Monday, September 15, 2014

Cover Reveal--Broken Promise--Jen Wylie

Hey everyone! We all know I don't blog often enough, and I don't pimp out my favorite authors enough on my blog either. So today I'm killing two birds with one blog post. I wanted to help with the cover reveal for Jen Wylie's new book in her Broken Ones series because I just adore this series more than I can tell you.

I'm sure you've heard me gush about Broken Aro and Broken Prince before, well book number 3 in The Broken Ones series, Broken Promise, is almost here! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. The only bad thing about this book releasing is that I'll read it in a matter of hours and then the clock on my wait for the next book will reset. I hate waiting for books. I know that makes me completely hypocritical as I make all of you wait for my books, but I hope that it brings you some comfort to know that, as a reader, I am every bit as tortured as you are in waiting for my favorite books.

All that said, here's all the info for Broken Promise! If you haven't read Jen's other books yet, seriously go read them before Broken Promise comes out so you can get excited with me and chat about the series with me after you've read the book!

A Young Adult Fantasy
(The Broken Ones, #3)
Jen Wylie

Release date: October 7, 2014

A year of turmoil takes its toll on Arowyn Mason and her companions. After delivering the Elven prince to his homeland, they decide to ride out the winter in the city of Westport before starting their quest to heal the Fey. Like most things in Aro’s life, nothing goes according to plan. As Kei struggles with the prophecy bound within him, his sanity begins to unravel. A prophecy and a promise are broken, and forgotten threats resurface with dire consequences. The Dragos is watching and the Were king is displeased with the disregard of Were law. Aro scrambles as yet another threat emerges. The Elves, displeased with their prince, exploit his only weakness…her. Aro is forced to find a new ally, a cold-hearted, ruthless pirate named Roan. He is more than he seems and Aro must learn who she can trust, or it will cost more than just her life. She has grown stronger, but is it enough to save herself, her family, and the Elf she loves?

Jen Wylie resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her two boys, Australian shepherd and a disagreeable amount of wildlife. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold. Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales. Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories.

Monday, September 8, 2014

You are cordially invited! (C&E release party: play games, win giveaways, and mingle with some of your favorite authors!)

Hey everyone! In case you haven't heard, my next book, Cinder & Ella, is releasing and I'm having a HUGE launch party! Since Cinder & Ella is a "Cinderella" retelling, I've decided to throw my own ball! Come, show off your awesome dresses, bring your imaginary fantasy date, dance with Prince Cinder, feast until you're sick to your stomach, play games, enter  endless giveaways, and mingle with some of your favorite Cinderella authors!

Let me tell you a little about this event. It's a Facebook Party. That means that you join the EVENT on Facebook, log in the day of, and follow all the different posts on the event page. 

Join the event by clicking on the picture below:

C&E Book Release Ball Schedule!
ALL TIMES PST (Pacific Standard Time) (UTC – 8 hours)

First of all, we will have an Early Bird Sale. On the release day only, the ebook of Cinder & Ella will be on sale for $2.99. After release day the price will go back to it's regular price of $4.99 so get it wile it's on sale! Then join me and a slew of other FABULOUS people for hours of games and contests. There will be lots of prizes and lots of ways to win. Here's a list of the schedule of events:
3pm – Meet Kelly Oram! I'll be there saying hi and answering as many questions as I can. I'll introduce Cinder & Ella and put in my shameless plug to buy the book. :D) 

RED CARPET CONTEST (Meet Actress/model/fashionista Summer Bellessa of the Girls With Glasses Show!) Yes, I'm rolling out the red carpet for this star-studded event of the century, so make sure you arrive in style! This is where you'll post pics of your outfits. Start searching for that perfect gown now. The winner of the fashion contest will win a $5 Amazon gift card. And since I personally lack a sense of style, I've asked my good friend, the lovely Summer Belessa, to come chat it up with you guys, talk fashion, and judge our red carpet contest!

