Forget What You Thought Was Reality...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013...A Success! Also Writing Updates...

Happy Monday All,

I hope everyone had a wonderful and very Merry Christmas! We sure did.

Christmas Eve we attended church and then came back and relaxed a while before friends of ours came over for a brief visit. 

On Christmas Day, we slept in, (yes, Offspring does sleep in from time to time--which is lovely, especially when didn't have to get up
early!) We got up, Offspring and I ate breakfast, then we opened gifts (Husband opted to wait until after gifts to eat breakfast because he was going to have oatmeal and he said that took him a while to eat, and Offspring was going crazy wanting to open gifts LOL).

We spent the rest of the day just relaxing. Offspring and husband played in the backyard--I went out there for a while. I spent most of the day reading one of my new books, Katie McGarry's Crash Into You (She writes contemporary/romantic YA novels. I've enjoyed everything she's published so far).

Husband had to work the next day. I was supposed to be writing, but last week was a bust--I was pretty distracted (gee, I wonder why! New presents, and brain not focusing). I finished another book I got for Christmas last week--Jessica Day George's Princess Of The Silver Woods (I've read her other princess novels in that series and I really enjoyed it).

I got a bunch of new novels on one of my E-readers (we now how two) using a gift card I got from one of my friends. I read one of the short stories I got--Lisa Scott's Say My Name, which is a play on the Rumpelstiltskin story. 

Now I'm needing to read Rick Riordan's House Of Hades, then get moving on some of the other books I got on my E-reader until the
next round of library books come through here. (Yes, I both buy books and get books from the library--some books I own are books I first read from the library and liked so much I wanted my own copy). 

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of all the awesome gifts I got, but I'll go ahead and list them:

1.  Several new books (as I said, gift card from one of my best friends).
2.  A blender from Husband and Offspring (to make smoothies)
3.  A board game called Damn You Autocorrect from one of my other best friends. I laughed when I saw the title. Looks like fun!
4.  Two pretty t-shirts from my parents
5.  Lounge socks, slippers, lip gloss, and a sample of lotion from my "lil sis" 
6.  10 Things I Hate About You anniversary edition DVD from one of my sisters (a sibling of mine has a program that takes me and my siblings, and our spouses' names and pairs us up with someone for Christmas)
7.  Perhaps Love Jonathan & Charlotte album from one of my sisters
8.  Kindle Fire for my family from my parents

I'm pretty happy with what I got. I really like that movie, 10 Things I Hate About You...husband and I both like it, actually. I'm looking forward to seeing the special features on it, too. It's also a movie my deceased friend, Sarah and I enjoyed.

Writing news?  I do actually have some. I may not have worked as hard last week on the writing as I intended, but I have made progress on TWO novels I'm working on:

*Book 2 of the Third Realm novels (Loralyn from All's Fair In Love & Lion story) has a few pages written (I still need to do a lot more work on that one).

*Book 2 of my New Adult (NA) Paranormal Romance has made some progress (and has some plot points for me to use for the rest of the novel--yay!)

I don't know when I'll have these two novels, done, but I'm glad they're moving forward.  There's been a few people who have asked about a book coming after All's Fair In Love & Lion--be patient, I do have plans for at least one. Right now, the New Adult series has taken a lot of my attention. When I have more news on that and other novels I'm working on, I'll let you know. :-)


How was your Christmas? Do you have a favorite gift? If so, what is it?

If I don't get to posting before January 1st, Happy & Blessed New Year to you and yours.

Have A Marvelously Magical Day!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas, News, Updates, & More...

Happy Monday One and All,

The Averie Household is in full Christmas gear-up mode. We've finished Christmas present shopping. The outside lights are up (sorry, I don't have pictures right now.  Our camera needs its batteries replaced and we ran out of the kind it uses. But once we get the batteries, I'll go out and see if I can get some pictures of them. We don't have a lot out).  Our tree has been up for a while, which has been fun--although the lights don't work on it, so next year husband has said he's going to put lights on it. Good thing we have some extra lights...hopefully we have enough. Have to find that out.

I've been enjoying The Florin Street Band's newest video/song, Winter Wonder.  I don't know how many of you remember their first song, My Favorite Time Of Year, but I loved it. It was an effort put together by Leigh Haggerwood, a singer/songwriter. He got a bunch of musicians and singers together and they dressed in Victorian era costumes. Really lovely. The songs are just so much fun.  Definitely suggest checking them out to get yourself into the Christmas Spirit.

Several authors are doing giveaways and freebies--if you're paying attention to my Twitter Feed  you'll notice I've mentioned some of them. There's some great deals this season, too, so keep those eyes and ears open. 

