup the building if we don’t care about the people inside. Think of Wes Craven Scream & how every single character in a scene has good lines & you want all of them to live. Think of It by Stephen King & caring so much about the kids. For fights, you’ll most likely be writing scenes you’ve never experienced, so do a lot of research. Yes, there’s Google, but also talk to people- they’re usually very eager to talk about their jobs, lives, etc… Be willing to accept help.

Funny side note, when Veronica Roth (author of Divergent series) was asked about her weapon of choice, she answered wasp spray. Check out an article here about using it for self-defense. Turns out, it was a pretty good answer!

Plot Hospital: Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo helped diagnose problems in people’s manuscripts.

Some notes:
*Think about what the character wants vs. what they need.
*Think from a readers POV & what they want to happen from the end & would be disappointed if it wasn’t there.
*The hardest thing about writing is being at the crossroads & making a decision about where to go.
*Retelling an old story like a fairy tale & stealing the structure is a great idea if you’re struggling with plot.
*Have to know who your main antagonist is and think, what makes a villain a villain? Read MG story The School of Good & Evil for a good example or watch Orphan Black- that show doesn’t save plot; twists that you think will take multiple shows to resolve takes 20 minutes. They are very brave in their storytelling.

There was lots more, but I’ll save it for another day as this post is getting quite long. Incidentally, my only motivation in life after leaving this Con the past two years is to be successful enough as an author to get invited to a GeekyCon panel! Did you hear that Maureen Johnson? That’s the sound of me coming after you *growls, throws pokeball, and utilizes death stare*

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!

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Enjoying the Journey

Today my baby graduated from elementary school. HOLY CRAP! How’d that happen? Wasn’t she just starting kindergarten YESTERDAY?!

When I considered this post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I thought of how my writer’s journey has flown by in its various stages too. From vomiting ideas onto paper in 2009, to attending my first writing conference in 2010, to getting involved in critique groups in 2011, to querying & entering a contest & winning a contract in 2012, to publishing my first book in 2013, my second in 2014 & waiting, waiting, waiting on sales . . . to finally selling over 25,000 books so far this year after the release of my third novel, 18 Thoughts.

I worked hard toward my goals, just like my daughter did during her formative school years, just as I’m sure you do now and always! So let’s take a moment to be grateful for the journey, to recognize how far we’ve come, no matter how far we still have to go. The start of June is the perfect time to do so with vacations, picnics, barbecues, and that feeling of happiness and nostalgia and carefree attitude that only summer seems to bring.

Which brings me to an announcement . . . You won’t see much of me during the next two months. Thanks to my buddy, Kyle Prue (who gave me the idea), my girls and I are having a “Summer Unplugged.” Quite simply, we’re going to enjoy each other’s company instead of our electronics. I pray God would help us see the blessings right in front of us during this time, because sometimes the busyness & shiny objects of life has a way of obstructing our vision.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~Henry David Thoreau

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!

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Wholehearted Thanks

For those who have spent a good amount of time writing, editing, researching, polishing, marketing, querying, emailing, networking, sweating, crying, hoping, praying . . . one thing is abundantly clear: Being a writer is not a job for the weary.

Despite the massive amounts of coffee and chocolate I consume on a daily basis to combat tiredness juggling being an author & an English teacher (not to mention a mom and wife), I have moments of absolute cartwheeling, unicorn-over-the-rainbow joy, and one of the them came this past weekend.

It’s not nice to boast, and please don’t think I’m trying to do that. I’m here to say THANK YOU to those who’ve supported me since I first started writing in 2009

Thank-You

. . . and to give encouragement to those who think they’ll never sell any books. I’ve been you.

Soooo imagine my surprise when I discovered I sold a total of 25,679 books sold in ONE MONTH! WHAAAT?!

I know many authors wouldn’t ever think of that number as being a big deal, especially when one considers it’s the result of sales from 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts combined, not just one novel. But honestly? It’s more sales in one month than all two years of sales combined for me, and it’s a lot better than selling eight copies a month (my all-time low).

