Posted in The Crimson Five series

Dialogue: Did the Right Person Say It?

Dreaming is good. Doing is better. If you want to reach your dream of getting your book published, then it’s time to get back to work on your manuscript. Last week I talked about characters—making your reader care about them by making them relatable, and making their goals crystal clear with high stakes. But those are just a few things your can do to strengthen your manuscript. Another is checking your dialogue—especially when you have many characters who show up scene after scene.

When dealing with multiple characters, it’s easy to assign dialogue to the wrong one. Each person needs to be involved in the conversation in some way and that way can be spoken or with a gesture. During the drafting stage, you just want to get the conversation on the page. Mare says this. Jax replies that. Ander looks at Mare, but says nothing. But once you’re in the revision stage it’s important to be sure the right dialogue is assigned to your characters. You may wonder why it even matters. Just getting the point across is enough, right? Well, no.

In Spin the Golden Light Bulb, the story revolves around a team of five kids. When they all speak in the same scene, it can be tricky to get the point across and make it sound natural. But it’s even harder than that because there are certain things that Jax would never say. Other things that Mare would definitely say. And Ander, well, Ander is Ander. He would never just look away without saying anything. How do I know? Because I know my characters like they are my own kids. Ander loves to be a part of the conversation. It would be very unlikely that he would be tongue-tied!

One of the adorable illustrations by Gabrielle Esposito in
Spin the Golden Light Bulb!

During revisions, I did a separate read through for each of my five main characters. I also did a sixth read through for the secondary characters. During each one, I would highlight their dialogue only and ask myself, “Would Mare say that? Is that the best response she could give? Does her response shed a light on who she is? Does what she’s saying move the conversation forward? Does it sound like something a real person would say? But most of all, I’m deciding if Mare is the person who should say that line, rather than maybe Kia or Jillian.

The process may sound tedious, and it is. But it’s so important especially with multiple characters in a conversation. You want your reader to get to know each one and this will help it to happen. You want your reader to be able to tell who is speaking, just by the sentence that’s spoken. Ander calls Kia by a nickname. Always. So when a sentence contains the nickname, it’s easy to know he’s speaking. The other kids never call her that. So when I’m revising I make sure that’s what he refers to her as. Ander loves to be the center of attention. He makes bold statements. Jillian is dramatic. Very. Mare is blunt. Dry. Kia is intense. She’s a worrier. Jax is quiet. Introverted. These descriptions don’t sum up all the reader knows about the five kids, but they are examples. And these types of things help me decide who would say what, when they’re interacting.

So that’s my best tip for dialogue. Make sure the right person is saying each line. Your story (and characters) will make more sense that way. I hope this helps as your revise your own manuscript. It’s definitely helped me!

On an author-life note, I’ve been paired up with a lovely teacher and class of fourth graders from Ohio for the Kids Need Mentors Program run by Kristin Crouch, Kristen Picone, and Jerrott Lerner. I’m so excited to work with them this year! I had an amazing experience last year with a class of fifth graders. It’ll be fun to see what comes of this new auther/ educator collaboration! I’ve also hit the 5,000 word mark on my new middle grade WIP. Not bad for just a few weeks. Hopefully I’ll get a few thousand more words in this week and get to a point where it feels more like a story and not just a premise. Wish me luck!

I hope you’re making progress on your writing projects too. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Even a few words a day makes a big difference. I’ll be in my corner of the internet cheering for you…as I pour another cup of very creamy coffee and get back to work myself!

Thanks for checking in today. I’ll see you again next week!

Posted in The Crimson Five series

Refocus Your Writing

Hello there! I’ve missed you guys. I mean, I’ve really have! I hope this summer was all you hoped it would be—or at least some of what you hoped it would be. I hope you were able to read a little, write a little, or even travel a little. I hope you were able to enjoy the sunshine and spend time with your favorite people—or revel in some alone time too.

The last time I checked in with you, our family was in the process of moving. My husband and I sold our house of twenty six years (I know, right?!), packed it up, and moved with our two college kids about thirty minutes east to a brand new area—a brand new house. No small task when you’re dealing with so many years of memories and so many years of life. The move was some parts easy, some parts stressful, and a really long process. Some days I was an emotional mess, some days I was physically wrecked, some days I floated on cloud nine, some days I worked on auto pilot. My writing and blogging took a back seat, that’s for sure. But now that we’re in and mostly settled, I’m so glad we made the move. I love our new home and even though a few boxes are still sprinkled throughout every room and we have projects galore to tackle, I feel energized by this new space and refreshed. And definitely ready to get back to writing. How lucky am I that this is my new writing view?

