Monday, May 23, 2016

Updates & What's Up...

Happy Monday All,

I've been wrapped up in my WIP (Work In Progress)--which you can find out more about on my official website. I've also been
working on another project, which I'll talk more about when it's finished.

In all of this, I keep up with the Wife and Mommy gig--two lifelong vocations that take most of my time. However, lucky for me, I have a husband who believes in making sure I get time to write and work on things in my writing career.

This means, though, I don't get on the blog as much. It's not because I've forgotten about it, it's because my life is full of these other projects.

However, this doesn't mean I've totally disappeared. I recently updated my website, and I'm on Facebook and on Twitter.

What's going on with you?

Have A Magically Merry Monday!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Magically Romantic Night...

Happy Friday All,

My heart is dancing today (well aside from being slightly tired because Youngest had a bit of a rough night) but I won't let that ruin why I'm on an emotional high.

Last night, as an early anniversary present to ourselves, my handsome Real Life Hero (my husband) and had a rare night out
Picture of the program we got
at the performance
and went to see the musical of Disney's Beauty And The Beast.

Not everyone dresses up at this theater, but I was brought up that fancy places like the one we went to, you wear something dressier than jeans or khakis and a top. So I wore a floral pleated skirt, a dressy black top, my new sparkly low-heeled
sandals, sparkly necklace and bracelet. And, with the help of at least a dozen bobby-pins, I put my hair up (all by myself, which is really something since I'm completely uncoordinated with fixing hair. I'm lucky I can do a simple bun and low or high ponytails. I can't even really braid my own hair or operate a curling iron. I know that's kind of sad and pathetic for a woman of my age, but it's the truth!)

Real Life Hero wore a new black suit, dark green shirt, tie, and dress shoes (he looked so handsome. But,
Real Life Hero and I at the performance
 I'm not sharing him. You want a hero, you'll have to choose someone else. LOL :-)  ).

We arrived with enough time to hang around the areas outside the main part of the theater. Husband got a Sprite, and I got a bottle of water. Then it was time to get to our seats. We were up in the gallery, so I was a little dizzy, but it was okay. Real Life Hero lived up to his hero status and kept me steady.

Before I get into the details of the performance, from my personal point of view and opinion, despite the number of children we saw, both Real Life Hero and I agree the musical is for more mature audiences. Some of the humor, acting,
Me inside the theater.
I'm not sure why I look so serious,
I was having a good time.
and at least one of the songs isn't exactly geared toward them. This is me and my husband's opinion and not to start any debate. Each parent has to decide what's best for their kids, we're just giving our input.

The musical opens much like the movie. Our version didn't have any stained glass windows for this part like the movie, but that does NOT take ANYTHING away from the performance.

Some of the main differences (aside from humor, innuendo, and music being more mature) is that there are more musical numbers, and some things expanded on, and other things changed to suit the venue. In movies you can do things you can't do on a stage and vice versa.

One of the songs that isn't in the movie, and one of my new favorites, is If I Can't Love Her, and the Reprise. I loved seeing more into the Beast's emotions in a way the movie doesn't show as much. It also put me in mind of a little of how Monroe sometimes
feels in my novel, All's Fair In Love & Lion.

Also, the lessons the servants give the Beast (Sam Hartley did an awesome job in this role) and the way he tried to implement them were hilarious. At one point he was repeating to himself "Act like a gentleman. Act. Like. A. GENTLEman." It was cute and heartwarming.

Brooke Quintana gave a lovely performance as Belle. She can belt out some of those notes, too. It was amazing! I really enjoyed one of the new songs they had for Belle called Home.

Speaking of Gaston, Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek was superb. He played up the arrogance even more than the movie, and sang extremely well.

In the movie, LeFou (Gaston's sidekick) is a bit of a bumbler. In the musical they played this aspect of his personality up with a ton of tumbling. Both me and Real Life Hero were extremely impressed with Matt Dasilva's performance.

You can get the full cast information here.

