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!

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