Hearing Voices

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I’ve been reading a lot of novels lately, more than usual. Part of the reason is me staying away from social media a bit. I comment on issues when I feel I need to, and as a public school teacher, I definitely aired my grievances about Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. But the truth is, other than organizing protests through social media, I don’t think it’s very effective to keep posting these “Hear Me Now” statements. The people who agree with you will “like” your comments and the ones who don’t will unfriend you or mute you, so what’s the point? But it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut sometimes, so I read.

My question is, when you read, do you hear voices in your head? Please tell me I’m not the only one! I hear voices in my head all the time anyway–of my characters–I’m not totally crazy. Yet. Right? Hearing voices is acceptable when you’re a writer (so I’ve been told). Although when I was writing the final book in my trilogy, 18 THOUGHTS, I did actually lose the argument to my main character, Olga. That was a whole new level of insanity 😉

But I was thinking about this month’s question: how has my experience as a writer changed me as a reader? For sure, it’s helped me appreciate every story a bit more. I know the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into making a book, and what little royalties you get out of it in the end. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the way I hear different voices for the various characters as I’m reading . . . that’s been going on for as long as I can remember.

How about you–what’s your reading experience like? Read any great books lately? So far this year I’ve read:

Smash & Grab by Amy C. Parker

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Surrendered by Case Maynard

Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

To be honest, I’d give all of these books 5 stars! They were wonderful!! Check them out if you’re looking to hear some new voices in your head 🙂

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.

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Counting My Blessings

Today’s Question: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?
What a great question for November, the time of year when we reflect on our favorite things and count our blessings. I’m a people person, so I’d say my favorite aspect of being a writer are all the people, places, and experiences that have come my way as a result of publishing my YA trilogy, 18 Things. Growing up, I had some pretty dark days, and I never dreamed the life I have now would be possible. I’m so grateful for the gift God has placed in my hands, and I love hearing from readers who’ve said my books changed their life. The way written words can transform a soul never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t strive to make my books religious, but I did pray God would use my novels as a vessel through which love flowed outward, touching people the way His love touched me. To see the fruits of that prayer is a humbling experience.
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My first event as a published author. I shared a vendor’s table with fellow members of my local writers group & brought a box of my books to sell. I thought I’d sell one, but I sold . . . wait for it . . . 18!!

And I love meeting other authors, too. Most writers are great at spreading the love, and I strive to do the same. The last three years I’ve spearheaded a literacy festival at the middle school where I taught English, and now that I’ve switched to high school, I’m planning the same event but on a much larger scale. Already, 12 YA authors have agreed to come FOR FREE! Of course, they’ll get lots of book sales out of the event, but it’s just so awesome to see their level of excitement matching the students enthusiasm for this festival. Spreading the love helps me to count my blessings because I’m constantly reminded how supported I am by those around me, and vice versa.
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.
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The awesome co-hosts for the November 2 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jen Chandler, Mary Aalgaard, Lisa Buie Collard, Tamara Narayan, Tyrean Martinson, and Christine Rains! Thanks for spreading the love, guys!!

The Page Is A Mirror . . . Or Is It?

Most of you have seen the Twitter storm surrounding the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign within the past year. At GeekyCon last month, I attended a panel titled The Page Is A Mirror, and authors spoke on the power of representation, and how we see or fail to see ourselves reflected on the page, and what we want from YA moving forward . . . more diverse books!

Now Lee & Low, the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the US, started an information-collecting tool: a diversity survey for all publishing companies.

“It’s quite clear this data is essential, and the fact we don’t have it…problematic. This lack of information blinds diversity initiatives.”

Why do I want the big five to sign on? I teach English Language Arts to mainly eighth graders. The first day of school we discussed why as children in elementary school, they LOVED reading. Then they got to middle school, and they are in a FULL DOWNWARD SPIRAL when you ask them to read a few pages.

Holy Howling Dogs!! What went wrong?!

Many claimed they didn’t have time to read anymore. They have more responsibilities, more activities. To that end I asked how many watched reality TV and played video games on a regular basis. Almost all raised their hands. I told them they still had time to read.