I had a long conversation with my husband and son about goals recently. It was the night before my son moved back to college for his second cross country preseason. He was struggling with his running goals, trying to pin-point what he hoped to accomplish this season. He was worried that after running for so many years, he had lost his love for the sport—not a good feeling the night before his official training was to begin. My husband had some wise words for him…ones that got me thinking about my own goals for writing.

He asked him why he had joined the cross country team way back in seventh grade. Was it because he loved running? Or something else? He responded, “I joined because I wanted to be on a team with nice kids and I had a feeling I could be good at it… I wanted to run in college.”

We proceded to talk about goal setting and my son soon realized he had set a goal for himself way back in seventh grade. His whole high school life revolved around doing what it took to achieve his goal. And he did it! He was recruited to run for his first choice college and he did. He achieved his goal.  

But the funny thing about goals is that once you achieve them, what’s next?

I think sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown. It happened to my son and it happened to me.

I know exactly how it feels to flounder and lose focus after you achieve your goal. It feels awful.

As some of you know, I spent 8 years trying to get an agent. If you don’t know my story, you can read about it here. It was ten years before I got a book deal. You can read about that story here. My dream came true when my middle grade novel Spin the Golden Light Bulb debuted in January, 2018 and because my book deal was for two books, the second, Flip the Silver Switch released later that summer. It was a whirlwind for sure and I’m still trying to believe that I really do have two published books!

But for the last year, I’ve sort of worked on auto pilot when it comes to writing and all that comes along with being published. I signed a contract for a third book in the series, which I know is a very huge deal, and I’m so grateful. But writing that book was so much harder. I wrote it on proposal. I wrote it on a deadline. I wrote it while trying to help promote two books, do Skype classroom visits, in person classroom visits, a bunch of book signings, and mentor a fifth grade class. It may sound like a dream come true for some writers and believe me, in some ways it most definitely was! I still pinch myself that this is actually real!

But at the same time, it’s been a little overwhelming. My writing hobby quickly turned into a job and a crazy juggling act. And I’m a terrible juggler! I found myself saying yes to more than I can handle and no to things I love. I found myself reacting to my own life instead of choosing my own path. That’s why this chat about goals really resonated with me.

Where was my focus now that my publishing dream had finally come true? What was my goal anyway? To sign with a literary agent? Yes. To get my book published? Yes. But what then? Was my goal to do school visits? Book as many book signings as possible? What were the things about being published that I was hoping to achieve that I couldn’t as an unpublished author?

It took some serious thought, but I’ve realized a few things. One is that I just really love to write stories. I also love to blog here and interact with other writers. And I love talking to kids and writers about chasing their dreams—even when those dreams seem so far out of reach. My goal is to write things that resonate with readers and inspire them to chase their dreams—through my middle grade books and through my writing focused blog posts.

The book signings and in-person school visits are a bonus, but they take time to prepare for—time away from my family and from writing. Skype visits are more manageable and they still allow me time to interact with kids. That leaves me more time to blog to my heart’s content which will hopefully inspire more of you! It also leaves me more time to write middle grade books.

So this fall, I’m getting back to the basics. I’m re-focusing my writing. I’ll be writing more and blogging more.  Just saying this makes me feel more energized than I have in a very long time! So stay tuned because the swirl and spark blog  is about to sparkle once again! I’ll also be posting more on Instagram (because I love it!) so follow me there if you aren’t already. I love the positive, creative vibe there—so many great accounts to follow! You can find me by searching Jackie Yeager.

I hope reading this post helps you to realize that if you’re in a writing funk or just feel like you’re floundering a little in your every day life, maybe it means you need to find the joy in what you’re doing again. Or maybe you need to re-focus your goals. Fall is the perfect time to do both. We weren’t put on this earth just to flounder. We were put here to thrive. So use this first week in September to re-write your goals. Make a plan to chase your dreams. They’re yours for the taking!

I know you can do it. If I can write a whole book you can. If I can sign with a literary agent, you can. If I can get a book published by a fantastic publisher, illustated by a spectacular artist, you can. If kids all over the country can read my books, someday they can be reading yours too. I believe that and I hope you do too!

If you’ve been clicking around my website, you may have noticed that the release date for POP THE BRONZE BALLOON has been pushed back to 2020. Publishing is a crazy business sometimes and this is one of those times! But it’s all good. This book will be worth the wait , I promise! I’ll keep you posted on the actual release date when I have it. In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read Spin the Golden Light Bulb or Flip the Silver Switch and you’d like to, they are now both out in paperback! I’m still pinching myself about that one too! Click on the links below for the details.  

Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Flip the Silver Switch

Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now I’m off to work on copy edits for Pop the Bronze Balloon and then my WIP, a new middle grade project that’s un-related to the Crimson Five books. I’m over the top excited for this one! Wish me luck and have a fantastic week, everyone… I’m wishing you luck on your projects today too!

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, 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, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, The Crimson Five series, Uncategorized

The Author-Impostor Visit

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at an elementary school in my city…my first unofficial author visit. And it was so much fun! I spoke with two fourth grade classes about books and writing and inventions. Amazing! But I wasn’t sure it would be that way…

The Rochester Children’s Book Festival is a huge deal where I live. Rochester is not a big city, like Boston, New York, or Chicago, but we sure do know how to put on a children’s book fest! Now in its 21st year, the annual RCBF is host to 45 authors and illustrators, both local and not at all local and this year it takes place on Saturday, November 4th.

Over the years, I’ve spent many amazing Saturdays in November perusing the books, fan-girling the authors, and volunteering at this festival. As the main sponsor, the Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators group (a group I belong to) plays a major role and I’ve had the honor of volunteering in many ways like managing the flow of traffic in the busy main author area, being an author assistant, and announcing presentations by the authors. To say that being a part of the event is a writer’s dream of a way to spend a day (with books and the people who create them) would be an understatement!

As part of the book fest, published and non-published members of RACWI are invited to volunteer as visiting authors at the RCBF’s outreach program with the Rochester City School District. In my early years of writing I always passed up this opportunity. Even though I’ve always been very comfortable in a classroom setting—having spent years as a substitute teacher and also a reading teacher, I kind of felt like the kids would rather hear from a real author—a published author, not an wanna-be author like me. But the focus of the outreach program is to get inner city school kids excited about reading and writing, especially since many of them may not attend the book fest. Volunteers can present in any way they like from reading another author’s books, to talking about their own stories and their dreams of one day seeing them in book form. But still, for many years, I felt like there were writers many authors more qualified than me to speak to the kids about books.

But last year, while Spin the Golden Light Bulb was still out on submission to publishing houses, I took a deep breath and volunteered—hoping the children would not view me as an author-impostor. With my binder encased middle grade manuscript and a self created children’s story planner in hand, I dressed up, headed off the one of the city schools, and conducted my presentation to two third grade classes. I spoke to kids about creating memorable characters, reading excerpts from Spin the Golden Light Bulb; I spoke to them about my own ups and downs of getting publishing; I listened to their ideas for their own stories; and ultimately, I left them with their own story planners to use. I had a fabulous time chatting with them and I don’t even think they saw me as an author-impostor at all! In fact, before I left, they gave me all sorts of encouragement. Convinced that my story would be published one day, they made me promised to tell them if it ever is! Little did I know that one week later, my publication offer would come and my binder bound manuscript would soon be turned into a real book.

Almost exactly one year later, just last week, I volunteered again—this time with my ARC, my advanced reader’s copy of Spin the Golden Light Bulb in hand and presented to two amazing fourth grade classes at another city school. This time though, with a bit more confidence than the year before, I spoke to kids about all things books, writing, and publishing… I gave them a presentation on how writing futuristic books can help create our own future and I read a sneak peek preview of my first soon-to-be published book. It was an incredible day, meeting the children and hearing their enthusiastic ideas for their own inventions and stories. It was amazing meeting the librarian, and the teachers, and the volunteers from Altrusa who make the event happen each year. And it was especially wonderful to see how eager the kids were to talk about books.

The biggest lesson I learned in meeting the children and presenting to them was to get over myself. All those years I could have been volunteering for this program, I stayed away—worried I wasn’t author-ly enough to have something to offer these kids. When really, most kids simply want to be connected with…and books are one of the greatest connectors there are.

For privacy reasons, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the kids, but I was able to snap a picture of a few of them with my ARC. This photo will always remind me of the kids who listened to the first chapter so intently, the kids who became wide-eyed when I told them that no other kids had read this story yet…the kids who got a sneak peek at my first published book.

RCBF To Go ARC photo

I plan to continue my author visits through this program, each year, as long as they’ll have me. I also plan on doing as many school visits as I can. I would have loved if an author came to my school growing up. I never knew that becoming a person who wrote the books I loved was even a tiny possibility. If I can inspire kids to write and to read—to open their world up to the millions of books that could make an impact on them—like so many other amazing authors do, then I will be so happy. Books are meant to be shared—and talked about. Author visits are a great way to do that.

So if any of you ever have the chance to share your love of books and writing with kids in any capacity, I say just do it. Your presentation doesn’t have to be award-winning. It just has to be genuine. If your love of books is there, it will most certainly shine through.

