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Friday, July 12, 2019

Hello Again, Mary Poppins...

Happy Friday All,

While some of you may have already seen Mary Poppins Returns when it was in the theaters, I didn't, but it's now up on Netflix for those who are interested (or, I'm sure, available for purchase or rent in other places).

First of all, a little disclaimer: I was never a big fan of the original. I didn't hate it, it just wasn't one I liked watching over and over again. Oh, I liked parts of it really well, but the song Feed The Birds always depressed me with its sort of melancholy music. Now don't get me wrong, Julie Andrews' and Dick Van Dyke, and the rest of the cast's performances were great. It just wasn't my favorite, nor one I wanted to watch over and over again. The end was a bit too bittersweet for me, and I always wondered if Jane and Michael's dad kept being as changed and jolly as he was at the end. Sure, a little cynical for a kid or middle schooler, but I just was never quite sure about it. That said, it's wonderfully innovative (especially for the time it released) and genuinely imaginative. (I always liked Mary Poppins' inside-the-sidewalk-picture dress. So pretty!)

As for the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns....

PROS: The costumes are done very well, as per usual, and there are some fun songs, and things that remind me of some of the best scenes in the original. Emily Blunt does a good job of stepping into Julie Andrews' shoes and taking up the Poppins' mantle. I liked the new character, Jack (lamp lighter) and as per usual, Colin Firth is an excellent actor (Mr. Dawes' nephew). The other actors (beyond Dick Van Dyke, and I think Angela Lansbury) I didn't really know all that well. The bath tub scene was a nice new way of Mary Poppins' magic working and I liked it. I did like that Mary Poppins goes up the banister again. I felt like that little thing and the carpet bag were two things that definitely belonged in any sequel about Mary Poppins.

CONS:  It feels strange having a sequel so many years after the first (much like I felt about the new STAR WARS movies, and the prequels). In some places it felt like it was trying too hard to be as imaginative and exciting as places in the first one (this doesn't include the sliding up the banister or Mary Poppins' carpet bag, as I said, those were things I thought belonged there and I was glad to see them). The thing is, though, in the process of trying so hard to be like the original it lost some of the charm that the original had. The original was charming because it didn't try to be anything but itself. (And of course, it was pretty innovative, which might be an unfair advantage it has over Mary Poppins Returns). One thing I DID miss from the original was the measuring tape. That was one of those little quirks of Mary Poppins that I missed.

OVERALL: It's all right, and if you're a Mary Poppins fan you might even love it. I liked it, I thought there were some nice scenes and some fun aspects, but I don't feel the need to see it again. The first one is charming and innovative. The second didn't necessarily feel innovative, but it had its fun moments.

So on a scale of 1-5 stars, one being the lowest and 5 being the highest, I give it a 3-star. It's in the middle for me. Not my super-favorite, I'm going to gush over it, but not bad, either. I give a lot of credit to Emily Blunt taking on the role, though. An iconic role like that isn't easy to do and she does do it justice in my opinion.

Have A Fabulously Fun Friday!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Summer Is Here...

Happy Friday All,

Lately I've been trying to figure out some mess with my website, being Mom, editing, writing, going on family vacation, prepping for different things.

I'll post pictures from my family vacation on here, soon, I just need to get them up on my computer. But it was nice. We went up to Michigan for my nephew's wedding. The ceremony was lovely, the venue was gorgeous, the bride and groom were so happy and we all had a fantastic time. I'm one of 8 kids, and we hadn't all been together in the same place since my parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration, which was about three years ago. For us, it's pretty incredible that it's only been 3 years. With our schedules, and the fact that we're all over the USA, it's hard for us all to get together in one place. But we did, and it was so much fun. A lot of laughter, hugs, reminiscing, and fun. I really am blessed to be in this family and I'm blessed that my parents are such generous, loving, and caring people. I can't tell you how often I've had folks come up to me and tell me my parents touched them in some way. They're really special people.

As for writing...

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, (or seen some previous blog posts) you know that I've been working on another book under the name Jeannie Averie. I figure Bethany Averie will remain my Young Adult/high school and up pen-name, but Jeannie will focus on 18/21 and up.

While I have been editing and writing Jeannie Averie books, I've also done a little work for some Bethany Averie ones, too. I can't go into detail (because I like to keep stuff to myself until I'm certain it'll work out).

I won't be up at RWA Nationals in New York City this year, but I'm looking ahead at 2020 and I might make Nationals next year. We'll see. I don't know for sure, yet.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a wonderful summer and reading lots of books!

I've got several books I'm reading, I'll have to post some stuff about them when I'm finished.

In any case, happy reading and happy summer!

Have A Fascinatingly Fantastic Friday!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Spread Smiles And Sparkles

Happy Friday All,

As those of us who are Christians remember Jesus's death on the cross today, and then on Sunday celebrate His resurrection, a thought occurred to me.