But one class in particular got real. We spent 45 minutes discussing how they DID NOT see themselves reflected on the page in YA literature. They’re tired of seeing the same story over and over again. It’s the end of the world and another white girl or white boy is saving them all. All of whom are extremely good-looking. Most girls are skinny. Most guys have six-pack abs. Sure, some are poor, some live in a violent area. Maybe a few are gay. But where are the heroes with learning disabilities, physical handicaps, the ones who were physically abused by their parents, or molested by a creepy uncle, the ones who self harm to escape the real pain, the girls who weigh 150 pounds or more, the boys whose faces are covered in acne?

And I felt their pain. The first two novels I TRIED to publish? Number one was about a sixteen-year-old girl who cut herself to escape her horrific childhood, most notably a rape by a family member (*written in 2010). The second was about a biracial ballerina dealing with the prejudices of a hick town when she was forced to move there the last semester of high school (*written in 2011).

Responses from agents? Most often along the lines of, “Though these stories are important to tell, they’re hard to sell.”

Okaaay . . . so I wrote a YA romance with a paranormal twist and a love triangle. Guess what? Harlequin Teen, Sourcebooks, and TOR (a division of Macmillan) all requested the full. While I waited to hear back, I submitted to a contest on a whim and consequently, offered an immediate contract with a small publisher called Curiosity Quills.

In January 2013, CQ released the first novel in my trilogy, 18 THINGS. Two and a half years later, I feel we live in a different world. Change is in the air, and I hope the publishing industry changes with it. I hope we don’t miss this opportunity to create books teens want to read, pages that reflect them like a mirror, that speaks to THEIR experience. Imagine a world where teens rushed home to read a book instead of watch reality TV or inhale violent video games. Wow . . . what a place that would be. I’d want to live in that world.

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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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*This was also my post for the #BigFiveSignOn bloghop . . . it’s a busy time of year for me with the start of school, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. You can sign up for that bloghop at SCWrite’s website.

lee and low

 

#ReadOrWriteAnywhere Monster Giveaway!!!

 

Summer is about to begin! 

But just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we should stop reading and writing. I’ve teamed up with the YA Chicks and many participating authors on a global campaign to encourage readers, writers, students, and teachers to share pictures all of the places—both ordinary and extraordinary—where they are reading and writing. This is open to all readers/writers of both middle grade and young adult books!

You can also take part in…

A MONSTER GIVEAWAY! 

32 Readers Will Win A Book!

32 Readers Will Win A Book!

I’ll be giving away ONE PAPERBACK EACH OF 18 THINGS, 18 TRUTHS, & 18 THOUGHTS!!!

That’s my ENTIRE TRILOGY!

And there’s more! Authors participating in this campaign aren’t just giving away books, but critiques, swag and/or Skype visits, too!!!

So are you ready?

Drum roll….

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Can you guess where I am?

Here are my 5 clues:

*It’s adjacent to the Caloosahatchee River

*There are lots of bamboo trees around (extra hint: used in light bulb filaments)

*One of the most visited historic home sites in America

*You’ll find the Botanic Research Corporation Laboratory on the property, which was constructed to help discover a rubber tree plant that could grow more quickly in the U.S. (extra hint: think tires)

*Open to the public since 1947, visitors can tour the gardens, the lab, the estate, as well as the museum, which features lots of inventions!

Once you’ve figured out where I’m reading, head over to the YA Chicks site and:

  1. Officially enter the giveaway by inputting each author’s name and your guesses about our locations. Every author location you guess correctly increases your chances to win.
  2. For even more chances, post a picture of yourself reading or writing on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag).

For writer prize packs:

  1. Post pictures of yourself writing in a fun location on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere. Then follow the directions on the Rafflecopter giveaway to let us know you did it.
  2. For even more chances, gather your writer friends together and post a group shot with the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag). And hey, since you’re already together, why not host a write-a-thon?