The Be Our Guest musical number was impressive (and got a ton of applause). The Beast's transformation was also done well.

There's a Gaston song called Me. Given the time period of the story (probably early 1700s) it illustrates much of the mindset of a woman's role in society and how they were often viewed. It's not the most flattering toward women type of song, but when taken in context, it makes sense.

All in all, if the musical is coming to your area, I highly recommend going. It's romantic, funny, fun, and definitely worth it.

I plan on getting the soundtrack at some point. I really enjoyed it.

Have A Fantastically Fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Do You Do It?

Happy Wednesday All,

Whew. I'm tired, are you? For one thing, Texas is back to yucky weather. Luckily it's not supposed to be as bad as a week ago, but it certainly wasn't fun to be woken at 4:30 a.m. with a Tornado Warning.

Now, I appreciate the National Weather Service (NWS) doing its best to keep people safe. In fact, I'm grateful, and I respect what they're doing. Honestly, I do. What I don't like is the fact that after being woken at 4:30 a.m. (when I finally was able to sleep after dealing with Youngest waking up every 1-2 hours because Youngest is going through a rough patch right now--something all people go through and it's not dangerous, just hard) is that I couldn't go back to sleep for the longest time! I finally conked out
around 6ish, I think. Only to wake up again around 6:30 or so. Then I went back to sleep until Youngest decided that at 7:27 a.m. sleep was a rotten idea, and it was time to get up (this was after Youngest had been a little restless here and there).

Now I've been in the very little/no sleep position as a Mom before. This is NOT my first sleep deprivation rodeo. However, it's not any easier than any other time. In fact, any time it happens is harder than before because I'm older now than I was before. (That's the funny thing about the years passing, huh? You get older!)

Does sleep deprivation kill the writing side of my life--the creativity? Sometimes. Not always. It really depends on where I am
in a story or what's going on. Currently the incredibly talented and awesome Stacy Hoff is looking over one of my WIPs (Works In Progress) so I'm not really working on it too diligently. My husband teases me because I've been working a little on several stories at once. He thinks I need to focus on one story at a time. He might be right, but I figure if I have an idea for something, get it written so that I can focus. 

In fact, I got an idea for one story that I'll be implementing while I'm waiting for Stacy's comments. (Speaking of which, Stacy's novels are fun and imaginative, I urge you to check them out. Particularly her Desire series. The television network in her stories is just itching for lawsuits! LOL).

A lot of people ask me "How do you do it?" I write whenever I can grab a minute--or whenever Real Life Hero (my husband) takes the
Offspring and I have a flash of inspiration. I think about my stories and work almost all the time. Laying in bed at night, I'll contemplate scenes before falling asleep.

When writing is what you want to do--really want to do--you find a way. I've learned that whatever you have a passion for you will make time to do. As a mom, I have a responsibility to my Offspring to be Mom to them. I love them, and want to provide for them. So, I find ways of doing it. I love to read, so I find time to do that, too--even if that means reading off my E-reader apps on my phone. You have to be flexible. But if I didn't have the passion
for these things, I don't think I'd make the time. It's not easy and if you're doing one thing other things will suffer (like housework) but you have to find a balance (if you can, sometimes you don't find a good balance, but you have to do your best)--and sometimes you just have to accept the bad with the good. Some days are good, some are bad. I think that's what any mom or person goes through with whatever they do. I don't think it's exclusive to Moms/Dads who are writers. Based on what I've seen/heard, it's just life.

Anyway, I hope your week is going well and if you're in Texas, stay dry!

If you cross paths with Stacy Hoff, tell her I said hi. :-)

Have A Wondrously Whimsical Wednesday!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Motorcycles, Deep Characters, & More...

Happy Friday One & All,

And also, Happy April! It's April 1st. No, I'm not going to play any April Fool's jokes on you. Just a straight post, so no worries.

Today, though, is a surprise book review! No, the author didn't ask me this time, this is just me telling you about a book I read this week.