FANTASY DATE CONTEST Once you've walked the red carpet you'll be announced at the door. Say Hi and post pics of your dates! Dream Big here guys. Who are you bringing to the ball? your boyfriend/girlfriend/favorite actor/book boyfriend/musician/Albert Einstein? It could be anyone! If I like your dream date the best you'll win a signed C&E swag pack.

3:30 – Meet Cindy C Bennett! Cindy will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway an ebook of her Enchanted Fairytales. (which includes The Unmasking of Cinderella.)

C&E Teaser Giveaway A big part of the release party (other than to persuade you to by the book) is to help me spread the word about the release. Share this photo teaser of C&E and enter to win a signed C&E swag pack.) 

4:00 – Meet Cindi Madsen! Cindi will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway an ebook Cinderella Screwed Me Over.

Dance with Prince Cinder! You can't have a ball without dancing! I'll post a music video from my C&E playlist, and give you a question to answer in the comments. Prince Cinder will be there, and if he asks you to dance, you will win your choice of $5 iTunes gift card or signed C&E swag.

4:30 – Meet Janette Rallison! Janette will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway a copy of My Fair Godmother.

Sign the guest book! Yes, this is another shameless attempt for me to keep in touch with you about my upcoming releases. Sign up on my email list and enter to win a signed Kelly Oram Book of Choice. Obviously emails are kept confidential, and I won't spam. You'll receive only a couple emails a year about my new releases, and any events I may be attending.

5:00 – Meet Marissa Meyer! Marissa will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway a Lunar Chronicles swag pack)!

C&E Teaser Giveaway A big part of the release party (other than to persuade you to by the book) is to help me spread the word about the release. Share this photo teaser of C&E and enter to win a signed C&E swag pack.) 

5:30 – Meet Sariah Wilson! Sariah will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway a copy of The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back (Print (US only) or ebook (Intl.))

More Dancing with Prince Cinder! Same as before, I'll post a music video from my C&E playlist, and give you a question to answer in the comments. If Prince Cinder asks you to dance, you win your choice of $5 iTunes gift card or signed C&E swag.

6:00 – Meet Cassie Mae! Cassie will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway a signed paperback of Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend. (US Only.) And an ebook of Reasons as well (intl)

King Kyle Fan Art Contest. What's a ball with out a King presiding? King of the Book Boyfriends Kyle Hamilton will make an appearance. King Kyle loves to receive gifts from his adoring subjects. This is a Kelly Oram Fan Art contest. Get creative and start making your gifts for King Kyle now. Pictures, drawings, photo teasers, song lyrics, poems, youtube videos of a dream cast... whatever your amazing minds can come up with. Post the pics or links to your creations in King Kyle's thread and he'll chose one lucky winner to be his Queen for the evening. If you're crowned Queen, you will win a signed set of paperbacks of his books V is for Virgin & A is for Abstinence. He'll also personally autograph a poster for you!

6:30 – Meet Carly Syms! Carly is going to stop by to say hello and giveaway a Carly ebook of your choice.

C&E Teaser Giveaway A big part of the release party (other than to persuade you to by the book) is to help me spread the word about the release. Share this photo teaser of C&E and enter to win a signed C&E swag pack.) 

7:00 – Meet Anne Eliot! Anne will be stopping by to say hello and giveaway an ebook Unmaking Hunter Kennedy.

LAST DANCE/LAST GIVEAWAY  This is your last chance to dance with Prince Cinder. It's also a chance for me to say thank you for being here today and for buying Cinder & Ella. Which you, of Course, will already have done ;) (Post pic of C&E on your e-reader or a screen cap of your purchase confrimation screen to enter to win signed C&E paperback!)

7:30 – C&E Read Along with Kelly Oram! I am by no means a professional reader, but I thought it would be fun to say hi in person. I'll post a video of me in my office where I basically make a fool of myself and show you how I haven't lost any of the weight of baby #4. LOL, okay, not really, well you can see that, but I basically just say hi and then I'll read the prologue and first chapter of Cinder & Ella. You'll be able to get a feel of how it sounds to me. (And how I butcher the Spanish language!) Hopefully it's fun. Make sure you’ve downloaded your ebook already so you can read along with me!

