Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Okay, it's a day early for it, but so what.

I love Valentine's Day so much that I wouldn't mind celebrating it today and tomorrow!

Do you have any special plans for the big day? I'm actually going to be spending most of it with my wonderful author friends at our OCC RWA meeting. I can't think of a better way to spend the day than with those who write about LOVE.

The husband and I don't usually go out on actual Valentine's Day. Restaurants and movies are usually way too crowded. Instead, we'll do something the day before or the day after. Some years we've just spent it at home with the kids. That's because although I love the idea of a day dedicated to love, I don't need it in order to show my husband and my kids just how much they mean to me. I tell all of them that I love them every single day.

Sure, the candies and flowers and cards are fun to get and to give. But nothing beats the small every day things that let people know they're always in your heart.

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Favorite Things

Sorry I've been away. The past few months have just flown by. I can't believe there's only a few more days left in 2014!

Like many of you, I've spent the past couple of weeks getting ready for Christmas. It really is my favorite holiday. Always has been. Of course when you're little, Christmas is all about the presents. But as you get older, the holiday becomes more about spending time with loved ones and enjoying favorite traditions.

We all have them. Perhaps it's a special ornament handed down to you by your grandmother or a beloved song that never fails to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Here are a few of my favorite things about Christmas:

Making tamales
Since I can remember, Christmas Eve morning has always been about waking up at the crack of down and going to my grandma's house to make tamales with my aunts and cousins. All of us have certain jobs from mixing the masa to counting the batches as they go into the pots. And as we work, we catch up on each other's lives. Then we come back later that night and enjoy eating them while the little ones open up presents.

Decorating our Christmas tree
Every year I worry that the kids will decide they have better things to do than trim the tree, but so far that hasn't happened. They love bringing out their favorite ornaments--many of which they made in school. And no matter what size of tree we get, it seems we always have just the right amount of lights and ornaments to make it beautiful!

Baking cookies
Not to brag or anything, but my cookies are always in demand around this time of year. My favorite to make are polvorones, also known as Mexican wedding cookies or Christmas Tea Balls. They're made of butter and sugar and, well, that's pretty much it. They're highly addictive and dangerous to your waistline and that's why I only make them once a year.

Thanks for letting me share a few of my favorite Christmas traditions. Do you have any you'd like to share?


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!