I mentioned on Facebook that Friday (Dec. 13th) when I went to my husband's work Christmas party I had an awesome fan experience. There was someone there who had read All's Fair In Love & Lion and really enjoyed it. This
person asked me all about my writing and future novels. It was such a great experience to interact with this fan. I appreciate each and
every one of you. Please, don't hesitate to
email me, authors love to hear from their fans, and I'm no different. Commenting on here is also most welcome (no Spam, please, though).

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you know I've sent out the first book in my new series. This series is NOT connected with All's Fair In Love & Lion. It's an entirely new story. It's geared toward the New Adult (NA) genre (typically heroes/heroines are 18-25 facing new adult situations--this is the most basic explanation I have to offer at this time). I had a blast writing this novel. It's a different feel and style than All's Fair In Love & Lion. I do plan to get back to the Third Realm and finish Loralyn's story, just be patient--I have to write the 2nd book in this new series while the characters are hanging out in my head and there might even be a 3rd book. (But Loralyn is on my mind, too!)

Updates are up on my website (News and Other Projects) so feel free to check that out, too.

Stay tuned, folks...you never know what I'll come up with.

Enjoy the rest of this preparation time. Next week is Christmas! :-)

Are you all ready for Christmas?

Have A Marvelously Merry Monday!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh, The Christmas Tree!

Happy Tuesday All,

Yesterday I mentioned I had guest posted on Anna Kathryn Lanier's blog. In the blog post, I talked about ornaments that meant something special to me. I figured it was only fair I show you these ornaments and explain them.

Before I do that, here's our Christmas tree all set up and decorated (yes, this year's version):

The first ornament is in honor of my maternal grandfather. Grandpa died in 2004, 10 days before my birthday. He was a wonderful grandfather. Always full of stories (both true and made up), quick
to give you a $2 bill ("Never spend this and you'll never be broke.") He also was quick with a joke, which was followed by a smile and his deep, comforting chuckle. Growing up, my family had a Thanksgiving tradition called "The Turkey Contest".  After Thanksgiving meal we'd all sit at the table, and there would be jokes told. The person with the best--or sometimes even the worst--joke won and was called "The Turkey".  Grandpa won many of these. After his death, my mother gave me this ornament, and it gets a place of honor every Christmas season near the top of the tree.

The next ornament is one I didn't mention in the blog post. I put up my Christmas tree after the blog post. But this ornament is special to me. It's in honor of my mother's brother, my Uncle Jim, who died a few years ago (2 or 3 years ago).  Uncle Jim was also quick with jokes and laughter--he sometimes won the Turkey Contest, as well. Uncle Jim played guitar (as does my own father) and I remember especially him playing the Beach Boys' Sloop John B.  Uncle Jim was a wonderful man, whose memory lives on in the hearts of my aunt, and my cousins, me, my family, and other relatives. His eldest daughter was my maid of honor. So, because he loved to play the guitar, the guitar ornament represents him.

Last, but definitely not least among those special to me, is the ornament that represents my best friend, Sarah, who died earlier this year. Sarah was like a sister to me, and having her gone and facing this first Christmas without her has been rough. This ornament is the first ornament she ever gave me. It used to have a
heart that hung from the bottom and played music, but I lost that part (it could unhook).  She gave this ornament to me long before I got married and moved out of my parents' house, so it enjoyed several years on my parents' Christmas tree before coming along to my house and hanging from my tree. This year, these two fun-loving girls have a place of honor near the top for Sarah. I like to think in a sense this ornament also represents Sarah and I (although, neither of us ever was blonde LOL) and all the fun we had together.

Of course, the tree is never complete without the ornament one of my sisters gave me about 2-3 years ago that represents my character, Monroe from All's Fair In Love & Lion. As you can see, Monroe is in his lion form and gets to watch all the festivities and fun from his perch somewhat near the top of the tree. Not a bad place to get to view all the action of the season. (P.S. That heart ornament by Monroe? It's a mother ornament someone gave me a while back in honor of me being a mom, pretty cool, huh?)

And yes, the tree is covered in tinsel. To me, a Christmas tree needs tinsel to be complete. It just doesn't look the same without it.

There's no presents under the tree, just yet. I still have to wrap them and keep them hidden so that Offspring doesn't try to get a head-start on opening presents. LOL Offspring would probably hold off, but I'm a Mama who knows better than to press her luck! However, the presents will get under the tree in time to entice, at least a day or so before we actually unwrap them.

What ornaments are important to you and where do they go on your tree?

