News

Advocate Across America

I finally completed my A to Z blog and it’s time to start a new one. So, I decided to “Advocate Across America.” My plan is to tour all fifty states with my novel, THE ADVOCATE, and blog as I go. As new books in the series are published, they’ll go with me as well. I know this tour will not be an easy task or be completed any time soon, but I’m up for the challenge and I’m excited about seeing my book in every state.

My plan is to have an event such as a Meet and Greet in a bookstore, or a speaking event at a service organization or library, a discussion with a book club, or a radio or television interview…whatever happens to fit into the schedule. At the same time I’m hoping to help build an awareness about child abuse in America.

This is my call to action. If you’re interested in having me speak in your city, please send me an email to teresa@teresaburrell.com. I’ll do everything I can to try and make it happen. I’ll also give notice on this blog when I schedule a city so if you’re in the area you can attend or schedule another event with your book club, bookstore, or organization.

First stop is Sarasota, FL the last week of February. Next, I’ll be in Columbia, SC on February 27th and 28th for the South Carolina Book Festival. In June, I’ll be in Chicago, IL and Bay City, MI. July, August, and September I’ll be covering quite a few states. I’ll keep you posted.

Where would you like to see THE ADVOCATE?

Teresa
https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “Z” word is Zero

The “Z” word is zero…zero days left in 2009. That leaves only hours to complete this year’s resolutions. It’s time to dump the old list and make a new one, and be realistic this time. Then starting January 1, 2010, zero in on one major resolution at a time and make it happen!

I always make a “New Year’s Resolution” list and although I don’t accomplish everything, I manage to get a lot of it done. I even break it down into categories. I have my “physical” list, that’s what I want to do to get into shape. I have my “emotional” list, the things I want to work on to feel better about myself. I have my “financial” list, my “make life better for others” list, my “family” list, and I always have a “travel” list, stating the places I want to go. Some of these lists overlap. Before I start to make my new list I take my resolutions from the year before and look at the things I’ve accomplished and the things I have not. Then I take the things from the year before that are still important to me and put those down first, usually with some revisions, making them more realistic or giving them a higher priority.

This year one of my goals is to speak to as many groups, in as many states, as I can about child abuse. Another is to take those extra pounds off I just put on for the holidays. My novels are a big part of this year’s resolutions. I have sales numbers set for The Advocate. I have editing and publication goals for my second novel (which still needs a name). And I plan to complete the third novel in the series.

Okay, so maybe I’m a little anal about this resolution thing, but however you do it, it’s time to zero in and get started! Do you have a resolution you are particularly determined to accomplish this year?

Happy New Year!
Teresa
https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “Y” word is Yesteryear

I recently spent a wonderful couple of days with my three brothers and two of my sisters. We sat around and talked about days of “yesteryear.” I learned things about my parents that were both amazing and heartwarming, things I’d never heard before. My brothers talked about the scrapes they had been in as kids. They shared military stories, girlfriend adventures, and just everyday events at home on the farm. Some of them were pretty wild and crazy, and the details varied a little depending on who was narrating, but all were fun to hear.

My oldest brother, Don, told us how daddy would stay up at night and stir the fire in the wood stove on many long, cold winter nights. Don told us that with the first four or five siblings he didn’t know our mother was pregnant because no one talked about it. He knew she was “sick” and there would be a lot of commotion for a few days and suddenly he had a new brother or sister. Our mother was a little round and he never noticed any difference.

We not only got to hear stories about their adventures but also stories that had been passed down from our parents and grandparents. If you ever get a chance to meet with elder family members and hear stories of yesteryear, take advantage of it. What a wonderful thing to hear the tales that have been passed on from one generation to another. Do you have a family tale to tell? Please share.

Teresa
https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “X” Word is Xmas

Xmas is a common abbreviation for Christmas. I’ve heard people argue that this is a “modern” way to secularize Christmas by taking Christ out of Christmas. However, history tells us this is merely an abbreviation, just as Dr. for doctor or Rev. for reverend. The abbreviation makes one no less the doctor or minister.

The “mas” part came from the Latin-derived Old English word for “mass,” and the “X” came from the Greek letter “Chi” which is the first letter for Christ in Greek. But no matter how you slice it, it is not a move by a “modern” generation. In fact, the word “Christ” and “Christmas,” have been abbreviated in English for the past 1,000 years. There are references as far back as 1021 AD. It was used in a letter in the UK in 1753, Lord Byron used it in 1811, Samuel Coleridge in 1801, Lewis Carroll in 1864, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in 1923.

For me, it’s a great way to use the 24th letter of the alphabet in my blog. So Merry Xmas, or Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays! Just have a wonderful time, enjoy your family and friends, and celebrate how your heart dictates.

Teresa
https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “W” word is Write

To write is to be whatever you want. There’s a mouthful of Ws. That is my tagline on my bookmarks, my website, and my brochures. I get many comments on it from my readers. Most just smile and say, “I like that.” Occasionally, I get asked what it means. The short answer is, “whatever you want it to be.” But I’ll explain what it means to me.