On Tuesday, March 29, YA Contemporary author, Katie McGarry's newest Thunder Road series book, Walk The Edge came out. I had pre-ordered an e-book copy and it arrived on Tuesday. I finished it at 11:38 p.m. (between family, and my own writing demands) I finished it.

Razor and Breanna are excellent characters--complex, emotional, and deep.

Katie's writing has a sense of honesty about it. I can't exactly explain it.

Her characters are "broken" and/flawed, but want what's good and right in the world. They have a strong sense of justice. Even if they're down a bad or dark path, they want what's good. They want something right, they just don't always know what the right thing is or how to get it.

Her stories are gritty, and pull no punches.

I've been following Katie's career with great interest (and have read everything she's published) since her first novel, Pushing The Limits (one of my favorites) was first released. (You can read about how I met Katie here).

I also appreciate the amount of time and research she puts into her work.

So, if you're in the mood for motorcycle clubs, emotional story lines, and complex characters, I recommend you head out to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and get yourself a copy of Walk The Edge.

Have A Fabulously Fun Friday!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Get Sucked In...

Happy Thursday All,

What makes you love a novel? Is it the writing? The characters? The atmosphere? The genre? Or all of the above?

As a reader, it depends on a lot of things. Sometimes the writing is excellent and I'm in raptures. Other times the characters are amazing, even if the writing isn't the very best I've ever seen. And sometimes, I just get drawn into a story and I can't really say why.

In terms of my writing, it depends on what type of inspiration strikes. With my standalone Fantasy Romance, All's Fair In Love & Lion, I was into brooding male leads, and fairy-tales. I took the two
and came up with a lion shape shifter and an orphaned English teacher (Sasha loses her parents when she was 15, although in the novel she's much older than that). I wrote it with adult audiences in mind, even though the heat level is more Sweet Romance than hot. Writing first person present tense wasn't a plan of mine, either. I tried writing it third person past tense, but it wouldn't come together. I really had to do what worked for the story.

 Book One of my Immortal Dreams Trilogy, Divine Love, was a totally different experience. This one ended up having 18 year olds as the hero and heroine duo of the story and I pulled from my love of Greek Mythology. I also decided to just in a sense, "kick off my shoes, and put my feet up". It was some of the most fun I had while writing. I enjoyed coming up with Jason's arrogant-but-lovable personality, and Laney's seemingly quiet and shy, but actually able to totally kick butt persona. Writing Hades as a humorous gatekeeper of the Underworld, and Cupid & Psyche as cheesy love-birds was so much fun.

Working on Book Two, Astral Love proved a new challenge. I had to write a sequel and I had to do it in a limited amount of time. Not
only that, but I had to leave an opening for Book Three. What draws me to this story is that I took a deeper look at the hero, Jason Magnus. Plus you also find out more about the heroine, Laney Alberts.
When I got to Book Three, Immortal Love, I knew I'd have to "up the ante". As the last book in the Trilogy I wanted the story to end
with a bang. I threw everything I could come up with and imagine at Laney and Jason. I went over descriptions in two places to try and make it as big as I could. I was drawn into the fact that Laney and Jason were now in a place where they were comfortable in general with their circumstances. So I had to make them as uncomfortable as possible. I enjoyed expanding upon their relationship and the world of the Immortals. It was hard to say goodbye to them at the end, but I was happy I had written their story.

I love all my novels and characters for different reasons. Some are easier to write than others, but each one drew me into their world for their own reasons.

The novels I'm currently working on are new stories that I hope my readers will enjoy as much as I enjoy creating them.

So, tell me, as a reader (and/or writer) what draws you into or toward a story?

Have A Tantalizingly Tremendous Thursday!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Do You Want To Be A Super-Hero?

Happy Wednesday Everybody,

Did everyone go check out author Katie McGarry's new YA Contemporary novel that was released yesterday? I got an e-book
copy of it and I'm well into the story. I really like it so far. Razor is complex and interesting, as is Breanna. This feels a lot like some of her previous work, and I'm thrilled about that. Nowhere But Here was good, but Walk The Edge is definitely better (in my opinion).

