Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Holidays Packed A Punch This Year

The flu has been using me like a hacky sack. It started at 6:15am on Christmas morn. Not with me, mind you, but with the Oldest Urchin. I made it to the bathroom just in time to hold her hair back.

Sigh. She was rather pathetic. By 6:30 she was lamenting, "Why did this have to happen on a national holiday? Why not an ordinary day?!?" She's nothing if not a dramatic nine year old.

The Man and I had laid down the law on Christmas Eve. No Urchin was allowed to get out of bed before 7am. So true to form, I tucked the Oldest Urchin into the guest futon with me, and she bounced back with abnormal speed.

O.U. - "Twelve minutes until Christmas starts, Mom." "Eight minutes."
Only seven minutes left, Mommy."

Me - "Close your eyes. And quit talking to me with puke breath."

O.U. (seriously unfazed) *crazy kid whisper only achievable on Christmas morning* "Five minutes left!"

Me- "How do you know there's only five minutes if your eyes are closed?"

O.U. "Ummm" *devious silence* "Santa told me?"

So package ripping commenced at 7:01 am and ended at approximately 7:03. Round two of flu vomiting began a little after 9. Then around 11, I got hit.

I'd finally been well enough to get a flu shot on Dec. 23rd. Okay, it probably didn't take hold until a few days later, so I was able to hold off most of my disgruntledness in the name of accurate science. But then I got hit again with the flu on the 28th and 29th! WTH flu shot? C'MON!!!

The only upside is that I lost 5 pounds over the holidays.  Soon to be put back right where they were with the upcoming devouring of the last of the Christmas cookies that have been calling to me all day.

So I'm barely back in the saddle, and I have to report to the new year's eve drop in about an hour.  I hope your holidays treated you a little better, and that Santa was very good to you.

Have a happy new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kid's Christmas Special Personality Test

Okay. My father in law is out of the hospital and slowly recuperating at home, and I'm finally over the flu. So, you know what that means. Time for some off-the-wall-pent-up-crazy from me.

Which leads to today's post. I've been ruminating on what a person's preferences for children's Christmas special moments says about his or her's personality. I know there are quick personality tests based on your favorite Stooge (Mine's Larry), your favorite Marx Brother (when I was young it was Harpo, now it's Groucho), and your favorite Power Ranger (I have no idea. I didn't watch them, but my favorite Ninja Turtle is Rafael, just for the record.).

So let's do a run down of kid's Christmas specials, shall we?

Frosty the Snowman.

The only part of Frosty the Snowman that I actually like is when one of the kids in the beginning tries to name him Oatmeal.

I share Sheldon's opinion of Frosty.

But I don't agree with him on The Grinch. There are so many parts to the Grinch that I love that I devoted an entire post to the top three best Grinch moments one year. I've only been able to narrow it down to two for this year.

The moment when the Grinch gets his awful idea and smiles that wonderfully devious smile.

I need a tee shirt with that smile on it.

Neck and neck with that moment is when the Grinch returns to Who-ville with the presents and the Whovians open like a gate for him. I have no explanation for why I love that moment like I do. Just accept it and move on please.

The moment of which I speak is at 3:25.

On to A Wish For Wings That Work. Now I'm a HUGE Bloom County fan from way back. At first I wasn't sure about giving a voice to Opus for this movie, but the whole kaboodle is just awesome. And again we have a tie. My favorite parts of this classic are the Elvis cameos and when Opus says, in regard to Bill the Cat wanting to be his best buddy, "but stinkbugs would like to dance the Watusi in my undershorts. I mean, you gotta draw the line somewhere." For some strange reason there are no clips of these parts on YouTube. I can't understand why.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

My favorite part of that special is when Herbie declares his desired profession.

Followed closely by Yukon Cornelius trying to ascertain if he's found gold by licking his pickaxe. Because, really, what person on the Rankin/Bass team thought up that little gem?

So that's going to do it for tonight. We'll see if I find the time to continue these crazy ramblings for a  part two. (Because I haven't even touched on The Year Without A Santa Clause yet) But what I really want to know is, what are your favorite parts from any of the great children's Christmas special classics? Lay it on me in the comments!

And have a beautiful Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

This is a hectic time of year for all of us, I know. So my excuses for being away from my home away from home, Tongue In Cheek, and not out visiting all of your awesome blogs right now don't hold that much water. And since I try to make TiC a zany kind of place, I don't get serious here very often.

BUT. . .

Along with all the regular holiday craziness that comes with two young Urchins, I also have other more pressing excuses.

Like my father-in-law has been having heart trouble all fall, and it has gotten shoved into the semi-serious, and I'm the closest relative with the most flexibility in my schedule since I only teach the crazy three year olds half days. So much of my time has been spent helping out The Man's mom.

Going back to work this year since staying home with my kiddos is wreaking havoc on my immune system. So I've been constantly sick, picking up all sundry of germs from those nutsy three year olds.

I'm tying up all the mounds of paperwork and jobs that go along with passing the torch of presidency to the next president of my local writer's group. The list of items seems ENDLESS!!!

Plus the wacky New Year's Eve Drop. Plus the three chapter critique I offered a member of my writer's group. Plus. . . Plus . . .

And don't even get me started on my own lack of writing!

Sigh. But do know that I'm missing all you virtual buddies out there something crazy. And know that I have all kinds of half baked ideas for more crazy posts in the coming weeks. If I can find the time to get them out. For example, musings about real personality tests based on your favorite parts of children's Christmas specials. So bear with me. I will hopefully eke out a little more time. But for now I have to go harass my propane company because we ran out of gas and its 27 degrees outside.

Oy. Vey.

I hope the holiday season is treating YOU right!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Roller Derby and Motorcycle Hibernation

The first snow and ice hit last night, and we all know what that means.

Why, winterization of my motorcycle, of course.