I'm a self-described eccentric. At least, some people have thought of me as that way, and to be honest, I like being quirky. Sometimes you gotta have a bit of quirkiness to keep your spirits up. To that end, I believe in trying to spread smiles and sparkles wherever one goes. What do I mean? Well, it's rather simple, really.

Either you know someone who is this way, or you're this way yourself, but they can't seem to find anything positive, like, hardly ever. They tell you all the things wrong or they're having a horrible day. You try to point out something positive, even something small, and they find a way to make it negative. I've met people who are this cynical. I don't know if they're aware of it. For me, their cynicism and negativity drags me down. I'm not the sort of person who LIKES to be miserable. I struggle with anxiety nearly every day. I've suffered depression.  And even though somethings are hard and sometimes I have trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I don't care to wallow. Oh sure, I'll give myself a pity party here and there. You gotta let those emotions out or else they eat you up. But don't stay there.

When I'm with other people, I try to keep upbeat. If I can make someone laugh or smile, then in my mind I've done something right and if it's the only right thing I do all day, well, it's better than nothing. Although, I wouldn't want to settle for the bare minimum, of course, but you get the idea.

I've got a friend who has a truckload of health issues. Like, every time I talk to her something has flared up. But no matter what flares or goes wrong she always says she's blessed. I'm of the opinion that she could have a limb hanging off of her and she'd still be sitting there counting her blessings. I admire that so much. I'm not always that way, but I want to be. 

A friend of my grandmother's once told me that when my grandmother was alive she never had an unkind word to say about anyone. I was impressed. I know I haven't followed that example; yet, it's something to keep in mind and try to follow, even if I fall short.

My point is, negativity is easy. Except the negativity doesn't do anything to make your life or anyone else's better. It doesn't make the world a brighter or better place and it just makes living hard. I'm not saying it's easy to be positive and I'm not saying I don't have bad days. I do, honest. However, you can't let the bad days win and ruin ANY good days. And trust me, I understand how hard it can be to find something positive sometimes. But if all you can find is ONE good thing, hold on to it and spread that good to someone.

I challenge you, my darling readers, find one positive thing a day. Just one. Even if all it is you woke up without a headache (if you normally have one) or that your arm didn't fall off or something like that. Find one thing. Just one. And then find ONE thing to laugh about. If you have to, turn on YouTube and look up funny stuff. Laughter releases tension and it's good for you. Think you can do it? Try it for one week. Just one week and see what happens.

If you need a funny read, I highly recommend Christie Craig's The Cop Who Stole Christmas. It doesn't matter that Christmas has passed and we're going into Easter. Shake things up! Read something out of the ordinary. And trust me, Christie's books are anything but ordinary! Or if that's too much of a stretch to read a Christmas story in April, then go for Shanna Swendson's Enchanted Inc. She's got some humor and it's light and fun.

Have A Fantastically Fabulous Friday!

Also, blessed Good Friday and Happy & Blessed Easter, too. :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

She DOES Exist!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

I've been working out some administrative things and also on this blog, so I haven't posted much lately. I've also been working on the novel I was writing under the Jeannie Averie name, so I've been fairly busy.

We are now in April, and already the weather in Texas is in the 80s! I wonder if it's going to get into triple digits this year like it did some other years. You never know.

This summer, one of my nephews is getting married. I'm looking forward to that and seeing family. On top of that, I'm working on the newsletter especially for those who signed up at BrazCon. Don't worry, if you didn't make BrazCon there will be a way to sign up. We're going to have some fun items for newsletter subscribers that we won't have anywhere else.

Books 5 and 6 in the Immortal Dreams series has been on hold while I work on the Jeannie Averie novel, but that doesn't mean I'll never get back to the series, it just means it's going to take me a little longer than I initially thought.

As to what I'm reading? Several things, and some things more so than others. I've been reading a Non-fiction book for Lent, and I have two novels left to finish, plus a stack of awaiting my attention.

Meanwhile, my offspring seem to be doing okay and life keeps moving along.

How are things on your end?

Hope everyone has a Totally Terrific Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Fabulously Fun Five Fictions...

Happy Wednesday All,

I'm trying to figure out a blogging schedule. It's not something I've had for a while, yet, but I'm thinking about it. Maybe once a week would work best for me. So, I'll try that and let you know if that changes.

Under my other pen name I did a 5 Fun Facts about myself that you may and or may not know, I think I'll do something similar here with a YA twist.

5 Favorite YA Reads (aside from my work) I'll Always Recommend (In NO particular order):

Ashes On The Waves by Mary Lindsey. I'm not an Edgar Allen Poe fan. I think he's depressing. But, Mary's novel is beautiful, poignant, and well written. It's just a gorgeous book (as far as I'm concerned, and like I said, I'm no EAP fan, even though I recognize he was a talented writer). So, definitely has to be on this list.

