Monday, 18 November 2013

Monday Mini Update!

Hey everyone,

I am SO, SO busy it's not even funny! I want to give apologies in advance for not keeping up with blogs this week - and ditto for replying to comments. I will do my best but I have a bunch of work on and I'm going away at the weekend so I need to cram everything in as fast as I can!

Since I'm so busy I have had to drop out of NaNo. :( However, I am still working on Game On Book 3, just not as intensely as I would have if I'd been able to keep up with NaNo.

I did my Andrew McNaughton tribute post on Friday, but I do have one more update for you. Nick Wilford emailed me over the weekend and asked me to send on his thanks to every single one of you for all you've done for him and his family over the past week. Between us, we managed to collect £462 for Andrew's charity, and a bunch of you joined in with the funeral celebrations which allowed me to create this video. I would love, if you haven't seen it already, for you to take a look and share it with friends and family to help Andrew's memory live on.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Farewell, Andrew McNaugton

Thanks to Carrie Butler for creating this awesome virtual balloon!

So, today is the day of Andrew McNaughton's funeral. During a week of sadness, I know for sure I have been lifted by the kindness and generosity you have all shown for Nick Wilford and his family as they slowly begin to prepare and adjust for life without Andrew. (If you'd like to join in with the blogger virtual funeral for Andrew, the details are here)

Aside from when I let you all know how much you raised, this will probably be the last time I post about Andrew until the anthology launch, so I want to take this time to thank you all again for everything. Messages, donations, pictures, ideas on ways to help, and this exceptional outpouring of love and support have overwhelmed me, and I know it has filtered through to Nick. Your messages will be passed on as the family will need all the help they can get once the funeral is over, and they try to find some semblance of normality without Andrew. 

Fellow blogger Michelle Wallace called Andrew "an amazing young man who inspired a writing community." - This is perfect. A perfect description for Nick and Heather's superstar.

So far this morning, your balloons, and flowers, and candles have made me cry - not just with sadness for Andrew's family, but with happiness that you all care enough to release a balloon in the middle of the night, or light a candle and say a prayer, or create a virtual balloon so those who couldn't get access to a real balloon could still join in the celebration of Andrew's life. In a world where people often utter things like, "Nobody cares anymore," you have proved them all wrong. You've proved that, when it counts, people DO care. They love, and they feel and they grieve for people they've never met because we're all connected - not just through the magic of the internet  but through the fact that, when it comes down to it, we could all imagine ourselves in the terrible position of losing someone we love.

This post stands, not only as a tribute to Andrew, but to every single one of you who reads this, who thinks about Andrew today, who has sent a message for Nick, who has donated, who has joined or will join in with Andrew's funeral celebrations, and who has said a prayer, and felt this loss as if it were your own.

I thank you sincerely for everything.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

One more tiny request for Nick Wilford...

Hey guys,

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post. The donations coming in for Nick and his family have overwhelmed me, and I can't wait to share with him and all of you how much we managed to get! I will be taking donations for the rest of the day so if you would like to donate, you can Paypal your contribution to kyralennon (at) gmail (dot) com.

I do have one further request, though I know many of you are already aware of this. Andrew's family have asked if those who cannot attend Andrew's funeral (Friday, 11am UK time) would be able to release a red balloon for him - and say a prayer for him. Red was Andrew's favourite colour, and this is such a sweet idea, I thought it might be nice if we joined in. Again, no pressure, please only do what you can! However, if you will be releasing a balloon, please could you take a photo of it and email it to me at the above email address, and let me know your location (city or state is fine, it doesn't have to be too detailed!). I plan to create an Andrew balloon collage to send to Nick and his family, as another way to hopefully lift their spirits at this awful time. Let's fill the world with love for Nick and Heather's superstar boy!

