Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year, Citizens!

Happy New Year, everyone! Sorry I haven't been around on the interwebs as much as usual. The culmination of a year's worth of meetings presided over by those iron-fisted, yet extremely rambly blue haired old ladies is finally coming to fruition tonight. Yes, the ginormous breeches are dropping.

I've been running around getting ready for the kids crafts I'll be running for the night and picking up last minute items for the committee. Because the big drop is tonight!

The Urchins are predictably and massively whipped up. I'm trying to channel all that excitement into thank you cards. Somehow there doesn't seem to be a good translation from UBER EXCITING FUN WAAAAAY PAST OUR NORMAL BEDTIME!!! to sit and with grateful heart, thank your Great Great Aunt Emily for the check she sent you. Go figure.

Anywho, I tweeted earlier this week while I was slaving away at Staples prepping one of the crafts for tonight, and I thought I'd share.

Pictured above are one-word resolutions and wishes for the new year. The writer in me really liked the idea of choosing one word to describe goals and wishes for the entire year. It cuts down the extraneous distractions that get me every time (ooh! Is that a chicken over there?) to a laser sharp idea.


It's not a replacement for definable goals, but more like a mantra or billboard reminder of what it is you truly want to accomplish.

So as we leave 2014 behind, what are some words you'd like to focus on in 2015?

Have a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve!! I'll be back in 2015 with the NYE drop recap and the 2014 year in review. Until then, Citizens!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday. The Urchins are on the best behavior they can muster, which isn't much. The Man is still in present wrapping mode, and I'm desperately trying to get the cookies and food ready. I need something to get me through. I know just what will help. And it's not 80 proof.

It's ELVIS! (Rule #6 - When in doubt, turn on the Elvis.)

So to make your holiday even merrier, enjoy my favorite Elvis Christmas song.

Have a fantastic, fun-filled and peaceful Christmas.

See you soon for the Tongue In Cheek year in review.

Until next time, Citizens!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Is there some holiday coming up soon? Every once in a while as I come up for air I hear something about it. I know for a fact that The Urchins want in on it. Just can't put my finger on what it is...

I've been a bit distracted lately. The blue-haired old ladies have commandeered much of my spare time. I'm sure I've mentioned once or twice that little old ladies are my personal Kryptonite. These particular ones run long, rambly meetings and send me all over town on errands for the New Year's Eve Drop they do for the community each year. (They drop pants from a flagpole. I kid you not.) I'm in charge of children's crafts and games, among other things.

I've also been playing the "Where's My Spy Camera Game" for the past month.

Refreshing my email every twenty-seven seconds to see if the people who requested my manuscript have rejected me yet has my nerves frazzled. It hasn't done much good for my sleeping habits either.

Most of my writing efforts have been used up on refraining myself from re-editing the manuscript I submitted. That's been an effort of Herculean proportions. So I've been focusing on how to improve my query letter for when the rejections come. I'm not pleased with the second paragraph describing Ethan. It seems choppy, but I've looked at it too many times to make improvements. Though I wouldn't be adverse to suggestions in the comments. ;)

Searching for home…

Weary pool hustler Sheridan Ward craves a normal life. Her ticket out? A high stakes underground tournament. Working her way across Texas from honkytonk to pool hall and all shady points between, she’s almost earned enough for the buy-in. Until she hustles some good ole boys who aren’t so good. Now she’s got an injured wrist, a truck that’s trashed, and a handsome sheriff dogging her to press charges.

Searching for justice…

Sheriff Ethan Bankert doesn’t have time for a woman. But the beautiful hustler picked the wrong men to con. He should know—they’re the main suspects in his father’s murder. A case that’s gone cold. Whether she wants to believe him or not, tangling with them has painted a bulls-eye on her back. Now, with Sheridan under his roof, protective custody takes on a whole new meaning. If he could just convince her to press charges, not only could he keep her safe, it would be the opening he’s been looking for to continue his investigation.

Searching for forever…

As their nights heat up, Sheridan’s walls of distrust start to crumble, but this sexy-as-sin sheriff still won’t convince her to step foot in a courtroom again. Not after the humiliation she went through there as a child. The road is calling as her last big score nears. Never mind that since she stumbled into this town her deepest dreams have grown to encompass a life with Ethan.

But their future is jeopardized by the same threat that ended his father’s life. Only this time, it’s Sheridan in the crosshairs.

A SHOT AT FOREVER is a 97,000 word adult contemporary romance, and the first stand-alone book in my series of Hard To Tame Heroines set in small town Texas. I am a member of RWA and the former (2013) president of my local chapter. A SHOT AT FOREVER was a finalist in the 2013 Sheila Contest held by the Valley Forge Romance Writers.

Present shopping and wrapping, Christmas play practices, not to mention the frightening levels of Christmas-crazy enveloping the three year olds I teach have all taken their toll. I'm frazzled and jittery and a donkey on the edge.