Ever since my spill back in May, I haven't gotten back on, but there were several days where I was extremely tempted. There was just a lack of time factor holding me back. So next spring, I'm sure I'll be back on the road, tooling around on the beloved Ninja.

Ava Quinn, contemporary Romance author, hot romance, funny blog, hilarious blog, ninja motorcycle, contemporary western romance novels, hot romance novels
Ahh, can't you hear it purring like a panther from there?

The local roller derby team is in its off season as well. I was able to get a picture of this slippery character at one of the last bouts I attended. The saucy minx winked at me as he passed by.

Ava Quinn romance author, Ava Quinn, contemporary romance author, funny blog, roller derby, hilarious blog, hot romances, contemporary western romance novels
If you can't see his shirt, it reads "Full Commando?"

His beard came about halfway down the front of his shirt. And all my regular readers know how I cherish certain types of facial hair art.  His though, not so much. I think he had been sampling some of the chocolate covered bacon on a stick they sell there, as some sort of flavor savers were present.

But I did get to add to my growing tee shirt collection.

Ava Quinn, @AvaQuinnWrites, roller derby, hilarious blog, funny blog, contemporary western romance author, contemporary romance novels, hot romance
Ava Quinn, @AvaQuinnWrites, contemporary romance author Ava Quinn, contemporary Western romance, roller derby, funny blog

Ava Quinn, @AvaQuinnWrites, contemporary romance author Ava Quinn, contemporary Western romance, roller derby, funny blog
Look at all the lovelies!!!
So now that the motorcycle is sleeping and roller derby is done, I'm at a loss for any kickass winter diversions. Maybe I'll take up curling.

Any cool suggestions for an ennui ridden gnome would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Time - Who's Got It?

I sure as heck don't. I've been crazy busy this past week and a half. And I don't see an end in sight. Last year I got very stern with myself. I was working on saying no. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten much better at it.

Tonight I have a "Britches"* meeting to attend where I will be discussing the kid's activities I'll be in charge of for the New Year's Eve drop in my community.

*It's called this because the little old lady in charge had a five foot tall by five foot wide pair of pants (breeches) custom made that we lower from a flag pole at midnight. Yes, I'm telling the truth, and surprisingly, no, it wasn't my idea.

It's about 6 of us running the entire thing. And I'm the young blood. Sigh. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Blue haired little old ladies are my Kryptonite. I cannot say no to them. I've scaled back my part in these proceedings to upkeeping the website I designed for them and planning and running children's activities until 10 pm. I used to solicit funds and food donations, and distribute advertising flyers as well. But this year with my new job, I've had to be firm with the "blue hairs".

I also volunteered to run the environmental field day for my girls' schools in the spring. I did this last year and it took a toll. I developed two curriculums, aligned to the state's science standards incorporating outdoor science education activities and ran both days at the local state park. I created all the activities, shopped for all the supplies, recruited and organized all the volunteers, busing, park naturalist, and more. Now I need to start thinking about this year's new curriculums and start researching activities. Not looking forward to giving up my writing time for that.

So in the interest of saving time, I've gathered some great holiday shopping ideas for us all.

First up- Kiss Pez.

Yes, gentle readers, now you can get your sweet tooth and your rock on at the same time.
Ava Quinn, funny blog, contemporary western romance, Kiss, hot romance, contemporary romance author
It even includes a collector's tin! Now how much would you pay?
Here is yet another way to immortalize Gene Simmons and his tongue. Because we can't have too many renderings of that.

Many of you remember the year I was the county's 'Possum Queen. I was really busy that year with all my trailer park grand re-openings, but I still stand by my endorsed 'possum products. Though, the opossum fur willie warmer is not for the faint of heart.

And as always, you can find excellent gifts for all your angry mob needs at my online store, The Angry Villager. While you're ordering your engraved pitchfork, be sure to tell the operator standing by that I sent you. It's good for 8% off your total order.

Hope this helps with your holiday shopping and saves you lots of time! I aim to please.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Celebrate Thanksgiving With Arlo

It's time for a Thanksgiving musical interlude.

After much careful deliberation (what with so many popular Thanksgiving songs to choose from), I went with the long, hilarious, intelligent Thanksgiving standard, Alice's Restaurant.

Right up there with Over The River and Through The Woods as the traditional Thanksgiving sing along, Alice's Restaurant has entertained Thanksgiving revelers since 1969.

So sit back for the next 20 minutes or so and enjoy this American masterpiece. My gift to you this Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

Here's a great live version from 2005.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rocketship Underwear- Reused.

Hi everybody. I'm running around like a maniac this week and with next week being the holiday I'll be in Mommy-Mode full time, so I may not be around much in the beautiful alternate reality of the internets. So I'm posting another re-run. This one from April of 2010. Time to get your rocketship underwear on!

I love the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. It was inspired; creative, with a combination of great illustrations and wonderful writing. I remember this one where Calvin is flexing his little arms in front of a mirror wearing just underwear and his "I'm going to take on the world and win" grin. And he says something like, there's nothing like rocket ship underwear to make you feel invincible.

I have my version of rocket ship underwear on today. It's my new Chef Wong's tee shirt. Chef Wong's is a great Chinese restaurant in the area. The family ate there one fall day, and they had these shirts hanging on the wall for sale. The Man's back was to them, but I kept pestering him to look at them. The exchange went a little something like this.

Me - Check out that tee shirt. It's so cool!
Him - I will in a minute.
Me - But it's awesome. You have to check it out.
Him - I will in a minute.
Me - Seriously. It's the coolest ever. You have to look at it.
Him - Can I eat some General Tso's first?
Me - I guess. But you're looking after two bites

So the Man, smart man that he is, got the impression that I fancied the shirt. He got one for me for Christmas. He used it to wrap two dvds. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Hero, so it was a total Kung Fu Christmas theme going on with that part of the gift.

