#WIPWednesday – Meet Rena Averest from “In The Best Interest of the Child”

baby turtle

Olivia Chandler’s latest client is eleven-year-old Rena Averest.

Rena and her parents were involved in a weather-related, multi-car accident. Her mother was killed and her father was severely injured and comatose for several weeks, and remains hospitalized indefinitely.

Rena suffered extensive injuries and was also hospitalized for several weeks. When she was well enough to be discharged, the hospital ran into major obstacles. Her mother’s only living relative was an older brother who lived two thousand miles away. Suffering with chronic cystic fibrosis, he was unable to care for Rena, and had in fact, even missed his sister’s funeral. Rena has grandparents, two uncles, and an aunt on her father’s side of the family…and they want absolutely nothing to do with her.

An extremely benevolent judge, taking into account all that Rena is currently dealing with, allows her to be placed temporarily with Courtney and Marissa Bellamy, friends of her parents since college, and Rena’s godparents. Not knowing how her father’s medical situation will resolve itself, the judge feels Rena needs the stability and familiarity of the Bellamy home. The Department of Children’s Services disagrees and take legal action to remove Rena from the Bellamy home and place her in foster care. The presiding judge, spurred on by the irony of DCS wanting to remove Rena Averest from a non-relative home only to place her in a non-relative home, stays the case and appoints a child advocate attorney to research the case and protect Rena’s interest.

And that’s exactly what Olivia intends to do.

Rena Irene Averest
Age: 11
DOB: May 6, 2003
Parents: Duncan and Irene Averest
Siblings: None
Favorite color: Yellow
Favorite music: Todrick Hall and all songs Disney-related
Favorite Book: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Pets: A turtle named Brutus
BFF: Margie Macy
Wants to be a surgical nurse when she grows up


#RandomRant Newsletters/ReaderGroups – AuthorAssets or Weapons of Mass Annoyance?


We’ve all experienced the highs of finding a new-to-us author. We read their latest book, connected with it on every level, and wrote the review to end all reviews. Then we promptly go out and stalk them on every social network. Oh, and we subscribe to their newsletter.

When the email comes welcoming us to the newsletter, we feel we have arrived! We are on the inside! We are THE ‘need-to-know’ of the infamous need-to-know crowd. We’re informed our email addresses will never be shared or sold, and we’ll only receive ‘1-2’ mailings a month.

Which is how it begins. But it takes no time at all for ‘1-2 mailings’ a month to become 1-2 mailings A WEEK…if not more. And we’re not “getting just the facts, ma’am” – we hear about the author friends with new releases/group giveaways/new anthologies. We see the snapshots of the renovated office/bathroom/deck. And vacation photos are shared with us – Thank you!

What’s wrong with these types of mailings? Not. A. Thing. And to be fair, some readers are EXCITED to receive these types of ‘updates.’ The issue is eight mailings have been received instead of 2, but ONLY TWO contained any real author information – release dates, sales, boxed set specials, new projects and author appearances. Now multiply those six ‘chatty’ mailings by ten more authors, (and that’s a LOW figure for the average avid reader), and SIXTY emails have been delivered from KNOWN/READ authors. Add into that all those contests/Rafflecopters/Facebook parties where subscribing to newsletters and mailings is another way to earn entries, and sixty easily becomes a drop in the bucket.  This is in addition to all the other emails from the dentist, the kids’ school, Overstock.com, and Aunt Grace’s detailed treatise about having her gallbladder removed.

Seriously, are all these mailings truly necessary? Are they important enough for readers to wade through the madness just to see when the book they’re dying to read comes out? And of course, that information is NOT in any of the mailings received.

Many, MANY newsletters now come with invitations to join authors’ READER GROUPS. Special sales, giveaways, excerpts, teasers and the like, are promised ONLY to group members. What I want to know is when does the reading portion begin? Haven’t seen any in the groups I belong to. Maybe I’m hanging out with the crowd. Maybe they read only when I’m not there. *Glare* But, when will I have time to join in if I’m stuck in my email opening multiple mailings? Um, and I’m also supposed to be reading books…annnnnnd, I have something called a LIFE!

I get it. Facebook is the big, evil monster devouring posts and limiting access between authors and readers in a bid to “encourage” paid advertising, but remember, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster…” (Nietzsche).  Perhaps in an effort to circumvent Facebook’s silent strong arm tactics, readers are being inundated with info…whether they want it or not.

The author platform is critical to an author’s success, and newsletters/mailings are necessary components of that platform, but wouldn’t it be better to streamline mailing lists and curtail “miscellaneous” mailings, than to just throw it all out there and let the readers sort it out? I know of an author who has multiple mailing lists sorted by pen name AND genre! It’s a win-win situation as readers have a say in what they receive, and she’s getting her information to the readers who want it, with little or no worries of unopened emails or getting unceremoniously dumped in the Spam folder.

I have no idea what it costs to have, maintain, or expand mailing lists…haven’t gotten that far. But I do know as important as it is to have one, every effort should be made to make sure, 1) the people on it want to be there, 2) that their information is well guarded and updated, and 3) that the listed are RESPECTED and not subjected to one never-ending infomercial.

Step Outside Your (Reading) Comfort Zone

Terry Blog

Sitting in the doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago, I overheard two women across the room talking about books, so naturally my ears perked up! One of the women seemed quite distraught over the direction a love triangle was headed, to which the other woman quickly responded, “That’s why I only read murder mysteries. Too much drama in all those other books.”

Wait, what? Too much drama? “Other” books? Isn’t there ‘drama’ in murder mysteries? Isn’t that the point…enduring the dramatic buildup until you find out who the killer is? Had my husband not given me the “Please, please, please do not start anything” look, I’m pretty sure I would have been all over their conversation. I tweeted about it, though.

That conversation was a minor blip in my memory by the time I heard this in the liquor aisle at Albertsons (and do not ask why I was in the liquor aisle), “…she goes on and on about werewolves and such craziness. Men and women shifting into bears, kitty cats, sea otters…I can’t remember it all. Told her maybe one day, I’d read one, but I live for my vampire stories. With those and my Joyce Meyer books, I have little time for anything else.”


The juxtaposition of those two genres made me smile…and gave me an idea for a short story!

But, why do some of us camp out in one reading genre, never raising our heads to see what’s around us? When we ‘only’ read a certain genre/author/subject matter, we limit our possibilities. We accept the ‘usual joy’ from reading, which isn’t a bad thing. As a lifelong reader, I can’t think of any other way I’d rather pass the time. But by opening ourselves up to new genres/subjects, we could have excitement and a new sense of accomplishment! We take a journey already familiar to us that we KNOW we’ll like, when we could be traversing eras, times and cultures once foreign to us, and coming out of the experience enlightened.

Let’s face it, not ALL reading is a learning experience nor is it meant to be, but it should be a growing experience, even if it’s just in your level of enjoyment.

Browse a genre new to you today. Find something that isn’t on your ‘only’ list and dive in. You may wonder what took you so long.