So as this wonderful holiday approaches at warp factor 8, I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy your time. Don't be like me and let the outside world avalanche down around your ears.

Wishing you all peace and happiness and

Until next time, Citizens!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Giving The Power Of Words

When we were young, my older brother and I loved to get mail. I can remember races to the death involving so much illegal tackling and shirt holding that we would have been banned from the NFL for life.

Just to see if we got any mail.

You can imagine the mountain of mail a six and nine year old child would get on a normal business day. So, after the winner of the Battle Royale--bloodied and bruised, and walking with a severe limp--would bring the mail to dear old Mom, the disappointment on our injured faces would be almost comical.

But still we loved to get mail. So much so, that we would fight over any junk mail that would be shuffled in with the bills, correspondence and catalogs. As Mom would flip through it all, two youngsters, jockeying for position while covertly throwing elbows, would ask, “Can I have that?” Until a chorus of Canihavethat?Canihavethat?Canihavethats echoed after even the slightest twitch of her fingers.

So, necessity being the mother of invention, (and my mom the most inventive of them all) in her infinite wisdom decreed that forever forward I would be known as Occupant and my brother, Resident.

With our new titles, our Canihavethats turned into “C’mon, occupant” or “resident resident resident” being beseeched under our breaths with more inner cosmic force than the worst Vegas slot machine addict ever known. Fingers, toes, legs and eyes were all crossed to endear ourselves to the luck and mail gods of the universe who, obviously, mandated the writing of "occupant" or "resident" on all junk mail.

Hardened gamblers at the racetrack had nothing on us. The anticipation as our eyes watched Mom’s every movement while she flipped through the stack. The gleeful dances of the one who got lucky. The sick disappointment of the one who walked away empty handed. To live or die at the whim of companies’ advertising department, only to start it all over the next day.

Good times.

I relate that embarrassing childhood story to punctuate the power of the written word. As authors, we're already well aware of that power and strive to wield it as we create our stories. But more specifically, I refer to the power of a letter. The written word purposefully given to another.

Authors use their time and talent to entertain and inform the masses. They can also use those same skills to lift the spirit, boost morale and deliver hope to another person. There are lots of websites that offer that opportunity to anyone, not just writing professionals.,,,, are all organizations that provide addresses for you to write a soldier stationed in a combat zone. Saying thank you, showing your appreciation, or just a friendly hello are all powerful ways for authors to use their gifts.

You can write anonymous love letters to people who are going through terrible tragedies.

Or, if you’re brave enough, you can even write an inmate. will set you up with a male or female inmate to become pen pals with.

Just a little reminder  during this time of thanks and giving that the power of the written word distributed to the masses or to a single person each create an impact in their own unique way. So if you’re looking for a special project, and volunteering at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or food bank isn't up your alley, here is a way in which you can make a difference without even having to leave your own home.

And who knows, you just may inspire a gleeful victory dance from the recipient.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

An Explanation And Some Crazy

I haven't been out on the interwebs recently. I'm actually still not over my bronchitis completely, and it's left me pretty exhausted. I of course haven't slowed down in real life, so when I'd sit for a moment to visit all you cool cats in the virtual world, I would  promptly fall asleep.

Also, I got some pretty big nibbles on A Shot At Forever at the NJ conference I attended last month. I sent out three requests for fulls to major houses this week, and I just sent the full to a NY agent. (As in right now. She emailed me at 4:59pm and I sent it at 5:21 pm.) EEK!!! I'd also sent queries to four other agents on Thursday. So I've been sludging through this illness, trying to remind myself that my mc, Sheridan, drives a pickup truck, not a unicorn as I got submission packets ready. 

So with my excuses out of the way, are you ready for the crazy? Remember my Trek Into The Unholy Land Of Hideous Mumus? Of course you do. Well, before we left last July on that two week rustic camping trip, I was overly determined (Nice way of saying crazy-eyed and almost demented) to use the last of the Easter Peeps.

Okay, yes, we had an overabundance of Peeps. And yes, in a slightly roundabout way that was my fault.

1. I don't like to eat Peeps.
2. I can't resist their marketing.

They were offering adorable stuffed animal peeps in a package of eight to ten marshmallow Peeps. These stuffed animals were so stinking cute, I couldn't resist.

(Damn you sophisticated marketing gurus! I've fallen into your marshmallowy clutches again!
As such.)
Ava Quinn, Contemporary romance, marshmallow Peeps, contemporary western romance, funny blog, humor blog, romance author, romance books
How can you resist a sparkly, speckled Peep in a Santa hat? I mean, c'mon!!

So now I'm back in the same boat. I'm in a destructive cycle. We have ten peppermint Peeps that I won't touch and will only ration sparingly to the rest of my family since they're nothing but unadulterated sugar.

Which leads to disgruntledness from all fronts. The family because there's Peeps to be had, and I won't dole them out.