We pause here for Ava's benefit since she can't say Kung Fu without hearing this in her head:

Okay. Now back to our regularly scheduled post.

So I'm wearing the Chef Wong shirt today. It's short sleeved, so I had to wait for nice weather to put it on. And let me tell you I put it on. Along with the whole rocket ship underwear attitude. Not even finding dog crap in my living room- that the offending dog stepped in and subsequently tracked around- could dampen my spirits. Now that is one magic tee shirt.

So I do have a bit of a tee shirt obsession. I'm currently waiting for just the right moment to bust out the Will Farrell "More Cow Bell" shirt for the season.

That's a tricky one. You have to know when the right unveiling time is for the warm weather. You don't want to do it too early and have to cover it with a sweatshirt. You run into dangerous territory if you try to contain that much awesomeness. Nuclear meltdown type stuff.

So, do you have any healthy obsessions? Any talismans that act like rocket ship underwear? Lay it on me!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bratz- Precursors to the Alien Invasion

Flashback Sunday- Here's a peek at an old post from January 2013. I've got some doozies in my past, and figured some of you might get a kick out of one of my conspiracy theories. Enjoy!

It has long been my belief that Bratz were invented to smooth the way for a hostile alien invasion. Their rise in popularity will make the masses much more accepting of their new alien overlords.

Check out the similarities in their physical features.

pic from thehairpin.com

Note both possess the abnormally large slanted eyes. The lack of a definitive nose. The tiny body with huge head. Glam up this green one and you'd have a ringer. Wait, they already did that!

pic from the bestdolldress

So now they're beginning the subjugation of the younger generation through savvy toy marketing. You can tell they've done their homework. They know us well.

I of course, envision something like this happening in the very near future.

And have already begun programming my own urchins against the indoctrination of alien space invaders. Every time they see a Bratz or their equally evil counterparts from Monster High, they immediately say things like, "Eeeew, Mommy. Look! They're so ugly!"

And it makes my heart glow with paternal pride that I have given them the rudimentary defense against the impending alien invasion.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writing And Music- It's Like . . .

Caramel and chocolate.

Summer and snow cones.

Motorcycles and beautiful days.

One makes the other even better. 

There have been many who have discussed music and writing. Most of the ones that I've come across talk about writing to music. That's something I can't do. I listen too intently to the music and get distracted from my writing. Probably because I have a musical background. (I've played the violin, piano and flute.) And I'm easily distracted. (Is that a rabbit over there?) 

Many authors create playlists of the songs that inspired their work. I find that I compile soundtracks to complement my scenes. For example in chapter two of A Shot At Forever, as the heroine approaches her marks for the night, I know that 8-Ball, by Seasick Steve is playing in the background of the honkytonk.

(I highly recommend Seasick Steve. His album Walkin Man is outstanding.)

Now that you know the song, here's the scene.

Chapter 2
            "Well now, is this a boys only club, or can any gal get in on the shots?" With just the right amount of sass, Sheridan threw her question out to the men standing around the pool table.
Her boot heels clicked across the worn wooden floor as she approached the cowboys she’d been casing for almost an hour. When they turned to face her, she stopped a few feet in front of them and rested her hands on her hips in an arrogant stance.
Five sets of eyes roamed up and down her body as she waited for a response. She held her ground and didn’t move a muscle, even though she wanted to itch right out of her skin.
You didn’t mind when Ethan looked at you like that last night. Sheridan slammed the door on that thought and forced herself to look at her marks, not the dance floor where she’d gotten the most intense kiss of her entire life.
            A cocky young buck stepped forward and smirked. "Do you know how to play with the big boys there, sweet thing, or are you just wantin' to hold a long piece of wood? Either way, I can accommodate you."
Loud guffaws filled the air, drowning out the country music coming from the dance floor behind her.
            Pushing her lucky cowboy hat back further on her head, she nodded to the cue in his hand. "The way I figure it, all you gotta do is know how to use that piece of wood. I know how to handle it. Question is- do you?"
            The ensuing hoots and laughs were her ticket in, and she knew it.
The young cowboy’s eyes hardened. "Alright darlin', you can play, but we play for stakes, so you got to be ready to cover what we're playing for. Unless you can offer up something just as good that we might be wanting to sample."
A mischievous smile painted her face, covering the trickle of unease she felt under his stare. “Don’t you worry about the money. I’ve got you covered like dew on the grass.” 

 (If you're interested in a longer excerpt, click here.)

Sometimes a song can inspire a scene. Or a story. And sometimes you can be inspired by the songs themselves.  (Those Blues Storytellers, My New Favorite Winter Song)
So how does music play into your writing? What songs are essential for your story? Do you have any recommendations for cool songs you're into right now?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Resurrection Blogfest II

Hi Everybody! Today is Resurection Blogfest, run by the incomparable, Mina Lobo.

Resurrection Blogfest II!

This is the easiest blogfest around, and I almost missed it, due to all the cold medicine and other craziness going on around here. I'm not savvy enough at the moment to get the blogfest picture into the sidebar, so it disqualifies me from the prize drawing, but that's okay by me. I just wanted to be part of the cool kids participating. All you had to do is repost an old blog post from the past year you thought hadn't gotten the love it deserved.

So without further ado, I'm unearthing a post from back in March of this year.

Mutton Chops-A Closer Study of The Art of the Sideburn

Today we take a closer look at a very popular expression of male facial hair as we delve into the mutton chop. This in depth analysis of one of the many different categories of male facial hair builds on my previous homage to the art of the sideburn.

Mutton chops are long, sometimes bushy, sideburns that reach either the jawline or connect to a mustache. They can be trimmed and stylized in any number of ways. As such.

pic from brooklyndaily.com
It has been my experience that if a man has mutton chops, there are only four occupations he is able to hold.

1. Elvis impersonator.

Elvis did right by the mutton chop in the seventies.