For teacher prize packs:

  1. Post pictures of your class reading or writing on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ReadOrWriteAnywhere (must have the hashtag).
  2. Then let us know you did it when you enter the Rafflecopter. If you don’t have a Twitter or Instagram, you can email your picture directly with the picture pasted directly into the email (no attachments–we won’t open them) AND the subject, “Read or Write Anywhere.”
  3. You can also check out the YA Chicks Read or Write Anywhere lesson plan, available on their site.

We will keep the giveaway open from 9 am on May 22nd– 12 pm on May 31st so entrants have plenty of time to hunt for clues.

And I also have an exclusive giveaway here on my blog today! 4 complimentary copies of my 18 Thoughts audiobook! You need to be registered at Audible/Amazon to redeem your prize – if you aren’t, you’ll be prompted to register prior to redemption – but you do not need a paid membership plan.

How do you claim your prize?! Just make sure you like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, then leave a comment below . . . first 4 people to do so get the prize 🙂 (If you’re already a follower, please share this blog post and tag me). Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Now, what are you waiting for? Get out there and READ OR WRITE ANYWHERE!

 #ReadOrWriteAnywhere

Teshelle Combs Is Here! (And my book playlist)

 

Today I’m switching blogs with another YA Author, Teshelle Combs. You can check out my post about the songs I chose for my 18 Thoughts playlist here.

Before Teshelle takes over, some introductions are in order:

Teshelle

Teshelle Combs is the YA author of the Core series and The System. She’s one of those crazies who majored in English in college and works as a full-time writer. She grew up in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and currently lives with her composer and voice actor hubby, Nate Combs, and their new baby boy, Jaxter, in Cape Coral, FL. Their house is generally filled with epic film themes, video game scores, and the sound of chattering keyboards.

Hi to all Jamie’s wonderful followers and fans! First of all, congratulations to Jamie on finishing her awesome series with her final book, 18 Thoughts! I feel very privileged to know such a cool, warm, and colorful person. If you haven’t read her work, you should!

 

Today, I’m going to talk to you about my Core Series! It’s about dragon shifters, it’s YA, and it’s filled with thrilling and emotional character development.

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But just as important as who my character are…is what my characters are wearing! Let’s have some fun! I want all of you to pick your favorite outfit. Who would you want to look like if you were going out for a night of partying at the best dragon hangout spot, the Cave?

 

Onna – It’s all about bold colors and sophisticated fashion for this red dragon. She’s in a skintight red dress with killer heels. Literally. Right inside her heels are six-inch dragonblades. No one, not even a siren, dares pick a fight with Onna.

 

Ava – Ava could not care less about what people think of her. She wears a white tank top that just happens to show off her chiseled arms, and a tattered pair of skinny jeans with her faithful pair of black and white chucks. Ava is always ready to throw down, human…or not. Don’t cross her.

 

Myra – Dark and edgy. Myra is quiet red dragon, but she’s fierce. She wears leather skinnies and a matching top and heeled combat boots that could put someone’s eye out. Her platinum blonde hair is pulled into a high bun and her makeup is smoky to the max.

 

Juliette – A sweet and sophisticated red dragon. Juliette wears hand-carved beaded jewelry and a summery white dress that’s cut to show off some of her soft back. She wears dragon-forged brown leather boots. Her hair is in a simple side braid. She seems innocent, but she’ll do anything for the people she loves.

 

Ima – Luxury and elegance is all Ima cares about. Her long shimmering dress is slit high enough to reveal perfect thighs. The back swoops low and the fabric of the dress is infused with diamond and ruby dust. She powdered her silver hair and pale skin with the same dust. Her heels are made of real crystal and her jewelry is twisted from marbled rose thorns. Think Elsa, if Elsa was cold-hearted grey dragon.

 

So, tell me who you’d rather be! And please take a look at my Core Series! Book 4, LACE, comes out in just a few weeks!

 

In Memoriam, 18 TRUTHS just 99 cents today, & Other Updates

Whew! What a week! But before I tell you what I’ve been up to, I want to pay tribute to a very special lady who influenced me in a wonderful way. Many know that my main character in my trilogy, Olga Worontzoff, was named after my grandmother. She passed yesterday, but we rejoice. At 97, she had already buried a son & was ready to go & she went peacefully. As I do author school visits, I’ll be thinking of her as I discuss the fictional Olga, nowhere near as cool as the real one. R.I.P. GG.