Again, thank you for everything! <3 br="">

EDIT: Some of us are having the hardest time finding helium balloons (small town woes) - so while balloons are what Andrew's family have asked for, if you can't do that, perhaps you could take a photo of yourself wearing red, or light a red candle in Andrew's memory. (Thanks to Annalisa Crawford for the ideas!) - all of this can still go towards the collage. The aim is to show Nick and Heather that we all attended the funeral in our own way.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Support for Nick Wilford and Family

I hesitate to start a Monday morning with sad news, but I'm hoping most of you already know it by now, and have had a little time for the news to sink in.

For those who don't know, no doubt many of you follow Nick Wilford. He's a writer, and one of the most supportive, hard-working people I know. One of the things he has been passionate about is raising money for his stepson, Andrew McNaughton. Andrew had cerebral palsy, and the fundraising by Nick and his family was to help get Andrew to a specialist college so he could continue his education with all the support necessary for him to thrive.

Sadly, Andrew passed away unexpectedly on Saturday morning.

Over the weekend, I witnessed a massive outpouring of love and sadness for Nick and his family from fellow writers and bloggers. People who have never met Nick, and never met Andrew, but were touched by his story and felt compelled to help any way they could. Many of us contributed to Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew and as such, we were all connected to him in a small way.

Clare Dugmore, Mary Pax and I took some time over the weekend to discuss what we can do to show Nick that we are here for him, and we decided the best thing we can really do is continue to raise funds to go to a charity of the Wilford/McNaughton family's choice. I've taken on the donation collection duties, simply because I live in the UK, and it just makes more sense since Nick is in the UK, too.

The plan is for those who wish to contribute to send a donation to my Paypal account, where I will collect it all and send it on to Nick. If you would like to contribute, or even if you just have a message you'd like me to pass on, my email address is: kyralennon (at) gmail (dot) com.

I plan to send over the donations on Wednesday, of course, if any come in after that, I will send those along too. But I'd like to have most of it done by then.

For all your generosity so far, I thank you. It is genuinely touching to see how much support you have for Nick, and how something that affects one of us ripples through the blogging community, pulling us together. I am so proud to be part of it. Bloggers are the best!

 My thoughts continue to stay with Nick, Heather and their daughters at this time.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A Very Game On Christmas - Out Now!

“A Very Game On Christmas” follows on directly from “Blindsided,” and is a short, bonus story which takes place at Bree Collinson’s 21st birthday party, three days before Christmas. Similar to “A Beginner’s Introduction to Game On,” the story is told from different characters’ points of view.

Find out how the Westberg Warriors handle Radleigh and Leah’s return to Los Angeles, how Freya and Will are adjusting to their new relationship, and take a sneaky glimpse into the lives of the other characters introduced in “Game On.”

Please note: “A Very Game On Christmas” could be considered Game On 2.5 to clarify the order the books should be read. It is not a full length novel, merely a way to gently ease readers toward Game On 3. It is not essential to read this book to understand the next, it’s just a bit of light-hearted Christmas fun!
Yup, I did it! I released the Game On Christmas story I wrote last year as a free ebook. You can get it from Smashwords here.The reason I decided to release it now is that I'm getting moving on Book 3, and it really does make a nice, smooth pathway towards Bree's story, as well as giving some subtle clues about what will happen in the rest of the series. ;)

The book is also available on Amazon, but it's not free yet, hence the Smashwords link lol!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Dominance, Alpha Males and Sex in Fiction

I'm taking a deep breath and delving into a topic that has been bothering me for some time. It might be rambly, but stick with me, because I genuinely want to know how you all feel about this.

Since Fifty Shades of Grey, erotica and dark NA fiction has been on the rise. I know these things always existed, but they weren't so much in the mainstream.

Recently I've read/edited a bunch of books in the darker area of NA. I'm not a big erotica fan. I don't seek it out, but I also don't have a problem with it. But here's the thing... it seems to me that scary alpha males with borderline abusive tendencies are becoming more common - not just in NA, but in YA, too.

