Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Weekend-The Writer's POV

***Friday of Memorial Day Weekend Driving to NYC to have HUGE weekend excursion with the Urchins' Girl Scout Troop***

Me-  silent for first ten minutes of four hour long trip in mini van with said Urchins and The Man.

Me (again)- **sigh**   I have a motivation problem with my new heroine.

The Man-  Bushy-eyed glance my way, then back to the road.

Me- after three minute silence-   You know, I think I have a problem with my new heroine's motivation.

The Man-  Oh.

Me- two minute silence, then-   I'm thinking I might have a problem with my new heroine's motivation.

The Man- **most likely contemplating the ramifications of being an unwilling captive audience**   Is that so.

Me- repeating statement in other ways for the next hour. (I am a writer after all, and can diversify my sentence structure.)

The Man- through gritted teeth-   Would you like to talk about it?

Me-   Sure!

***Two hours later after on and off brain storming, I'm not completely satisfied with my outcomes***

The Man-  Can we talk about this later instead of in a torrential downpour on the NJ expressway?

Me-  Oh. Sure!

***Two days of jam packed NYC activities with lots of little girls***

***Four Hour Drive Home***

Me- six minutes into drive home-   I don't know if you've heard, but I'm having some motivation  issues with the heroine of my new story.

The Man- White knuckling the steering wheel.


***Memorial Day- 8 minutes into our one and a half hour drive to Philadelphia for a family picnic***

Me- contemplative silence as I think about heroine.

The Man-  Rumor has it that you're having motivational difficulties with your new heroine.

And that's one of the many reasons why I love that man o' mine!

I did partially work out some of the motivational issues for my new heroine, but need to research a bit to make sure they're plausible. I know you were dying to know. Which is why I love all of you!

Coming soon, my answers to the Leibster Award I was gifted by that cool cat Marci Koski of Fuzzy Undertones.

Until then, citizens!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. This is a day of remembrance for me. I have several veterans in my family. My father is a Vietnam veteran who was drafted during the Tet Offensive. He got two days leave in Hawaii to meet my brother who was born while he was in Vietnam.

My paternal grandfather was a WWII veteran who fought at the Battle of the Bulge.

And My maternal grandfather was a WWI veteran who lied about his age and signed up at the age of 16. He was sent to Siberia on a special mission with other American soldiers to guard the rail roads there.

Now-a-days the family and I send care packages to troops in combat zones through (I've written about this organization before.) We just got a beautiful letter from a female soldier. The Urchins and I created a girlie package to send to the female soldiers last month in the platoon we'd gotten an address for, and one of the recipients wrote back to say thanks. I never expect a thank you back since these soldiers are working twelve or more hours a day in a combat zone. They're a little busy with other more important things. Like staying alive. So it was a really nice surprise to get the letter.

Do you know any veterans? How do you spend your Memorial Day? Any interesting organizations you support?

Have a safe and awesome Memorial Day! Back to the craziness this blog is known for later this week!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vicki Smith and the Sea Monkey Author Interview

Hi everybody! I told you the month of May was author interview month! Please welcome another of my writing chapter mates, Vicki Smith. Her book, Cursed Fate will be released from Liquid Silver in just a few days!

A.Q. - Thanks for agreeing to answer some interview questions about yourself and your new book. So, What is your book about?

V.S. - My book is about a family curse and the daughter who has to break it.

The Blurb…

When artist and occasional witch Taylor Reed finds her ex-husband murdered in her kitchen, she denies what she really saw. Fearing the ominous presence will make her its next victim, she runs—right into Ben Jones.

Ben is a retired demon hunter, and though he’s left his former life behind, he’s compelled to help Taylor find answers and stop the demon hunting her. That’s not all he’s compelled to do…

A family curse, a binding ritual neither knew they were part of, and a demon who can’t be stopped unless Taylor and Ben resist their feelings—Cursed Fate is a journey of survival, and proof true love really can conquer all.

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

V.S. - This story takes place in my favorite place – The Outer Banks of North Carolina, though I never really specify that.