My sisters & I with GG and G'pa . . . being silly (always)

My sisters & I with GG and G’pa . . . being silly (always)

I’m so glad she lived a long life, long enough to see herself immortalized in my trilogy, which thrilled her to no end. One of those books is 18 TRUTHS, the second book in my trilogy, which is just 99 CENTS on the Kindle in her honor. 18 Truths was dedicated to her & you’ll find this inscription at the front:

“For GG, the real Olga Worontzoff. You are one of a kind. I’m sorry I never learned to count in Russian, but I hope this makes up for it in some small way. xoxo”

99 cents is the lowest price I can make it. Today & tomorrow only –you can pick it up here  🙂  If you could spare a tweet or Facebook shout out, I’d appreciate it:

Retweet Link or cut & paste: 2/26 & 2/27 only, 18 TRUTHS!! “An achingly beautiful story of life, loss and hope.”

Facebook: Meet the fictional Olga Worontzoff to honor the real one. 18 Truths just 99 cents today & tomorrow only: http://www.amazon.com/18-Truths-So-Called-Afterlife-Book-ebook/dp/B00I34D1GU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424927626&sr=8-1&keywords=18+truths

Thanks, friends. And now onto some happy news . . .

Friday night was a visit to a book club! It was bittersweet because they’ve hosted me every February for 18 Things, 18 Truths, and now 18 Thoughts. I told them I’d continue to crash their February meeting even if I didn’t have a book out 🙂

Sue Book Club

Saturday I was a presenter and vendor at the Lee County Reading Council Conference, where people not only showed up to my class, but I sold out of books . . . like all of them! Check out my fancy new banner below that my publisher sent me (does that make me legit now?!).

my banner

 

Then yesterday was the young adult author conference at my middle school. From left to right is Amy Christine Parker (Gated, Astray), Teshelle Combs (Core series, The System), Eliza Tilton (Broken Forest, Wicked Path), Me (in the SW dress & tights, duh!), Krista Rausin (Mystic), Vivi Barnes (Olivia Twisted, Paper & Plastic), Jeff Strand (I Have A Bad Feeling About This), Trish Doller (Where the Stars Still Shine), Lynne Matson (NIL), & Christina Farley (Gilded & Silvern).

GMSYAC

 

Today & tomorrow I’m at the Riverdale Literacy Festival, which includes a Barnes and Noble panel and signing with fourteen other YA Authors on Thursday night in Fort Myers. Thanks sooo much to Morgan and Fallon from Seeing Double In Neverland for putting this together!! Stop by if you’re local!

B&N Event revised

 

*What have you been up to this week???

 

 

 

 

 

This Is War!!

Today I interrupt my regular scheduled programming to feature a wonderful fellow blogger, Mara Valderran. Be sure to check out her new book and I’ll be back next week with some pictures of our new house. Right now, I’ve got some more boxes to unpack & final edits to finish for the last installment of the 18 Things trilogy . . . I’ll be visiting blogs again soon, I promise!!! ❤

 

ABOUT HEIRS OF WAR:

The NA fantasy series Heirs of War has taken Wattpad by storm with over one million reads, and the second installment has arrived. Catch up on Heirs of War (#1) for just 99 cents now!

Heirs of War #1:

When seventeen year-old Zelene finds herself thrust into a world of magic and prophecy, she discovers fighting destiny might not be the toughest battle she has to face. Now she must join with three other girls, complete strangers linked only by blood relation, to fight a war they know nothing of and rescue the twin sister she’s never met.

Add it to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

The adventure continues with Heirs of War, Crown of Flames

 

Heirs of War, Crown of Flames

Heirs of War #2

Mara Valderran

Cover Art by Gretchen Byers

 

Weeks have passed since Ariana and Alec escaped from Kellen’s dungeon, but danger isn’t far behind them. The guilt of his past weighs heavily on Alec’s shoulders, and his secrets only push Ariana further away. As they travel through unknown lands and encounter multiple threats, their biggest challenge might be trusting one another.