 And the impersonators know it. Have a look.

pic from lasvegassun.com

2. Lumberjack
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay . . . with my mutton chops.

3. Motorcycle gang member
But let it be known that a mutton chop wearing member cannot rise in the hierarchy above the level of "thug". Leaders must make special facial hair concessions and have either a ZZ Top beard or a Fu Manchu mustache.

4. Horror film hillbilly extra #6

 One through five being taken by other men with bushy beards or very scraggly mustaches.

So that's it on the mutton chop except to declare them magnificent. (Just like the mullet) And to prove my point, I leave you with this.

Nothing but mutton chops, baby!

Which career path would you choose if mutton chops adorned your mug?


So there it is, Citizens. My take on some wicked-awesome facial do's. Next time, I'll really talk about writing and music. Until then, let me know about your facial hair preferences in the comments!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Curse You Head Cold I Was Unprepared For!!

So I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom two days ago, rummaging around in the cabinet under the sink, looking for cold medicine. Which we apparently hadn't restocked from last year. I sat there, in my mucus haze, cursing the little three year old glazed-doughnut-monsters that had passed on their crusty germs to me and looking for anything that might provide relief.

This is how The Man stumbled upon me as I dazedly contemplated the decade old Benadryl in my hand, trying to remember what I knew about half-life potency of certain drugs. Which, whether sick or healthy, is pretty much diddly over squat.

Cautiously, like approaching an injured animal in the wild, The Man asked, "Whatcha got there?"

Clutching the medicine that expired in 2003 to my chest like it's My Preciousssss, I replied, "Nothing."

"Nothing, huh?"

"Just some medicine I think I might take."

"Lemme see it."

I shook my head, wishing immediately that I hadn't.

He gave me that disapproving look, the one he saves for when I've really gone off the reservation. The one that's part, "Do we really have to ride this train?" and "Why do I always have to be the responsible adult?"

After much coaxing and bribery by alcohol, he got me to release the medicine and brought me some whiskey with honey and lemon in it, which I sipped until he came back from the store with Nyquil and day time cough medicine.

That Man, I tell you. He's a keeper.

So I've been sick and wishing I could stay in bed, but nursery school duty calls and I must obey--since I'm hoping to give the germs right back to those little critters!

Anywho, until next time, Citizens, when I'll be talking about music and writing. Stay healthy! And if you see any little glazed doughnut monsters wiping their noses on their sleeves. . .  head the other way!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Be Still My Geeky Star Wars Heart!

Behold! A Death Star jack-o-lantern!

pic from fantasypumpkins.com

A Death Star jack-o-lantern! Nothing says Happy Halloween like this. Except maybe THIS!

pic from geek.com
My Urchins are deluded in thinking that I can pull off a carving like one of these. But it doesn't keep them from begging incessantly for it.

Happy Halloween, citizens!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Motorcycle Decisions Decisions

As many of you know, I ride a motorcycle. Some of my newer followers may not know that I took a spill on it in the beginning of May and have not been back on it since.

Now I'm wondering if I should sell it.

As of now, it's out of inspection, and illegal to ride. I'm not sure I have the courage to get back on anyway.

Ava Quinn contemprorary romance writer western contemporary romance funny blog, Ninja motorcycles, sexy books
There's my precious.
Ava Quinn contemprorary romance writer western contemporary romance funny blog, Ninja motorcycles, sexy books, zombie response team
close up of the sticker.
Here's a look at my pretty. I need to take an afternoon and try it out again before I make a decision to sell it. But I'm thinking more and more of my girls as the counter argument to sell. (They don't know I had an accident, I'm just thinking I might be a little selfish to keep riding.) We'll see.

So do you indulge in any guilty pleasures? Any that could possibly get you killed? Inquiring mind (me) wants to know!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Where Have I Been?!?!

I'll tell you. New Jersey.

Where am I going?


Yes, I was at the NJRW's conference over the weekend. It was fantastic. I highly recommend it to all writers. There were workshops on craft, the business, legal aspects, etc. I met some wonderful writers. Refilled the creativity and enthusiasm well. Just . . . awesomeness.

And I pitched A Shot At Forever. Which yielded  two partial requests from Sourcebooks and Harlequin.

So that's where I've been. I went and had a blast, then returned home and put the nose to the grinder monkey grindstone and have been working on my submission packets ever since. (polishing up my query letter, working on my business plan, you know, the usual.)

On a different note, Ashley Nixon, super nice person extraordinaire, bestowed me with the Sunshine award. And I've been meaning to blog about it ever since.

Here are the questions:

Fave color: Today it's yellow.
Fave animal: otters
Fave number: 14
Fave non-alcoholic drink: diet Pepsi with Wild Cherry
Fave alcoholic drink: A mango mojito or a Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Facebook or Twitter: Just joined Twitter ( @AvaQuinnWrites ), but haven't gotten around to joining Facebook.
Passions: Writing & Education
Prefer giving or getting presents? Giving.
Fave city? Can't think of a city, but my favorite town is Bar Harbor, ME
Fave TV Shows: Castle, Big Bang Theory and Longmire.

I'm going to officially award this to another writer blogger I'd love for you to get to know-

Delynn Royer 

So there's a little peek inside. What would your answers be? Did you do anything special this past weekend?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why Didn't I Get A Flu Shot Yet?!?

It's too late for this round. I'm finally coming out of it, slowly but surely, though this fever will not go away.  I need to schedule flu shots for me an the Urchins. I'm not looking forward to it. Not that I care about a shot. No, it's the Youngest Urchin. She holds a grudge for days after getting any shots. She's a sweetie, but stick her with a needle, and all bets are off.

I also have to get ready for the NJRW conference coming up. I've done almost all my shopping to get ready, now I need to pack, finalize directions and memorize my pitch. Wanna read it? It's still a little choppy, so I'm trying to smooth the rough edges a bit. But here it is.