The references to B&E brewing company and the weird beers is a shout out to my husband and brother-in-law’s beer brewing name and the weird beer the hero mentions was one they actually made.

A.Q. - What is your favorite part of the story writing process?

V.S. - It all depends… Sometimes it’s getting that first idea down and writing like the wind. Sometimes it’s working through the saggy middle. Sometimes it’s hitting The End.

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?

V.S. - Oh. There are lots. Very top of the list has to be my husband. At the beginning of this whole thing, I read a book where the ending was so unsatisfying, I threw the book across the room. He told me if I thought I could do better, I should. I stopped making excuses for why I wasn’t writing and wrote.

A.Q. - What are you working on now/next?

V.S. - Now I’m working on a Halloween story to submit to my publisher. Next, I will be doing edits/submissions for some of my grittier stuff. New writing… I’m not sure yet… Definitely a post apocalyptic, but the idea isn’t fully formed yet…

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

Fill in the blank –
If I were a villain, I would have _gnomes_ for minions to deliver my wrath because _they are tough and totally out of control.  (And remember, sea monkeys are already spoken for. Mostly)

Sea Monkeys are to gnomes as zombie stinkbugs are to training a puppy that is going to weigh more than me.

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

V.S. - My books are available on Amazon and at You’re always welcome to stop by my blog or I’m on Twitter, but I kind of stink at that - @smith_victoria. I also have an author page on Facebook –

A.Q. - Thanks again for stopping in!

V.S. - Thank you for having me!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just A Boring Update

Hey everybody! I'm back from retreat and I was BRUTAL on my manuscript. RUTHLESS, I tell you!! Those sea monkeys are now MY Padawan learners. I have one more pass to do, then it's off to my crit partners.

I was Mommy again as soon as I walked in the door and was answering questions from the Youngest Urchin about the scientific origins of flatulence. So it kinda deflated my writing mojo, (I'll save you from posting the transcription. Some of the crazy at Chez Quinn is just too bizarre for public consumption.)

I got nominated for a Leibster Award by the fabulously awesome Marci Koski. If you haven't yet checked out this cool kid, you're missing out! I'll be answering all her probing questions later this month. So stay tuned for an unadulterated peek at me.

Speaking of answering questions, Vicki Smith will be here on Thursday to run the sea monkey interview gauntlet and to tell us a little about her up coming release.

So tell me, how's your writing going? Got a book out you'd like to tell us about? Any probing answers you'd like to give about your life? The comments are yours!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sara Walter Ellwood's Sea Monkey Author Interview!