The world appears to be going on regardless of the risks Ariana faces. The Duillaine insist that they are doing everything they can to find Ariana, but their actions betray that claim. Despite the danger and the war closing in around them, all of Anscombe seems to be more interested in the upcoming Imbolc festival and Terrena’s betrothal than rescuing Ariana.

Well…not everyone.

Tired of waiting for the Duillaine to help her twin, Zelene starts plotting on her own and finds a surprising ally in Rhaya, even as the Cynewards prepare to make a move of their own. But Zelene’s plans go awry when she finds herself with a new ability, a mysterious new friend, and more enemies within the walls of Anscombe than she thought.

Add it to Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she’s more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

 

Find Mara Online:

Sign up for Mara’s newsletter so you don’t miss news on new releases and fun contests!

 

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“I Was a Beginning Writer”

This past week, my fourteen-year-old daughter and I traveled to Orlando for LeakyCon, a fandom con birthed out of the Harry Potter book series, but has since branched out to include all things geek. We loved this con because they have a separate lit focus. I even got to moderate/present a Live Plot Twist panel with some of my fellow authors from Curiosity Quills (who has a newly launched website, so take a look)!  I also got to hear from YA bestselling authors like these . . .

Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss

Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss

 

 

 

Gayle Foreman, author of If I Stay

Gayle Foreman, author of If I Stay

 

 

 

John Green, author of TFIOS

John Green, author of TFIOS

 

 

Some of the authors participated in a panel titled, “I Was a Teenage Writer.” We got to see and hear these top YA writers reading from some of their early–very early–works. Here’s a clip of John Green reading aloud from  his sample. I couldn’t film much because as you’ll hear, I was the Bozo laughing too hard and couldn’t hold her phone very still.

 

The panel made me want to look at the first novel I wrote back in 2009, Sarah’s Crossroads, the one I thought was so perfect, I didn’t even need to edit it when finished! I submitted it to twenty agents and dreamed at night about receiving acceptance letters from all of them and wondering how I would choose to rep the million dollar deal I was sure to get!! Bahahaha! So, for your reading pleasure today, I present to you my prologue, with some bonus cliffnotes.  The bolded comments are my thoughts while reading it today. And hey, don’t judge. We’ve all got to start somewhere 🙂 Hopefully it’ll encourage you. If I once started out with this piece of crap and landed a publishing deal for my 18 Things trilogy three years later, you can too!

Sarah’s Crossroads Prologue:

In the summer after I graduated high school I accidentally wrote the novel you’re now holding in your hands. (Accidentally? What the hell?!) I blame it on my college application to the University of Florida.  Along with the application I had to write an essay. The assignment for the paper was this: Describe a setback that you faced.  How did you resolve it?  How did the outcome affect you?  If something similar happened in the future, how would you react?

It was hard to narrow it down and focus on one setback because I had already faced so many.  I could’ve talked about being abused by my uncle, my parents divorce and moving away from Michigan to the southern most state in the U.S., losing my house and everything I owned in a tornado, or mine and Ethan’s story. (Wow, can’t believe how obvious I was! Should’ve just titled this Jamie’s Crossroads)  Ethan and I are soul mates.  We were that way for as long as I can remember.  Our parents have been best friends since middle school.  By now our combined families have so many individuals that it’s like a Shakespeare drama where a variety of cast members are endlessly entering and exiting the stage.  Mom got married at seventeen years old and by the time she was twenty-six had six kids, including me.  It can be quite confusing to explain who everyone is and they only play a minimal role in this story, so I’ll wait to delve into that later. (If they play such a minimal role, why am I even mentioning this on the first page of my novel?)