8:00 – Thank you/goodbye & winners announced.

As you can see, this is going to be an EPIC adventure. It's the biggest event I've ever tried to put together, and I'm really excited for it. I really hope you all come and please, anything you can do to spread the word about this event before October 1st would be so appreciated! Tell/invite your friends, share the link on your social media... Lets make this Ball the event of the century and help Cinder & Ella have a successful release! You guys are the best, and without your support I wouldn't be able to do what I love! 

See you at the Ball!!
Again, you can join the event here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The music of V is for Virgin & the bands that inspired it.

The "V is for Virgin" section in my extras page is pretty empty, and I haven't blogged much lately, so I figured today I'd share Kyle's songs with you and tell you a little about the inspiration behind his band Tralse.

First of all, if you haven't yet heard where the idea for the book V is for Virgin came from, and how Tralse actually came to be, you can get the whole story (and trust me, it's a good one) in my post about The History of V is For Virgin. There's even an interview with the REAL Kyle Hamilton. (Yes, there's a real Kyle Hamilton--go read the post...)

But today I want to talk a little about the music. When I first started writing V is for Virgin, I knew I was going to have to have a song in it. The plot relies heavily on the song that Kyle writes for Val, that makes her famous and him even more famous, and I always knew I would have to have actual lyrics for it. The problem was, I am sooooooo not a songwriter. I completely freaked out at the idea of having to write a song for this book. So what did I do? I went to my amazingly talented, songwriting little sister and made her write it for me, of course.

My baby sister Cara used to be the singer in a local band here in Phoenix called Science of Sydney, and her husband was the lead guitarist. (Yup, the Cara in the book is totally named after my little sis, and Shane is named after her rocker husband.) Just for fun, here's a picture of the real Cara and Shane, who totally inspired the fictional Cara and Shane. (Though the real Cara is such a sweetheart and totally not self-centered at all like the fictional Cara in the book. LOVE YOU SIS!)

Cara and Shane started their band, wrote all their own music, and even had a producer pick them up and help them record a demo at one point. But, as life will do to people sometimes, they were forced to move away to Seattle and the band had to break up. You can still listen to a few of their songs HERE.

So, Cara wrote the song that started it all, Kyle's song for Val, Cryin' Shame. When I spoke to her about writing the song for me, I had to tell her a lot about Kyle, and the kind of guy he is, and the type of sound I was going for. I even made her read the book (what I'd had written so far) so that she'd know what I was trying to accomplish.I fell in love with it instantly, and thought she did a perfect job getting the angry, obnoxious, yet sexy and sweet tone of Kyle Hamilton down. Really, she nailed it!  (I understand I could be biased I this, but still...)

Cryin' Shame

She's smokin’ hearts with a burnin’ flame 
She's got a wild side without a name 
And when she's riled it's a cryin’ shame 
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I've got it bad 
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I'm goin’ mad 

Cause in your head you've got it right 
Won't go to bed without a fight 
You think you're wise, you think it shows 
So show me wise without those clothes 

She's playin’ hardball and it's nothin’ new 
Short skirts so enjoy the view 
She's a coldblooded tease baby through and through 
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I've got it bad 
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I'm goin’ ma 

Cause in your head you've got it right 
Won't go to bed without a fight 
You think you're wise, you think it shows 
So show me wise without those clothes

Come on Legs don't go to waste 
I could be your only savin’ grace 
Put those morals on the back burner 
Something tells me you're a fast fast learner

Cause in your head you've got it right 
Won't go to bed without a fight 
You think you're wise, you think it shows 
So show me wise without those clothes

Fun, right? I can totally picture him up on stage singing this song. I love it! Well, when Cara gave me these lyrics, she also introduced me to an indie rock band that she said inspired her. It is a testament to how well my baby sister knows me, because as soon as I heard them I knew they were exactly the type of band I'd always imagined Kyle's band Tralse sounding like. It was as if she read my mind and conjured up Tralse in real life for me.