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry. I've had the privilege of watching this author's banner fly and her popularity rise. The first 25 pages of this novel was entered in the Northwest Houston RWA Lone Star Writing Contest the year that I was a member and the category coordinator. I was really intrigued. Later, I went on to read it and Katie writes with a realness, a grittiness and honesty that people can immerse themselves in and really learn to care about the characters. She's fantastic with coming up with excellent contemporary YA romances.

Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter. The first in her Shadow Falls series, C.C. has an interesting and fresh take on high schoolers and young adults with paranormal/supernatural abilities. Imaginative, well written, fun, and engrossing, I'm a fan.

Don't Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel. I love Lurlene's work because it's emotional, it's real, it's intense and beautiful. I've loved so many of her books, but this is one that really sticks out in my mind. I think I've read it three times or more.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Well, technically you could read Shadows before this one, but it's the first in the Lux series. I'm not usually huge on aliens. In fact, I don't really read Sci-Fi, but her imaginative take, and the suspense, adventure, and romance--the emotion--it pulls you in and before you know it, you're hooked. At least, that was the case for me.

There are several other authors and books I'd recommend, but these ones were what I really found myself super into when I read them. Most of these on the list I didn't expect to like so much when I first picked them up, and then I found I loved them.

So, what about you? What are some favorite YA (Young Adult) novels you've enjoyed?

Have a Wonderfully Witty Wednesday!


Friday, March 1, 2019

What's-Her-Face...?

Happy Friday Everybody!

Recently I finished writing a Romance that features shape-shifters. This is not a YA (Young Adult) novel. Considering that my aim is not YA with this novel, and I'd been thinking about it for a long time, I decided to develop another pen-name strictly for those types of novels. Bethany Averie will remain associated with the Immortal Dreams series and any other YA novels I write. Jeannie Averie will be for the NON-YA Romance novels (Paranormal and Fantasy) that I write. The Jeannie Averie novels will be for ages 18/21 and up. Bethany Averie novels are high school and up.

There isn't a drastic difference, except that the Jeannie Averie novels are a bit different in style and tone. Slightly "hotter".  So they need a different pen-name.

Now, why do I use pen names?

I like to keep my personal life separate from my professional life. Yes, tiny details of my personal life seep into my professional life, but the two are not exactly the same. My husband and offspring names and ages are not included in my professional life. In fact, I've only posted one or two pictures of my husband and none of my offspring. This is on purpose. As far as my husband and I are concerned, their lives are private. My husband and I discussed it a while back and that was the decision we BOTH agreed on. (In fact, I had come to that decision before he even suggested it to me LOL. It's nice to be on the same wavelength).

Why am I making a big announcement about the pen-name? Well, it's not really a secret. But they are going to be different types of books and I don't want the two to be mixed up. Bethany Averie is YA and is the Immortal Dreams series. Jeannie Averie is not. It's Romance geared more towards older audiences. This way my readers will know what type of novel they're getting.

As of March 1, 2019, there aren't any published Jeannie Averie novels out there. I'm hoping that will change with the one I'm currently editing and getting ready to shop around. We'll see how that goes.

Under Bethany Averie, I'm working on Book 5 of the Immortal Dreams series. My plan is to finish this one and finish Book 6. So those will be under Bethany Averie.

Have A Fabulously Fantastic Friday!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

No NYC But Other Great Stuff For Me...

Happy Thursday Everyone,

Wow! BrazCon was amazing! For those of you who made it out, thank you so much. It was fun and there were incredible costumes (check out my author Facebook page for pictures).

Important update: I will NOT be going to Romance Writers of America's National Conference in July (New York City). I was going to, but then some stuff came up and it turned out I couldn't. I'm looking at next year, which that one (2020) will be in San Francisco, so maybe I'll make it there. I've never been to San Francisco and I'd like to go.

I finished writing my adult shifter novel and it never changes. It always feels surreal and like "Wow!" when I write "The end." The next thing is edits and critique partner crits, and then I'll be shopping it around. But, it's exciting to have another book written. I do plan a sequel, so what happens at the end isn't the end of that story altogether. I already have the next book started and I've got books 5 and 6 in the Immortal Dreams series to write, so I'm still going forward with more writing.

The other thing coming up is that I'm planning on having an author email list (newsletter). I'm working with my consultant on that and I'll let you all know when it's ready. If you want to sign up, I'll let you know how to do that when I can. For those of you who signed up at BrazCon, you don't need to worry about re-signing up when it's up and running. We have your emails and names and you'll be subscribed right away. I'm working on some ideas for fun things for that. So that'll be fun when it's all set up.

As always, I've got a bazillion (okay, not quite that many, but several) books to read, but I have started in on my TBR (To Be Read) pile so hopefully I'll be able to make some headway on that.

Recently my husband and I rented Bohemian Rhapsody. We liked it. The acting and costumes were well done. I was really happy for Rami Malek getting the Oscar for it. He did a fantastic job. Have any of you seen it? What movies are you looking forward to seeing?

Have A Thrillingly Terrific Thursday!