I’m a mature full-fledged grownup telling you these things now; ok so a fairly new one at 18 years of age. (Yeah, full-fledged! I’m just going to tell you these things so I don’t have to show you through my actions. And why am I speaking to the reader? Nobody likes that! And why didn’t I spell out the age?!)  Like I said before, this all started with my essay.  I ended up writing about the move I took when I was 8, away from mom and my sisters and Ethan.  But I realized after that assignment I wanted to tell more.  I’ve been a writer all my life.  I was the annoying girl you come across in every Language Arts class, the one whose papers always got picked to be read aloud by the teacher as an example to everyone else.  My senior high school English teacher even went as far to say on my last day of school in front of the whole class that she was sure I’d be a famous writer some day. (Coughs *Jamie Ayres* Again, why am I telling you everything up front? So the reader won’t be surprised later?)

Well, I graduated two weeks ago and have a lot of time to kill (you’ll find out why soon enough if you’re patient). (Oh yes, you’ll be rewarded soon enough, lol) So I decided to write this novel that I’ve come to think of as a simple narrative.   I implore you to set this down right now if you’re looking for a tell-all scandalous story.  Though it may seem like just that to my parents if they ever read it.  But really it’s like a scrapbook of my life, mostly the lovely parts with Ethan, but also the secrets that you’d never mention at our family reunion. (But I’ll record it all in a book I hope gets published and sits on book store shelves across America!) In fact, at times it paints a kind of picture you’d want to burn in a bonfire at a church healing ceremony (that may sound strange to you, but they do that kind of thing at my charismatic house of praise).

I guess it’s like a diary, a written chronicle as a keepsake to pass onto my future children. (This does sound like an assignment I’d give my middle school students . . . perhaps I was still in teacher mode when I wrote this?)  I want to write it down now, before I’m too old to remember the stories I’d like them to learn from.  I’ll openly admit at the start of this thing that I’m not an indifferent commentator and as I am just 18, haven’t yet had the luxury to be healed by time, but I’d also argue that what I’ve suffered through can’t be healed by the ticking of a clock.  It’s difficult to forgive, let alone forget.  And really, I don’t want to forget, not anymore.  It’s what made me who I am today and if it hadn’t, I would’ve wasted my pain.  Like they say, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. (I want to go back in time and kill this story before I waste two months writing it!) But to explain what I mean by all of this requires me to back up a little bit and tell you how it all began.  It begins where many good stories begin (but not this one, because this story isn’t even close to being good). . . in a small town where girl meets boy.

This has been a post for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where we provide a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Join us the first Wednesday of every month!

And one more picture before I leave . . . daughter and I got to visit the Harry Potter expansion at Universal Studios on our LeakyCon trip. I wish I had a pensieve so I could relive that memory of walking into Diagon Alley and taking the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade for the first time. So A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!

HP Park

Time to Rise Up!!

On Friday, I got an infected cyst about the size of a golf ball removed from my lower spine. I wish I could post a picture here because it really did look like an alien, but I’m afraid most of you would immediately puke. It was so big, the doctor had to remove it in the OR instead of his office, and it required a five inch incision. I’ll spare you the pic of my stitches as well. When he took out E.T., it was even more HUGE! I asked if I could take a pic (I have a thing for pictures now that I’ve joined Tumblr and Instagram last week), but apparently it’s illegal to take pictures in the OR (learn something new every day).

I’m a COMPLETE BABY when it comes to doctor stuff, which is why the cyst got so big in the first place (and I’m a workaholic & didn’t want to miss teaching or meeting my 18 Things trilogy deadlines). Of course, they’re testing it for cancer, but nine times out of ten the cyst is benign. But someone in our writing community is not so lucky and is suffering with cancer now. Please read about how you can help below. And please, for the love of all chocolate and coffee, make sure you take care of any medical issues straight away. If you need encouragement to do so, just ask me to send you those pictures.

 

“We all know how fragile life is, especially when faced with a life threatening illness.” ~Nic, Flirty and Dirty Book Blog.

 

Fiction introduced us. Reality binds us together.

 

Stephanie Thomas—co-founder of The Indie Bookshelf—has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Stephanie isn’t only a blogger; she’s a loving wife, and mother to three young boys.

 

In the independent author community, we have an extraordinary network of fellow authors, and readers. A special group of people who bridge this gap—helping authors connect with readers—is book bloggers. These men and women dedicate hours upon hours to reading and reviewing our works, and spreading the word to help us reach new readers.

