About Me

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Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm a writer, reader, and huge TV junkie. I just might post about all three here on this blog. Have a look around. And if you want, drop me an email and tell me what you think. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Lessons I've Learned Since Becoming Published

Just in case you may not have noticed, my very first published book was released about 3 months ago (it's still crazy surreal to say that, lol), and I thought it the perfect time to take a look at what all I've learned since then. 

In the syle of David Letterman, here's 

The Top Ten Things I've Learned 
Since Becoming A Published Author

10. Book Two is even harder to write than Book One.

9. I'm still just as unsure of my ability to form coherent sentences as ever.

8. Promoting oneself is probably the hardest part of the process.

7. Self doubt is like Tax Day or your grandparent's birthday--it sneaks up and
smacks you in the face before you know it.

6. Just when you think you've learned all the rules,
you find out that the rules can be broken.

5. The Internet: The real reason 99.99% of writers release a book but once a year.

4. Social Media is an awesome way to pimp your book.

3. Starting a new project while simultaneously worrying non-stop
about your debut novel makes for many a sleepless night.

2. Sales are not the most important thing.

1. Getting an email/tweet/DM from someone who loved your book
makes 2-10 totally worth it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

TGIF at GReads!

The awesomeness that is Ginger (or G, as I like to call her!) over at GReads! has created a great meme that is tons of fun. Each Friday, she poses a question for anyone to answer. Go check her out and join in the fun!

Christmas in July:

If Santa were to come down your chimney
in the middle of the summer,
which books would you want him to
leave for you under the tree?

 This is such a fun question! Book lovers know that no matter the time of year, being gifted with a book is the best thing EVER. And Christmas in July is a close second! lol

So, here's my list of books I would love Santa to leave me if he happens to stop by on his way to the beach for a summer vacation. :)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I've heard nothing but great things about this book, and I really want to read it--especially before the movie comes out!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

This is another one that I keep hearing great things about. I love the title, and really wanna give it a shot to see if it's as great as people say it is.

Hushed by Kelley York

I read this as an ebook, and fell in love with the writing and the awesome characters (Team Ever! lol). Now, I want a physical copy to add to my collection. Ears up, Santa!

Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe

This is another one that I read in ebook form, and I really want a hard copy so I can stare at that lovely cover.

What's on your wish list if Christmas came in July? Join the TGIF fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vote for Zach!!

teamkilt button

Just wanted to let you all know that today is another round of voting in the YA Crush Tourney at The YA Sisterhood--so please head on over and vote!

Oh, and make sure it's for Zachary, of course.

And just in case you don't know to whom I'm referring, please see below ;-)

This is Zachary


And this is where he is oh-so-good and Crush-worthy

Shade prequel scene (Shade #0.5)SHIFT River Scene by Zachary (Shade, #2.1)Shine (Shade, #3)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sometimes, DEADLINES are nice

Hello, my name is Jamie, and I'm a Procrastinator.

Whew. There, I said it.

Tis true, I am a procrastinator. Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you that I put things off (mowing the lawn, washing the car, doing the dishes) till the last final minute. I've always been this way, as far back as I can remember. 

Growing up, I used to put off homework and chores until I was on the verge of getting in trouble. Which sounds like a crazy thing, I know--letting yourself get in trouble for not doing something you've had plenty of time to do. But, that was me. If I could let it wait, I let it wait.

Now, several years later (yes, I'm old), I find that I still procrastinate. I've also found that I actually like it.

Don't get me wrong. I've since learned that putting off things like the lawn and the car and the dishes makes for much more tedious and time-consuming chores, so I tend to bite the bullet and get right to those (don't we all just love doing the dishes? lol). But for my writing, sometimes being under a deadline actually helps me. Let me explain.

We all have things in our lives that get in our way, right? Whether its family drama, financial issues, TV shows (hey, don't judge me!)...We can't stop life from stepping in front of home plate and blocking our Grand Slam. And if you happen to be a writer, you know exactly how easy the daily ins and outs of our lives can create a debilitating form of Writer's Block. Something as simple as a family member having a run of bad luck can bitch-slap your muse and send her running for cover, leaving you with a blank slate on the creative front. Then you're left sitting in front of a computer (or notebook) frustrated as hell, begging the words to come.

I've found that the one thing that helps me bring out those words, no matter what, is a deadline. When you have a deadline (whether it's a personal one, or one set by an agent/editor/publisher), you realize one thing rather quickly: You don't have a choice but to write. You have to block out those daily stresses--turn off the TV, leave your cell phone in another room (on silent mode!), try not to dwell on that family member's drama--and focus solely on your characters, your plot, the world you've created. You have to let all that other stuff go, at least for now, and get those ideas in your head onto the screen or paper. They're still there, those ideas. They haven't gone anywhere; they're just waiting patiently for you to get to them. A deadline speeds up that process.

