Friday, October 31, 2014

Recapturing my Halloween spirit

I love Halloween.

It's not just about the costumes or the candy or the scary movies. I love it all. And when I became a mom, I loved it even more. I made sure to take the day off from work so I could attend school costume parades and packed the evening with activities like carving pumpkins and baking cookies to decorate.

But now that I've got two teenagers at home, my Halloween spirit hasn't been as strong as it used to be. Which is sad because I still have a 7-year-old who loves this holiday as much as I did when I was her age. 

I'm not sure what it was about this year but October 1st came and went and my usual excitement about the upcoming Halloween season was nowhere to be found. Days and weeks crept by and I continued to put Halloween out of my mind. My little one had to beg me at least two weekends in a row to drag out the decorations from the garage and buy her a costume from Amazon so it would be delivered on time. 

I knew Halloween was quickly approaching, and yet I didn't seem to care.

Then earlier this week, it finally hit me. Even though a part of me was sad that the older ones didn't want to trick or treat or carve pumpkins or even dress up, my little girl still did and it wasn't fair that I wasn't doing everything I had done for the other ones to make Halloween special. So I kicked it into high gear and bought candy and snacks so we could make treat bags for her classmates, I bought cookies and stuff to decorate them with and yesterday I finally brought home a pumpkin.

Tonight we'll go trick or treating, just the two of us, and I'll make sure Halloween is everything she wants it to be. 

My Halloween spirit is definitely back. And I'm even wearing the perfect costume to prove it!


Monday, October 13, 2014

My first self-publishing experience

Back in January, one of my very good author friends asked me what my writing goals were for 2014. I hadn't really thought about it at the point but as we continued talking, it turned out I had 3:

1) Finish my current WIP and submit it.
2) Finish my other WIP and submit it.
3) Self publish something.

As of this weekend, I'm happy to share that I've already completed 2 of my 3 goals!

Over the summer, I finished that first WIP and submitted it and was offered a 3-book contract by Entangled Publishing! And on Sunday, I put up a novella for sale on Amazon.

The novella is a story that was previously published in 2013 in an anthology by Hot Ink Press. Since I retained the rights, it was always in the back of my head that I would re-release it somehow. After all, it was a ready-to-go story that only needed a new cover. I'd done a lot of research about self-publishing over the past few months by reading various blogs and websites and I've heard from other authors about their own experiences. Again, I knew I would do it some day. Just didn't really know when.

Then the other day, it hit me: It's October! It's the perfect month to promote a vampire/reincarnation story!

So I pulled out my story and went to work on getting it ready for publication. I took the most simplest of paths to achieve this. I formatted the book in Word and used Amazon's KDP service, which included a cover creator. In less than 12 hours after submitting, my book was available for sale!

It will be interesting to see how this experience with self-publishing turns out. Either way, I already know I'll do it again.

My Guardian Vampire

What happens to your soul mate when you no longer have a soul? 

For centuries, Diego de la Cotera searched for the love of his life, or rather, for her reincarnated soul. The desperate vampire guarded over her descendants generation after generation waiting in the shadows for the day his beloved would find her way back to this life and back to him. 

On her 25th birthday, Mila Solis will get everything she’s ever wanted. But first she must spend three days with the executor of her late parents’ estate. At first, all she can think of is just surviving the long weekend. But when she begins to feel drawn to the man who used to be her legal guardian, suddenly the money isn’t the only thing she’s wanting by Monday. 

Will three days be enough for Diego to convince Mila that even though they both died a long time ago, their love can still survive? Or will she discover what he really is and walk away from him forever? 

Author's note: This novella was previously published in the Sinsperationally Yours anthology from Hot Ink Press.

Buy now from Amazon

Monday, September 29, 2014

Meet The Character: Will Hudson

I was tagged by Louisa Bacio to join a group of talented writers in the Meet the Character Blog Hop. Here's a quick get-to-know-you of Will Hudson -- the hero in my novella Reunited.