Please welcome Sara Walter Ellwood to Tongue in Cheek today.
A.Q. - Thanks for agreeing to answer some interview questions about yourself and your book.
S.W.E. - Thanks for having me here today, Ava!
A.Q. - So, What is your book about? 
S.W.E. - Sure, Gambling On A Secret is a contemporary western romantic suspense. Here’s the blurb and excerpt.
When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her? 
Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.
Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.
When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?
“Ferguson, what are you doing here?” Dylan barked.
Leon ambled toward them on the stone path. “I’m saving a young maiden from torment. What are you doing here, playing the part of the devil?”
“I’m Miss Monroe’s new manager.” The deadly edge of his voice matched the flintiness of his eyes. “If there’s anyone to save the young maiden from, it’s you.”
“Mr. Quinn, please.” She turned to Leon. “Leon, is there something I can do for you?”
He smiled, showing off perfect white teeth in a face handsome enough to belong to an actor. “I was just passing by on my way home and decided to stop. How are the boys working out?”
Dylan’s stance widened and his hands flexed at his sides. “What boys?”
“Charli and I have entered into a business arrangement.”
She lost the battle with the urge to wrap her arms around herself. As much as she appreciated Leon’s kindness, respected him, and was even a little attracted to him, something about him didn’t sit right with her. He represented her peers in the community. According to Mrs. Pratt, besides the Cartwrights, she and Leon were undoubtedly the wealthiest residents in the county. No one in Colton could learn about her past. It would ruin her, and Leon, no doubt, had the means to dig up the dirt.
“Really?” Dylan stepped closer to her in a protective manner. Whiskey tainted his breath as the warmth of the exhalations tickled her cheek. “What kind of business arrangement?”
She could protect herself. Dylan Quinn wasn’t any safer than Leon Ferguson. Stepping away from him, she forced her arms to her sides. “Mr. Quinn, I can handle this.”
She faced Leon. “I’m amazed by how much the men got done since starting on Monday. The foreman told me last evening they’d be reseeding another fifty acres for hay this morning. And they have the corrals fixed and started on the fencing in the north pasture.”
“Good, good.” He glanced at Dylan. “I’ll be going, unless you need a more reliable exterminator. I couldn’t help but overhear about your snake infestation. I can give you the name of the company that has gotten rid of the snakes in our lakes over on Oak Springs for years.”
Although he presented the perfect solution, she didn’t the like way Leon had looked at Dylan as he said the word exterminator. “No, Mr. Quinn is quite capable of getting rid of the snake.”
“Oh, I’m sure he is.” Leon tipped his hat. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you, Charli.” Dylan’s jaw tightened as his uncle glanced at him. “It’s good to see you up among the living again.”
Leon headed back to his Porsche. With no pretense of lowering his voice, Dylan said, “Now, there’s a snake no one wants in their garden.”
Upon hearing the jibe, Leon’s shoulders jerked in mid-stride.
Rattled by Leon’s attention and the snake fiasco, she turned on Dylan. “You aren’t off the hook. I want those snakes gone.”
“We’ll see.”
“I hate snakes.” She shuddered and put her hands on her hips. “Maybe I should have asked him who the exterminator is.”

A.Q. - Can you share an interesting behind the scenes tidbit about your story?
S.W.E. - The original title of the book was “Butterfly”, which reflected how I came up with the story after watching a butterfly hatch from its cocoon, and the theme of changing into something better which is heavy in the plot of the book. But my editor said, (rightfully so) “Butterfly” would never suit for a western title. So, she suggested trying to tie the books together with a common word in the title. I came up with “gambling” because the history of the three main families in the books are tied to three gamblers who won the county land in a poker game. Within a few minutes I had titles for all six books---Gambling On A Secret, Gambling On A Heart, Gambling On A Dream, Gambling On A Wish, Gambling On A Song, and Gambling On A Lady.

A.Q. - What is your favorite part of the story writing process?
S.W.E. - Believe it or not, I love the revision/editing process. I find writing the first draft painful at times, but I love to edit and polish that horrible rough draft into a book.

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?
S.W.E. - There are several people who stand out, but my very good friends and critique partners D’Ann Lindun, Martha Ramirez and Carol Grosser have been wonderful and helped shape the writer I am today. They each bring something different to my writing and I value their opinions greatly

A.Q. - What are you working on now/next?
S.W.E. - Right now, I’m working on two projects at once—book 3 of the Colton Gamblers called Gambling On A Dream and a standalone I plan to shop around to agents called A Family for Jesse. Both are contemporary western romantic suspenses.
Now for the S.A.T. portion of the interview:
Fill in the blank –
If I were a villain, I would have __cute little puppies and kittens__ for minions to deliver my wrath because __everyone loves puppies and kittens—so they are the perfect Trojan Horse__.  
(And remember, sea monkeys are already spoken for. Mostly)
Sea Monkeys are to ____________ as zombie stinkbugs are to ________________. 

 I have no freakin’ idea!!!!  Sorry.
A.Q. - LOL!! Please tell us where we can find out more about you and where we can buy your books.
Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamor of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She's been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she's a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name of Cera duBois.

For Gambling On A Secret

For Gambling On A Heart

For Heartstrings:

Author Links
Follow the Second Honeymoon Blog Tour HERE

A.Q. - Thanks again for stopping in!
SWE - You bet!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Going To Writer's Paradise

Remember that annoying commercial? No? Then by all means, let me inflict it upon you.