Have A Terrifically Treat-filled Tuesday!

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Happy Monday All,

Hey everybody! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Advent. During this second week of preparations for Christmas, I'm looking at my shopping list going "Aaahhh, what do I do for so-and-so?" But I have a few ideas, so I don't have to completely freak out. At least, not yet. I hope.

Last week gave me a horrible surprise. I had an awful sinus infection. I'm doing much better, thank goodness, but I don't recommend getting one. It's not fun. 

The first book in the Immortal Dreams series has been sent to my editor. Already need to change the title (apparently someone else in the publisher's community has the same title of Dream Weaver, so now I'm working on that). I'll let you know what I come up with. (Please NO suggestions. I've got some people already working on it, and too many suggestions make it hard for me to make a decision--I do appreciate your desire to help, but this is something I gotta do on my own).  Hopefully editor likes the story. I really had a blast writing it. I'm working on book 2, which is coming slowly (unfortunately).

The post about my favorite Christmassy things is up, and Anna Kathryn Lanier is running a giveaway (there's still time to enter) details are found on the post. Click here to see what I said.

I've got several other novel ideas that are going (can't talk about them right now). 

In any case, it's a busy time of year for everyone, but I hope you take some time to stop and enjoy the season. Yes, it can be hectic, but don't forget to have some joy, too.

What are you doing for Christmas this year?

Have A Marvelously Merry Monday!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

All She Wants For Christmas...

Happy Tuesday All,

Wow, it really has been a long time since I updated. I was working on fixing up my new novel to send out, and had a bunch of other obligations so my life has been packed lately. I still have a lot on my plate, but I wanted to take the time to give a heads up on a few things. (By the way, new novel has been sent out, yay!)

I'll be guest appearing on another blog (scheduled for Dec. 3rd), I'll do my best to update the blog so you can get to the post. It'll have a bunch of my favorite Christmassy traditions in it, so stay tuned. If you're following me on Facebook or Twitter, I'll definitely have the links on there. I need to update my website--the last time I tried there was some sort of problem and it didn't go through. 

In the meantime, the ever-talented Christie Craig has a new Romance out just in time for the holidays, and today I'm going to give you my official blog review of it:

Savanna has had a run of bad luck lately. When her mom was dying, her husband decided to sleep with one of his employees, in their house. She came back from spending time with her mother, only to find the two together. Now divorced, and having had to give up the house, she finds out that the fact she didn't put her car's title in her name is coming back to bite her in the rear...in the form of a Santa-suit wearing repo man all because her ex-husband screwed her over by taking out a loan on the car's title and not paying it back.

She runs to her neighbor's house--hunky cop, Mark Donaldson, to ask him for help. Unfortunately, his hands are tied and he can't do a thing.

And although Mark is unable to assist her, he can't help but notice how attractive Savanna is. She, on the other hand, has deemed him a jerk. (Albeit, a hunky jerk).

Unable to get help anywhere, she drowns her troubles in the form of lunch with her best-girlfriends and confesses all she wants for Christmas is her ex-husband dead with a bow tied around his.... (you fill in the blank). 

What Savanna didn't bargain for was her words spoken in anger to be taken seriously. She comes home only to find her ex laying on the floor dead. This time, however, when she runs for Mark's help, the cop is determined to prove her innocence. Not only that, serve and protect take on a whole new meaning when Savanna's involved. 

You see, for the first time in Mark's life, he may have just found the woman right for him.

But is it meant to be or will doubts and murder get in the way of could-be?

Find out in The Cop Who Stole Christmas. For a Limited Time you can get this fun novel for only $1.99 on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Have A Totally Terrific Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Updates, Edits, & More...

Happy Tuesday all,

It's been a while since I've updated my blog. Like always, I mostly concentrate on Facebook and Twitter. However, I do try to get on here at least once in a while. I used to be so much better about this. I'm sorry!

My revisions for Immortal Dreams Book 1:  Dream Weaver are coming along. I'll be sending them to my proof reader very soon, then I'll go through it again and get it out. I'm ready for this novel to be going out into the world. It's not a Third Realm novel, but I think it's a lot of fun. I'm classifying it as a New Adult Paranormal Romance. It does have magic in it, which lends a little bit of the fantasy to it.

New Adult is a fairly new designation. I was reading in article in a magazine about how it's not quite adult and not quite YA. In general, the characters tend to be between 18 and 25. It's based on getting into new adult situations--college, marriage, adulthood. (Most of what I'm saying is based on the article I read and what I've read around the internet about the genre). I plan for this to be a 3-book series. I have started writing the 2nd book, and the 3rd book is in the planning stages.