Me because packages of Peeps are cluttering up my already severely cluttered domicile. AND since I was raised like I was a child in the 1940s who just barely survived the Great Depression, I cannot willingly dispose of them without bursting into flaming hives of guilt.

So to solve my problem, I took them camping. And tortured them over the campfire as they'd done to me since April.

Ava Quinn, Contemporary romance, marshmallow Peeps, contemporary western romance, funny blog, humor blog, romance author, romance books
Revenge! REVENGE!! (said like K-K-K-Ken from A Fish Called Wanda*

Ava Quinn, Contemporary romance, marshmallow Peeps, contemporary western romance, funny blog, humor blog, romance author, romance books
 The Urchins, wonderful Urchins that they are, assured me they were delicious.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You, Veterans

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you veterans and active service men and women. I know I've said it before, but my father is a Vietnam veteran, my maternal grandfather was a World War One veteran, and my paternal grandfather was a World War Two veteran. And I'm thankful everyday for the service they rendered to our country.

Some of you long time Tongue In Cheekers (You know...the ones who need serious therapy.) may remember one of the charities Chez Quinn supports is (And also, that All My Elvis Sightings Go To Soldiers.) Just want to give a quick shout out to anysoldier. They connect US citizens with soldiers in an active combat zone by providing an address and a list of needs those soldiers have that we can fulfill. It's humbling what most of those soldiers ask for. We've received grateful letters and emails from soldiers in many remote spots on the globe. Which we never expect, but are always so grateful to receive.

So thank you, servicemen and women. And thank you veterans!

Do you have a veteran in your family tree?

Next time, I'll be back to the crazy. You've been warned!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crystal Collier's Sea Monkey Author Interview!!

Hi everyone! The fun and energetic Crystal Collier is here at Tongue In Cheek today. So strap in for her Sea Monkey Author interview.

Bio: Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and a "friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter

A.Q. - Thanks for agreeing to answer some interview questions about yourself and your new book.

Thank you for having me! (Cheese for you—and everyone else.)

A.Q. - So, what is your book about?

SOULLESS is book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy:

The Soulless are coming.

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she’s forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

A.Q. - Can you share an interesting behind the scenes tidbit about your story?

It’s no secret there’s a wedding in this book. During the rewrites, it moved between 3 different places in the storyline: 1/3 the way through, 3/4 the way through, and 90% of the way through. Now the question, where do you think it stayed?

A.Q. – Oooh! I wonder!! Lol! What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Goodness, all of it? I love the rush of that new idea as it shoots into existence, the time spent editing drafts to clarify the vision, holding the completed book in my hands, the thrill of joy every time a reader contacts me to say how much they loved it.

A.Q. - Writing can be such an isolated enterprise. Yet, I’m sure there are people who have helped, guided or inspired you along the way to becoming a published author. Could you tell us about one of them and how they helped you?

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Turner, was a special kind of angel. She recognized the budding artist in me and encouraged it—through the written word especially. I’ll never forget her daily writing prompts or how she read each and responded individually, asking questions and pushing me toward expanding my ideas. 

A.Q. – Ahh, love those teachers. What are you working on now/next?

TIMELESS, the third book in the Maiden of Time Trilogy, along with BELLEZZA, a serial story about a vicious and deadly child bent on revenge.

Now for the S.A.T. portion of the interview:

Fill in the blank –
If I were a villain, I would have _3-foot tall talking pickle ninjas_ for minions to deliver my wrath because _1. They’re acerbic, and 2, who doesn’t want to see a talking pickle?  (And remember, sea monkeys are already spoken for. Mostly)

Sea Monkeys are to _acrylic paints_ as zombie stinkbugs are to _graphite_.

A.Q. - Please tell us where we can find out more about you and where we can buy your books.

Catch me on my blog, or find my books on Amazon.

A.Q. - Thanks again for stopping in! And all y'all out there, check out this awesome giveaway!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Trek To The Unholy Land Of Hideous Muumuus

I had a crazy camping meltdown back in July. Shocking, but true. Two weeks in a pop up camper without tv or internet will do that to a girl.

We were in Maine, having a grand old time. Only problem? The bathhouse was waaaaay far away from the camper. And I was getting weirded out walking there in my pjs due to some of the cro magnon tent campers who opened their beer bottles and cans of corned beef hash with their teeth as they eyed us wimmin folk (me and my two young daughters) on our way to the bathhouse.
So my fevered camping brain decided my best defense was a truly hideous muumuu. Because, really, what other defense is there? Nothing trumps hideous muumuu.

The man, reading the crazy in my eye, correctly chose to take me looking for one. Five stores and three hours later, the family tromped into Walmart. Now, I'm desperate beyond all comprehension if I'm willing to walk into a Walmart in the first place. On principle I refuse to shop there and contribute to the decline of Western civilization.

