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Posted in The Crimson Five series

Interview with my Agent, Rebecca Angus, the Debut Novelist!

After gushing about my literary agent, Rebecca Angus for so long, I finally get to gush about her as a writer too! Tomorrow is a HUGE day for her…she becomes a published author! I’m so excited to help her celebrate by welcoming her to the blog today and telling you about her book. But first, here’s a sneak peek…

Inspired by Texas history, WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN is Rebecca’s debut novel—a retelling of the Alamo with a modern twist. Published by Red Adept Publishing on July 9, 2019, it features Texas A & M University as well. I can hardly wait to read it myself!

Congratulations, Rebecca! Your hard work, perseverance, and patience have paid off. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with all of us today. Cheers to you tomorrow on release day. I have a strong feeling that your story will be read far and wide!

Before I share the gorgeous book cover, Rebecca’s Bio, the book blurb, and the purchase link, I thought it would be fun to pick her brain a little with 9 quick questions…in honor of her book’s July 9th birthday!

1. You’re a writer and a literary agent. When in the world do you find time to write? Is it every day for a few minutes or do you write in spurts when you have a pocket of time?

I actually find the author part more daunting. I have a really good routine when it comes to working as an agent. However, when it comes to prioritizing my own books and writing, I definitely feel the pressure. I have to schedule writing time, and that can be difficult. Most days I find time after Mini Agent has gone to bed to put in an hour or two of writing, but I do try and write wherever I can hide from the 3-year old. Sometimes it’s the bedroom. Other times it’s the bathroom. Possibly under the bed or in the closet if that is the only space available. I’m kidding… partially. Really it just comes down to when I have time to write.

2. I’m seriously in awe of all you accomplish in a day! Did you start writing before you were an agent or after?

I started writing before I was an agent, although, writing definitely played a big role in helping me become an agent. My writing journey is pretty typical. I was a book obsessed teenager with a writing dream of my own, but it wasn’t until right after college that I started writing seriously. I am a military spouse and I met my husband at Texas A&M University. We got married our senior year of college and he deployed to Afghanistan the year after. While he was deployed, I had been living in Washington away from my friends and family and I turned to writing as a way to combat the stress and loneliness that I felt during that first deployment. I actually wrote WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN in 28 days during that time, and dove straight into revisions shortly after. A few months later I found my literary agent, Jessica. She has been an amazing champion for this book!

3. 28 Days? That’s amazing! Writing can be such a blessing in the toughest of times. It sounds like it certainly was for you. Where did the story idea for WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN first come from?

Well, I knew this question would come eventually, but my husband inspired this story… yes—that is very awkward for me to admit. I drew so much inspiration from our time at Texas A&M, and my experiences as a military wife. Our love story began at A&M, so the love story central to WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN also parallels to those same themes. The main character, Tapley, was actually inspired by Tapley Holland who was the youngest defender of the Alamo, and played a significant role in the history of the Alamo itself. We loved the name Tapley so much that we named our son after him as well. There is so much history in this story, but there is also so much of my own life in it as well that it’s very personal. It took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that people are going to read these words that I wrote and experience my own feelings in their own way. It’s a very vulnerable but exciting feeling as an Author.

4. Is it awkward for me to say that I can’t wait to read about your love story? The time period, the setting, and your inspiration for the story have me dying to read this immediately! Tapley is such a great name too. How cool it is that your son now shares the name too. I seriously love that! So, how long did it take you to write the manuscript (including revisions) … and to get it published?

WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN was a solid 28 days of writing from the heart. Every emotion, insecurity, and frustration I felt being a military wife was put into that story, and I didn’t outline any of it. While I knocked the book out very fast, I will never pants an entire story again. I definitely prefer going into a story more organized. However, sometimes the characters in the story have a mind of their own and your plan of action can completely change. Don’t be afraid of change in the story—work with your character. After all, it’s their story. I found my agent a few months later, but it took us a solid year of revising and changes before it was submissions ready. I received the publication offer in January of 2018.

5. I’m guessing that’s a day you’ll never forget… and that’s such great writing advice for any writer drafting a novel. Who’s your favorite character in the story?

Definitely Tapley. You can’t help but fall in love with him. He’s loyal to a fault, but he’s brave and honest and he’s not afraid to fight for what he wants.

6. Tapley sounds like an amazing MC, with such noble qualities. In your spare time, when you’re not writing or working as a literary agent, what do you like to do?

My happy place is on the back of a horse. I have been riding horses since I was five, and I have the most amazing tall, dark, and handsome one my life named Marcas (I’m talking about my horse, of course). He’s my shoulder when I need to cry, my best friend. When I’m not at the barn you can most likely find me chasing my son around or building garages for his hot wheels out of Legos.

7. Marcus sounds almost as amazing as your MC…and I can picture the Lego’s scattered around your house while you write! Do you have any writing rituals like a favorite drink, spot to write, or music to listen to?

Wine. All of the wine! Writing is my calm down ritual for the day and I always partner it with a glass of wine in my favorite Doctor Who mug. As for my favorite writing spot…I think the answer is wherever it’s quiet. I do create a playlist for each of my WIPs that I listen to while I’m writing.

8. My mug is usually filled with coffee and flavored creamer, but maybe I should try wine. That does sound like a better writing sidekick! What will you do to celebrate on release day?