A Shot At Forever
Sheridan Ward hustles pool for a living. She’s made it this far by following three rules. Know the game better than your competition. Know your marks better than they know themselves. And trust no one. Especially the law. But Sheridan wants out. She’s found a way in a high stakes underground pool tournament. One last big score and she’ll have enough money to start the life she really wants. She only has three thousand dollars left to earn for the tournament’s buy-in. But less than a month to make it. Everything is working to plan until her latest hustle in a small Texas town turns ugly.
Sheriff Ethan Bankert has spent every spare second investigating the murder of his father, but the trail has grown cold, until he stops an assault on a beautiful loner that leaves her with an injured wrist and no transportation. He immediately places Sheridan under his protection. Ethan knows she’s the key to re-opening an investigation into the men he believes killed his father since they’re the same ones who assaulted her. If only she’d press charges. Yet the more time he spends trying to convince her, the more Sheridan reawakens feelings he hasn’t felt since before his father was murdered. And some he’s never felt before.
It’d be a cold day in hell before Sheridan steps back into a courtroom, no matter how tempting the sheriff is. She may be stuck in his town waiting for her truck to be fixed, but she’s anxious to get to the tournament. It’s her best shot at starting the life she’s dreamed of . . . except now those dreams have begun to include Ethan. But in the shadows of the small Texas town, a killer from Ethan’s past is determined never to let Sheridan have her SHOT AT FOREVER.

Have you ever pitched in person to an agent or editor? (I'm hoping I got all my puking out over the weekend with the flu. That way I don't puke on them while I pitch.) Do you recommend any writing conferences or workshops? Anyone else going to NJ for this one?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Urchin Star Wars Viewing Update

When last we left the Urchins, they were still firmly entrenched in the enraptured bliss of watching the original Star Wars IV.  (Click to view crazy back story that will explain some of the jokes to follow.)

Last night, The Man went to his part time job (yes, he has a full time job too.) So I asked the girls what they'd like to do. A resounding vote for Star Wars from each of them still has my ears ringing today. I was totally down with that, since as has been established previously here at Tongue in Cheek, I'm a total geek girl and am raising two as well.

So last night we did it up right. Popcorn was popped. The Oldest Urchin brought down her build a bear that plays the Star Wars Theme when you press its foot. (Like mother like daughter- I still have the Star Wars soundtrack on vinyl.) And snoogled up on the couch for some classic Star Wars viewage.

The Oldest Urchin is now beginning to appreciate the humor of Han Solo. In her first viewings, she was righteously indignant on Luke and Leia's behalf at any remarks he made towards them.

The Youngest Urchin, who's now six, is no longer asking what Chewbacca and R2D2 are saying. No. now she's telling me what she thinks they're saying.  Throughout the entire movie.  Yet one thing hasn't changed. When I tell her she's incorrect and what R2D2's really saying is,"Tell the Youngest Urchin to stop talking during my movie." She still makes some very Chewbacca-like noises at me.

So what's your favorite part of Star Wars? Which is your favorite character? And twenty thousand imaginary bonus points to you if you have the Star Wars soundtrack on record or 8 track. You may redeem them in my imaginary shop, Pitchforks 'n Things a.k.a. The Angry Villager.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Don't Let It

(This post is dedicated to my friend, Deb, who is diagnosed with ALS.)

Debilitating losses.

Terminal diseases.

They can take so much from a person. Energy.  Mobility.  Limbs.  Memories. Cruel and greedy, they strip so many things away without recourse.

Yet there is one thing they can never take.

The human spirit.  That joie de vivre that makes up who we are. That indomitable well spring of a life worth living.

Unless we let it.

Don't. Don't let it make you give up living your life to the fullest that you can before it's your time. Don't let it crush your spirit and make you a shell. Don't let it snatch away those precious months, days. Minutes.


Thank you Valerie Harper for illustrating this so beautifully and showing us all what a life worth living looks like.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thank you Follow Festers!

Hellooooo Follow Festers! (I'm getting an image that's a little like Uncle Fester, except with more hair.)

I wanted to say thank you to all the cool cats who came over and left a comment for me at Tongue in Cheek and commend those who bravely chose to publicly follow the craziness that goes on around here. I promise you probably won't regret it.

It was great to meet so many wonderful writers. And I can't wait to check in at all the new blogs I found through the Follow Fest.

A little about Tongue in Cheek. This is my beloved Crazy Dumping Ground. I keep up appearances in the real world all day and pretend to be a responsible adult, mom, teacher, etc. Here I get to let my hair down and purge the crazy into this blog.

I conduct author interviews occasionally, and talk about my writing sometimes, but it's mainly about the bizarre things that catch my fancy like never-ending supplies of taxidermied squirrels, the perils of Polka, proudly proclaiming that I'm a Geek Girl, attending the roller derby with my 70 year old mother, and commenting on the general all around lunacy that somehow always finds me in the world.

Though I do have a serious side that will on occasion slip in. My next post is going to be one of those. But I'm sure I'll be back to the nonsense before long. So thanks for signing on for the ride. Hope you're able to stop in and play along.

Until then, Citizens!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Follow Fest at Tongue In Cheek

Hi everybody! I found out about the Follow Fest at the last minute, and couldn't help but join in, even though I've never participated in a blog hop/fest before. Thanks to Melissa Maygrove for coming up with such a great idea! Be sure to check out all the cool authors signed up by clicking the Follow Fest picture above.

Now for the questions. 
Name: Ava Quinn

Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction. (Though everything on this blog is true. Except for the stuff that isn't.)

What genres do you write? Contemporary Western Romance.

Are you published? Not Yet.

Do you do anything in addition to writing? I mom, I work with a room full of three year olds 4 days a week, and I write. Did I mention that I mom?