So, the sound behind Tralse, the inspiration for Kyle, and what I always imagine him/them to sound like is based on the indie rock band Head Automatica. Check them out on their official Facebook page. More than just having the right sound, they also had a song that was just so perfectly Kyle and Val in my mind, that it became their theme song. So... everyone... please enjoy Beating Heart Baby, and imagine Kyle singing it to Val... 

Again, I love it. Head Automatica, I'm a fan. And to me that song is just so Kyle and Val. Dream cone true? I would LOVE one day to have these guys put a Melody to Kyle's songs and perform them for me. Wouldn't that be the most amazing awesome thing ever? I'll keep dreaming, but hey, as Kyle always says, Dream Big!

Now, moving on to A is for Abstinence... When I eventually wrote a sequel to the book and knew that Kyle and Val would get their second chance, there was never any doubt that there would be another song. However, my little sis was super busy with life and whatnot, and I didn't want to bug her to write me another song, so I pulled up my big girl panties and wrote one myself. That's right, Worth Waiting For was all me. (Hopefully that's not a bad thing.)

I figured I knew Kyle well enough, and knew exactly what he sounded like, and what kind of song I wanted, so I tried really hard to come up with something that sort of matched the first song, and yet shifted tone just a tiny bit. I wanted the second song to still have a hint of the old sassy obnoxious Kyle, and I still wanted it to be sexy, but I also wanted it to be much sweeter and more romantic at the same time, since Kyle had done a lot of growing up, and had learned a little. So, who knows if I accomplished it, but by the end I was pretty happy with the results, (if not still a little self-conscious, 'cause, again, NOT a songwriter...)

Anyway, here's the lyrics for Worth Waiting For. Hope you enjoy them, and I hope this post helped you get a better feel for Kyle and Tralse. 

Worth Waiting For

Thoughts of you runnin’ through my head.
Heart’s pumpin’ full speed ahead
Body’s screaming to get you in bed.
Need you, want you, Baby gotta be mine.
Come to me girl, I’m done wastin’ time.

You ask me to wait, don’t know if I can
Too scared to lose, I’m only a man
But I can’t let you go, can’t shut the door
Heart’s telling me you’re worth waiting for

The feel of your lips, hot breath on my skin
Touching you, touching me, I’d relish the sin
Lets find a way for us both to win.
Need you, want you, Baby gotta be mine.
Come to me girl, I’m done wastin’ time.

You ask me to wait, don’t know if I can
Too scared to lose, I’m only a man
But I can’t let you go, can’t shut the door
Heart’s telling me you’re worth waiting for

Forever I’ll wait, it’s drivin’ me mad
Driven by memories I’ve not yet had
Hanging on a promise of you and me
Hope springs eternal for things that could be

You ask me to wait, don’t know if I can
Too scared to lose, I’m only a man
Bring on the torture, forever and more
’Cause girl it’s true, you’re worth waiting for

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cinder & Ella -- cover reveal, teaser, & giveaway!

In case you haven't heard, let me just shout it from the rooftops...

I've got another book coming out soon! 

I really super love this one and I am so excited to share it with you guys. Today I have the Cover to share with you along with the blurb and a short teaser to get you excited for the book. I've added a small giveaway with it, because hey, why not? Enjoy! And get excited for this super amazing (if I do say so myself) contemporary adaptation of my all-time favorite fairy tale Cinderella!

