Happy Book Birthday to “In the Shadow of the Dragon King”

Bring on the cupcakes and confetti because we’re celebrating the release of “In the Shadow of the Dragon King” by J. Keller Ford!2016-04-25 17.10.26








Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.
Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.  Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he’s some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He’s supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who’s too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.
With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.
Some early reviews for J. Keller Ford’s debut:
“IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is a riveting read. It’s rich with details and has an ethereal quality that’s hard to describe, but as I was reading, I felt like I could escape into the words and be in the world Ford created. The main characters, Eric and David, feel so genuine and authentic. Eric lives in the enchanted realm of Falhallow, while David lives in the modern world—until he finds himself called to Falhallow. Further complicating the plot is David’s best friend, Charlotte, who he has more than friendly feelings for. To destroy the dragon, Eric and David have to learn to work together and trust each other, which is a bit more difficult in reality than it sounds in theory.” -Laurie E. Flynn, author of FIRSTS
“In the Shadow of the Dragon King skillfully weaves the tale of two very different boys with similar destinies. Eric lives in Fallhallow, an enchanted land riddled by war and destruction. David lives in the modern world until he and his friend Charlotte are called upon to travel to Fallhallow. David’s purpose is not immediately clear, but it’s obvious that everyone believes he’s somehow tied into the conflict surrounding the dragon king. The complexity of the plot kept me turning pages, trying to guess what would happen next. J. Keller Ford’s world building is both stellar and unique. The contrasting voices of Eric and David were so well crafted and I equally enjoyed both of their stories. And I loved Charlotte – she more than holds her own against the guys, plus she has principles about both love and war and she stands behind them. YA Fantasy fans, this is one for you!” -Jen DiGiovanni, author of MY SENIOR YEAR OF AWESOME

Visiting Author Series: Jamie Ayres


We are thrilled to have Jaime Ayres join us today! Jaime is the talented author of three YA novels in her “My So Called Afterlife” series: 18 THINGS, 18 TRUTHS, and 18 THOUGHTS. Jamie joined Sixteen to Read author, J. (Jenny)Keller Ford, to talk about her debut experience, the inspiration for her “My So Called Afterlife” series, and how being a teacher helps to shape her stories and her personal life.
J. Keller Ford

Jenny Keller Ford

Jenny: Hi Jamie! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat. Because Sixteen to Read is a group of debut authors, we’d love to know more about the beginning of your writing career.  First, where did you get your ideas for your series of 18 Things, Thoughts, Truths?

Jaime Ayres

Jaime Ayres

Jamie:  My cousin’s son was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. These types of tragedies remind us that life is short, and it prompted me to write a bucket list. At the top of that list was to write a novel. After crossing off running a marathon, I felt like I could tackle anything! In the summer of 2009, I wrote my first draft, so I figured I might as well get it published. That process took a little longer. In the early part of 2012, an editor for TOR suggested I put a paranormal twist to make 18 Things more original and to turn it into a trilogy, since those were all the rage in YA at the time. I listened, and by June, I had a publishing contract!

Jenny:  How long did it take you to write each story? Did they flow? Did you ever lose inspiration? If so, how did you get it back?

Jamie:  Since I have summers off, I take about two months to write a novel. I only write five pages a day, then I edit what I wrote the next day before I write my next five. Sometimes I lose inspiration because let’s face it, the muse is as dependable as the Florida weather. But I just take the dog for a walk, listen to music, or watch a movie. Then I sit my butt back down in the chair, no matter what. Although, I’ve had a few days where I spent hours ‘writing’ and all I accomplished was a new Spotify playlist and spending another $50 buying books on Amazon.

Jenny:  You are a teacher who educates teens. Do you find your job as a teacher made you a better YA author?  Do you think being a YA author has made you a better teacher?

Jamie:Absolutely! When 18 Things released, I still taught elementary school (third grade). The following school year, I moved to middle school, where I teach eighth grade English Language Arts. Even though I helped with middle/high school youth ministry at church every Wednesday, that’s a totally different setting than being around that age group day in and day out all the time. It made me understand my characters a lot better. Now I cringe at some actions and dialogue in 18 Things because I know it’s not realistic, but at the same time, I’ve yet to read a perfect book!

Jenny.  Are you writing anything else right now? Can you talk about it?  🙂

Jamie:  I wrote another novel last summer, but my school year has been so busy, I haven’t had any time to edit. It’s still a coming of age YA, but a stand-alone and no paranormal twists. And since everyone keeps telling me they want to know what happened to Olga, Nate, and Conner, I plan on writing a novella that shows them at their ten year high school reunion, then releasing it as an ebook for 99 cents. Hopefully it’ll be ready before 2016 is over.

Jenny: Who is your favorite author today?  (If you’re like me that changes on a regular basis. :-))

Jamie:  J.K. Rowling . . . Sometimes when I’m feeling a bit of writers block, I watch JK Rowling “A Year in the Life” on YouTube, and all is ‘write’ with the world again (HA–I’m so punny!)

Jenny: And now for some fun because readers always like to know these tidbits from lightning rounds. Ready? 

M&Ms or skittles? M&Ms! (The answer is always chocolate, no matter the question!)