Can I use wine as an answer again? We have a special Texas bottle of wine that we’ve been saving for my release day. My husband is actually out in the field this week doing Army things, so we are going to celebrate on Saturday when he gets home.

9. That sounds lovely and just know that you have a whole team of clients, including me, and so many others who will be toasting you tomorrow! You, without a doubt, deserve the celebration! So lastly, for all the writers who are wishing for the news that their manuscript will one day be turned into a book, what piece of advice would you give them?

Everyone has their own writing journey. It can happen at different stages of your life, at different paces, and at different levels. Whatever your writing journey is, focus on your individual successes and try not to get caught longing for the successes of others. I know I give that speech to my authors on a weekly basis, but I frequently have to remind myself of the same thing. This is my writing journey and it will be what I make it, not what others perceive it as.

Thanks for the reminder, Rebecca. That’s such an important message for all of us to remember. Especially in this world of social media where so many other writers are sharing their journeys. It’s a blessing and a curse to know what else is happening around us!

On that note, here’s a little bit more info on Rebecca, including social media links, so you can learn even more about her as an author and as an agent…and her debut novel. It sounds amazing and I seriously cannot wait to crack my copy open!

Bio:

Rebecca Angus is a Senior Literary Agent with Golden Wheat Literary, and romance author.​ Rebecca has over five years of experience in the Publishing industry, and she’s excited to work with new authors and illustrators. She started as an editorial and submissions intern at Entangled in 2014, and from there she moved into an intern position at Golden Wheat Literary. After interning on both the publishing side, and the agent side, she set her sights on becoming a Literary Agent and found her home at Golden Wheat Literary.

​When she’s away from books, she is an Army wife, science teacher, toddler chasing Mom, and equestrian. The military moves her family way too much. She lives in El Paso, Texas with her family. 

​​Rebecca is a supporter of diversity and inclusion in publishing, and she is a member of SCBWI NM. 

Here’s she is doing what she loves…

Book Blurb of WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN:

When Aubrey Harrison wrecks her truck on the side of a dark Texas highway, she wakes up in the year 1836, in another woman’s life—someone who looks just like her. Struggling to understand her new reality, Aubrey connects with Tapley, a handsome cattleman with a tragic past.

As Mexican soldiers begin to fill the small settlement, Aubrey recognizes the first sign of a deadly battle yet to come. A bargain to save her new family’s cattle business leads to murder, and Aubrey is forced to take shelter within the walls of the Alamo, even though she knows that’s the worst place she could be.

The fate of Texas was sealed before the battle ever began, but with it, a new love may now be lost somewhere between the past and the present. An attempt to change fate comes with the high price of Aubrey’s future, but she’s determined to give history a fight it will never forget.

And here’s her gorgeous book cover…

To follow Rebecca and purchase WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN:

Twitter: @R_Elisewrites

Website: Rebeccaangusbooks.com

To Purchase:

Thanks, everyone for stopping by the blog today. I hope you have a spectacular day, doing something you love! Don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram or Twitter if you haven’t already. That’s where I spend most of my social media time lately. The links are on the side bar. And until we chat again, as always…

Think More. Work Hard. Dream Big!

Jackie ❤

Posted in The Crimson Five series

The Crimson Five Book News

Good morning, you guys!

I thought it was high time I checked in with you! I hope you’re all doing well. I’ve been off the charts out of touch for a bit and I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to. I may ramble a bit, but I guess you’re all used to that—especially when we have so much to catch up on!

The last time I checked in with you here, it was January. The snow was falling and I was chin deep in slush while drafting Pop the Bronze Balloon,  the third book in THE CRIMSON FIVE series. At the same time, I had just brought my son back to college for his spring semester. I was also getting ready to move my daughter to Orlando for a semester long internship at Walt Disney World. Besides all that, my husband and I were in the midst of house projects. So many house projects. After 26 years in our current home, we had the brilliant idea to embark on a new adventure…put our house on the market and move into something new in the spring.

So many people have asked us if we were bored while the kids were away. Well, if you know me at all, you can imagine that I missed them terribly! But we were definitely not bored. The house projects were endless. My draft took longer than expected. Revisions after that took forever. I’m only now at a place where I can truly say that I love this book! I’m gearing up for another small revision round before it goes to the editing team but we are getting there. The release date has been pushed back to November, but it’s totally fine with me. In the scope if things, a few more months won’t matter and the finished book will be better!

As far as the house projects go, they paid off! We put it on the market a few weeks ago and I can hardly believe it, but it sold in two days. We have a hot real estate market happening around here right now and it certainly worked in our favor. It’s been such a bittersweet process making the decision to leave the home we love though. It’s the only home my husband and I have ever lived in together and the only home our kids have ever known. We’ve made amazing friends here and I wouldn’t have wanted to raise our family anyplace else. But as amazing as it has been to call this house, this neighborhood, and this town our home… we’re all ready for a change. Even though the kids will only live with us for a few more years, we are seriously bursting at the seams and have been for so long! We’re all ready to live someplace new and to make more memories together. Besides, our family will only get bigger and it’ll be nice to have room for everyone—however often they stop by!

The neighborhood we’re moving to is only thirty minutes away from where we are now and our new house is perfect for us. It needs some updating and TLC but I’m on it. Besides writing, interior design is my secret passion. I’m so grateful that I’ll have a blank slate to work with soon and a new place for all of us to call home!