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder. 
Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancĂ©e—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

Teaser excerpt:
You do have someone who cares, he said softly. No matter how bad things are at home or at school or whatever, you have me. Youre my best friend, too. You have my number now. Save it in your phone and call it anytimeday, night, the witching hourit doesnt matter. Okay?
It took me a momentand a series of deep breathsbefore I could respond. Okay.
I promise. As long as I always have you, Ill be fine. I kicked myself internally and laughed. Wow, that sounded really cheesy. You see? Thats why I didnt want to call you. I can filter my stupid mouth so much better when I have to type out my thoughts.
Cinder laughed again. Ah, but then you would miss out on all the sweet nothings I plan to whisper in your ear now that I know how much you like my ultra-sexy voice.
I blushed but refused to let him know that his flirting rattled me. I never said ultra, you egomaniac. But you should definitely consider recording audiobooks for a living.
Hmm. Thats not a bad idea. Cinders voice dropped to that slow, seductive purr again as he asked, Would you like me to read to you, Ellamara?
I thrilled at the thought and couldnt quite mask my excitement. Seriously?
Why not? Before you called, I was getting ready to have a Top Gear marathon all by my lonesome.
You are such a liar. Tonight is Friday night, and its Halloween. There is no way you dont have plans.
I dont have important ones. Its just a stupid party that my sort-of girlfriend wants me to go to.
Your sort-of girlfriend?
Yeah. Cinder stretched the word out in a long breath. Its a long story, but Im not that into her. Id much rather stay home and read with you. Besides, I cant hang up on you when youve had the worst day ever. What kind of best friend would that make me?
I almost cried again. The offer was so sweet. And thoughtful. Reading was a passion Cinder and I shared. We read and discussed books all the time. Wed even decided to read the same book at the same time before, but wed never read one together. Cinder had to know how much that would mean to me.
It has to be The Druid Prince, I said.
Cinder laughed. Its already in my hands.

Look for Cinder & Ella October 1, 2014!

*Giveaway is international so long as you have an email address I can send the gift card to. :)

What do you guys think? Sound fun? Like the cover? I'd love to hear your thoughts, and if you're as excited about this as I am, don't forget to help me spread the word to all your friends by sharing the link on your social media!  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Looking for a handful of beta readers...

UPDATE: Hey! I'm closing the beta reading signups. First of all, WOW! I got way more responses to this than I expected. Thank you all so much for the interest/support/desire to help!!! You guys make me love writing even when sometimes I hate it. (Like when I try to work on a stubborn book and want to cry/scream/rip my hair out. *cough* Remember Jamie Baker *cough*) Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel like I can't ever say thank you enough to my fans.

I haven't looked at all the signups yet. That's my task this week, and then I should be contacting a few of you to read Scion (Supernaturals #3) for me. (Yes, I FINALLY finished the pesky ending of that book. WooHoo!)  So, I'll be in contact soon. THanks again, and remember I really did get a TON more responses than I can actually use, so I apologize in advance if I don't pick you. It doesn't mean that I don't love you, I promise!


Hey everyone! So as the subject of this blog post suggests, I am in need of a handful of awesome, helpful, and reliable beta readers.

What is a beta reader (besides awesome and one of a writers greatest tools)? 

  1. Beta readers(According to Wikipedia)
  2. An alpha reader or beta reader (also spelled alphareader / betareader, or shortened to alpha / beta), also pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption.Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking.

Simply put, a beta is someone who reads early drafts of a manuscript for an author and gives feedback. Beta readers are an essential part of a writer's toolkit. Especially for us indie authors who don't have agents, editors, readers, and publishers all giving us pages and pages of edits. I've recently developed a need for some new beta readers, and I am currently looking for a handful of people who would be willing to do this for me. I'm not too worried about spelling and grammar as I have a wonderful editor who does that for me once my manuscripts are finished and polished. What I am hoping to find is someone who can give me feedback for all the other good stuff. Over all thoughts, questions you have, plot holes, character issues, things you liked, things you didn't, etc... Sometimes I'll have specific questions in mind I may ask for your opinion on. Things like that.

What am I looking for in a beta reader? 