Cats or dogs? Dogs . . . We have a basset hound, but I do love those Grumpy Cat Memes!

Harry Potter or Katnis Everdeen? Oh, gosh! I’m all about girl power, but Harry Potter is a book I can read over & over again!

Flip flops or sneakers? Flip flops; I’m a Florida girl.

Dragons or unicorns? Just for you Jenny, dragons!!

River or creek? Creek, since we live on one (where we sometimes see osprey, otters, & alligators, oh my!)

Fave color? Red

Jenny:  One final question, Jamie. Knowing what you know now about the publishing process, marketing, etc., what advice would you give to debut authors facing this strange, new and sometimes scary world of publication?

Jamie:  I won’t claim I’m an expert. Even after almost four years of being in this world of publication, I still find it strange and scary. Almost nothing turns out the way I thought . . . sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse. I often go back to a speech I heard literary agent Donald Maass give at the RWA (Romance Writers of America) national conference in 2010. I was just starting out, and he talked about how much of publishing is up to luck and perfect timing. So write your heart out, market to the best of your ability (especially those six weeks leading up to your release and the six weeks after), then sit back and enjoy the ride. I haven’t made the Times Best Seller list, haven’t made a ton of money . . . but the unexpected thing that’s happened is I hear from kids all the time who say they never liked a book until they read mine or they were inspired to write their own life list (or even a novel!). Most surprisingly are those meetings and letters I get that say my book changed their life, or even saved it. So I guess my advice would be to remember WHY you write in the first place because honestly, for most, this business is a bumpy road and you won’t be scoring six figure deals that appear in Publisher’s Weekly. But there are some rewards you can’t put a price tag on. This business will humble you (which IMHO, is always a good thing).

P.S. I hope you don’t read this and think, Oh no–my book isn’t ‘deep’ enough to change anyone’s life! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book and the pure entertainment of it lifted me out of a dark pit.

Jenny:  Do you have any pictures you’d like to share so other debut authors can see what it’s like to be a published author? J

my banner

Jamie:  Sure! This is the banner my publisher sent me after my third book came out.

Jamie Recording

This one is of me recording some special part for my audible books.

Read Fest

This one is when I was a featured author at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival.


Jaime Ayres

Jamie’s books:

18 things 18 Thoughts cover 18 truths

Jamie’s links to her social media and books:

Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Goodreads  Instagram

Book Links:

18 Things  18 Truths  18 Thoughts

Happy Book-Birthday to “Summer of Supernovas!”

SOS BirthdayBring on the cupcakes and don your flirtiest dress because we’re celebrating the release of “Summer of Supernovas” by Darcy Woods!

Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one girl’s race to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.

When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love.

But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief.

Darcy Gams

Here’s what readers are saying about “Summer of Supernovas.”

This story is everything. It’s humor and heart and risks and disappointment and self-discovery. It’s fear and chance and comedy and tragedy and regret and forgiveness. Most of all, though, it’s about different kinds of love. –Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of “Firsts”

Wil is unlike any protag I’ve met in the pages of contemporary YA and positively addicting. Readers will love Wil’s passion and confused heart. She’s hilarious, with all the idiosyncrasies that make her endearing and relatable. — Shannon M. Parker, author of “The Girl Who Fell”

I love Darcy Wood’s writing style. She had me engaged from the first page and I fell in love with all of the characters immediately, even set-in-her-ways grandma. There was humor, heartache, and a shattering of beliefs. –J.Keller Ford, author of “In the Shadow of the Dragon King”

Click on an icon to order your copy of “Summer of Supernovas” right now!


Happy Book-Birthday to Three New #SixteenToRead Titles!

The sun is shining, birds are tweeting, and readers everywhere are racing to their local bookstores to discover three new Sixteen To Read books entering the world today: SUMMER OF SLOANE, by Erin L. Schneider, SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake, and THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scotti.

Here’s what people are saying:

Sloane B'day Image (1)

“SUMMER OF SLOANE is the kind of book with the power to take your mind somewhere warmer and more exotic. But don’t mistake this for an airy beach read. It’s a story that tackles so many things with grace, humor, and truth.” –Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS

“I was hooked from the very first line of SUMMER OF SLOANE and Schneider kept me entranced with Sloane’s flirty summer romance and the lovely, lush Hawaiian backdrop.” –Shannon M. Parker, author of THE GIRL WHO FELL


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“I tore through this book. I couldn’t help it; Hadley’s story and Sam’s story just sucked me right in.” –Sonya Mukherjee, author of GEMINI

“My head is still spinning from the emotional highs and lows that the author deftly takes us through as we follow Hadley and Sam’s romantic, star-crossed journey.” –Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP


“THE WAY BACK TO YOU was a book that kept me up until midnight burning through a box of tissues. At the end I felt like I knew all of the characters really well, especially the one who was no longer there. If you enjoy a good tear-jerker, this book is for you!”–Jennifer Bardsley, author of GENESIS GIRL

“This book was SUPER swoony!! It was heartfelt and emotional and so well done!” –Jennifer Maschari, author of THE REMAKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRINCE

How many Sixteen To Read books have you read so far?

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