So throw your virtual hands up in the air and have a dance party with me, knowing we CAN succeed if we never give up, never lose hope (and maybe consume an unhealthy amount of caffeine). And with my whole heart, I thank you for your support. ❤ ❤ ❤

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This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join us the first Wednesday of every month and post your own thoughts!

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?

Heeelp Me, Please . . . Somebody, Anybody??

Imagine upon meeting someone for the first time, you divulge your entire life story (actually, just the top 5 most horrifying/embarrassing/frustrating moments) in about ten sentences, then ask them to be your best friend.

That's highly illogical.  (Still missing Nimoy)

That’s highly illogical.
(Still missing Nimoy)

Yeah, I tend to suffer from verbal diarrhea so I’ve actually done this a few times, but so far it’s only resulted in another restraining order filed 😉

But that’s basically what a query letter to an agent and/or editor is. Because these gods people receive hundreds of daily submissions, there’s no way they can read everyone’s manuscript, so you send this thing called a query letter. Something I totally blow at writing. And I haven’t had to in almost three years, when my YA trilogy got picked up by a publisher. But now I’m in the thick of writing a new YA novel, so although it’s terrifying, I’ve written another query letter, and I need your help.

I know it’s not as tight as it should be, but I also don’t know how to fix it. But hey, this isn’t Pottery Barn. Here at the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, we’re not all: You broke it, you buy it!!

I’ll leave out all the intro and credential stuff and just give you the meat and potatoes. The working title is Random Lee Chosen and it’s a satirical multicultural coming of age love story. Here goes nothing:

Seventeen-year-old Danielle Harris had a plan. Top of her class at Ballet Tech, she was on her way to being the first African-American female to earn the title of principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. Forced to live with Dad in Hick Town, USA in the middle of her senior year? Never once had Danielle jotted this down on the kick butt to-do list for her life. When she last visited Dad five years ago, an old white dude assaulted her. Danielle pointed out the Florida cracker, but Dad didn’t have the balls to do anything about it. And that’s just not something a girl can forgive and forget.

Now her entire world dissolves into a tornado of upheaval, and she’s left with nothing but her As Seen on TV obsession and Mom’s credit card to console her (you know you’ve hit rock bottom when the Home Shopping operator recognizes your voice). That’s when Random Lee (weird name, long story) steps in. Random dresses to please himself in funky hats, fluorescent tennis ball shoes, and alien themed pajama pants. Oh yeah, and he may be hot, but he’s also a hippie trying to save the planet. Dating a white dude who’s also a tree hugger? Definitely not part of the plan.

Danielle manages to survive various disasters, like dancing for a less than subpar ballet studio, enforced Daddy/Daughter dates, her first job as a waitress at the local tiki bar (where there are actual monkeys), and falling for Random, the biggest weirdo she’s ever met (coming from New York, that’s really saying something). Just as she’s coming up with new goals for herself, she gets into a blowout fight with Dad on her eighteenth birthday and takes off in the convertible Mom bought as an ‘I’m sorry I ruined your life’ consolation prize. Not having a license kind of becomes a problem when she gets into an accident with the same racist she encountered when she was twelve, who also happens to be Random’s father. Danielle doesn’t know their relation yet, and her actions that night are full of irreversible consequences. As she’s brought face-to-face with her deepest anxieties, she must learn to accept herself and even find a little compassion (for once in her life) to accept others if she’s to have any future at all.

How’d I do? *puts on big girl panties*

This has been a post for IWSG, the brainchild of Head Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh (and he let me crash his blog on Monday. Let me take you Back to the Future here . . . thanks again, buddy!) We post the first Wednesday of every month, so please join us by posting your own thoughts on your blog 🙂

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Author Elizabeth Seckman Shares 18 Thoughts Defying Reason

Hi, I’m Jamie today!