Who is Will? An overworked assistant district attorney for the city of Los Angeles.

Where does REUNITED take place? At the Castillo Hotel in Las Vegas. 

What won’t Will talk about? That he's had his heart broken before and would rather throw himself into his work than risk getting hurt again in a relationship. 

What is Will's goal? To break his dry spell in the bedroom and scratch an itch with a willing stranger during a blind date set up through Madame Eve's 1Night Stand experience.

The problem? Will has no idea that his date is no stranger. She's actually his former high school classmate Magdelena Cruz who has gone to great lengths to invent a new persona in order to spend one night with the one man she's always wanted. Their reunion will prove to be hotter than the Vegas sun, but will their heat spark something deeper? Or will they both end up getting burned by Magdelena's charade?

Where to find Reunited:

Available through Amazon, Decadent Publishing and other retailers.

Meet next week's author:

Lisa Burstein
Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie, Sneaking Candy and The Possibility of Us. As well as a contributor to the essay collection, Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors On Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.

How far would you go for a second chance?

Eleven years after flunking out of college, Kate has finally hit rock-bottom. Losing her job and boyfriend in one drunken night, she’s determined to fix her life by going back to the moment when she let partying and sex take over. And do things right this time. At twenty-nine, she heads back to freshman year of college, with a catch.

Pretending she's nineteen with a new roommate and full class schedule is easy. When she meets her shy, sexy and seven-years-younger RA, Carter, following her self-imposed sobriety and celibacy rules is proving to be anything but.

A senior enduring years of regret, Carter is more than ready to graduate. He’s anxious to move on from the party his freshman year where he witnessed his frat brothers about to commit a sexual assault. Instead of doing the right thing and stepping in, he looked the other way and left. His guilt has made for a lonely four years.

When he meets the new freshman on his floor, spunky and confident Kate, he wonders if his time as an outcast has finally come to an end.

Kate and Carter’s growing friendship and undeniable attraction make it harder to hide the demons from their respective pasts. But when their secrets are finally revealed, will their chance at starting over together still be there?

Monday, September 22, 2014


My romance stories feature strong, smart and successful Latinas in search of their Happily Ever Afters. But while my characters may be make-believe, the women I'll introduce you to in this new column are definitely real.

These Real Life Latina Heroines are the authors of their own success stories. They are inspirational role models who are committed to making a difference and making an impact in their community, culture and career field. 

Elizabeth Colina

Who is she?
Elizabeth Colina is the creative director and co-founder of Razz Interactive, an innovation-focused, technology and social media marketing company. She leads all things creative and design when it comes to creating visual identities for brands, online campaigns, custom apps and large-scale web and mobile development projects. Clients include Universal Music, Corona, Dunkin Donuts, Pepsi, AT&T and Wood Partners, among many others.

Elizabeth and her husband Sebastian recently moved back to their hometown of Miami after having lived in Los Angeles for five years.

On her career path…
“The drive to start Razz came from our previous design, web and print company which we ran in Miami, while in college. With our ever-growing client list we decided to expand our business and partnered up with an equally talented husband and wife duo and created Razz (Razz started in LA and is currently based in both Miami and LA.)

Prior to Razz, I spearheaded the drafting department and helped revamp the engineering/product development department at The Sliding Door Company in Los Angeles, Calif. – an internationally known manufacturer of high end interior doors. Prior to moving to LA, I worked as an architect project manager and design associate. I graduated from FIU in 2008 with a degree in Architecture.”

On her inspiration and passion…
“My inspiration comes from two major people in my life: my mother and my husband. With their constant love and support, they have shown me and instilled in me that there is more to life than what is currently in front of you. Therefore, it helps me maintain that drive and inspiration that continues to push my limits and not give up on my goals and dreams.

My passion is all things design. From architecture, graphic and web design, animation to illustrations – I love it all! I feel they all share a common connection that can be found and used to inspire one another.”