If you happen to be in the Rochester area this weekend, definitely stop by the Book Fest. I won’t be signing my book there this year, since it doesn’t release until January, but a little birdie told me that I may be signing both my books there next year. *squee!*  Here’s the link so you can read all about the festival fabulous-ness!  Rochester Children’s Book Festival.

Remember, Spin the Golden Light Bulb is available for pre-order now and pre-orders help so much—especially for authors of indie publishers, like Amberjack Publishing. So if you have any interest in reading it, or know a child who would, consider pre-ordering it. I would appreciate it so much!

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

And don’t forget to stop back on November 9th… two months out from launch day. Big things are happening. Big!

The debut of the Spin the Golden Light Bulb BOOK TRAILER will be happening right here on my site!!!! Plus, there will be a giveaway attached to it’s debut also. So…lots of fun things happening next week and I’m so excited…in case you couldn’t tell!

Have a fantastic week, friends! Thanks for stopping by:)

Jackie <3

 

Posted in The Crimson Five series

Book 2 News!

It’s official! My second book has a title…and a release date!

Flip the Silver Switch is slated for publication one year from today—July 10, 2018!

The sequel to Spin the Golden Light Bulb (THE CRIMSON FIVE, Book 1) will also be released by Amberjack Publishing hot on the heels of Spin the Golden Light Bulb’s release on January 2, 2018. Needless to say, this next year is shaping up to be a whirlwind. I’ve worked for almost ten years to have my first book published and now 2018 will mark the release of two! Am I dreaming? I sincerely hope not!

I’ve always loved the number 18. My birthday is July 18th, and now 2018 is my pub year. So hooray…more reason to love my lucky number.

While I count down the days until the ARCs of Spin the Golden Light Bulb arrive, Flip the Silver Switch is in the hands of my sweet and amazingly talented editor. Cross your fingers that she likes the draft- or at least doesn’t hate it. The five kids of Crimson embark on an even more elaborate adventure in this book and I can’t wait to dive back in, rip it to shreds, and polish it back up again later this summer…AKA start revisions.

Let me know what you guys think of the title. I’m excited to finally share it with you. It’s been this same title since I first outlined the book almost three years ago and I’m thrilled my publisher likes it as much as I do, because as you know, that’s not a given in the land of publishing.

I’ll be sharing more info about Flip the Silver Switch in the coming months but be on the lookout for sneak previews of Spin the Golden Light Bulb before than though. The world of THE CRIMSON FIVE is a big one and I can’t wait to invite all of you inside!

I’ll be back later this week with another installment of Swirl and Spark Weekly so be sure to check back if you can. Until then, thanks for being excited with me. I’m looking forward to returning the favor for all of you someday when your turn comes too—whatever your dream may be. 🙂

Jackie ❤

 

Posted in Holidays, Publishing, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, Swirl and Spark Weekly, The Crimson Five series

Swirl and Spark Weekly

Hey all! What’s new?

Not much here…just sitting around on a cloudy summer day figuring out how to keep this website fresh… and I thought of something! Hence the name of this blog post. Back in the day (like three years ago), I religiously blogged once each week, without fail, on Wednesdays. But as time has gone on, it has become harder to think up things to blog about and to find the time to do it. And as life has gotten in the way, my post have become more erratic.

But I hate that. I like connecting with all of you. So here I am, creating a weekly column called Swirl and Spark Weekly.

You may wonder why I think it will be easier to keep it up to date, now that I’ve given it a fancy title. And that would be a fair question. I mean I haven’t thought of any more earth shattering topics to write about, and life hasn’t slowed down at all. It’s is still… well life. But my mom taught me a long time ago that if you stay in touch with someone by talking to them on the phone every day, you know more about their every day life, not just the big moments. You’re more likely to pick up the phone because your conversations can be brief, you don’t have to have an hour long conversation each and every time. The task doesn’t seem so daunting. Sometimes it can be a brief check-in, just to say hello and let the other person know how you’re doing. And even though that’s just my mom ensuring that I call her every day, (Hi Mom!) she does have a point. 🙂 And yes, I do call my mom every day–mostly!

I’ve noticed that often times when I sit down to blog lately, I’m making it harder than it has to be. I’m trying to write something fabulous, something you know…worthwhile. But that’s wayyy too much pressure. So for now, until I get back into the routine, my weekly updates may be as thrilling as “Hey Guys, I went for a run/ slash walk today, spent too much time on Twitter, and struggled with what to make for dinner. Oh and I revised my WIP. How about you?” Or…it may be something amazing like, “Here’s the link to my new book trailer. Check it out!”