Where can people connect with you?
Here at Tongue in Cheek or at my website avaquinn.com.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
I'm currently the president of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America. I ride a motorcycle. I'm the former 'Possum Queen of my county. I battle against the Sea Monkey tribe attempting to take over my bathtub when not trying to convert them to be my minions. And I occasionally find time to write.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I'm Still Tired

But not of this. This never gets old.

Madeline Kahn was such a fantastic comedienne. And Mel Brooks knew just how to work with her.

My favorite part of this song is at about 2:20 where she sings just slightly off key to fill in. What's your favorite?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm Going Against The Mainstream, Here

But what else is new?

Do you all remember the show Mad About You with Paul and Jamie Buckman?

Here's a quick refresher for you.

I enjoyed this show. There was one episode in particular that I've been thinking about lately.  They were both having terrible days and  kept trying to get to "The Feel Good Movie of the Year" and were thwarted at every turn until and act of kindness by the film projectionist at the very end of the show saved the day.

Right now, I really want there to be a Feel Good Movie of the Year. Everything that has come out recently seems to be either post apocalyptic or base humor that flaunts bodily functions and/or tears others down.

Are there any feel good movies out now? One that is light and funny and even, dare I say it, a little uplifting?

Help a gnome out. What do you recommend for lighter fare in the movie realm?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

More Fun With Taxidermied Squirrels

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.

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Upper cut. Upper cut. (Name that video game!)

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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, September 5, 2013

Sweat, Snot and Tears

Only one was mine.*

Yes, these are the joys of working with three year olds. I didn't list all the bodily fluid combinations that I may or may not come in contact with each day. I'm classy like that.

So the new job is in full swing, and I'm exhausted. I should be working on my manuscript as we speak, but I figured blogging is close enough at the moment. I'm trying to psych myself up and convince my decrepit, aging body that I have energy to spare. So far my body isn't buying it.

I'm having fantasies about hijacking a tractor trailer full of Red Bull. I think this is how addictions start and then later how I end up in the papers. I'll keep you posted.

Any advice or home remedies for exhaustion? Do you have a bootleg recipe for an energy drink? I can easily get my hands on a still, being as I'm the former county 'Possum Queen and all. Lay it on me in the comments!

* That would be sweat.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Back In The Saddle Again - I Hope

Hey everyone!

*chirping crickets*

Yeah, sorry. It's been crazy. What can I say. Just yesterday I had a doctor's appt. and she ordered more blood work for me. It took three women and 5 tries before one of them was successful. And you know they were twisting that needle and pushing it in and out, trying to get the blood flowing. Thirty five minutes later they got a tiny bit of blood. And I had a small fever off an on for the rest of the day from the experience.

Then I had to go get one of my fingers x-rayed. I swear the x-ray techs love to contortion their subjects. It's some type of competition for them. "Hey! Look what I can get my guy to do!"

Anywho, the urchins are back in school, and I'm rejoining the working world. It's all crazy around here.

But here are some good/funny highlights -

The oldest Urchin played two truths and one lie with her new teacher and the class on the first day of school. Here's her list.

My favorite color is red.
My birthday is this week.
I play roller derby.

I was so proud!

My father-in-law has been in atrial fibrillation for the past month and had to get his heart converted via electric shock. Though the procedure was no fun, it worked, and his heart is beating normally again.

I got to see my friend who has ALS.

I worked on my query letter for A Shot At Forever.

I'm trying to be more positive and look on the bright side, instead of the complaining I've been caught up in recently.  I might even join a blog hop that helps celebrate the little things every Friday. I need something, 'cause this blog hasn't been very tongue in cheek-y recently. And I really want that back!

You've been warned.

Until next time, Citizens.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Now Her Eyes Have It

The oldest Urchin, whose birthday party is this Saturday, has some allergy related swollen eyes thing going on.  Can she never have a birthday without crisis? Either I'm sick. Or a skunk and a hurricane stop by (not sure which was worse). Now swollen eyes.

We went to the doctor last night. Our appointment was at 8:40. PM. What the heck was that about? That's after her bedtime. I was tempted to take her in her pjs. The doctor was very nice. She recommended to keep giving her what I was giving her, confirmed that it wasn't contagious and sent us on our merry way. They're starting to look better, so hopefully by Saturday she'll be fine.

So I have party stuff to prepare, Monday is the first day of school for my girls, and I start my new job.

So many changes, and it's my writing time, of course, that has suffered.  I'll need to yet again strive for balance in my life. Which never seems to be very forth coming around here.

So what are your secrets to finding balance in your life? Any big changes coming down the pike?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Eyes Still Have It

Yes, I'm still feeling the effects of my double eye infection. Which is making it hard for me to type, let alone visit the internet and all my favorite blogs.

And let me tell you, my eyes nearly popped out of my head today when I got a bill in the mail this afternoon from my ophthalmologist. I know I keep harping on the fact that he tried to shiv my eye way back in June, but now he's adding insult to injury by majorly over-charging my insurance for plucking a frigging eyelash.

You'll never guess how much he charged my insurance for coming at me with razor sharp tweezers and yanking out an eyelash without my permission.


Yes. You read that right. One-hundred-fifteen dollars. Of which I'm supposed to pay $40. For a split second's work, but a day's worth of throbbing ouch-i-ness to my lower eyelid.

How can they sleep at night?

In other related news, I haven't gotten anything written on my W.I.P. lately, and I'm bummed, but my eyes are just not up to it. So it's doubtful I'll be making my goal this month. Sigh. I really need to get on it!

So has anyone tried to shiv you recently? Any ridiculous overchargings to your insurance? Any infection related stories to share? Do tell. Cause I wanna know!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I'm A Geek Girl Too!

And I'm raising a pair of them.