Okay, not really. I’m still Elizabeth…I’m just here swapping blogs and thoughts with Jamie. You can find her on my blog today sharing 18 Reasonable Thoughts. She’s in the midst of her new book launch; I’m on the eve of mine. Defying Reason releases tomorrow! I know I’m excited. I had fun writing this book- having the mindset of a twenty-something again was refreshing. I won’t tell you many decades separate me from my twenties, but when doctors start mentioning words like perimenopause? It’s time to walk down memory lane and enjoy the scenery.
Jamie’s book is 18 Thoughts and mine is Defying Reason…soooo, I thought I’d combine the two and offer up 18 thoughts that make my brain go hmmm….
1.
The 3 D copier. A copy machine that can spit out clothes? A gun? Can’t wrap my brain around that.
2.
Mean people. Who wakes up and thinks, “Who can I hurt today?”
3.
Dogs.
They are awesome. Probably God’s best work.
4.
Microwave ovens. I remember what it was like to bake a pizza roll in the oven. Nuking
things is way more awesome.
5.
Algebra.
Still hate it. Still don’t know why I had to learn it.
6.
Pregnancy.
Amazing how many perfect babies are born. It’s a complicated process. If it
were a recipe I had to follow, I’d mess up at least half the time.
7.
Kids.
They see the wonder in everything; we just need to listen.
8.
Internet shopping. I can buy just about anything and have it delivered right to your my
door.
9.
C-Span.
Watch your government in action and you’ll wish laws were made by
pre-schoolers.
10.
Fiber cookies. What a delicious idea they were.
11.
Sunsets.
Better than anything you’ll see in the Louvre and still completely free.
12.
Water.
Amazing stuff. It can be used to cleanse, as transportation, as recreation. And
it can bring life. Or it can bring death.
13.
Animal instinct. Amazing how beavers know how to build damns and birds to go south for
the winter.
14.
Parents.
We willingly give up our time, money, and sanity just to enjoy hugs and back
talk.
15.
Capillaries.
Those tiny little vessels are everywhere!
16.
TV.
Still amazed how a signal turns into so much fun. No, I don’t still think people
live in the set.
17.
Talent.
From athletes to math geniuses…amazing what extraordinary things people can do.
18.
Love.
It’s a glorious thing
!

The Blurb:
Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long
line of trouble-making, white trash stock.
Tanner Coulter comes from a longer
line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.
Jo graduated college top of her
class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.
Tanner dropped out of college,
trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.
A family crisis
throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is
immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true
love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.
 
 
Author Bio:

 

Elizabeth
is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever-
after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots.
The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of
the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but
dreams daily of the beach. 

FacebookBlogWebsiteBuy Link

 

What are some thoughts that you think defy reason? Comment for a chance to win Elizabeth’s ebook for Defying Reason!

Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards (Kind of)

Hubs & I pimping our ride!

Hubs & I pimping our ride!

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy series gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records lists Harry Potter as not only the best-selling book series in history but the highest-grossing film series in history. Only the Bible has more translations. And I should probably mention she became the first billionaire author on the entire freakin’ planet. As I walked around Universal Studios for the Harry Potter Celebration this past weekend, on the heels of my 18 Thoughts release, all of those ‘thoughts’ on her instant success made this struggling author wonder if Jo really does know magic. I mean, she was the same as me when I started . . . an unpublished nobody. No connections in the business. No money to hire an editor to proofread her work or a publicist who could reveal the secret to marketing success. So, how did she do it? Well, I did some recon when I returned for my trip, and it turns out, Rowling and I started out differently in a HUGE way. *Confession time* My name is Jamie, and I’m a pantser. Rowling, on the other hand, planned Harry Potter for FIVE YEARS after she first birthed the idea during a train ride. Have you heard of the 10,000 hours of practice theory? Author Malcolm Gladwell says it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. You can read more about his theory here. If I divide 10,000 by 5 years, I get 2,o00. Then if I divide that number by 52 (# of weeks in a year), I get 38.5 . . . assuming Jo put that much time in every week working on HP (and judging by most Neurotic Authors like myself, I’m betting she did), she meets the criteria of putting in 10,000 hours of ‘practice’ before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. I started writing in the summer of 2009. I finished the last book in my trilogy in the summer of 2014. I’ve put in the practice. And now . . . I’ve actually planned out my next book! Success is always a struggle. My recent release left me feeling depressed. But I’m not going to think about the sales. I’m going to be laser focused on my writing this next year. I know it’s unrealistic to think I’ll be the next JK Rowling (and really, the world doesn’t need another JK Rowling . . . we are each created to do our own unique thing in this world), but I don’t believe in magic (okay, let’s be honest, I’m still holding out hope for my letter to Hogwarts). I believe in hard work. It’s the only way to get to where you need to go. And I don’t care if it takes me another five years . . .