Many people write in journals, or write poems, or just doodle words on scratch paper. Journal writing helps us relive the fun times and release the bad times. Each person who experienced that day with you would write a different story. Each brings their own past to help them interpret the day. And each of us writes into the telling what our mind will let us or what we want it to be at the moment. Some people write poems and they do the same thing. You may be writing about a tree, but it’s still about you, your feelings, your perspective. And doodling…how many young men and women have written their sweetheart’s name on their notebooks? How many young women have written, “Mrs. Blah Blah,” trying on a new name, so they can be who they want.

Me, I write novels because I can create whole characters and watch them grow. In my novel “The Advocate,” my main character, Sabre, is a juvenile court attorney, just like me. But it isn’t me. Yes, I certainly have projected many of my thoughts and behaviors onto Sabre. And, yes, sometimes what she says and does is what I would do, but it isn’t me. Sabre is younger, prettier, thinner, smarter, and richer than I am. Remember, “to write is to be whatever you want.”

If you don’t write, then read…it works there too. I remember being Nancy Drew when I was ten and Scarlett O’Hara when I was sixteen.” What have you written or read that has allowed you to be someone or somewhere else?

Teresa
https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “V” Word is Valentino

V” is for Valentino…Nick Valentino that is. I had the pleasure of meeting author Nick Valentino last February at The Southern California Writer’s Conference. What a super, fun guy he is. For those of you who don’t know Nick, he writes in a genre called “Steampunk”. His novel, THOMAS RILEY, was just released. Nick is not only a fabulous writer, he is also a very helpful guy. Look how he just happened along when I was on the “V” word and saved me from having to write about victuals or voluptuous or some other inane word starting with the letter “v.” Thanks, Valentino. So, Nick, please use your vision and vocabulary to take us on a virtuous voyage through Steampunk-ville.

Thank you Tee! It’s quite an honor to get one of the twenty six letters. On that note, I want to stress how amazing these writer’s cons can be. The number one thing is you have the chance to learn so much from writers, agents, publishers and other authors. This is invaluable information that you really can’t learn from a book on writing, editing or obtaining an agent. It’s worth every penny to attend a writer’s conference.

The second amazing thing about these conferences is that you get to meet like minded people. Sure, no one was writing a Steampunk book, but no one discriminates on what you write. In fact every one of these I’ve been to, everyone has been quite amazing. The Southern California Writers Conference was where I met your favorite blog hostess Ms. Burrell. It’s also where I met my publisher Karen Syed. I had the first ten pages of my manuscript of Thomas Riley critiqued by Karen because her bio looked interesting. That’s all. One little bio changed my life in the click of a mouse. I’m being honest here. Her bio said something about doing something with the publisher TOR and I said, “Hey that looks interesting.” And I picked her and her alone to critique a relatively unknown genre. After our first meeting, we realized that we had a lot of things in common and from there the rest is history.

Karen introduced me to your hostess with the mostest and here I am guest blogging on her blog today. It’s absolutely amazing how things work out. So while this isn’t all about Steampunk, it is about writing, meeting great people and taking the initiative to achieve your goals. My goal, however remote it may have seemed was to get my manuscript published and I did it. Of course the real credit goes to those that believe in you.

My novel, Thomas Riley was conceived in September of 2008. I finished it in January of 2009 and was basically offered a publication in February of 2009. It’s now November and that book is in my hands. I’ll tell you… I’m humbled to be a part of the Echelon Press family.
If you would like to see what my dream of Thomas Riley is all about here’s a short blurb about it.

For more than twenty years West Canvia and Lemuria have been at war. From the safety of his laboratory, weapons designer Thomas Riley has cleverly and proudly empowered the West Canvian forces. But when a risky alchemy experiment goes horribly wrong, Thomas and his wily assistant Cynthia Bassett are thrust onto the front lines of battle and forced into shaky alliances with murderous sky pirates in a deadly race to kidnap the only man who can undo the damage: the mad genius behind Lemuria’s cunning armaments.

If you enjoyed that, please feel free to visit:
http://sirthomasriley.com/

You can purchase signed copies directly through me at:
http://thomasriley.bigcartel.com/
or
http://www.echelonpress.com/

The “U” Word is Uncle

Uncle Sam, that is…the national personification of the American government. The first usage of the term dates back to the War of 1812, by the way.

I’m not going to go all political on you now, but I might get a little maudlin. I’m going to talk about Iraq, more specifically about Operation Desert Swap. Because regardless of your views on Iraq, I would venture to guess you still feel it’s important to support our soldiers. I know I do. I have had the good fortune to do my small part through Operation Desert Swap.