The Urchins are about to become unglued, The Man has that determined manly "I-will-fix-this-if-it-kills-me" crazed glint in his eyes, and I, who despises shopping, am ready for the loony bin.

Then, I see them. And, they're indescribably hideous.

Ava Quinn, humor blog, funny blog, contemporary romance writer, contemporary romance author,  ugly mumus
The horror!!
Ava Quinn, humor blog, funny blog, contemporary romance writer, contemporary romance author,  ugly mumus
Look at the varied selection behind these two winners.

Ava Quinn, humor blog, funny blog, contemporary romance writer, contemporary romance author,  ugly mumus
This one has a zipper opening for easy on and off. Umm, off, please.
I mean, Mrs. Roper's muumuus had nothing on these. Faced with their hideousness, I just...couldn't pull the trigger. I couldn't buy, let alone wear, any of them. So, disgruntled and defeated, we trudged out of the evil store, into the dark night and back to the campground.

Where--we found that the insane, monkey-toed, inbred, knuckle-dragging, banjo-dueling, tent campers had vacated the premises. Leaving behind scary remnants of their encampment for future archaeologists to puzzle over.

So we were all winners in the end. The Man earned good-husband points for attempting to fix my crazy. The Urchins learned that power-shopping doesn't pay, and I could walk un-ogled to the bathhouse.

Moral of the story? Muumuus trump inbred evilness by proximity alone.

Until next time, Citizens!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Craziness Level Update and Other Stuff

I won't be offended if you skip to the fun part. But for now...

Craziness Update:
I'm almost over my stomach bug I picked up last week.
It still didn't stop me from taking the Urchins to their all-day corn maze Girl Scout event in the rain yesterday.
Tonight, they're in the Halloween parade with the Girl Scouts, and I'm picking up my mom at the airport. We will then be driving straight to the parade.
Tomorrow, dropping Mom off at the train station before work.
And I'm still trying to pack and get ready for the NJRW conference on Thursday.

Speaking of the conference, that's the other stuff.

I will be leaving early Thursday afternoon. (The chimney sweep had better be here and gone before that time on Thursday.)

I will be having either an agent or editor appointment. So I need advice on how not to blurt out any of my crazy conspiracy theories in the ten minutes I get to talk to one of them.

What? You, Ava? Conspiracy theories? Never!

Ahem. As such.

Bratz Dolls as the precursor to the alien invasion.

The inherent and obvious dangers of polka music.

The contagious properties of redneck.

Do I need to go on?

I also have the Lloyd Dobler nervous talking thing. You know, Say Anything?

Except my verbal diarrhea would probably include, but not be limited to, polkappocalypses, carny folk, my 'Possum Queen reign, sea monkey warfare, the many uses of taxidermied squirrels, and the high number of people in history who have been shanghaied by Sasquatches.

So I now have to figure out how to shove my crazy down and act normally. Hmmm. Should be a challenge. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slacker or Burnout?

So, hello everyone. (chirp-chirp-chirp)

Okay, yes, I deserved that, I guess. I've been a slacker. But not completely.

I'm burnt out. On so many things, that I haven't had much joy or even energy to do anything that isn't absolutely necessary. I run my Urchins to their thousand things. I work with the three-year-olds from the Black Lagoon.  I take care of the house. I participate on the committees. I work on trying to schedule those crazy outdoor educational days that I plan, create, organize and run for my daughters' two schools. I toil for the blue-haired-old ladies.

Monday afternoon I went into Youngest Urchin's second grade class and crushed soda cans with air pressure and forced hard boiled eggs into jars using nothing but air. Taught about the water cycle in cool and innovative ways. But it felt like a chore. And I LOVE science. Especially when I get to teach it to young 'uns.

I'm crispy.

My writing is stalling, though part of that is due to waiting for feedback from two crit partners, but I know I should be plotting the next book and jumping on the edits I already received back. But, I'm tired and fatigued with the story and I have to take the Urchins to their next stop and...and...and...

I haven't even finished blogging about my camping vacation from back in July. And I promise you, more happened than just goat-reeking devil phone poles. There was the terrible journey to the unholy land of hideous mumus. Not to mention the sadistic torture of marshmallow Peeps. But do you see the name up there? Tongue in Cheek. I just haven't been able to find the fun, let alone channel it. So I haven't blogged.

I've had some good news. I got nice feedback from an editor at Harlequin on the first 500 words of my book. I'm headed to the NJRW conference next week and will be pitching it to either an agent or editor. But I'm not nervous or even excited about that prospect.

I've been doing a bunch of taking care of others, but not myself. Which is my M.O.

So instead of bringing you along with me to that unholy land I mentioned earlier, I'll leave you with an excerpt from the end of chapter 4 in A Shot At Forever. The hero, Ethan, just broke up an ugly situation at the pool table where Sheridan's marks figured out she was hustling them. Instead of running her out of town like she expects, he asks her to dinner.