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”–J.K. Rowling One nice review of 18 Things (the first book in my trilogy) by blogger Bruce Blanchard really encouraged me this week, so please stop by & show Bruce some love if you can! He’s over at darkenwulfbytes. Coincidentally, 18 THINGS IS STILL JUST 99 CENTS! Not sure how long that’ll last (maybe my publisher forgot to change it back to $4.99?), so snatch up your Kindle version while you can! Make sure you check out other blog posts for the monthly edition of IWSG, the brainchild of A*W*E*S*O*M*E Head Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh. Buccaneer Blogfest and IWSG As a sidenote, thank you to all the bloggers who participated in my “Share Your Thoughts” bloghop. You are eligible to win a prize (I’m looking at you TF Walsh, Kristina Stanley, Stephen Tremp, Head Ninja Captain, Michael D’Agostino, Roland Yeamans, Diane Wolfe, Susan Kane, Tonja Drecker, Sherry Ellis, Tangent Shell, Carrie-Anne, & L.G. Keltner)! Some of them have already been snatched up, and the early bird gets the worm! So email me at info@jamieayres.com to tell me what prize you’d like before they’re all gone. 1) Catch Me When I Fall paperback by Vicki Merkiel 2) Core ebook by Teshelle Combs

3) Core ebook by Teshelle Combs 4) The System ebook by Teshelle Combs 5) The System ebook by Teshelle Combs 6) $10 Amazon Gift Card from Eliza Tilton 7) Ever ebook by Jessa Russo 8) Evade ebook by Jessa Russo 9) Divide ebook by Jessa Russo 10) The Charge ebook by Sharon Bayliss 11) Destruction: The December People, Book One ebook by Sharon Bayliss 12) Watch Me Burn: The December People, Book Two ebook by Sharon Bayliss 13) The Undead ebook by Elsie Elmore 14) The Undead ebook by Elsie Elmore 15) Butterman Time Travel ebook by Pk Hrezo 16) Bella’s Point ebook by Elizabeth Seckman 17) Kiya ebook by Katie Hamstead 18) 18 Things paperback by Jamie Ayres *Also, if you’d like to enter ANOTHER GIVEAWAY (and if you wouldn’t, go ahead & slap yourself), then check out my Rafflecopter at the top right on this blog. Here’s what’s up for grabs: $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card+$25 Starbucks Gift Card+18 Things & 18 Truths signed paperback+ an Alice in Wonderland Hot Topic Tank+Star Wars journal *You can also enter to win 1 of 10 18 THOUGHTS paperbacks my publisher is giving away on Goodreads! Finally, I leave you with a special treat. A little clip from A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal this past weekend: Behind the Scenes Film Talent Discussion– What’s Your Favorite Spell? (I think Dumbledore might’ve been drunk for this discussion . . . toooo funny!)  Have a magical day 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k8tf442UNo

18 THINGS FREE + Caleb’s Crusade

Free 18 Things

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

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

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

 

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

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


18thoughtsbanner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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