Operation Desert Swap is a program started by a mother whose son was recently sent to Iraq. She put together a group of authors and other patriotic people dedicated to actively showing their support for the troops. The program is set up so that each author/person “adopts” a soldier, sending them a copy of their book along with an initial Operation Desert Swap letter. At least once a month we send “our” soldier a letter to help keep their morale up, and we send “our” soldier at least one care package during their deployment, plus a Christmas card. The only thing the soldier is asked to do is to swap their book with another soldier when they finish reading it, and then that soldier swaps it off with another and so on. Currently we are supporting C company 3/25 Aviation Regiment, a medevac unit also known as “Dust off.”

If any of you are interested in participating or getting the project going for another unit, go to the website http://operationdesertswap.webs.com/ for information. You do not need to be an author to participate or start a program. Uncle Sam would be proud.

Teresa Burrell

The “T” Word is “T”

That’s me…just “T.” My given name was Teresa (no “h”), misspelled on my birth certificate, by the way. It was written Treasa, but later corrected (I think), but not butchered as bad as my father’s last name on his birth certificate. His last name was Johnson. Pretty simple, right? Well, it was spelled Jozsonhoz (or something like that). I researched for a long time to make sure it wasn’t a name change, but his father and grandfather were both Johnson. It was the turn of the century and my guess is some German midwife who didn’t speak English probably couldn’t spell the name.

I was born Teresa, and other than a few childhood nicknames (Sweet Pea, Trazer, Honey Girl, Tree, and #9), stayed that way throughout grade school and high school. In college I somehow became Teri. That stuck for about ten years and then faded. People that knew me back then still call me Teri. The only recent friend I have who calls me Teri is Jeff Sherratt, my mentor and author of “The Brimstone Murders” & “Guilty or Else,” and he’s such a fabulous guy he can call me whatever he wants.

When I taught school some student started calling me “Mrs. Charmin” from the toilet paper commercial…I was squeezably soft, I guess. That one stuck for a few years with the students. But mostly I was called “Coach” because I had a winning softball team for so many years.

When I practiced law, my friend Bob started calling me Teebs. It caught on with a small group of very close friends…that’s where I got the idea for “Sobs” in my novel, The Advocate.

When my nieces and nephews were little they called me Auntie T or TT. That eventually evolved into Tee or just T, which most of my family and adult friends now call me. But my all time favorite, which I mostly see written on emails, cards, and gifts, is FAT (Favorite Aunt Tee). The older I get the more I fit that one…the favorite part, of course.

Aren’t names fun? I don’t really care what my family or friends call me, as long as they do. But I don’t like to see my name misspelled, so remember I’m Teresa, no “h” or Tee (Please no “h” in that either). What interesting nicknames have you had along your path in life?

https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “S” Word–Sabre

Sabre (pronounced Say-bra) is the name of my main character in my SOB Legal Suspense series. SOB, Sabre Orin Brown, is an attorney in the juvenile court system in San Diego. Her first appearance is in the novel “The Advocate” where she represents a nine-year-old whose father is fighting to keep the child protective services out of his life. Sabre’s job is to protect her minor client.

What you might not know about Sabre is some of her background. She was raised Catholic, has only one sibling, Ron, who has been missing for five years, a deceased father, and some serious trust issues. She has strong beliefs in the legal system but seems to have that belief tested on a regular basis. Although she appears at ease in her expensive suits and shoes and speaking in the courtroom, she would much rather be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and walking barefoot on the beach in the rain.

Sabre’s second adventure is in the making in another SOB Legal Suspense novel, and great surprises await her.

The name for the character Sabre came from a little girl who I met some thirteen years ago. She had so much love to give and at the time no one to give it to. She came into my heart where she will forever remain.

How has a child changed your life?
Writers, where do you get the names for your characters?

https://www.teresaburrell.com

The “R” Word–Relax

Do you know how to relax and reduce stress? Frankly, I’m not very good at it, but I’m better than I used to be. When I was practicing law and had the occasional day off (about once every six months) I would spend more than half of it trying to figure out what I was going to do. Because, after all, I can’t just waste it, right? So I would waste it trying to figure out what to do so I wouldn’t waste it. So when I ask if you know how to relax, I must first ask myself that question. Here’s what I’ve learned.

There’s all the standard stuff, like take a bubble bath, a walk on the beach, listen to soft music, do yoga, take deep breaths, get a massage, take a long shower, read a good book…these are all good things. But relaxing isn’t necessarily about being quiet and still. Try dancing. I don’t mean the slow, just swaying your body kind. Put on some Credence Clearwater Revival and rock! Let your body go, be goofy, and don’t think about anything else. You can’t relax if, while taking your bath or your walk on the beach, you’re still thinking about what you have to get done.

There are also some basic techniques that help with relaxing and reducing stress, such as getting plenty of sleep, and good nutrition. And don’t miss the chance to laugh. Laughter is so important. Find something to laugh about, read some funny jokes, watch a sitcom, or dig out old photos from high school. I’ll bet they’ll make you laugh.

If all that fails, you can do what I do when I really need a break. I drive to the movie theater, buy the largest popcorn and a box of chocolate covered raisons, shut off my cell phone, and watch a no-brainer movie.

What’s your favorite way to relax?

Teresa Burrell
www.teresaburrell.com