  • someone with a basic knowledge of giving feedback or is used to dissecting stories (book bloggers tend to make exceptional betas because they break down books in all of their reviews.)
  • someone with at least a basic knowledge of writing/story structure/character development
  • someone who reads a lot/enjoys my genre (YA either contemporary or fantasy or both)
  • someone not afraid to tear a manuscript apart. In a helpful, non-hurtful way, please. ;)
  • someone who can read a manuscript in a word doc format since they will be reading first drafts that haven't been formatted in ebook formats yet.
  • someone enthusiastic about beta reading simply for the love of reading and sake of making stories better and helping out an author they like since this is not a paid job but strictly volunteer
  • and above all, I need people who are trustworthy and will under no circumstances pass these manuscripts along to anyone no matter who they are because I would be heartbroken if any of my early (usually crapy) first drafts of my books leaked out to the public.

What do you get out of this if you beta read for me?

  • My eternal servitude. Kidding. But you would definitely have my undying gratitude. :)
  • Not money. Unfortunately. As I said this is not a paid position. Just something that if you love to read and would like to help me, I would love your feedback.
  • I can't give feedback on your own manuscripts either. Unfortunately, I am not looking for critique partners right now. I know that sounds terrible, but as much as I wish I could help everyone who asks me to read and give feedback for their manuscripts, I simply don't have the time. I have one or two critique partners already and if I take on any more, I won't have any time to actually write. I am only looking for readers at the moment.
  • BUT...
  • Obviously as a beta you would be one of the select few who gets to read my books months before they release, and you would have the opportunity to voice your dislikes/concerns while there is still time for me to do something about them.
  •  complementary ebooks of the final product
  • a mention in my special thanks of the book (along with a link to your blog if you're a blogger)
  • possible future characters named after you if you so desire such a thing...
  • autographed swag (posters and bookmarks) of the books you beta for me
  • experience. If you're an aspiring writer, beta reading is a great resource for your own writing. You learn so much from having to pick apart stories looking for the weaknesses. It also helps to see the changes that go into rewrites. I used to beta read a lot and found the experience invaluable . Unfortunately I don't have the time for it anymore. 
  • and my undying gratitude. (I know I said this one already, but it's wroth repeating since I would love you that much!)

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, please take a moment to fill out the following sign up form. And please keep in mind that I won't be able to use everyone. As much as I wish I could choose everyone who signs up, I only need a few readers for both my contemporary works and my paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi stuff, so please, please, please don't hate me if you sign up and I don't contact you. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Purging" (The Avery Shaw Diaries #2)

In case you missed them I'm posting all the entries of the Avery Diaries here so that they can be easily found on my extras page. :)   And a special thanks to ColorimetryReading TeenI Am A Reader, Not A WriterBook Passion For LifeConfessions of a Bookaholic and A Life Bound By Books for originally hosting these stories! You guys are the best!


Avery is crazy. Girls are slightly insane in general, but Avery is especially nuts.  She called me up tonight and asked me to help her purge Aiden from her life. I have been asked by a lot of girls to do a lot of things, but never to help them purge. Whatever she meant, I was sure it wasn’t going to be all fun dates and playing like she’d promised me when I agreed to this whacked-out experiment.

Apparently purging was smart-girl talk for throwing out your ex’s junk. I know this is like some kind of sacred ritual among chicks—they have scenes about it in movies and everything—but I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s just stupid crap. Pictures, CD’s, lame stuffed animals, and in Avery’s case, old science projects, reports and even a Civil War diorama that she and Aidan had done in the 3rd grade. The thing was practically biodegrading and yet Aves nearly had a panic attack when I shoved the old shoebox into a garbage bag.

Avery was a freaking train wreck through the whole thing. I had to do all of the actual throwing out because she wasn’t really capable of anything more than pointing at stuff and bursting into tears. She couldn’t even explain why half of that crap reminded her of Aiden. (I’m still at a loss with the Diana Ross CD.)