That’s pretty much why I stepped away from this blog for awhile. Between house and book projects, I was simply overwhelmed! But now that my revisions are turned in and we have a closing date, I can breath while I pack for a few weeks. I can also share some fun news with you…

Both Spin the Golden Light Bulb and Flip the Silver Switch are releasing in paperack! That’s right. The Crimson Five book series will be available on August 20,2019 in a sparkly new format! I’m so excited. As much as I adore hardcover books, paperbacks are so much more accessible to readers and for many people easier to read! Plus, they’re both updated editions. More on that later but for now I will say that I’m thrilled with these editions and I cannot wait to hold them in my hands! My author copies should arrive soon and I will definitely share pictures. 

As we all know, our kids procrastinate when it comes to summer reading. So if you’re so inclined, both books are available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and indiebound. All you have to do is order and they’ll magically appear in your mailbox, just in time for your kiddos to meet their summer reading quota—and discover a new series in the process! Besides, Pop the Bronze Balloon releases later this fall and they’ll definitly want to read the first two first.

Thanks for stopping by to hear my life’s story—I mean update! I hope your life update is a positive one too. But take it from me, if you’re overwhelmed, it does get better—eventually!

Have a sparkly day, sweet friends and until we chat again…

Think More. Work Hard. Dream Big!

Jackie ❤

Posted in Publishing, Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Spin the Golden Light Bulb turns 1!

Hey sweet friends,

I can hardly believe it. Today marks one year since Spin the Golden Light Bulb was published, and the official end of my debut year. It’s a little bittersweet. My book baby has grown up right before my very eyes!

One year ago, hardly anyone knew it even existed. Now many readers do. They know my characters, like Kia, Ander, Mare, Jax, and Jillian. They know all about the Piedmont Challenge, and they even know quotes from the book—ones that I scribbled in my notebook over seven years ago! It’s still strange to think that, but also wonderful too. The first phrase I ever wrote in my red notebook as I brainstormed the plot was this…

I know my chances stink. But somebody has to win—I pick me.

And now not only are these words actually found in the book (on page 5), but people have read them…and they’ve read the other words too. I sometimes still pinch myself over that! So just because, I thought I’d share a few other highlights from my debut novel’s first year out in the world too…

A few days before release day, my husband and I stopped by our local Barnes & Noble to see where my book would be shelved eventually, in case they ever decided to stock it. I literally (and audibly!) gasped to see it already displayed—on an actual bookstore shelf!

On release day, we had a launch party for Spin the Golden Light Bulb at the elementary school where I worked as a reading teacher. It’s the place where I wrote parts of my first manuscript—the one that happily stays hidden in my desk drawer now. Over 100 of my closest family and friends attended—and bought copies of my books! I didn’t even think I knew that many people!

Signing those books was surreal (there’s that word again!) and I’m grateful to each and every person that spent that magical night with me. I signed my very first copy for my daughter, and as I took out my golden pen and looked out at the crowd of people, I felt like I was living a dream.

I found it hard to keep it together when the real kids behind the Crimson Five kids (my World Finals Odyssey of the Mind team) gathered around me for a picture with the book. The kids on the team, which included my son, were just eleven years old when I first toyed with the idea of writing an Odyssey of the Mind inspired book. That night they stood next to me as 18 year-olds on the verge of graduating high school. They were the perfect inspiration for the characters and I was thrilled to finally be able to share their story (even if it was an over the top version!) with all of them! It was a night I’ll for sure, never forget.

I did my first book signings and school visits in the spring. It was all kinds of amazing to chat with kids about publishing and the making of Spin the Golden Light Bulb! When people say you will never forget your first few book signings, they aren’t kidding. Some were attended by almost a hundred people. Some were attended by two. But all of them were fun because well, I was doing a book signing. Something I had dreamed of doing for over ten years!

Spin the Golden Light Bulb welcomed her sibling book, Flip the Silver Switch into the world over the summer on August 21, 2018. I don’t think she minded sharing the spotlight though. We had a smaller scale launch for FTSS basically because I felt bad asking my friends and family to do the whole book launch thing again with me so soon! And because STGLB had only been out for six months, it actually felt like another launch for it too!

In the fall, I met my Kids Need Mentors teacher, Erin and her class of 5th graders. I read chapter one of Spin the Golden Light Bulb to them during their first week of school, and received letters from them a few weeks later. How cool is that?

Spin the Golden Light Bulb made it’s first appearance at the Rochester Children’s Book Festival in November. It’s my hometown book fest, the biggest of its kind in the area and I was honored and thrilled to finally participate as a published author! I was interviewed live by our local TV station and yikes that was scary! I guess in a year of firsts, that one was definitely memorable!

In a surprise ending to debut year, Spin the Golden Light Bulb was named by the Children’s Book Council and the National Science Teachers of America to their 2019 Best STEM Books K-12 List! I was and still am humbled and thrilled to receive such an honor.