I don't want to delve too deeply into what women want from a man - what y'all do in your own bedrooms is your own business! ;) BUT, with the amount of people lapping up these books about men who attack when another guy so much as glances at his woman; who bark out orders; who utter the exceptionally overused phrase, "Tell me who you belong to/Tell me you're mine" - I gotta ask, what's the deal? Do women really want to be treated this way, or is it just that people are using books the way they are supposed to be used - as an escape?

I hear you saying, "If you don't like it, don't read it!" And I agree. But another thing I've seen a lot of lately is books which don't have any sign or indication of possessiveness, then suddenly, bang, the couple are going at it and the man is uttering those words I hate. Is there no way to write a hot sex scene WITHOUT dominance?

Before any erotica fans jump down my throat, I want to be clear. I don't have an issue with it.I'm not disparaging those who write or read it, I'm just trying to understand the scary alpha trend. I have actually read two books recently that have handled dominance without it being tacky and cringeworthy: Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters, and The Broken by Ker Dukey.

I've written an alpha male in Game On. Radleigh McCoy. He's very much the "wanting to be in control" type, but I didn't feel I needed to have him making Leah feel like she was inferior for that to be true. If he'd been all, "You belong to me," she'd have punched him in the face.

I get that for the majority of people, it probably is just an escape. But I really do have to wonder about young people who read these books as exploration. In my day, girls reached for Forever by Judy Blume - not books filled with bondage, spanking and mind games. Are they going to think this is the norm? IS this the norm, and I've just... missed something?! :p Books in this area often have weak female leads - ones who are scared of the guy, and rationalise staying with either, "It's okay because he's good in bed," or, "He only does it because he loves me." It's one thing to create characters who like it rough, but quite another to have a man pushing a woman to do things that terrify her because she's afraid the guy will leave her.

These aren't new thoughts. Not to me, or to anyone, because these questions are brought up over and over again. But since some books I read recently triggered this random mess of thoughts, I thought I'd share it.

Friday, 1 November 2013

All I Want for NaNo and Game On Bloghop Winners!

Ah, NaNo has arrived and I am... well, I'd be happy if there was one more day left in October to get ready lol! However, there's no stopping the time, so this afternoon, I will be settling down at my laptop and getting started!

In the interests of getting in the mood for NaNo, I'm taking part in the All I Want For NaNo bloghop! This was set up by Jennie Bennett, David Powers King, Becca Ann, Kelley Lynn, and Jessica Salyer.

These guys have teamed together to release a Christmas anthology, and to celebrate the release, they want to know what we want for NaNo! This hop also comes with great prizes:

Jennie's giving away a 50 page critique + an ecopy of The Spirit of Christmas
Jessica's also giving a 50 page critique + an ecopy of The Spirit of Christmas
Kelley's giving a $25 Amazon Giftcard + an ecopy of The Spirit of Christmas
David's also giving a $25 Amazon Giftcard + an ecopy of The Spirit of Christmas
Cassie's giving a choice of any of her ebooks + an ecopy of The Spirit of Christmas
So, what do I want for NaNo? My only wish is to finish it as well as I finished CampNaNo last year. I wrote Blindsided and it came out almost perfect with minimal edits needed. I don't know how I did it, but if I can do that again, I would be thrilled! 

Game On Bloghop Winners
I'd like to extend my thanks to all the people who entered the Game On Bloghop! There were only a few of us, but that's okay, y'all made an effort and I appreciate it!
I had seven prizes on offer, but as only seven people entered, everyone gets a prize! SO, here's how they breakdown:

1) New paperback copies of Game On and Blindsided - WINNER Annalisa Crawford
2) An e-copy of one of my books WINNERS: Clare Dugmore, Alex Tanner, Theresa Paolo, and Sydney Aaliyah
3) A full manuscript edit (2 winners) WINNERS: L.G Keltner and Elizabeth Seckman

I will contact all of you over the weekend or early next week about your prizes!

Right, I'd best get started on work! Happy NaNo-ing, everyone!