I thought her attachment to all of it was stupid, but I have to admit the concept had merit. She needed to get over my idiot brother already. The dude was not worth the emotional pain Avery was putting herself through. If I could, I’d wipe Aiden clean from the Earth, but since murder is a felony and I’m too hot to go to prison, purging him from Avery’s life was the next best thing. Aves may have found the evening emotionally scarring, but I thought it was mildly satisfying. Punching Aiden in the face would have been more satisfying, but there was some consolation in burning his pictures.

The more stuff we got rid of, the better I felt. When I carried the garbage bag out of the house—I had to pry it from Avery’s fingers—I thought Aves would feel better too. I thought for sure there would be some kind of relief for her.

Not so much.

I came back inside and found Avery staring at her bedroom wall like some kind of mental patient.  When I walked in the room she turned to me and my heart almost broke for her. Her tears were pouring down her face again and the look in her eyes was so devastated that I felt her pain with her.

In a single stride I pulled her against me and wrapped her tightly in my arms hoping that feeling her there would stop the throbbing in my chest.

Crying girls have always been my biggest weakness. I pretty much hate this about myself, because it makes me vulnerable to them. But I seriously cannot stand it when girls cry. It’s like there is something in me, some kind of physical part of me that reacts when I see a girl cry. It makes me crazy and the feeling doesn’t go away until I’ve made them stop. I have to make them stop. I have to do whatever it takes to put a smile on a sad girl’s face no matter what it does to my dignity.

I’m such a sucker.

Tonight was no exception. Actually, it was one of my least dignified moments ever. Curse my stupid hero gene.

Aves was falling apart and I had to make it better. While she buried her face in my chest, my brain spun frantically searching for some sort of solution. I wasn’t even sure what had set her off this time, but then I looked up at the wall and everything fell into place.

Avery had had this lame poster on her wall of an old dude with crazy hair. I think it was Albert Einstein or someone. I’d taken it down, but it had been in that same spot for so long that you could see the outline of it where the sun had bleached the paint around it over the years.

The big empty rectangle spot was worse than the poster. It was practically jumping off the wall, mocking me in the worst way. I may as well have painted the words AIDEN LEFT YOU in the poster’s place when I took it down, because now it was obvious that it was gone. Just like Aiden was.

I had to fix it. I had to get rid of that spot. But I couldn’t put the poster back. I had to put something else there. Something that wouldn’t remind her of Aiden. More than that—it had to be something that would cheer her up and put a smile on her face when she saw it. It was the “smile” thought that gave me the idea.

Now, this is the part where my dignity comes into play. I was so desperate to cheer Aves up that I’d have given her the shirt off my back if I thought it could help. Unfortunately, in this case, my shirt wouldn’t do any good. But my underwear…

That’s right, I gave Avery Shaw my underpants. The stupid, dorky ones Aiden got me for Christmas a couple of years ago because he’s a tool like that, that I kept in my gym bag. They were white with rainbow smiley faces all over them. Ridiculous. But they would make Avery laugh.

Before I could think better of it, I strolled into Avery’s room and tacked those dumb shorts right over that stupid poster spot. After they were securely fastened to her wall I turned around and grinned at her as big as I could. The trick was confidence. I had to act like I thought this was totally normal, and the most brilliant idea ever or Avery would know how stupid I suddenly felt and then she’d get embarrassed.

Avery looked slightly horrified and her eyes dropped to my waist. I burst into laughter and pulled up my shirt, exposing the band of the boxers I was wearing as proof that I was still dressed beneath my pants. Once she was assured that the shorts on her wall were at least clean she, of course, asked me why I’d just decorated her room with underwear.

I explained my theory of them making her laugh and think of me instead of the Einstein poster making her cry over Aiden. It worked. She looked up at my shorts and actually smiled. It was the first smile I’d seen on her face since I’d arrived. I felt five hundred pounds lighter all the sudden and my smile reached goofy status.

Then, because I’m a jerk and couldn’t help myself, I made a comment about her dreaming of me in nothing but those smiley faces. She totally freaked of course. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but I love watching her blush too much. She turned so red that I was sure she had a very clear mental image stuck in her head.