On being a Latina…
“I’m proud to be a Latina because of all the love, passion and rich culture that comes from being Cuban. Despite all the pain and struggle that Cubans have gone through, we’ve still managed to thrive and keep our reputation for being a hard working, passionate race that has made Miami their own. It shows that no matter where life takes you, you can still make a new home just as good as the last (if not better) and not lose who you are or where you came from.”

What keeps her awake at night?
My eye for finding inspiration anywhere and everywhere. Once that switch is turned on, it’s hard to turn it off. Some of my most successful designs have been created at three or four in the morning while everyone is asleep. When you have a good idea and you feel inspired, you just can't let it go.”

On the idea of Happily Ever After…
“Succeeding in creating a reputation that my children and future generations will be proud of and inspired by through my passion and dedication.”

To learn more about Elizabeth Colina’s work, visit her website at

If you or someone you know would like to be featured as a Real Life Latina Heroine, please contact me at

Monday, September 8, 2014

5 Reasons Why I Love Fall

Although the weather here seems determined to hold on to summer forever, I'm stubbornly embracing the fall season with open arms.

I used to be all about the summer. I grew up in Southern California, less than an hour's drive from some of the region's best beaches. Perhaps my love of summer was tied to the fact that school was out and barbecues and bonfires were in? Whatever it was, I made the most of my summer days and nights.

But as I've gotten older, I find myself wishing summer would end sooner rather than later.

So why do I love the fall? Here are my top 5 reasons:

1) Most of my favorite TV shows are back!
I'm counting down the days to the return of Scandal, Revenge, Sleepy Hollow and more. While I've become addicted to a few summer shows, nothing can beat the excitement of fall season premieres!

2) Everything pumpkin!
Lattes, muffins, cheesecake and, of course, pie. I love the smell, especially when it's combined with some nutmeg and cinnamon. In fact, "Pumpkin Love" is the title of my newest Pinterest board.

3) My birthday!
I'm an October baby and if I could celebrate the entire month, I would.

4) The colors!
As you can probably tell from my blog, I love scarlet red, burnt orange and coffee brown. These colors ARE fall -- warm, cozy and inviting.

5) OCC RWA Birthday Bash!
October is also the month for OCC RWA's annual Birthday Bash. This is hosted by my writer's group and attending this conference will definitely be a highlight of my fall season. This year's theme is "Mad Hatter" and it's sure to be a fun weekend! If you're interested in attending yourself, visit the website at

So that's why I love the fall. Now, what about you? I'd love to hear what season you love best and why!

Friday, September 5, 2014

New contract!

I'm excited to announce that my short story "Her Sweet Seduction" will be published in the "Big Little Book of Eros" anthology by Hot Ink Press.

No release date yet, but here's the unofficial blurb:

When romance novelist and single mom Celina Preciado writes a near tell-all about her former lover, he’s the last person she expects to see at her book signing. But not only does Luke Anderssen tell her that he enjoyed her book, the stockbroker-turned-chocolatier let’s her know in no uncertain terms that he wants her back.

Celina’s been burned before and she’s hesitant to let him into the life she now shares with her young daughter. So Luke embarks on the sweetest of seductions to prove once and for all that he’s not the man he used to be and he’s ready to offer her more than just sex and chocolate.

Can't wait to share more, so stay tuned!

Monday, August 4, 2014


My romance stories feature strong, smart and successful Latinas in search of their Happily Ever Afters. But while my characters may be make-believe, the women I'll introduce you to in this new column are definitely real.

These Real Life Latina Heroines are the authors of their own success stories. They are inspirational role models who are committed to making a difference and making an impact in their community, culture and career field. 


Who is she?
Maria is the Director of Community Relations and Outreach for the MIND Research Institute, a nonprofit based in Irvine, CA dedicated to ensuring that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world's most challenging problems by revolutionizing math education through visual learning. 