There were so many other highlights from this year but to be honest, I can hardly wrap my head around them all. The whole year has truly been a blur! I feel so grateful and I want to thank everyone who made my first published book’s debut year truly wonderful. The team at Amberjack Publishing and my agent, Rebecca Angus made this dream come true. I am forever grateful for their belief that readers would love this story as much as I do. So many people have been my cheerleaders this year: The Electric 18s. The booksellers. The teachers. The librarians. The bloggers. The reviewers. The parents. The children. My family. My friends. You’ve all help spread the word about my book and showered me with kind words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I never posted the acknowledgments pages because it honestly never occurred to me. But so many people play a role in bringing a book to life and so today I want to share my thoughts on that with you. For those of you interested, here they are!

Thanks sweet friends for following along on my journey. You have constantly made me feel like publishing my first book is a big deal, even when author imposter syndrome set in and I felt like I was just pretending…playing dress up as an author! Now that I have a year as an author under my belt, I finally feel like I am.

So with that, I’m off to celebrate. I’ll be toasting at 6:30pm with this lovely bottle of wine I received at my launch party one year ago tonight. I may even read a few chapters—of my very first published book!

Thanks for checking in, sweet friends and remember…if you ever wonder if dreams really do come true. I’m here to say they do. They really do!

Until next time~

Think More. Work Hard. Dream Big!

Jackie

Posted in Publishing, The Crimson Five series

Podcast Interview with My Messy Muse

Hey sweet friends,

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 has gotten off to a good start for you. I absolutely love the first week in January. Maybe it’s the daydreamer and planner in me, but I always have such high hopes for the year and putting some of my plans into action is just plain fun!

First of all, I’ve joined the 30 day Yoga With Adriene program called DEDICATE and I’m loving it so far. I’ve done several of her other yoga videos in the past, but re-committing to the whole yoga thing this way is just what I need (and want!) right now, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Besides Adriene’s videos are so encouraging and motivational. Check them out if you’re into that sort of thing.

I began drafting my WIP again this week also after taking a few weeks off over the holidays. The story is coming together and I love it so much! It’s nowhere near great yet, but I can see glimmers of greatness here and there, so there’s that. I plan to keep writing every day for the next several weeks. Butt in chair. Laptop on lap. That’s me for the foreseeable future.

In my effort to check in with you more regularly this year, I thought I’d kick off 2019 by sharing my very first pocast interview. It seems everyone (but me!) has climbed aboard the podcast train—so when the lovely Michele McAvoy, children’s author and the host of My Messy Muse pocast series asked me to chat with her, I happily agreed. I mean, I love to talk with other authors so I thought, how hard can it be?

I have to admit though, as the days approached leading up to our phone call, I did feel a little panicked. I haven’t done many “live” interviews and phone interviews are especially hard. There are no visual cues to tell you when the other person is done speaking, if you’re being too long-winded, or if they’re bored out of their minds listening to you! But Michele made it easy. She’s super friendly, and very easy to talk to. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to talk about her books, her writing tips, and life in general. I actually think we could’ve talked all day!

So if you’re interested in listening, here’s the link:  http://www.michelemcavoy.com/podcast/ Hopefully something you hear will inspire you to keep working on your own writing goals. And if you have a chance, check out Michele’s other interviews… and her website too. Her books are as adorable as she is!

Enjoy the chat, my sweet friends and best of luck this month with your endeavors—writing and every other kind too. I know you have what it takes to get them done. Dedication, perserverence, and a “never give up” attitude can go a long way. I’ll focus if you will. Hopefully together we’ll get where we want to go. Thanks for checking in with me!

Until next time~

Think More. Work Hard. Dream Big!

❤ Jackie

Posted in Publishing

2018: A Year of (Mostly!) Sparkles and Sunshine

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re doing well! I thought I’d check in with you one more time before we officially say farewell to 2018. What a wild year it has been, don’t you think?

I hope yours was mostly on the happy side. I say mostly because I think it’s unrealistic to think that a person can have a year that’s 100% wonderful. Even the best year ever needs some bland or stormy days to make us appreciate the sparkles and sunshine.

And if your year wasn’t mostly wonderful, then okay…good riddance! Because that’s what’s so fabulous about life. We constantly get do-overs. We’re constantly given opportunities to make our lives what we want them to be! Every day. Every month. Every Year.

Personally, my year was more than mostly fabulous. My family is happy and healthy, my two book babies published in 2018, and I met some incredible people (of all ages!) through my writing journey this year. I’m so grateful for 2018. I will forever think of it as the year my book dreams came true. I still pinch myself nearly every day when I realize that I can now call myself an author and that real human people are reading books that I’ve written. It’s all so surreal and without a doubt, surreal has become my most over-used word of 2018!

With that said, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have struggles in 2018. I struggled with author impostor syndrome constantly. I mean, why would anyone want to come to my book launch party or read my books? Surely the ones who do are really just being nice! Thoughts like this took over my brain more often than I can count.  But, I think I’ve jumped that hurdle and landed on my feet. I realze now that people are busy. They arent going to read a book just to be nice. Unless we’re in school, we read things we want to read.

I have many author friends who have published books. I truly want to read all of them, and not because I want to be nice. It’s because I want to read what they wrote! It’s that simple. So I’ve learned to accept that when someone says they liked my books, they might actually mean it! For those of you who chose my books to read this year, even if only out of curiosity, I thank you from the every corner of my heart.  xoxo

I also struggled this year with balance, like many of you. There are only so many hours in the day for family, friends, work, housework, life obligations, fun, and self care…and I constantly felt like I was disappointing someone. But I’ve learned to cut myself some slack and do the best I can. That’s all any of us can ask of ourselves anyway!