I waited until she started breathing again, then I kissed her bright red cheek and told her to have pleasant dreams tonight. It was classic. There is no one on the planet more adorable than Avery. 

"I See London, I See France" (The Avery Shaw Diaries #1)

In case you missed them, I'm posting all the entries of the Avery Diaries here so that they can be easily found on my extras page. :)  And a special thanks to ColorimetryReading TeenI Am A Reader, Not A WriterBook Passion For LifeConfessions of a Bookaholic and A Life Bound By Books for originally hosting these stories! You guys are the best!

"I See London, I See France"

Dear Diary,

Though I am clearly past the shock, denial and bargaining stages of grief, I have not attained guilt yet. If I had to describe myself as anything right now, I would say I’m simply empty. Sad, hurt and empty.

What happened between Aiden and myself was tragic, but, really, it was nobody’s fault. Aiden has as much right to his feelings as I do mine. He did what he did because it’s what he needed, not because of something I’d done. Even Grayson agrees that I did nothing wrong. He’s told me a hundred times already that I have nothing to feel guilty about.

Grayson’s right. I have nothing to feel guilty about. And I don’t. Feel guilty, that is. It’s been days and still the guilt won’t come. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to feel guilty about. I just know it’s the next stage in the grieving process.

As part of the Avery Shaw Experiment, I have decided to try and let the stages of grief occur naturally. However, that doesn’t mean that I will sit around waiting for acceptance and a cured heart to find me. No one has ever achieved results by being stagnant.

I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do is that which true mourners do—try to move on with my life. I need to stop dwelling on the past. I need to accept that my relationship with Aiden will never go back to the way it was, and that my life has changed in a very permanent way. I will never be the same.

I figured step one of “moving on” was to purge my life of all things Aiden Kennedy. Tonight I had Grayson come over to my house and help me remove everything that reminded me of Aiden. My Theory was that if I see nothing that sparks a memory, then I would be able to think of Aiden less and it would be easier for me to forget him.

This experience was much harder and more painful than I thought it would be. I never could have done it without Grayson’s support and encouragement. Crying in front of him was embarrassing, but he didn’t seem to think any less of me for it. I’m grateful to have such an understanding partner.

After it was all over—Grayson had to pry the garbage bag full of memories from my hands and drive away with it, or all of that stuff would have ended up right back in its place—I expected to feel better. I expected some sort of closure or sense of relief. Instead I looked around at all the bare walls and dust outlines on the dresser and cried even harder.

The empty spots where the pictures and souvenirs once were now stand as reminders themselves—big empty voids just like the one in my heart that used to be filled with my best friend. Part of me is missing. It’s as if I am an amputee missing an arm or a leg.

The spot on my wall where I used to hang a poster of Albert Einstein that Aiden had given me after I’d dressed as the brilliant physicist for Halloween in middle school was the most obvious gaping hole. I took one look at that spot and broke down.

When I lost it, Grayson wrapped his arms around me and told me he knew how to fix the problem and then disappeared slamming my bedroom door shut behind him. After a minute, he came back and I watched, bewildered, as he pinned a pair of smiley face boxer shorts to my wall where Einstein used to watch over me.

I couldn’t help the way my horrified gaze dropped to Grayson’s pants. He burst into laughter, knowing what I’d been thinking, and insisted that the shorts now on my wall were his emergency pair—clean and washed—that he kept in his gym bag, and that this was most definitely an emergency.

I asked why he tacked his underwear up on my bedroom wall and he told me because now every time I looked at that spot I would think of him and laugh instead of thinking of Aiden and crying. He was right. I can’t help smiling at the ridiculous smiley faces. 

He also told me that they would help me have good dreams. When I asked why he said because I would dream about him being mostly naked instead of having nightmares of Aiden leaving me. I’d freaked out so badly that he’d had to prompt me to breathe again. I don’t know that I’ll have any dreams at night, but the daydreams are already ridiculous. I can’t stop picturing him in those shorts! I’m going to have to get something to replace them. Soon!