Another thing I've found out about myself? I tend to turn out some pretty decent work when a deadline looms over my head.

Don't get me wrong, I turn out some pretty bad stuff, too. But some of it is really good. Whether it's an entire chapter, a scene, or even a single line of dialogue--there are gems hidden in the muck that I am proud to say I wrote. And that's a great feeling.

This realization about myself was a sudden one--sort of. I just figured it all out about two weeks ago, when my deadline for the "final" draft (before going to the final editor, who will undoubtedly be sending it back for yet another round of edits) of BLOOD AWAKENING (book 2 in The Blood Prophecy trilogy) was due. The last week of my deadline, I was under some severe personal stress and just could not focus. I know that if you are a writer, you've experienced this at least once. It's a crushing feeling, knowing that not only are you letting down those waiting on you (an editor, an agent, a publisher, a critique partner), but you're letting yourself down as well. And that crushing feeling only adds to the stress you were already under, compounding your problem. Such a viscous circle!

My final deadline week nearly over, I did the only thing I could--I asked my publisher for more time. It's not something you want to do, but sometimes it's unavoidable.  I'm lucky in that my publisher understands the process of creating, and how fickle and unpredictable it can be. She allowed me time (within reason, of course) to get through my edits and make my ms as great as I could. It was nice knowing that I could take as much time as I needed to push through, but I also knew that if I took, say, an extra month, I would just put it off and put it off until, thirty days later, I'd be in the same boat. 

So I asked for an extra week. That's all, one week. My publisher obliged, and I got my butt to work. 

And that week was just what I needed. 

I suddenly figured out the solutions to some of the bigger problems in my ms. I was able to pull some things out that needed to be cut, and add in things that were missing. I fixed some plot holes, added in some tension, and helped smooth out the overall tone of the story. It was a great week. Not only because I finished my edits, but also because I was able to take a step back from some of the personal issues I was stressing over, which allowed my brain to figure out how to deal with/fix them. That extra week was a fruitful one.

This all means that I have discovered I am one of those people who actually thrive on deadlines. I will put things off till the last minute, then buckle down and super-focus until it's done. 

And I'm okay with this--happy about it, actually.

So I've decided that even though I have deadlines set by my publisher (we've already mapped out when drafts of my next few books are due), I'm going to take it one step further and set my own deadlines. I'm going to do my best to set a deadline for each process of writing a book (outlining, plotting, characterizations, etc.). I'm also going to do my best to stick to them. 

Because now I know that deadlines are what I need.

What about you guys? Do deadlines make you cower with fear? Or do you tend to face them head-on?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cover Reveal...HOLLOWED by Kelley York!

Today I have the esteemed pleasure of being a part of the cover reveal for author Kelley York's newest novel, HOLLOWED! You can check it out here, where you can add it to your TBR lists!
And if you by chance haven't read Kelley's first novel, HUSHED, then please do--it's amazing and wonderful and all that jazz (you'll love it!).

Now, on to what you came here for...the reveal of the cover of HOLLOWED!

Isn't it beautiful?! I love the font, and the little reflection dots all over. And let's not even get into how awesome those eyes are! 

And here's the official blurb!

All 18-year-old Briar Greyson wanted was to figure out this whole living-away-from-your-parents thing. Apartment, steady job, cool roommate? Check. Noah, her adorable (albeit elusive) boyfriend? Check. Everything in the life of Briar was pretty good.

Then she and her roommate are attacked on their way home one night. Briar wasn't supposed to survive.

Instead, according to the two guys who saved her, she's turning into the things that attacked her: a vampire. Totally crazy and Not Okay. Now Noah's secrets are coming to light, and he wants Briar dead. Then there are the vampires who attacked Briar to lure out her sister.

Her sister...who died years ago.

(Didn't she?)

The city's body count is rising, and Briar wants to help put a stop to it. But first, she has to figure out who the real enemy is: the vampires, the boy she loves, or the sister she thought she'd lost.

What are your thoughts on the cover? What about that awesome blurb? Visit Kelley on her Website, Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook. And don't forget to add HOLLOWED to your TBR lists!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Interview with Kelley York, author of HUSHED!

I am super stoked to have author Kelley York on the blog today! Kelley is the author of HUSHED (Entangled, Dec 2011), and has graciously agreed to a mini interview in honor of the cover reveal for her first self-published novel HOLLOWED. The cover will be revealed right here on writers write, right? tomorrow, so be sure to come back and check it out!

Now, on to the interview!

1. Thanks so much for taking my questions, Kelley! HUSHED is your first published novel, and I must say that it's quite a debut! Inquiring minds would love to know...Is HUSHED your first book, or do you, like the rest of us writers, have a couple of manuscripts stuffed in a desk drawer, never to see the light of day? :)
Ha! Good question. HUSHED is the second book I ever wrote. The first one actually falls in line with HOLLOWED. It's a different set of characters elsewhere in the world, but it's the same 'universe'. They're a part of the same series and their stories will gradually meet. I'm in the process of rewriting that first book, so it can be released. 