What about my Third Realm novels? All's Fair In Love & Lion is the first out of the Third Realm books and currently the only book that's published. As to more Third Realm stories? I still have to finish Loralyn Xavier's novel. The working title is Out Of The Flames.  Loralyn is on the Third Realm Council, and you meet her through Monroe--although he doesn't know much about her.  Her mystery and past lend for some interesting story ideas--which, I won't go into (it's a surprise).  I do have hopes to write another Third Realm novel. This one would focus on Quin Erone, the Nightshade who is also on the Council. He's an interesting creature in and of himself--but his story isn't quite developed completely in my mind, yet.  His story's working title is In The Shadows

I also have another project--a New Adult Paranormal one--that's lurking in the background. I won't reveal much about that. It's an idea I worked on years ago, but could never get it to come together. I'm hoping this time it will, but I'm not positive, yet.

There are plans for a spin-off series of the Immortal Dreams books.
I plan at least 2-books for the spin-off, with a possibility of other spin-offs later.  Right now, however, I'm focused on getting the 3 books of the Immortal Dreams series put together.

For those of you who have read All's Fair In Love & Lion is there a character you're longing to hear about? If so, leave a message in the comments and I'll answer it as best I can.

Have A Thrillingly Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Dare You To Blurb...

Happy Monday/Tuesday All,

It's been long while since I've blogged. A big chunk of the reason is that I've been knee-deep in revisions for Immortal Dreams Book 1:  Dream Weaver--mine and Critique Partners' revisions--so I can send it out. It's not done, yet, but recent events in my life have inspired me to write this blog post.

Besides synopses  I'm of the opinion that blurbs are hard to write. After all, you have to sum up your story in a few short paragraphs (or one paragraph) without giving away everything, but still giving the reader an idea of what your story is about--including, in some way, genre. 

Some blurbs are taken directly from query letters. Think about it. When you query an agent or editor you have to encourage them to want to read the entire thing. So the blurb you include has to include enough information where they have an idea of what you're writing, but without giving away every single last detail of the story. 

A question I used to help with
the early writing of ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE & LION's
Blurbs tell the reader WHO (main character/s) WHAT (what do they want?) and WHY (why do they want it?) The "meaty" stuff and the HOW are in your novel. But you need to tell the reader enough for them to want to see the journey. 

Todd Stone talked about this in the 2009 Lone Star Conference I attended.  This post I wrote about the Conference gives the hints and tools Mr. Stone gave to writing a pitch/blurb. (For the record, the story Conjure A Man, that I was working on at the time of the writing of that particular post is currently on hold, and the name Delaney Ryan has been changed to Rita Blake).

Some people have an easier time writing blurbs than others. But whether or not you have an easy time or a hard time writing a blurb, they are necessary. One example is Christie Craig's blurb for her story, Only In Texas

My blurb for All's Fair In Love & Lion gives the WHO, WHAT, & WHY for the story, without giving away all the details. 

We writers worry about giving everything away. To do this, you need a blurb that organizes the WHO, WHAT, & WHY into a format that makes your readers and potential readers go
"Wow! I must read this book!" 

No, it's not always easy. I didn't claim it was. However, it is possible. Also, make sure you send your blurb to a critique partner or freelance editor. Have them chime in. My critique partner looked at all the versions of my blurb before I ever submitted them to my publisher.

To summarize:

*Blurbs tell the basic WHO, WHAT & WHY of the story leaving the "meat" (and HOW) for the book itself. 

*Blurbs give CLUES as to what the story is about to readers, agents, and editors.

*Always get critique partners or a freelance editor to look over your blurbs before sending them to your publisher or agent (or, if you self-publish, posting them).

*Study other authors' blurbs to get ideas on how to write yours.

Hope this helps!

Have A Marvelously Merry Monday & Have A Tip-Top Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning Unforgettable Writing Techniques...

Happy Tuesday All,

I promise, I didn't do it on purpose. Really.

The NWHRWA Lone Star Conference came around and I...

Forgot my camera!

However, I did, in fact, go, and there are a ton of witnesses who will attest to the fact I was there. For all I know, RM Brand might have gotten a photo of me during the time I was down in the
Conference room helping them set up before it started. 

Donald Maass was unable at the last minute to come. His family had an emergency, so he had to back out. However, he was nice enough to do his best to help us get someone. In the end, James Scott Bell, who came last year, rescued us and returned with a brand-new topic. (I give Raven Raye, our 1st V.P. a lot of credit for dealing with this unforeseen situation, she worked so hard and deserves a standing ovation).