I’m still figuring out what it means to live my life as an author, with all of the obligations that come along with that role and about how it fits into my life as a person—as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, neice, and friend. What I do know, after experiencing this more than mostly fabulous year, is that none of any of it matters without the people you care about most. So if there’s one thing that I will continue to prioritize, it’s family and friends. But at the same time, if I don’t take care of myself, no one else will—no one else can. And that means proiritizing the happiness I find in writing. It’s not just my career, it’s my joy. I love writing stories for kids and I love talking about writing stories for kids. I look forward to doing more of both in the new year!

So as 2019 approaches, I’m hopeful for another mostly fabulous year. I do anticipate there’ll be more than a few bland or stormy days, but hopefully the sparkly and sunny days will be right around the corner too as we ring in the New Year!

That’s what I wish for you as well. I hope your 2019 is filled with mostly sparkly and sunny days. I hope each morning your cup is full of your favorite coffee or smoothie, and with it you start each day with positivity, confidence, and peace. I hope you’ll find the courage to make time for yourself—to chase your dreams. You have what it takes to make yours come true—I know you do.

Leave me a comment below with one word or phrase (or more if you like!) that sums up your dream for 2019. I’d love to cheer for you every step of the way! Mine is BRONZE and it sums up more than one dream I have for the coming year. What’s yours?

Until we chat again~

Think More. Work Hard. Dream Big!

❤ Jackie

Posted in Uncategorized

Before the Calendar Page Flips

Hey there, Guys!

It’s been awhile! Over the last few months I’ve felt so guilty for not posting on this blog. I mean it has been ages! Day after day, as I’ve struggled to keep up with life in general…which for me means trying to maintain a good balance between being a wife and mom, and being a debut author, I would think of my five year-old blog fondly, and wish I could stop by for a chat.

I’ve seriously chastised myself over and over for neglecting it, which is so ridiculous, I know. But I do miss blogging and I’ve seriously had so many things to post about. But to be honest, this year has been a whirlwind—both personally and professionally and I just had to place this blog on the back-burner, much to my dismay. That doesn’t mean I haven’t checked in on this site though. I actually check in often, like several times a week to update it—or at least make sure it doesn’t need urgent attention.

But finally today, I decided to take a break from the other things. I’m currently in the middle of holiday prep—like so many of you and also in the middle of drafting. I’m working on a middle grade novel and one day soon, as soon as it’s in a more complete form, I’ll share the details with you. But for now, I’m keeping my fingers on the keyboard and pressing on. I have thousands of words left to write. Thousands. I know that’s pretty vague, but I’ve learned that when I say exactly how many words I’ve written, I feel pretty crappy when the next time I talk about it, the number has not increased as much as I’d like. So for now, all I’ll say is that my goal word count is 60,000 and I have a ways to go!

As you guys know, I had two books publish this year…my first two! That’s basically why this year has been a little crazy. Spin the Golden Light Bulb released in January and Flip the Silver Switch released in August. I had so many questions leading into my debut year. There were so many unknowns for me. But I was in a pretty unique position in that I had a chance for a do-over with my second release. That doesn’t mean I didn’t mess up a lot of stuff the second time around though. It’s forever been a figure it out as I go kind of year.

So because of that, I’m working on a post that will give you the inside scoop on what the debut year of a published author is really like. I have lots of tips (and reality checks) for you. Hopefully you’ll find some of it to be helpful! Stay tuned. I’ll be posting it soon after the one year mark, which is January 9, 2019!

Aside from that, I have some big news to share…

Spin the Golden Light Bulb has just been named by the Children’s Book Council and the National Science Teachers of America to their 2019 list of BEST STEM BOOKS K-12!

NSTA Best STEM List Logo

Like, what?? Are you kidding?

I’m thrilled, ecstatic, honored, and still in a state of absolute disbelief!

STEM education is an initiative to get kids excited to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. This list recommends books that inspire innovation as student’s improve their reading skills.

As many of you know, Spin the Golden Light Bulb was inspired by the Odyssey of the Mind program and my team of 11 year-olds who once upon a time competed at the World Finals. Their story inspired me more than I can say, and I had hoped to write a story that would inspired other kids too. To think that prestigious organizations like these believe that my book does that, is truly a dream come true. I’m beyond grateful that Spin the Golden Light Bulb is included on this list along side many other authors that I admire. It’s more than I ever expected or dreamed for my first published book!

Here are the links to the press releases and the complete list of books:

Press Release- NSTA

Press Release- CBC

2019 Best STEM Books List K-12

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy as a gift for yourself, or a young reader on your list, I’ll make it easy for you. Here are some handy links right here:

Amazon: Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Amazon: Flip the Silver Switch

Barnes & Noble: Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Barnes & Noble: Flip the Silver Switch

IndieBound

So with that, I’m off again. Thanks for sticking with me this year as I’ve been on and off the blog. I’m looking forward to 2019. It should be a bit calmer, so I will be checking in here more often. Wish me luck on this draft. I’ll do the same for you…

Cheers to the end of 2018, and all the words we’ll be writing before the calendar page flips again!

❤ Jackie

Posted in Uncategorized

Swirl and Spark Blogiversary Winners!

Hey guys!

Thank you to all of you who entered my 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway! Whoever said that giving is much better than receiving, is a wise person because this was so much fun!