 

Now, one of these women needs our help.

 

100% of the proceeds of the Rise Up anthology (volumes one and two) will go directly to Stephanie and her family to help them on this unexpected leg of their journey together.

 

Inside the pages of this collection, you’ll find amazing works of fiction. But please remember the reality, and help support Stephanie and her family.

 

Included in Volume Two of this collection are the following novels:

Rise Up Vol 2

Rise Up Vol 2

 

* 1. Always There – Carol Ann Albright-Eastman

* 2. Republic – Charles Sheehan-Miles

* 3. Seeds of Hate – Melissa Perea

* 4. In The Fields – Willow Aster

* 5. Bar Crawl – Andrea Randall

* 6. Totaled – Stacey Grice

* 7. Running from Forever – Ashley Wilcox

* 8. Crossing Paths – Melanie Stinnet

* 9. Going Home – Rhonda Dennis

* 10. Never Goodbye –  Kerri Williams

* 11. Without Boundaries – CJ Azevedo

* 12. Binds – Rebecca Espinoza

* 13. The Forgotten Ones – Laura Howard

Buy it now on Amazon

Buy it now on Kobo

And if you’d like to give these wonderful authors a ‘like’ on Facebook for being so awesome, here are their links:

 

https://www.facebook.com/CarolAnnAlbrightEastman

 

https://www.facebook.com/CharlesSheehanMiles

 

https://www.facebook.com/authormelissaperea

 

https://www.facebook.com/willowasterauthor

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAndreaRandall

 

https://www.facebook.com/staceygriceauthor

 

http://www.ashleywilcoxauthor.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieStinnett

 

https://www.facebook.com/authorrhondadennis?fref=ts

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kerri-Williams-Author/347733968580393

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/CJ-Azevedo-Author/348248455274917

 

https://www.facebook.com/rebeccanespinoza

 

https://www.facebook.com/LauraHoward78

I hope you support this cause . . .it’s wonderful to see our own coming together, as they always do. I’ll try to be about as much as I can this week, but I’m visiting my dad in West Michigan & he lives in the woods, so WiFi is a bit tricky. If you happen to be near Grand Haven on July 26th, I’ll be doing a reading & book signing at The Bookman (you’ll remember the book store plays a prominent part in my books if you’ve read them!) at 11am. Fingers crossed that some people show up!

Tidbits From UtopYA Con 2014

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They say knowledge is power. I learned so much at UtopYA Con that every Wednesday this month I’ll be posting about it. Today, I’ll recap a few things our keynote speakers said.

First up is Sylvia Day with “What I Wish I’d Known Then.” She said writers make bad business decisions because they are afraid, seeking validation, or because they haven’t done their due diligence. Um, yes, yes, and yessss!!! Don’t be afraid to be a publishing whore & try everything! Also, don’t let deadlines dictate the quality of your books. Readers will wait for a good book, but they will drop you like a hot potato for a bad book. And read everything- things you don’t even think you’ll like. Finally, Dream Big & Plan Smart!

On Saturday, we heard from Gennifer Albin, who spoke on Empowering Female Writers & Readers. Her message revolved around a blog post she did on Hope (which you should read. WARNING: grab a box of tissues). Some thoughts that stuck for me during her speech:

Dreams don’t always fit in convenient boxes during life allotted stages. Art isn’t always meant to be created in quiet moments alone. There will always be naysayers- often these are the ones who should be offering us support. But use your words when you feel crippled.

I’ve been holding onto her words about hope. Sales for my sequel, 18 Truths, have been way down. I crunched some numbers & discovered I sold 1,582 ebooks of 18 Things the first year it was out. Since 18 Truths came out in January, I’ve sold 210 ecopies 😦 At this point, I’m wondering why do I even publish the last novel in the trilogy, 18 Thoughts, if nobody is going to read the darn book?

This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Sign up if you’re looking to offer some encouragement or need to be encouraged.

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?

Some peeps at UtopYA-recognize anyone you know?