            She froze. He could tell that wasn’t what she’d expected him to say as she slowly turned to face him. Even with her eyes narrowed in distrust, he couldn’t stop thinking how pretty she was. Tapping her hat against her leg, she regarded him for a moment. He held his breath and hoped like hell he passed muster. Her gaze drifted down his entire frame before leisurely traveling back up and Ethan felt the pass of her eyes clear to his bones.
“Sorry, but I never mix business with pleasure.” She settled the hat on her head and turned to go.
            “But what about last night?”
She stopped but didn’t turn fully toward him. “Last night I didn’t know you were a lawman.”
Certain he’d never see her again if she walked out that door, he heaved in a deep breath and laid his cards on the table. “Look, yes, I’m the sheriff. But I wouldn’t be taking you out as the sheriff. I’d be taking you out because as a man, I recognize you’re the best thing that’s walked in here in more years than I can count, and after having you in my arms I can’t imagine never getting to do that again.”
He winced when he heard how that sounded. Tugging off his cowboy hat, he dragged his fingers through his hair before moving to face her head on. “I think you’re a helluva woman, Sheridan, and I’d be honored if you’d let me take you to dinner.” He looked steadily into her hazel eyes and silently willed her to see the earnest plea he knew resounded in his own.
            As her sharp assessing gaze took the measure of him, he stood stock still, gripping his hat with bloodless fingers. Confusion and what looked like hope flashed briefly over her features before they went blank and stony again.
            “Sorry Sheriff, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
            Ethan clasped her hand in his. “Please, Sheridan. At least let me buy you a drink to show you the whole town isn’t like that bunch of jackasses you played pool with tonight.”
            She bit her lip as she turned and looked at the exit, then back down to where their hands were connected. Her gaze slowly traveled up the length of his arm, finally reaching his face. As she stood there looking up at him through her lashes, a surge of emotions he thought long dead crashed through his body.
            Gently, Sheridan pulled her hand away, and it was all he could do not to snatch it back. Still biting her lip, she regarded him with a hopeful expression, but it didn’t last. A deep sadness fell over her face, weighing down her shoulders, and then that blank mask was back. Ethan’s heart sank as she pulled her cowboy hat down over her forehead, shadowing her eyes from his view.
            “Thanks, but no thanks…Ethan.” Her last word was softer than the others, but it hit him like a hammer blow. Before he could respond, she disappeared into the crowd.

Hope you guys are taking better care of yourself than I am. Until next time, Citizens where we venture into truly unholy lands.

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's Follow Fest Time!

 Hi everybody! At this point right now, I wish I were still kidnapped by carny folk. It'd definitely be easier being the bearded lady than what's going on at Casa de Quinn at the moment. Which is why I'm so late to THIS party!

The fabulous Melissa Maygrove has brought us Follow Fest again!! She's so awesome. So in the tiny moments of sanity, which were few and very far between, I pulled together my post. Be sure to click on the graphic below and see all the awesome participants.

Blog button designed by Carrie Butler.
Name: Ava Quinn
Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction
What genres do you write? Romance, baby! Contemporary Western.
Are you published? Not yet.
Do you do anything in addition to writing?
I'm the web mistress and children's game and crafts coordinator for our township's New Year's Eve drop where they drop their pants. Yes, five foot tall yellow breeches. From a huge flag pole. I kid you not.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Last year I said I mommed. Which I still do. (Yes, momming is a verb.) I now also teach preschool (3 year olds) part time and write whenever I can. I blog about crazy nonsense that goes on in my world. (Polkappocalypse, anyone?) I recently escaped from evil kidnapping carny folk. I love roller derby, the hermetically sealed environs of my happy place and riding my motorcycle.

What are you reading right now? I'm doing a bunch of "the craft of writing" related reading and just finished up a critique for a friend.

Which authors influenced you the most? The authors from my local writing group: Delynn Royer, Natalie Damschroder, Susan Gourley, and Misty Simon.They've been so generous with their time.
Where can people connect with you?
 Right here at Tongue In Cheek
Facebook- Still not on Facebook. Am I the only one left on the planet not on there?
Goodreads Ava Quinn
Google+ Ava Quinn
LinkedIn Ava Quinn
Sick of seeing my name yet?

Is there anything else you’d like us to know? 
 I have a crazy author interview, complete with a Sea Monkey SAT portion. So hit me up if you're promoting! Thanks for stopping by and checking out all my crazy. Sorry if I got any on you. If I did, it was completely accidental.

Monday, September 15, 2014

When We Last Left Our Intrepid Heroine...

She was escaping from crazed kidnapping carny folk. (As such)

Okay, that's not quite the truth.

What is the truth is that life around here at Chez Quinn has been hectic to say the least.