If you’ve won one of the five prizes, please reach out to me at swirlandspark@gmail.com  with 5 YEAR BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY  in the subject line. If you’ve won a critique, I’ll give you instructions on how to proceed. If you’ve won the gift card or one of the two Book Bundles, please include your address, so I can mail out your prize!

The winners are: 

Critique of 1 Manuscript Chapter:

RB Frank (WritingOutLoud2)

 

Critique of 2 Manuscript Chapters:

Amy Hillman (ArHillman)

 

$25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card:

Vi Figueroa (@teacherfig)

 

The Crimson Five Book Bundle:

Miss Nikki (MissNikkIin5th)

 

The Crimson Five Book Bundle plus Bracelet:

Shari Sawyers (SawyersShari)

 

I plan on doing additional giveaways throughout the year, so if you didn’t win…maybe you will next time!

I hope you’re all having a productive week. Mine has been wild and emotional! Between dropping my son off at college, Flip the Silver Switch releasing, and now preparing for Saturday’s launch party, it has pretty much been a roller coaster ride! I have a pit the size of California in my stomach and I’m guessing it won’t go away until after the launch party or until I get used to not seeing my son’s sweet face every day. And really, will I every get used to that? I don’t think so!

Wish me luck on Saturday. Hopefully all will go well! We’re having cookies and cupcakes, kids activities, and a few MG and YA book giveaways…what could be better than that? I’ll be signing books too which is still pretty surreal to me! I guess I better figure how I’m signing this book though. I have a great inspirational quote that I sign on copies of Spin the Golden Light Bulb. Yikes! I need another one now.

But I’m not complaining. There was a time when signing books was so off my radar. I just wanted to get my story written. So if that’s where you are right now, just keep at it! Keep writing the words, and keep polishing them up. Your writing and story will improve with each read through. Soon it’ll be sparkly and ready to query.

And remember, it only takes one YES. I hope yours comes soon!

Thanks for checking in! I’ll be popping back in next week with an update on the launch party. 🙂

❤ Jackie

 

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Launch Day Love

She’s here! Flip the Silver Switch is here!

Flip the Silver Switch Book Release

  

My second book baby is here! Spin the Golden Light Bulb has a little sister!

FTSS- Two Books pic

 

And I can’t wait for you to meet her. I mean read it!!

FTSS- with me

 

Yesterday was a wonderful day and I just want to thank all of you who took the time to send me sweet messages of congratulations on the release of my second book. They meant the world to me and I felt the book love all day!

I’m so thrilled that you guys can finally read the continuing story of the Crimson Five kids. They’re a fun bunch to follow and I hope you like reading their latest adventure. Many questions will be answered in this book, and just like in the first, you’ll find out why certain characters act the way they do!! But I won’t say more because no spoilers here!

If you’d like to purchase a copy, the links are below. I’ve included the links for Spin the Golden Light Bulb too because you’ll definitely get more out of the whole story if you read them in order.

Amazon- Flip the Silver Switch

Barnes & Noble- Flip the Silver Switch

IndieBound- Flip the Silver Switch

Amazon- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Barnes & Noble- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

IndieBound- Spin the Golden Light Bulb

It helps a new author so much by rating and reviewing their books on Amazon. There’s some magical algorithm at work when you reach 20 and then 50 and then 100 reviews. Your book then gets mentioned to more visitors buying books. So…if you’ve left a review on Goodreads, I’d appreciate it so much if you could copy it over onto Amazon. Or just saying, “I liked this book!” helps so much too. That’s, of course, if you actually like it!!

It also helps to request an author’s books at the library, not just because the library buys the book, but because it gets the book into the hands of more readers…and what’s more important than that?!

So thank you so much for doing so. I’m supremely grateful!!

And as a reminder…today is the last day to enter the Swirl and Spark 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway! So be sure to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners right here, by Friday and on Twitter as well.

Oh and one more thing…

The Launch Party for Flip the Silver Switch is Saturday! If you’re local to the Rochester area, stop by. It’s happening from 2-4pm at Lift Bridge Books in Brockport, NY. There will be treats and books and activities for kids. It should be fun!

Have a great day everyone. I’m off to organize the Launch Party so if you need me I’ll be buried in craft materials and bookmarks!

Thanks for checking in!

❤ Jackie

 

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It’s Swirl and Spark’s 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

How did we get here so fast?

Just five years ago, on August 16, 2013, I took the leap and started a blog. A blog called Swirl and Sparkthe site for kids who like to write. What began as a way to create a social media platform as a writer and reach my someday readers has evolved a bit through the years. I wrote my posts for kids at first, but quickly realized that the majority of people reading were adults—adult writers. And so the tagline soon became the site for kids at heart who like to write. But eventually, after several years, I finally needed an author site. So even though my blog is still written for writers, my website also needed to be a landing place for my books and a place to chat about all things publishing too.

It was tough as first, finding my groove and figuring out who I was writing for at first. Seasoned writers? Beginners? Published? Not yet published? But once I realized that blogging is nothing more than writing to a reader (whether that’s one reader or 1,000) it became much easier. Blogging became a way of sharing a bit of my life as a writer with anyone who was interested in reading. It became a means to be creative—in my own personal corner of the blogosphere.