I really enjoyed this video, but my favorite sign is at 2:45. I want to make it into a billboard and post it all over town.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Eyes Have It

I went back to the ophthalmologist yesterday, thankfully he didn't try to shiv my eye again. I did get my eyes dilated, which is never a picnic. And he found that I have eye infections in both eyes. So one heating eye mask, a box of eye wipes and a tube of antibiotic/steroid ointment later, I now am on a highly involved eye care regimen for the next month until I see him again.

Hopefully this will help my writing. I've found for the past few months, looking at my computer screen for overly long amounts of times really inflamed my eyes. I dubbed it computer induced eye sunburn. Apparently It may have just been double eye infections. Leave it to me to identify and over-name something incorrectly.

On Monday of this week I had two small cavities filled, and the spot where they injected the Novocaine is still pretty tender. I'm not a big fan of doctors this week.

Onto other news. I finaled in a writing contest in June, and the winners are supposed to be announced by Sunday. I'm really nervous, so any good mojo you all could send on the airwaves would be completely appreciated.

Coming soon to a Tongue In Cheek Blog Near You

Vacation picture infliction Part Deux


Squirrel Boxing - The Montana Update

Until next time, Citizens!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Muse Later That Year

Hello sadistic fools loyal readers. Back for more, I see. Well, I aim to please. Here's a glimpse at my muse a few months later. I still wish it looked like this. Wife beater, plumber's crack and all.

Enjoy that visual.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Muse In January 2009

Yes, I was blogging way back then. I started in 2008 actually, and have done over 400 posts. This one is number 427. I'm not proud. Or tired. (Name that song!! I'll give you ten thousand imaginary bonus points and much respect if you do.)

Anywho! Back to the topic! Re-runs, of the moldy-oldy variety, as promised. My muse in that month of that year was wreaking havoc all over my manuscripts and acting like a dynamite loving Muppet.

Enjoy this blast from the past.

My Muse

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm Tired

But not from this.

Just from everything else.

We're heading to Montana soon to visit my parents. Last time we were out there was four years ago. We went to the local rodeo when we were there last. Check out the pictures.

So I'm planning some reruns whilst I'm away. I'll dig up some moldy oldy Tongue In Cheek gems just for you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Curve Ball

We got back from vacation in the Poconos with The Man's family last Friday. I ran the writer's meeting Saturday, have barely unpacked and have been working feverishly on getting ready for the Youngest Urchin's birthday and party Friday and Saturday respectively.

Unfortunately, our 15 year old suv decided to be ornery and not pass inspection. Repairs to said geriatric vehicle would cost at least as much as it's worth. So now we're scrambling to find something comparable to replace it with.

That we can afford.

And will tow our pop-up camper.

And that we can afford.

And fits two car seats.

That we can actually afford.

And will be reliable.

Before we leave next week for Montana.

Plus my mother-in-law is having ankle surgery tomorrow, and I'm heading over to a friend's house who has ALS to weed for her in the afternoon. And I need to make cupcakes and wrap presents and decorate and get the carnival games ready for about ten five and six year olds who will be coming Saturday to my back yard and I'm praying for good weather because there's no way all those little kids and their parents will fit in my house and I want to trim the bushes so they don't eat said children as they run by between face painting and sack races and I need to pack for Montana.

I could go on, but I'll leave you with this little nugget of personal information.

I've developed an eye twitch over the past six months and both the family physician and the ophthalmologist who recently tried to shiv my eye blamed it on stress.

I have a feeling they may be right.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Love AC/DC As Much As The Next Person, But . . .

This takes that devotion to new places I'm not sure I want to go.

I've been a fan of AC/DC for most of my life. I got to see them in Philly in 1989 during the Money Talks tour at the Spectrum when the Spectrum was still in existence. I still have the fake money they dropped from the ceiling with Angus Young's face on it.

But this. This goes beyond fandom and into creepy artistic tribute/scary male exotic Scottish leather kilt dancing.

Yet there is something train-wreck compelling about the performance. And the bagpipe rendition worked on me. I just need to close my eyes while I listen.

I don't know who I'd go this far to celebrate/emulate. How about you?  Anyone you'd go all out for to publicly tribute?

And how the hell did he get the flames to come out of the bagpipes?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Opthalmologist Tried To Shiv My Eye

Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But still, it was a terrifying encounter.

So I'm in the chair at the eye doctor with my chin on the chin rest, and the ocular device that always reminds me of some type of steam punk contraption is lowered in front of my eyes. And I'm feeling a bit like Hannibal Lecter in his face cage. I refrained from telling the doctor I loved his suit. (Yay me. Look at my growth in the self restraint department.)

Anywho, the bright white light is shining in my eye, so all I have is my peripheral vision, and all the while the doctor is quietly talking in eye doctor jargon to the nurse about what he sees. All of the sudden I catch him saying in his low monotone, ". . . a lash on lower right epilating."

My brain latched onto that word, epilating. I knew I'd heard it before or some derivation thereof. And then I remembered it deals with skin and the epidermis. Then my brain jumped to The EPILADY! (Cue voice of doom.)

That's when I see him reach down and grab the hugest, pointiest pair of tweezers I've ever seen and start raising them towards my eye! I don't even have time to blink. Literally. And then they are at my eye and I can only see the edges of what's going on because the white light is still blinding me and I'm trying to talk myself down from going towards the light in a whole Poltergeist sort of way and then he grabs my eyelash and rips it out of my head.

It hurt like hell! And yet I survived to tell the tale.

The doctor acted like he was doing me a favor since apparently it was poking my eye. Which I didn't feel. Though for two days after I felt exactly where he'd ripped it out of my eyelid.

So, eyelash plucking. Apparently just one more service my ophthalmologist offers that I  really could have done without.

So have you ever had unexpected adventures in the doctor's office? Or is it just me?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Should I Be Worried?

So the youngest Urchin, who I'll grant you, has always marched to the beat of her own drum has begun to worry me a little.