*subtext I hear

I'm really going to get you to hate me by the end of this post, I'm afeared. But I had to share. After all the craziness of the volunteerism gone mad from my life last month, I get to go indulge in my yearly writer's retreat. My local writer's group--whom I love like my youngest Urchin loved Alice Cooper when she was 4--goes away for three glorious days to a beautiful facility close to Pittsburgh. And all we do is write. And eat. And laugh. And then write some more. And it's BEAUTIFUL!!

No taxiing Urchins everywhere. No making meals. No doing laundry. No dealing with parental volunteers and evil principals and buying and creating supplies in the name of science education. No three year olds from my preschool yelling MORE JUICE!!. No glitter.**

Ava Quinn, Contemporary Western Romance Writer, contemprorary romancle novel, humorous blog, funny blog, contemprary romance, contemporary western romance, contemproary romance author

 Just me and my WIP that I've completely ignored in order to bring outdoor science education to 320 school children in a fun learning environment.(If I say it like that, I'm a little less bitter about it taking over my life. A very little bit.)

Some of my older followers may remember that I got partial requests from Harlequin and Sourcebooks for this one. And you may remember that Sourcebooks sent me a revise and resend for the full. Well, I'm going to revise like sea monkeys vie for world domination. Ruthlessly. (except with much less slime.) I want to make huge progress to make up for all the time I lost in April. Needless to say, I'm pretty damn excited!

The month of May is also turning into author interview month here at Tongue In Cheek. Last week I had the fabulous Melissa Maygrove over for the Sea Monkey Author Interview. I will be having two other authors from my writers' group here--one a week--to answer questions and then traverse through the sea monkey SAT portion of the interview.

So what are you doing this month? How's your writing going? Any insane volunteering going on in your life at the moment? Have your children/nieces/nephews/neighbor children had unhealthy obsessions with 70s rock stars? I wanna know!!

*Hate me because I'm a self absorbed ninny who thinks no deeper than appearances.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Melissa Maygrove-Author Interview-Sea Monkey Style!

Hi everyone! Today we have an author interview with Melissa Maygrove. Her historical Western comes out in just a few days, and I for one, can't wait. She was brave enough to come over and take the Sea Monkey SAT portion of the interview as well, so this gal's got grit! Please welcome Melissa to Tongue In Cheek.

Native Texan Melissa Maygrove is a wife, mother, nurse, freelance editor, and romance writer. When she's not busy caring for her tiny nursery patients or shuttling teenagers back and forth to after-school activities, she's hunched over her laptop complicating the lives of her imaginary friends and playing matchmaker. Melissa loves books with unpretentious characters and unforgettable romance, and she strives to create those same kinds of stories for her readers.

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

M.M. - Wait. That looks an awful lot like S&M? Yikes! People will think I write bondage. (:P Kidding) Thanks for inviting me! I’m honored to be here.

A.Q. - Lol! So, What is your book about? 

M.M. - Come Back is a western historical romance (Adult / New Adult) about a young woman who gets left behind by a wagon train. She’s rescued by a hunky hero, of course. :)

Left behind by everyone she loves...

Rebecca Garvey had the promise of a California future dreams are made of, until the wagon train her family was traveling with left her behind. Now she’s slowly dying in the wilderness, abandoned and stripped of her self-worth. Once the shock of her desertion turns to embittered despair, she doesn’t want to be found. Then a handsome stranger challenges her convictions and changes her mind.

Headed for Texas, chased by the demons of his past...

Seth Emerson knows exactly what he wants. Working to save for a cattle ranch of his own keeps him busy and keeps his pain buried. Rescuing a stubborn woman from the hills of New Mexico Territory isn’t part of his plan—but she’s exactly what he needs.

Making greater sacrifices than either of them could foresee...

Seth and Rebecca set off on a risky journey and a quest for truth, each healing the other’s love-starved soul along the way. Will they give in to their growing attraction?  Or will they honor their commitments when Seth returns Rebecca to civilization... and her betrothed?