Some days I love blogging. I love writing posts and sharing bits of myself with all of you. Some days it’s hard. Finding the right (or relevant) topic year after year for an audience can be time consuming and sometimes the words Just. Are. Not. There.

But somedays they are, and that’s when blogging can be great—a great way to connect with other people with the same interests. I wear my heart on my sleeve with whatever I write. That’s just me. Sometimes my posts ramble! But maybe you’ve also noticed long periods of time when I haven’t posted much at all. That usually means that I’m stressed or overwhelmed—or just not ready to share what’s going on.

My zodiac sign is Cancer, so for those of you who are into that sort of stuff (like me!) you know that makes perfect sense. I retreat into my shell once in a while. But when I come out, I’m all about sharing—usually oversharing! So this blog has been a fun tool for my creative oversharing side!

There’ve been many highlights on this blog over the years and a few  really stand out.

Back on August 16th, 2013, shortly after my first post went live, I checked my stats numbers and saw 156 views…on my very first post! I screamed throughout the house until I realized that the views had come from my own computer! I hadn’t learned there was an admin mode and so every time I clicked on a page, it was recorded as a page view! Alas, after that it took a very long time to even see one or two views!

Soon after, still watching my stats like a hawk, I saw thirty views in a fifteen minute span. I yelled again throughout the house, “Guys, someone’s on my blog! They’re clicking on every page!” A small voice from the bedroom upstairs called, “Sorry, Mom. I think that might be me.” Now how could I be mad that it actually was my 13 year-old son reading my blog?

Does anyone remember Critique Corner? It started as a critique session for kids and evolved into a middle grade and YA critique session for adult writers. It was fun while it lasted…but so much work! Maybe I should start it back up again??

One follower of this blog reached out to me asking if I’d was interested in being on-line Critique Partners. She caught me at just the right time in my writing life and not only did she become an amazing CP, but I now consider her a friend. I’m certain that neither of my books would have been published without her. Her name is Melyssa Mercado and if you’re not following her on Twitter, you should be. She’s hilarious and I have a strong feeling you’ll be reading her MG books one day soon!

Back when the blog started, I was un-agented and unpublished. Being able to share stories of both right here on this blog were definitely two huge highlights. And for those of you wondering, both my agent and my publisher said that although my writing and my story came first in their decisions to take me on, it didn’t hurt that I had this blog as an on-line presence! So for those of you wondering if you should hop on the blog-wagon, I say DO IT. I’ll most definitely check it out.

The biggest highlight by far though has been comments and emails from all of you. Knowing that what I’ve written has made an impression and inspired you somehow, has made all the hours spent on this blog worth it!

I hope I can continue to motivate you. I hope I can continue to find the words that encourage you to reach for your own writing dreams. Because as the tagline for Spin the Golden Light Bulb says:

Sometimes it takes a friend…to help make your dreams come true.

And now with the release of Flip the Silver Switch, I may have even more words of wisdom to share. The tagline for that is similar:

Sometimes it takes a whole team…to help you see things clearly.

So hopefully I’ve been that friend or teammate for you. Hopefully I can continue to be. Because if I can get published, anyone can. You just need the courage to believe it.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and following this blog. I know there are many other places on line where you could be hanging out. The fact that you choose to check in with me, means the world!

So as a thank you, I thought today would be a great time to do a Swirl and Spark 5 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!

I’m giving away 5 prizes!

(1) Critique of one manuscript chapter from me…up to ten pages. I’ll provide feedback on plot, characters, dialogue, voice, and pacing… and make line edits (grammar and punctuation) as well.

(1) Critique of two manuscript chapters from me…up to twenty pages. I’ll provide feedback on plot, characters, dialogue, voice, and pacing… and line edits (grammar and punctuation) as well.

(1) The Crimson Five Book Bundle which includes the items below: a signed hardcover copy of my debut middle grade, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, a signed hardcover copy of the sequel, Flip the Silver Switch, coordinating signed bookmarks, and celebratory lollipops…because who doesn’t love lollipops?

The Crimson Five Book Bundle

(1) The Crimson Five Book Bundle plus Bracelet which includes the items below: a signed hardcover copy of my debut, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, the newly released sequel, Flip the Silver Switch, coordinating signed bookmarks, and celebratory lollipops…because lollipops! And also a cute DREAM  bracelet which I hope will inspire you to reach for yours!

The Crimson Five Book Bundle plus Bracelet

(1) $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card…because, we all love books, right?  And if you’re a writer working toward publication, one way to become a better writer is to read widely in your genre. So hopefully a gift card will help!

 

Barnes and Noble Gift Card

The Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only and you must be 18 to enter. 

So how do you enter?

  1. Follow this blog (on the right side of this page). 
  2. Retweet my Blogiversary Giveaway tweet and follow me on Twitter.

One winner for each prize will be selected at random. The Giveaway runs for five days from August 16th through August 22 at 11:59pm EST. I’ll announce the winners by August 24, 2018, here on my blog and also on Twitter. (@JackieYeager)

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.

Good luck! Thanks for helping me celebrate 5 years of blogging!

I’ll be checking in with you again as we get closer to release day because we are getting so close! Just 5 more days until Flip the Silver Switch makes its grand entrance into the world! *Squeeeeeeeeee!*

Have a wonderful day, Lovelies…and I hope you win!

❤ Jackie

Posted in Uncategorized

To Launch Party or Not to Launch Party?