The Oldest Urchin, who watched the old Batman and Robin Movie and when they rolled up in the Batmobile to the Batcopter exclaimed, "Can it get any more action packed than this?!?" She's the girl who watched, enthralled and fearful for Batman's life as he was attacked by a shark.

She is now a super hero fanatic.

The youngest Urchin, however, loves to play the villains. Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, Two Face, Lex Luther. You name it.

The signs were there. Two years ago her Barbies were leading extremely tragic lives. And all the quotes from this post are her.

This is also the child who became Alice Cooper's biggest fan.

And now the villains.

Not that she could ever have learned it from me, mind you.

My Evil Plans Are Taking Shape
Thursday Ridiculousness
Super Villain Update

Huh. Maybe I should be more worried about myself.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Mom Loved the Roller Derby!

Like daughter like mother, apparently. Last Sunday, yes Father's Day, my mom, the BFF and I went to the local roller derby bout. It was just as intense and fun and awesome as I'd remembered, and my mom loved it.

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Fast hard-hitting action

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There was even chocolate covered bacon on a stick to be had. As many of you know from my 'Possum Queen carny days, fried stuff on a stick is a rare treat for me, but surprisingly, I wasn't enticed to try these.
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Along with chocolate covered breakfast meats, there was a local live band.

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Saints of Sorrow
I didn't get too close for fear of being labeled a groupie. I'm much too old and dignified for that. So I pretended I was taking a picture of the guy in front's butt. The band was good, and even had my mom bopping along to the heavy metal beat.

Mom was so into the whole experience that she even wore one of my coveted home-team jerseys to the bout. I wore this one. And the BFF got me an entirely new one that night for my birthday!! Check it out!

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Do you feel the mash up love?
So a great time was had by all. Including my seventy year old mother.

She visited for two weeks from Montana, and left two days ago. That, along with bylaw revisions, finaling in a writing contest and the wrap up of the two environmental field days I ran for 183 and 132 kids respectively, the final days of the school year for my Urchins,  and my oldest Urchin's dance recital tonight, I have been regretfully absent from my blog.

But that will change. All the lovely crazy that I can cram in will be here in future days. Though, I have vowed to take more time for my writing, so I may slip some more of that in here around all the lunacy. We'll see how that works.

So what have you been up to for the past few weeks? Inquiring mind (my own) wants to know!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Girl Rising - Watch it!

I just got back from a powerful film. Girl Rising.

I wasn't surprised by the information presented in it. These issues are important to me and I've familiarized myself with them for years. But the film brought them home in a very powerful and personal way.

They will be playing the film on CNN on June 16th at 9pm EST. I highly recommend it.

What was the most powerful thing you've seen or read that inspired you recently?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wait. What?? Um, No. Just No.

Have you heard about this? I mean this even penetrated my environmental field day haze. Dunkin' Donuts is revealing a new breakfast sandwich this month.

Peppered egg, and bacon or a sausage patty between two halves of a GLAZED DOUGHNUT!!! Seriously. They're doing it.  This month. Check it out.

What's next, dipping it in guacamole and deep frying it?

I'm not sure what to say, so you say it for me in the comments.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tomorrow Is D-Day A.K.A. EF Day

Yes, tomorrow is the first environmental field day of which there are two. 185 children, 10 teachers, and 26 parent volunteers will be under my charge. Only thing is I wish I could hide under the bed.

Conditions are rife with crappiness. It rained steadily all day today, which will render the state park where we're meeting into a muddy swamp. And tomorrow is the kickoff day of a week long hot spell with temperatures rising to 88 degrees with high humidity.

This morning I had three last minute back outs, and one last minute person wanting to come, which threw off my coverage and I had to scramble to reorganize.

So if I survive tomorrow, I'll be doing it all again next week. And that day they're calling for rain.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Last Week I Was In Paradise

No, it wasn't a tropical getaway. No, it wasn't my happy place. It was my writing group's annual retreat!

Three days of writing and talking and writing and eating and writing and laughing. All with other like minded crazy people writers.

I roomed with the fabulous Delynn Royer. We had a wonderful time talking shop and everything else under the sun.

I painted my nails- which is a well known fact that I paint them every year at the retreat and then anything else I get done is gravy. Unfortunately, the fingernail polish is all but chipped off already. It was a lovely shade of what Delynn insisted was taupe. Which I wouldn't have been able to name even if Sea Monkeys were ready to launch a deadly, soggy assault if I didn't.

So I got to put aside the huge science field day for a little while and focus on my writing again.  Which was heavenly.

What constitutes paradise for you?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Be Warned, Principal

If you don't give me the approved volunteer list for the school that is going on the science field day  I've been working on for months and put aside my writing for and made my unpaid full time job that we're supposed to be going on in exactly one week; I will give you THIS!!!!

Now get your friggin' deal together. I don't need this stress!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Help! I've Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth!!

Actually I'm clinging to the edge right now, and boy do I wish I'd done more upper body toning. (Old Skool readers of TiC know what my real motivations are for exercise.)

The environmental field day preparations are kicking my committee's ass. And since I'm a committee of one I think you can figure out the math. I haven't done any writing this entire month. I've put in at least 100 hours on this project so far. I gotta get some balance back. Right now it's shot!

I did have a nice mother's day. The Oldest Urchin, who's eight, wrote and illustrated a book for me. The Adventures of Batwoman and Batgirl (she and I). Batwoman and Batgirl are taking care of the Batcave while Batman and Robin are away on vacation. That includes the Super Bat Computer.

When all of the super villains escape from Arkham Asylum, the mother/daughter team take care of business! It's awesome.

The Youngest Urchin gave me a fantastic gift as well. Stevie Ray Vaughn was playing on the radio, and she asked if it was B.B. King. Her music education is sinking in!

So how goes it in your life? What's crazy/busy? What's awesome? How was your Mother's Day? Lay it on me!

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