2. You definitely have a talent for creating vivid, realistic characters that grab readers by the heart and don't let go. How hard was it for you to say goodbye to the HUSHED characters (especially Archer!)?
Thank you! It can be hard. I miss Archer and Evan and now and again I wish I had enough material to give them a sequel. Sadly, their story is mostly told. I've considered revisiting to write a short follow up, just to give everyone a peek at how they're doing after the events of the story. But then I kind of wonder if that would spoil everyone's imaginations.

3. Do you have a process for your writing? Wake at 5am every day? Crank out 10k words before lunch? Eat only M&Ms while creating? 
I write whenever I have time. ;) How's that for process? I find I write best while sitting at my desktop computer (as opposed to my laptop), and in the morning around breakfast time. For some reason, it's harder for me to concentrate in the evenings. I can generally get out 1k-2k in a short sitting, if I'm not interrupted or distracted. Then I take a break, clean something, watch something, and come back to it. Now that I think about it, I never eat while writing. I'll starve myself for hours on end because I forget the existence of food. 

4. Tomorrow is the cover reveal for your newest novel, HOLLOWED (be sure to come back here, readers, to check it out!), which you are self-publishing. Of all the aspects of the self-publishing process, which one has been the most terrifying? :)
ALL OF IT! It's scary to release a book that hasn't been professionally edited, and relying solely on the judgment of yourself and betas. The cover is also terrifying, because while I think it looks nice, what is the rest of the world going to think? Self-pubbing anything require a catchy, professional-looking cover. HOLLOWED also involves paranormal creatures the book market is already saturated with, so I'm hoping against hope what I can provide readers is a unique, fresh experience with them. 

5. Lastly, the question I like to ask all interviewees: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and could only have one book with you, which would it be, and why?
That's hard. The first one that comes to mind is HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones. Though maybe I should choose one of the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books by George R. R. Martin because they're so huge. More hours of reading entertainment.

Thanks again, Kelley!
Thanks for the questions! :D

 Remember to stop by the blog tomorrow for the first look at the cover of Kelley's latest novel, HOLLOWED!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols!

by Jennifer Echols
pub date: 7/10/2012

product description from goodreads.com

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers.

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business — until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers — and the consequences could be deadly.

My Review:

The above description doesn't even begin to describe the magic that lies within the pages of Jennifer Echols's latest hit, SUCH A RUSH. This book is wrought with love, hate, passion, sexy...all the great adjectives used to describe an Echols book! I read it in one sitting, and for the first time in a long time, I actually wanted to immediately start over from the beginning.

SUCH A RUSH tells the story of Leah Jones, a girl often thought from the "wrong side of the tracks" as we say here in the south, who hops from city to city over the course of her life. Her deadbeat mother constantly follows this boyfriend or that boyfriend, always putting them and herself before her daughter. The result is Leah not feeling like any place is home.

That is, until she strolls onto the tarmac of a tiny airport in Heaven Beach, South Carolina, and instantly falls in love with the entire world of flying. From here, we begin to see Leah come alive. At only 14 (the story progresses to age 17 really quickly), Leah seems to understand and comprehend the world that sits above us all, just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. She gets a job pumping gas and working the desk, but her true want lies in learning to fly. She saves her money (hiding it from her mom) for a flying lesson and approaches the owner of a banner flying company adjacent to the airport. What ensues is one of the most touching relationships in the entire book.

With a non-existent dad and absentee mom, Leah has never had a real parental figure in her life. But when Mr. Hall, the owner of Hall Aviation, agrees to teach Leah to fly, she then learns the truest meaning of the word "father". Mr. Hall takes Leah under his wing, seeing something inside her that can't be taught: Passion. Leah's passion for flying is unsurpassed, maybe even more prominent than the actual pilots of the story, and Mr. Hall is more than happy to teach Leah everything she needs to know about this exciting new world. 

But everything isn't perfect in Leah's life, as she soon learns when something tragic happens that sends this amazing story spiraling--right along with its characters. Leah's long-time unrequited crush, Grayson Hall, becomes much more present in her daily life, spending every waking minute at Hall Aviation.  Being so close to Grayson, seeing him everyday, watching him grow and suffer like, well, her, makes Leah look at her crush in an entirely different way. She sees him as human, not just some unattainable guy to be watched from afar. Throughout the novel, Leah's feelings for Grayson sit just below the surface, which makes for some very, um...entertaining scenes. ;-P

I really can't say much more for fear of giving away the story (hopefully I haven't done that already, lol), but I will tell you this: You want to read this book, trust me.