The BFF is getting married Saturday, and the Urchins and I are all in it. Youngest Urchin is in freakout mode. She cannot do the wedding walk and toss petals at the same time. So now it's become this huge psychotic psychological block. Which I have done every good mom thing there is to assuage her fears, and now it's just funny. My girl apparently can't walk and chew bubble gum.  I have not informed the bride. Waiting to see how it pans out on Saturday. Hilarity will, I'm sure, ensue.

My mother-in-law had her cancer surgery, and it looks like no radiation treatment will be necessary. Hooray!

My father-in-law has finally gotten over his month long pneumonia, but it put his heart back into atrial fibrillation. He had his heart converted with the paddles of life/AED last week. Receiving an electro shock while awake. This is the 6th time they've had to do it. He's still recovering, but his heart is back in rhythm.

Back to school has been bumpier than usual. The three year olds are still crying. My job is now officially called Snot Sweat and Tears. Decontamination showers will be installed outside the door to my house  shortly.

Youngest Urchin is having her back to school separation issues, which twists the knife in me but good as they say.

Oldest Urchin loves school but has enormous amounts of homework and wants to start playing an instrument.

Lots of other goings on have been taking over my life, but I've bored you enough already. Time to dive back into the crazy.

And here it is.

While camping for two weeks this summer, at our first stop, I found an example of the importance of the proper use of commas. This sign was posted at the first campground we stayed in.

Ava Quinn, contemporary romance author, contemporary romance, funny blog, humor blog, contemporary western romance, hot romance novels
Way to insult your guests, there, campground.
Were all the adults of the campground deemed "slow"? Or was there a subset of adults in the slow group? Did they drive the short campers? And most importantly, was I included in the description of slow adults? I refused to believe my mental capacities should be called into question, especially after I discovered something even more significant than the improper exclusion of a comma.

This pole, with its insulting sign, is secretly a portal to hell. Why? Because it smelled like goat. Yes. Goat. And no I didn't sniff the pole. It emanated goat smell. And as anyone who has watched the episode Red Rum from The Mentalist knows, Cho, my favorite character, has declared goats are of the devil. And I believe him. (I can't find that particular clip anywhere on the web, so here's a different equally funny Cho clip. Just pretend it's the other one.)

Anywho, back to the pole. We had to pass it on our walk to the pool. And every time I came near it, there was the smell of a thousand goats. But the horrific stench wasn't everywhere, like when a skunk gets flattened on the roadside. No, this was in one specific spot. Two steps in any direction from said spot, and the smell...disappeared.

Me walking, stops. To the Man: What is that smell?

The Man: What smell?

Me: The one that smells like the insides of a hundred goats in the middle of the desert.

The Man, gives me the look he saves for when he really thinks I've gone off reservation: Yeah, I don't smell anything.

Me: Come here. I'll watch the girls. Just stand right here and tell me that stench wouldn't knock a buzzard off a shit wagon.

The Man, vaguely standing in spot in middle of road where I placed him: That's Epoxy or something.

Me: You are so wrong.

The Man staunchly refused to recognize the imminent peril our family was in and instead made his way blithely with the Urchins to the pool. But I knew. I knew there was evil emanating from that pole. It was only because of the constant vigilance on my part that we weren't sucked down into the bowels of Hell every time we passed that bad boy. And thus we were able to continue our vacation as I, the unsung hero, herded the young 'uns past that pole with all due haste.

So to my family I say, "You're welcome."

And since we survived the devil's telephone pole, I was able to go on and have other crazed camping adventures which I will reveal in my next post.

Until next time, Citizens! Stay away from goat reeking devil poles!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You Will NOT Believe This

Unless you see it. And since I have, I, of course had to share it with all of you because, really, misery loves company.

I'm still drowning in chaos over here at Chez Quinn. My mother and father-in-law are both slowly but surely on the mend. Thanks for all your thoughts and well wishes for them. I'll be posting more regularly in September, but for now... you don't want to miss this.

She's a Prancing Queen, y'all!

Until next time, Citizens! Keep on prancing!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I wasn't really captured by crazed carnies. It was just more interesting than the truth.

The Man is a teacher, and I'm a preschool teacher, so back to school is killing us on all fronts. Between the Urchins getting ready, us getting ready, Oldest Urchin's birthday party on Saturday, my mother-in-law having cancer surgery tomorrow, and my father-in-law battling pneumonia, things are in ludicrous speed around Chez Quinn.

I have lots to share from camping, the back yard carnival and an award to graciously receive from the fantastic Marci Koski, plus general madness, but not the time to post it, soooo...

Bear with me. The craziness that is Tongue In Cheek will return. I'm just not sure when.

So here's some intermission music to tide you over in the meantime. (The chorus captures my sentiments exactly.)

Until next time, citizens!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Help! I've Been Kidnapped By Carnies!

Okay listen carefully. I've been taken prisoner by some sinister carnival folk who set up in the back yard last week. I've stolen one of their phones and plugged in remotely to the blog. They're debating on whether to make me be the bearded lady

or wear the two headed goat costume.