Okay, folks, raise your hand if you're a nerd/geek/dork...

Come on, don't be shy!

Just admit that you're a big fan of DC's Justice League, or Marvel's Avengers (or both, as in my case). Tell me you love Chris Helmsworth as Thor, and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the movies makes you smile. Or maybe you're more into the comic books, or into something else entirely.

Batman, maybe?

I happen to be more of a fan of Super-Man, but that's just me. I do want to see Batman Vs. Super-Man. I'm curious as to how they play up the rivalry.

I don't plan to see the Suicide Squad movie. I'm not a huge fan of all that. However, it does look like they're putting a lot of thought and consideration to each character and that the actors are going to be superb.

My favorite depiction of Super-Man is Lois & Clark. This will not shock those who know me best. I'm hopelessly romantic, and that show played up the romance between the two of them and I loved that. I have two of the seasons on DVD (can you guess which 2 seasons? Hmm..., cue the Jeopardy! theme song).

I watched several seasons of Smallville, but lost interest after a while. While I'm a fan of several pieces of Tom Welling's work, I just wasn't too into the show.

I guess I'm more of a Marvel girl than a DC girl. Huge fan of X-Men movies (Patrick Stewart does a great job as Professor X. Of course, he pretty much does a great job whatever role he plays. Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine as far as I'm concerned. He embodied the role really well, and I did think that Ian McKellen's Magento was well done).

I also like Toby Maguire's depiction of Spider-Man. I wasn't as into the newer Spider-Man movies.

Funny side note:  When I saw Snow White And The Huntsman, every time Chris Helmsworth came on the screen I yelled out "Thor! Wait, where's his hammer? Oops, wrong movie!" (We watched it at home on DVD) my husband gave me a weird look for that, but as far as I'm concerned Chris Helmsworth will be Thor first and foremost in my mind. (P.S. I also said it to see what my husband would do. I thought his reaction was hilarious).

So what's your nerdy/geeky/dorky "guilty" (because I make no apologies for liking these things) pleasure?

Have A Wonderfully Whimsical Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Saying Goodbye & Saying Hello...

Happy Tuesday Everybody,

Did you all have a nice Easter? We did. Holy Saturday we got to see one of my sisters and her family. That was a lot of fun. We also went over to a friends' house to visit. On Easter we went to Mass, and my father-in-law came over in the afternoon. So not bad.

I did find out a piece of sad news. Mother Angelica (the nun who started EWTN--Eternal Word Television Network--a Catholic TV station) passed on Easter Sunday. Mother Angelica was humble, straight forward, and humorous. She will be missed. Rest in peace, Mother Angelica!

Now, for a piece of fun news...

Author Katie McGarry has a brand-new release out today! I've received Walk The Edge and I'm interested to see what Razor's story is like. This is the 2nd in her Thunder Road series, the first one was Nowhere But Here.

It's been a lot of fun for me to watch Katie's career grow and
flourish. I met Katie before Pushing The Limits was published. She had entered the first few pages of the novel in my chapter's annual contest (the Northwest Houston RWA's Lone Star Contest. You can find out more by clicking here--the 2016 Lone Star Contest isn't open to entries, yet).

I was the YA Category Chair at the time. I had the pleasure of calling her to let her know she was the first place finalist for the category (she ended up winning first place in the contest). She informed me she had just signed a contract with her agent and told me how exciting that was--how her agent called her and how much she liked this agent. Later, she landed the contract for the novel to be published.

I have followed her career, and read everything she's published ever since.

In September of 2014, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Katie face-to-face. She's humble, sweet, and very personable. I'm honored to count her friend, and to be a fan of her work.

Congratulations, Katie, and best wishes on future releases and your career!

What is everybody reading these days?

Have A Thrillingly Terrific Tuesday!