Friday night, I attended (by invitation) the Meet & Greet. I got to sit down and chat with agent Kevan Lyon, who is authors Jennifer L. Armentrout and Katie McGarry's agent. We had a delightful conversation, and I learned some awesome things about Armentrout's New Adult books. Ms. Lyon also spoke very excitedly about a McGarry novel (not yet available--and a title she didn't divulge), so that was fun.

Saturday dawned bright and early (especially since at first I woke up at 4 a.m. and went back to sleep, then woke at 6:15 a.m. when my alarm went off). I got ready, and headed downstairs. Since I was so early, the conference room wasn't completely set up, so I helped the 1st Vice President of my chapter set up.

The coffee service finally arrived, and we all made a beeline for that (some chose tea). People began trickling in, registering, and getting their name tags. 

NWHRWA current President, Susan Muller (author of The Secrets of Forest Bend, and The Witch On Twisted Oak), welcomed everybody, and then 1st Vice President, Raven Raye (author of Broken Prophecy) introduced keynote speaker James Scott Bell who started us off by announcing that he thought he'd figured out the greatest secret to writing unforgettable fiction. However, we had to wait until the end of the conference to find out what that was.

Meanwhile, I headed out about an hour later to where I was going to go help time pitch sessions for Harlequin Editor, Rachel Burkot. Ms. Burkot was extremely gracious, and I enjoyed talking to her about the industry, and her role at Harlequin. 

During lunch, 2nd Vice President, Jaye Garland (author of The 25th Hour) announced the final placement of the Lone Star Contest winners. Excerpts of the 1st place winners were read (so many good ones, by the way). She gave a great presentation. A couple of the winners were there, so it was nice to get to say hello to them, and also congratulate them.

After lunch, I went ahead and sat in to hear the rest of the Conference. Mr. Bell was going through the movie, The Fugitive to describe different ways of drawing out tension, and livening up your novels (whether your write Romance, Thrillers, or other genre).  It was very interesting, and a great way to illustrate his points.

At the end of the Conference Mr. Bell gave us the secret to the greatest secret of writing unforgettable fiction. Which, I can't share. You'll just have to attend James Scott Bell's Don't Let 'Em Put The Book Down workshop for yourself to find out. 

I'm sad Conference time is over, but feeling blessed I got to go. If you're a writer, please do consider coming down next year. Our Lone Star Conference is generally held in October.

Have A Terrifically Thrilling Tuesday!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fairy-Tale Teachers...

Happy Thursday & Friday All (Since I'm going to leave this post up for both days),

Saturday is the NWHRWA Lone Star Writer's Conference. I've been really looking forward to it. Donald Maass is the keynote speaker and I believe it's going to be another great conference. This is my 5th year going. I can hardly believe it's been that long already, but I'm excited. This Fall marks 6 years as a member of the NWHRWA. The group is just awesome. So many talented authors. Many of them have become friends of mine, and I'm very grateful to them and the entire group, for their support and encouragement over the years. I'm telling you, they are really warm and caring. If you're a writer and ever get a chance to come down for one of our conferences and/or meetings, please do.

Today I'm thinking about the lessons we can learn from fairy-tales. I know, usually they're kind of "fluffy" or "cheesy", but I've been thinking about even though oftentimes the heroine is a "damsel-in-distress" rather than a "tough cookie", she sometimes shows her own strength.

Take Cinderella. For years she endures the abuse of her step-mother and step-sisters, who are jealous of her beauty and kindness. She could always haul off and slap them, but instead, quietly does her work, and dreams of when things can be better. When the opportunity arises, she seizes it in both hands and makes the most of it--winning the heart of the prince. Her journey isn't easy, and she often looks weak, but in the end, her tenacity and belief in things getting better--and then taking the chance when given--she gets her happily-ever-after. (The Grimm Brothers version is bloodier than most, having the step-sisters cutting off parts of their foot to fit in the slipper, but the general story is the same).

What about Beauty (or "Belle", if you prefer)? She takes care of her family and loves her father deeply. When the Beast threatens her father because he took a rose without permission, even though she's scared and doesn't know what will happen, she courageously takes her father's place. Eventually she and the Beast fall in love, he changes back into a prince, and she's rewarded for her unselfishness. (The original French version--at least the ones I've read/seen--have Beauty/Belle dreaming of the prince).

Those are just two examples (from my two favorite fairy-tales). What are some other examples from fairy-tales where there's a lesson about being a good person?

Have A Totally Terrific Thursday and a Fantastically Fascinating Friday!