Send help! Quick!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back At The Desk

Hi Everybody! I'm back! I survived the two week camping trip, but am now drowning in laundry. Soooo, you know what that means.

Another rerun.

Wait, wait, put down the pitchforks (though hopefully you purchased them at my store, The Angry Villager). This rerun is from my vacation last summer to visit my folks in Montana. And there's lots of taxidermy involved.

I can tell I placated you with that last sentence. So sit back and enjoy...

More Fun With Taxidermied Squirrels (I'll be filling you in on all the gory camping details soon.)

Yes, folks, there's so much fun to be had with taxidermied squirrels. You didn't think I'd be able to find anything more entertaining than the ones from my previous post, did you? Well the gauntlet has been thrown down. Here are pictures of actual boxing taxidermied squirrels that I saw in all their moth-nibbled first hand glory when I visited Montana in July.

Ava Quinn, contemprorary western romance writer, contemporary romance author. contemporary western romance novel, taxidermy squirrels, boxing squirrels, funny blog
Upper cut. Upper cut. (Name that video game!)

Ava Quinn, contemprorary western romance writer, contemporary romance author. contemporary western romance novel, taxidermy squirrels, boxing squirrels, funny blog
Note the sheep in the background. This becomes important later.

Ava Quinn, contemprorary western romance writer, contemporary romance author. contemporary western romance novel, taxidermy squirrels, boxing squirrels, funny blog
 My mom sent me these photos since I'd forgotten to take them when I was there admiring coughshockedandmezmerizedinabadwaycough them in person. She included in the bottom of the email this picture that scared the ever loving crap out of me.

Ava Quinn, contemprorary western romance writer, contemporary romance author. contemporary western romance novel, taxidermy squirrels, boxing squirrels, funny blog

I could have done without that. (The lamb has a twin coming out of its back. Note the legs appearing as spider leg appendages and the two sets of ears.)

There was an entire case of taxidermied animals at this museum, and the Youngest Urchin, who just turned six, went through and named them all. Until she got to this one. She paused in her identifications, and deemed it, "A baby bobcat and its turkey friend."

Ava Quinn, contemprorary western romance writer, contemporary romance author. contemporary western romance novel, taxidermy squirrels, boxing squirrels, funny blog
Umm, friends don't let friends nibble on each other, Youngest Urchin. Just so you know.
And yet, despite the taxidermy, (or maybe because of it) a good time was had by all that day.

Ava Quinn, contemprorary western romance writer, contemporary romance author. contemporary western romance novel, taxidermy squirrels, boxing squirrels, funny blog
The Urchins, my mom and me. The Man is behind the camera.

What would you want to see in your taxidermy? Inquiring mind (me, of course) would like to know.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Very Important Question

Hi everyone. I'm still on vacation. Camping. **bone wracking shudders** Here's hoping we all survive. So until I return, I'm leaving you with a rerun from 2010 which asks the question:

Tell Me Which You Would - The Bad or the Good?

How did it get to be Friday already? I'm having trouble getting that little factoid into my brain. I finished my dreaded synopsis of Shifting Her World. Thank you for all your help Misty and Natalie! You know I've had a pretty good writing week if there aren't many posts. Anywho, check out this video. It got me to a-wonderin'.

I loved this commercial when it came out back in the day, mainly for the Van Halen. Yet it was funny, too, and G.I. Joe completely out-cooled Ken.

But here's what I wondered. The Bad Boy. Do you prefer the Bad Boy(or Girl) Hero or the Good Guy(or girl) Hero? I'm split. I write both. I enjoy reading both if they're well rounded. But deep down I think if I was held over a pit of bubbling tar and told to choose, I would go with the good guy. But only if placed under some such duress. (Molten lava would get me to sing on this topic as well.)

So which type of hero would be your favorite as you dangle precariously over the pit? And, remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why Can't Birthday Parties Be Easy?

Right now we are camping. I'm thrilled. Sorry, didn't mean to get that sarcasm all over you. That was just rude of me.

Each year I take one for Team Quinn and go camping for almost two weeks. So I'm leaving you with a rerun. And therefore, I won't be able to answer any comments until I get back. Yeah. THAT kind of camping.

Four days before we left for this trip I was hosting ten 7-year-olds outside in a torrential downpour for my youngest Urchin's birthday.

This rerun is from 2009, which NOT coincidentally appeared a few days before my Oldest Urchin's birthday. (There's a connection here. For some reason birthday parties can never run smoothly at Chez Quinn.) The day before this post I was mopping up vomit from the rest of the family and wrote that I felt like I had a bulls-eye on my back. Well, the next day...