Hey Lovelies,

7 Days!! Ohmygosh, we’re one week out from release of Flip the Silver Switch and I’m not gonna lie. It is NOT easier the second time around! I was thinking I would be a seasoned pro by the time my second book published but here we are seven months later and NOPE—not a seasoned pro at all! I am most definitely freaking out.

I promised myself I wouldn’t t be nervous this time, or anxious in any way. Because really what’s the point? What good does worrying do anyway? It’s just your mind imagining the worst possible outcome…and as my favorite character Kia Krumpet would say, “I definitely DO NOT want to imagine the worst possible outcome!”

But… people are going to be reading my book in just 7 short days. And what if none of the bookstores stock this one? What if librarians say, “No thanks?” What if it gets bad reviews? What if I haven’t done all I can to help promote it? What if it doesn’t sell at all? What if no one comes to my launch party?

I worried about all of these things when Spin the Golden Light Bulb launched in January and this time is no different. But, even thought I’m still not a seasoned pro, I guess there is one thing I’ve learned this time around. And so I’m doing everything I can do remember it…

Take care of the things you can control, and forget about the rest.

Yes, people are going to read my book. That’s a good thing! My story will soon be in the hands of readers and that’s why I wrote it, right? So no reason to be anxious at all.

And, Amberjack has an incredible sales and marketing team. They are professionals—the experts at that sort of thing. Sure, I can use my social media platform to help spread the word about it—and I have, but at the end of the day, I have little control over sales. I’ve done the hard part. I’ve written the best book I can. Hopefully there will be booksellers, librarians, and readers who love the story as much as I do…as much as my agent does, and as much as my team at Amberjack does. Fingers crossed on that one!

So that leaves one thing…

What if no one comes to my launch party?

This was my BIG worry for the launch of Spin the Golden Light Bulb. It was a private event and I had invited my family and closest friends not knowing how many of them would come. And if they did attend, I was convinced they would stop in for a few minutes just to be nice! Well, many DID attend (like over 100 people!) and though I’ll never know how many of them came just to be nice, they were there for the whole duration and it was wonderful—definitely a night I will never forget!

But, that night was only seven months ago. How could I ask my family and friends to attend another launch party for me? It was strange enough the first time hosting a party for myself. No way was I going to do that again! Besides, it was a lot of work to organize and I wasn’t sure I had it in me again so soon. So I decided not to have one.

Hmm.

Well, here’s the thing. I realized several weeks ago that Flip the Silver Switch deserves a launch party too. So much of my heart and hard work went into the creation of  it. So much hard work (and heart) of other people went into the creation of it too and we DO all want to launch it into the world with love. It may be weird (in a good way!) that it’s publishing so soon after Spin the Golden Light Bulb, but that was the plan right from the start…considering it IS a sequel after all! I mean publishing a book is A VERY BIG DEAL—no matter when it happens. For me, it’s my second book baby. My story is actually a REAL BOOK! It’s like my second child. I love my second child every bit as much as my first, and even though they were born relatively close together, I still celebrated his arrival, right? I did! And so…

To launch party or not?

Yes!! We’re having a launch party!

AND YOU’RE ALL INVITED!

This time around, it’s not a private event though. We’re having a Flip the Silver Switch Book Birthday Party at my favorite independent bookstore Lift Bridge Books so it’s open to everyone. (Yikes!) It’s happening on Saturday, August 25th from 2-4. If you’re local in Rochester (specifically Brockport), please stop by and say hello! We’re having treats, kids activities, giving away bookish prizes, and I’ll be signing copies of this…

 

Details for the event can be found here on my Facebook Author Page and also on the  EVENTS page.

But don’t think for a second that I’m not a teeny bit anxious. Like I said, giving birth to a book is a BIG DEAL!

But that’s not all my news today. In keeping with the celebratory theme, I mentioned last time that I’m  celebrating the 5 year Blog-iversary of Swirl and Spark with a Giveaway!!  I’ll be posting all the good stuff on Thursday, the actual 5 year Blog-iversary date! Check back then because I’m certain you’ll want to enter.

Don’t forget. And don’t forget to tell your friends. I think they may want to enter too!

Until then, I’ll be spending most of this week finalizing college prep stuff for my two kids. I mentioned last time that my son leaves for college on the 19th. Yes, the 19th. That’s so soon! My daughter has a week longer but also so much stuff to do before her first day back too. So…pretty busy in this household as we gear up for the Blog-iversary, College send off, Flip the Silver Switch Release Day, and Flip the Silver Switch Launch Party!

Have I mentioned I really can’t wait for September??

Did you notice that I made no mention of writing? That’s one reason I really can’t wait for September. I’m looking so forward to diving back into my WIP. But what about you? Have you been writing lately?

The lazy days of summer are upon us (well for some of us) so I hope you’re one of those lucky ones enjoying the tranquility! But I hope you’re writing too—or at least thinking about your story. That counts as writing too. Without the calm thinking time, there can be no creative ideas. Our minds just don’t work that way. So enjoy the calm as much as you can. That’s when the best story ideas come to us.

Have a great day, Lovelies and I’ll check in with you on Thursday, August 16th for the 5 YEAR SWIRL AND SPARK BLOG-IVERSARY!!

Until then, keep those story ideas swirling, 

❤ Jackie