My Rating:

I couldn't be happier to give this book 5 stars. A beautiful, touching story of love, loss and flying, SUCH A RUSH makes you want two things: To become a pilot...and to fall in love. This is Echols at her best!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Launch for Jennifer Echols' SUCH A RUSH!

Does anyone else think she looks a bit like JK Rowling here,
or is it just me? :-)

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of taking a little road trip upstate to visit the super-talented and always-delightful Jennifer Echols for the launch of her latest novel, SUCH A RUSH (review to come tomorrow!). 

The event was held at a local Barnes and Noble, and I arrived a bit...early (read: over an hour, lol). But, as I'm sure you all know, it's never a bad thing to have free time in a bookstore. ;-)

I perused the shelves while I waited, enjoying the look and smell of just being inside a bookstore (yes, to those of us who love books more than people, this is Heaven). As I made my way to the front where a table had already been set up for the signing, I caught sight of Jennifer laying out her pens (she color-codes her autographs, people. Yeah, she's that cool.) and getting ready. 

Being the natural extrovert that I am, I politely walked over and struck up a conversation I lurked in the stacks until I built up the nerve to go say hi. Though I have no clue why, because Jennifer Echols is the nicest person you'll ever meet. 

She immediately stood from the table and gave me a hug, remembering me from a previous signing (or from Twitter, where I stalk follow her proudly), and we began talking about the event, books in general, the world of publishing and the like. 

Yep, you read that correctly: I got to hang with Jennifer Echols--for over 2 hours!! Can I just say how awesome the night was? At one point in our multi-layered convo, I even told her that I was gonna leave now, for I felt I was keeping her from chatting with other fans who strolled up and had their favorite Echols books signed. But Jennifer, being the ever-gracious author she is, simply waved me off and said she was having a great time talking with me (yes, I may have smiled ear-to-ear at this). So, I hung around while she greeted other readers like myself, and after each person cleared the table, Jennifer would pick right back up with where our conversation left off. (author's note: I couldn't even remember everything we were talking about, lol)

As the night went on, several ladies came up to the table and began talking with Jennifer as if they knew her, and each time she would introduce me to the ladies of her Southern Magic writer's group. I was super-excited to get to meet them all, enjoying the camaraderie amongst the group of long-time friends. They made jokes and finished each other's sentences, and the whole time I just stood back and had a blast. 

One of my very own critique partners, Jess Leake, also came to the signing (she was late, but I forgave her because she's just too darn cute not to) and we both enjoyed hanging with Jennifer Echols for the rest of the event. In fact, we were having so much fun, that we kept Jennifer there longer than she was scheduled (my deepest apologies, Jennifer!). 

All in all, the SUCH A RUSH launch event was one of the best times ever, and I can't wait till I'm able to take another trip to "hang" with Jennifer Echols!

Monday, July 16, 2012

My BEA/NYC Trip...Finally!

Okay, I must begin this blog post with two apologies.

First, I apologize for neglecting my blog for...well...a bit. (author's note: a bit totally means over a month)

Second, I apologize for this post--because it's a looong one. (author's note: lots of pictures!)

So, as some of you may know, I have had the esteemed honor and privilege of becoming a published author (yes, it is still crazy to say that aloud). And although with that comes much hard work and sacrifice (just ask my friends/family all about that one, lol), it also has a few perks. And one of those perks happened just over a month ago, when I was able to attend the largest book convention in the US, held in the largest city in the US.

That's right, I'm talking BEA in NYC, baby!

I have to say that for a first-timer (both to BEA & NYC), I was a bit nervous. More so for being in NYC than BEA, but nervous nonetheless. After landing and taking a shuttle to my hotel (author's note: 5 hours later!), I met up with some friends at a local eatery and got to actually walk the streets of New York (read: awesome)!

To cut things short, I'm gonna stop rambling and post some pics from my week-long venture into the Big Apple. But rest assured, I had an amazing time at both BEA and in NYC, and I cannot wait to go back!

A few shots of the city:

 Madison Square Garden (bad shot, I know)

 The 3 pics above are from Chelsea (beautiful)
 I just love this building

Our trip to New Jersey:

 NYC from Jersey (that's the new tower being built)
 the Carlo's Bakery (from Cake Boss!)

Night out in Times Square:

 We were just around the corner--love Times Square!
 They have a 5lb Hershey Bar. Um, yeah.

 Newsies is an outstanding show--see it if you can!

(that's Newsies star Jeremy Jordan. Honest.)

BEA 2012
 The lovely Jeri Smith-Ready!
 The awesome Jennifer L. Armentrout!
 The hilarious Jus Accardo!
 The talented Mike Mullin!
 The Pendrell authors who were able to attend
 Friend & fellow Pendrell author Lani Woodland
Yes, that is the Rachael Ray (so pretty)!

Well there you have it, a photo recap of my amazing first trip to NYC and BEA. Like I said, I can't wait to go back!