Target Acquired

Yeah. It hit me last evening, before dinner. Only a day before my oldest daughter's birthday party. Can I say that I now have a new appreciation for vomiting in the wee hours since your stomach has had time to digest. I won't go into the degrees of chunkiness, just let it be known that I have changed my opinion.

So now I'm dealing with sore abdomen and back muscles from throwing up. When I was younger I believed it was important to stay in shape in case you had to hang from somewhere high up for a long period of time. Whether it be off a cliff, a high rise, high tension lines - what have you. Obviously you're up there due to an escape attempt from a psychopath and/or mercenaries.

Now that I'm old, I believe you need to stay in shape because you don't want sore muscles after a night of flu induced puking. So to that end I've put in an order for the Hawaii chair. Because really - who doesn't want to get fit while they sit?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Crystal Collier Soulless Cover Reveal

 The cheese-tastic Crystal Collier has done it again! Take a look at her little beauty that 's coming this October. 

 Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend" (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Welcome To Club Earth

So The Man, the Urchins and I visited some beautiful local caverns recently. We, of course, hit the gift shop-- where we saw this display.

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance author, contemporary western romance, funny blog, humor blog, blogging romance author
Didn't know there was a membership, though I should have suspected since I've been paying dues.
Apparently this club has an agenda.

Ava Quinn contemporary western romance author, contemporary western romance, funny blog, humor blog, blogging romance author
And probably a manifesto. A long one.

So the Urchins and The Man are all home for the summer and there are many distractions.

I'm getting scary-obsessive with finishing my edits, and I'm finding things out about myself as I do. Not much of it good. (I never knew I was prone to wild mood swings and such violent thoughts.) Considering I'm all paid up with my Club Earth dues, here's hoping everyone survives.

So what are you doing this summer? Any crazy editing induced violence/craziness you'd like to share? I'm all ears. (said like Dolf in that Van Damme movie.)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

'Tis The Season...

of reruns.

What, again?

Yes, again.

In the summer, when my Urchins are home and life speeds up even more, I have less time for a whole bunch of stuff. Especially blogging. So I usually compensate with a few reruns. I'm feeling a little guilty this year since April and the AtoZ challenge was nothing but reruns here at Tongue In Cheek.

Plus, I'm feeling the undeniable pull of my iso chamber. Every once in a while, the world becomes too overwhelming for my skewed, old fashioned brain, and I cocoon up like a pill bug and decide that society can go on without me for a while. I even have an entire category devoted to those times.

I'm a 33 1/3 rpm girl living in an mp3 world. Sigh.

So with that thought, here's an EXTREMELY early post from way back in 2008. It's actually the second post I ever wrote.

Hopefully soon I'll emerge from my self imposed isolation. Until then, enjoy...

Pop Culture is Passing Me By (and I don't really care)

I don't pay for TV. I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock before I go on. Nope. No cable. No Direct TV. No satellite. Do you need more time to mop up the beverage you were drinking? I get five channels pretty clearly, and one that looks like an avalanche.

Every once in a while I surf my five and a half channels to see what's on, and as I return to the first one again I think to myself, "Yep. Nothing's on." I figure I'm saving myself a lot of time. I've heard many a person after they've surfed their two hundred plus channels come to the same conclusion.

I grew up in a house where there was no cable TV. I watched some MTV at a friend's house back in the day, but that was about the extent of it. So it never was a real inconvenience for me to be without it later.

Do I feel deprived? No. Not really.

The only thing really coming out of it is that pop culture is passing me by. Show me a picture of Usher, and you'd have to tell me who he is. Same with George Strait, Jonas Brothers, any contestant from American Idol, Nick Lahey, actors from CSI or Law and Order, and most of the cast of Sex And the City. (I'd recognize Sarah Jessica Parker from Square Pegs.) I could go on, but you get the idea.

There are some people that are so ubiquitous that they even penetrate my little cocoon. Even though I'd rather they didn't. For example, I know who Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Brittany Spears and Jessica Simpson are. And I have to say my life is no better for that knowledge. It may even be a little worse.

I've never seen an episode of Ghost Hunters, Rachel Ray or Sex and the City. Am I shocking you? Do you think I'm crazy? Could be, but as I live my life in ignorant bliss, just remember to speak slowly to me about anything dealing with pop culture. And ignore my confused stare.

I'll be okay. Honest.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Carol Kilgore Cover Turns Up the Heat!

 Get an eye full of this awesome book that's coming from Carol Kilgore.

Even better, check out what's happening on the inside! 

By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.
As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of the first lady’s dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.
Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.
The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.

Carol writes grocery lists, texts to her family, new lyrics to old songs for her dogs, love notes to her husband, and novels for herself. And for you. In between, she blogs weekly at Under the Tiki Hut and is active on Facebook and Twitter.
She sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:
Under the Tiki Hut blog:
Website with Monthly Contest:

Do you guys know the awesome, Carol? Are you a fan of paying it forward? Have a book coming out soon? Lay it on me in the comments!!

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