Friday, September 30, 2011

Parallel Blog Tour!

I can't believe October is just around the corner! When I first contacted Kismet Book Touring in August, it seemed like forever until my blog tour. Now it's just a couple days away!

Monday, October 3rd, is the first day of my blog tour and I am so excited! Don't forget to check-in throughout the tour for your chance to win a free copy of Parallel (eBook)  and a chance to win the big Grand-Prize!

Each comment posted throughout the tour will enter contestants into the grand prize give-away: a gorgeous bracelet, a travel coffee mug with the Battle Grounds logo (Battle Grounds is a fictional coffee shop that figures throughout Parallel), an eCopy of the book and a eReader skin (Nook, Kindle or Kobo – winner’s choice) and a signed, hard copy of Parallel!

The girls at Kismet made up these awesome buttons for the tour. Feel free to add it to your blog to promote the tour! You can link it to either my website or my official tour page. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Cover Reveal

For reasons I won't get into, I am thrilled to announce the new cover design for Parallel! Yeah, I know, it's only been one month since it's realease, but again, no need to go into the details why... So that means I'll be able to release the print version of Parallel very soon!

After much consideration, I decided to go with Robin Ludwig Design Inc. to do my cover art. She has such an amazing portfolio and has designed some of my favorite covers for other indie authors: Susan Bischoff, Sarra Cannon, Zoe Winters, and Karly Kirkpatrick...just to name a few.

I am so pleased to have worked with an A+ professional on this and am totally stoked at how great the cover came out!

But while I do have a new cover design, I am going to keep the current eBook version up until the end of October (i.e. when my blog tour ends), so there's no confusion. So for now, the new cover will be used for the print version until November when I do the complete overhall.

Speaking of which, I'll be posting the 411 on my upcoming blog tour in the next day or two! Yay!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Living in an all gringo world? I think not.

Why is National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) important to me? Well, for starters, I love any reason to celebrate and secondly, I'm Hispanic.

Almost daily, people ask me where I'm from. What they're really want to know is, what's my nationality. I'm American. I was born here, my parents were born here, and even my grandparents were born here. That being said, I have both Spanish and Mexican roots. I was born in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. If you pull up a map, you'll see that its only minutes away from Matamoros, Tamaulipas. If you ever partied down in Texas during Spring Break, you'll know exactly where I'm talking about.

Spanish was, for the most part, my first language. I didn't incorporate English into my vocabulary until I started school. Having grown up in Texas, I grew up eating chicken fried steak and bbq brisket, alongside beans and tortillas. I still speak Spanish to my relatives down South. It's my culture.

Why is this important? Well, as a reader, I can't help but notice that we (i.e. Hispanics/Latinos) aren't represented as much as we should be. As one of the largest minority groups in the U.S., you'd think folks (*ahem* writers) would be clued in on the fact that we're everywhere! We come in all shapes and sizes and while we may not all be the stereotypical Hispanic that comes to mind, we're here and we not going anywhere. Case in point...did you know almost half the cast of Jersey Shore is actually Hispanic? (JWOW, Snooki, and Ron).

Today, I read a great post by Marcela Landres, former editor at Simon & Schuster, on paying tribute to Latino authors/actors.

But support isn't limited to just writers and actors though. What about supporting Hispanic bloggers? Check out the Latina Book Club for a great reading list. If YA is your thing, try Books with Bite, run by the lovely Savannah (who coincidentally, is from the same hometown I am). Need a gossip fix? Let's not forget one of the most successful tabloid blogs, run by none other than Perez Hilton.

What about books? I know what some of you might be thinking, I don't really want to read a cultural book. Hey, I hear ya. Personally, I'm not big on those types of books either, but just because a book has minority characters or is written by a Hispanic author doesn't necesarily make it cultural. It just makes it realistic. Because seriously folks, do we really live an an all gringo world? I didn't think so.