Many exciting things right now are happening for me as a writer, for the first time ever, and I want to share it with you all. You’ve been great at cheering me on through the struggles as I’ve worked toward publication, and now that it’s happening I want to bring you along with me to experience the fun stuff too! Because you will all be there soon enough too, if you aren’t already, and maybe my crazy ride will make yours just a little bit less crazy- if I share my stories with you!

So that’s that. I’m working on some other updates to the site too. The Book Nook will be getting a new look sometime soon. I’ve been more active on Good Reads lately so eventually I’ll be sharing my reviews over there. I’ll add a link when it’s updated so you’ll be able to see what I’m reading, what I want to read, and any reviews I’ve done.

I’ll also be adding back to the site some activities for kids pertaining to summer reading and writing. So keep checking back for those. I recently added my College Essay Assist information too. It’s that time of year again, so if your college- bound child needs my help, just click on the tab for info.

Do you guys have any fun holiday plans for the weekend? I’ll be doing a little packing (vacation is coming soon!), a little reading (I’m reading two books right now that are sooo good and critiquing my CPs WIP!), a little picnic-ing with the fam (always good to have family time), and taking a stroll through my town’s 4th of July exhibits at the Town Hall (lots of food, crafts, people watching…fun!).

The ARCs of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB (Book 1 of the Crimson Five series) should be arriving soon and I am literally shaking just thinking about it. Ten years is a LONG time to dream about holding your own book in your hands. I’m not sure if I will scream, faint, cry ugly tears, happy dance, or pee. Maybe all of the above!! I am sure that there will be pictures though. Lots of pictures and I will post them for all of you to see!

As far as writing goes, I’m on a writing break right now and it feels so weird! Like I have no projects hanging over my head. I submitted Book 2 of The Crimson Five series to my editor. We’ll start revising next month some time and I can’t wait! You know how much I love revising…polishing words is a sick sort of fun for me!! I’ll reveal the title and the release date in the coming weeks too.

So yeah, like I said, lots of fun stuff is happening around here and something really fun is happening next week in regards to the release of SPIN THE GOLDEN LIGHT BULB. It’s top secret though so you’ll have to check in next week to know what I’ve been up to!

Well my friends, I’m off to my exciting life of laundry, picking up after teenagers, and checking out Instagram! I may even buy the ingredients to make another flag cake this year. Doesn’t that sound fun?!

If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, come find me! I’m jackieyeager18. Or like my Facebook page: Jackie Yeager Author. I’d love to connect with you too!

Happy 4th to my friends in the USA! Cheers to independence and freedom…and a shout out to those around the world too, because everyone deserves a reason to celebrate!

Until next week…

Dream big and big things will happen!

Jackie ❤

Posted in Book Cover Reveal, Spin the Golden Light Bulb, The Crimson Five series

Cover Reveal! THE CRIMSON FIVE: Spin the Golden Light Bulb

Hey Everyone!

My book has a cover! The first in THE CRIMSON FIVE series,  Spin the Golden Light Bulb has a bright, sparkly, illuminating cover! And I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you!

 

I dreamed forever of what my first book cover might look like and now that it’s real, I’m in awe. Gabrielle Esposito, the Illustrator who created the amazing image, captured the essence of the Golden Light Bulb in the story perfectly. The moment I received it from the Amberjack team, I was blown away. I felt a little like Kia Krumpet  did the first time she saw it in the story; the first time she set her sights on winning it; the first time she imagined all that would be possible if she could only have one of her own…her very own Golden Light Bulb.

I’m so glad I can finally share this shiny cover with all of you. It represents so many things to me, like the fact that winning isn’t everything, but having a goal to work towards and believing you’re capable of reaching it definitely is. And sometimes it’s what you do after your reach that goal that matters the most. But even more that that, this cover represents personal affirmation that perseverance pays off, and my own dream really is coming true! It’s been torment keeping all its sparkly golden-ness a secret, and now that you’ve seen it, I’m even more excited for this January when you can read the pages inside. I can’t wait for you to meet Kia and the rest of the Crimson Five characters…and find out what’s so big about winning a Golden Light Bulb anyway!

A heartfelt thank you to the Amberjack team for their vision, and also to Gabrielle for creating this gem for my first middle grade book. 🙂 If you’d like to see more of Gabrielle’s work,  go to her website at http://www.gabrielleesposito.weebly.com. Her illustrations are amazing! She created the chapter illustrations as well and seriously guys, I have no words. They are just that good. I’ll share those soon so keep checking back.!

I hope you love this cover as much as I do! Thanks for celebrating it’s reveal with me. All of you make this journey wayyy better than I ever imagined.

Have a fantastic week!

Jackie ❤