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

M.M. – You’d think after more than two years spent writing this novel I’d have a whole list of behind-the-scenes stories, but this question stumped me. One thing people might find interesting is where the inspiration for the story came from.

I home-schooled my daughter for a few years. As part of one of her history lessons, we read a book about a teenage girl traveling west. It was written in the form of a diary and mentioned various belongings westward travelers would dump to lighten their loads on the trail. I imagined a young, abandoned woman using these things to survive, and the first sketchy plot note for Come Back was born.

A.Q. - What is your favorite part of the story writing process?

M.M. – I love the idea stage, when you can barely jot your thoughts down fast enough, and the research stage is often fun (I did a LOT with this book). But I’d have to say doing the final read-through and seeing a story in its polished, finished form is the best part of all.

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?

M.M. – I have been blessed by many talented people during my journey, but the one who’s helped me the most is Carrie Butler. We met by chance when I put an ad online for a CP. She kindly stuck with me through my first WIP, bless her heart (Come Back is my third), and she has grown to be as much a dear friend as a colleague. I wouldn’t be where I am as an author—and I mean writing, techy skills, social media, everything—if it wasn’t for her.

A.Q. - What are you working on now/next?

M.M. – Publishing my debut novel has kept me crazy busy. I haven’t had time to think about much else. I do have a NA dystopian in the works. I also have an idea for a novella (or short novel) featuring two supporting characters in Come Back. Can’t say who they are, though. It’d be a spoiler. ;)

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

Fill in the blank –
If I were a villain, I would have __chemical mutagens__ for minions to deliver my wrath because __they can silently slip between your DNA__.  (And remember, sea monkeys are already spoken for. Mostly.)

Sea Monkeys are to __kids__ as zombie stinkbugs are to __Beetlejuice__.

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

M.M. – The best place is my website: Everything is there, including links to my social media haunts and my writer’s blog. Come Back is my debut and is set to release May 12th. Buy links will be added as they become available.

A.Q. - Thanks again for stopping in!

M.M. – Thank you! Now I can say I took the sea monkey SATs over at Ava’s.  :)

A.Q. - And lived to tell the tale!! lol!

Melissa is also having an awesome giveaway! Check out the details here, then stop over at Melissa's blog to enter!
Contest starts May 5th and ends at midnight on May 19th.

Winners will be announced May 21st.

The two prizes are:
A $50 gift card to your choice of Amazon or Barnes & Noble (Book Depository for international entrants)

A signed paperback copy of Come Back for winner living in the cont. U.S. or Authorgraph + e-book copy (international entrant)
Good luck!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

I Haven't Fallen Off The Face of the Earth or The AtoZ Wrap Up

Hi everybody! Yes, it's been five days, which in internet time you must take your total number of days missing and multiply by 48. Then convert your answer to months. Be sure to show your work.

Yes, last Friday I survived the second Environmental Field Day of 140 first and second graders. You know. The one that the principal decided ON TUESDAY to make indoors at the school. So almost all my months of planning had to be rewritten in two and a half days. Plus all the volunteers had to be notified and their new assignments given out. I was really popular, let me tell you. Not cool, since I'm just a volunteer myself.

Needless to say, even this look is not strong enough to convey the animosity I had in my heart for the principal last week.

But I'm totally over it now.  


Anywho, I'm still trying to catch up on all the atoz posts that I missed during my (conniption inducing) days volunteering at my daughter's school. (To be honest, I came home Friday evening, went to put the Urchins to bed at 8, and fell asleep before I could. I didn't wake up until 8 the next morning. Completely unheard of. I was past exhausted.)

As for the AtoZ, I have to say that even though I didn't have the time available that I would have liked to go and visit all the other participants, I still had a great time. I'm not sure if I'll do it again next year, but I'd definitely go say hi to the ones who do (just as I've done in years past.) I've met some fantastic people and have broadened my "must read blogs" list considerably!

So how did you all enjoy yourselves? Do you now have any favorite reruns from Tongue In Cheek? What was your favorite part about the hop? Can't wait to hear!

Until next time, citizens!

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