On her career path...
"Going through Santa Ana Unified School District (in Santa Ana, CA) and growing up in the hood, I didn’t even dare to dream. Education meant nothing to me, although grades were never an issue.  I never learned study habits or enjoyed reading, yet I was able to pull good grades somehow. My mind and spirit were always at home watching over my younger siblings, cooking and cleaning. If you asked me back then what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would've given you a blank stare and said, "Besides a great wife and a loving mother? What else is there?"  

After dropping out of college to get married and join motherhood, I had an emptiness in my life. The day I saw my son with his little cap and gown posing for his kindergarten graduation picture, it clicked. I decided to act on what so many people had seen in me: the potential to become a professional. I didn’t want to be another statistic. I earned my education and no one can ever take that away. I owe that to the great mentors and empowering role models I had.

In the year 2000 I wanted to see what volunteering was all about so I went through training and was offered a job. There I met one of my first professional mentors who took me under her wing and taught me the career basics: how to dress, proper handshakes, email etiquette etc. She also taught me to be a professional “Pedishe” all for a cause I believed in.

I started helping with special events and began my career as a fundraiser. At MIND I was able to help develop our first gala that went from raising $130,000 to over $700,000. Then they challenged me to start fundraising through relationship building and grants. I went from raising $50,000 the first year to $800,000 last year."

On her passion…
"My passion is to provide resources and guidance to our low-income families and to give them the encouragement to dream and make those dreams a reality.  I love talking to parents about the possibilities available to them. I want them to break out of the cycle of just sitting and waiting around for an opportunity to fall onto their laps. I help them go out and seek those opportunities."

On being a Latina…
"I'm a Mexicana born in Zamora, Michoacan. Although I came to live to the states when I was very young and went through the school system here, I needed to communicate with my parents and grandparents, so losing my language was not acceptable. I am very grateful for having been taught to think, read and express myself in Spanish. I also was taught values, respect and humility above all, and also how bright colors and great music can bring up your spirit.  I can be asking for a million dollars in the morning and then come home to cook frijoles de la Olla to feed my son and fiancĂ© before going to soccer practice. I am an educated Latina -- scholastically, culturally and ethically.  My favorite hashtag is #OrgullosaLatina.

Being a Latina to me represents having an in-depth impact in my community.  You can speak and understand two languages and two cultures; it means that you can take the best of two worlds to make a better one. It also reflects the hard work and the sacrifices our parents went through to make sure we kept our culture, while adopting a new one. I am a proud Latina who honors this country for the opportunities provided to me, my family and those who have dreams."       

On her worries and fears…
"One of my biggest worries is wondering what kind of human being my son will grow up to be.  For many years I was so stuck on making sure he was academically smart, but at some point I realized that I was only focusing on what society wanted from my child, not what I wanted and certainly not what he wanted. By supporting his passion I have been able to gain his trust and respect, and he can see where my passion has taken me.  Once he tested my reaction by telling me that when he grew up he wanted to be a "paletero" (someone who sells ice cream on the street). My answer to that was, "As long as you can wake up each morning smiling and know this is what gives you the lifestyle you are happy with, then go out and be the best paletero out there."  In reality he wants to be a professional soccer player so he can get a scholarship to UCLA and then work for Nike's marketing team.  I believe he will do that.”

On the idea of Happily Ever After…
“It means standing up for your beliefs and the reasons that make you smile. At the end of the day, it is those who can bring out that smile during the rough times who will be the ones to find their happily ever after.”

On her own love story…

"I was an educated Latina and single mom making it on my own who became friends with someone who had no academic education, but had the purest love for life. He gets up each morning whistling, talking to his plants and thanking God for his health and his job as a landscaper. He taught me how to live in the moment, cherish family and laugh out loud. After almost four years of being together, I will be marrying my #1 cheerleader and motivator. Many people, including my family, may make faces and comments, but guess what? This is my happiness, and my son has found a friend he can trust and share his dreams with. The three of us respect and support one another and balance each other out."

Special thanks to Maria Cervantes for my being my first profile! 
If you or someone you know would like to be featured as a Real Life Latina Heroine, please contact me at