So here's a list of some books I've come across where the authors are ahead of the game by incorporating Hispanic characters in their books:

The Zellie Wells Trilogy, Stacey Wallace Benefiel

The Paranormals Series, JL Bryan

Into the Shadows and Bloody Little Secrets Kacey Kirkpatrick

Sure, I can sit here and say, "Buy Latino!", but sometimes it's not always about celebrating Latino authors, but recognizing those that support us.
Last week, I received The Versatile Blogger award from one of my writing pals over at ROW80. This is my first blog award and I am so touched that Em thought of me.

The rules are as follows:

Anyone who accepts this is asked by the person selecting them to do three things:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass this Award along up to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know about it!

Thank you Em!

Now, here are 7 things about me you may or may not know about me:

1. I speak Spanish everyday at work (full-time job). I feel pretty lucky to be able to speak a second language fluently. Thanks mom!

2. High school was super fun {insert sarcasm here}. My dad was my chemistry AND physics teacher, my mother was my Spanish teacher, my uncle was the head coach of our football team, and my cousin's wife was my English teacher. Yeah, I was mucho popular.

3. I change my hair color constantly. Sometimes I'm blond, other times its my natural brunette color. My hubby thinks it'd be fun to let my gray show, but I'm not ready to be Cruella Deville just yet. 

4. It's pretty cheap in Virginia to have vanity plates, so they're pretty common. I've sported the same license plate for almost 10 years. I won't give out the exact plate info, but it has to do with Texas. I gotta represent! 

5. While I love the 80's and always listen to 80's on 8 on XM, I'm a honky-tonk girl at heart. I get giddy whenever I hear my favorite country tunes and miss going to country dive bars to dance. 

6. Sixteen Candles is my favorite movie...EVER. I love it so much I even had a line from the movie inscribed on my hubby's wedding band. And no, it's not, "thanks for getting my undies back."  

7. I've never read Harry Potter, nor seen any of the movies. I haven't read or seen Lord of the Rings either. Don't judge. 

So hear are some peeps I'm passing the Versatile Blogger award to!!

Stacey Turner, not only my editor, but a fabulous writer and friend.
Sean Thomas Fisher, because he's hilarious and I'd like to know more about what makes him tick. 
Nadja Notariani, a great ROW80 friend and supporter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last ROW80 Update & Good Reads

I believe I missed the last check-in for ROW80. I thought it was today, but I guess I was mistaken! Work has kept me pretty busy the last couple of days, so I'm days behind on everything. But if today IS the last check-in, here ya go...

I'm happy to say that I pretty much met my goals and beyond. For the most part, I stuck to my goal of writing everyday, released Parallel, and spent some time promoting it. I can't you guys how much being a part of ROW80 has meant to me. I received so much support from you guys and I cherish all the friends I've met during this challenge. I hope to see ya'll during Round 4!!

Now for some fun stuff. I managed to find two gems this past weekend. Now, once again, I'm not a book reviewer, but from time to time,  I like to let ya'll know what I'm reading. I don't know how I missed these two, but I am so glad I stumbled upon them.

Fast-Tracked by Tracy Rozzlynn
OMG. I LOVED this book. I almost threw my Kindle against the wall when I realized book 2 will not be released until December. If you love YA dystopian, this book is a must read.

Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick
Another brilliantly executed YA novel. I was moved and touched by the underlying theme. A must read for any teenager.

Both these books have strong heroines amidst a political, historical, and controversial backdrop.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Updates, Giveaways, and Gratitude

I've been a little slack on my updates, but I promise I've been working hard!

I recently submitted a short story for an upcoming anthology, Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls, published by Angelic Knight Press. So this week was spent working on the suggestions kindly sent back to me by the editor, but I am happy to say I'm officially 'in'! The anthology is scheduled to be released by Halloween, so check back for more updates.

Speaking of Halloween, author Red Tash is hosting a Trick or Treat Bash to celebrate her new release, This Brilliant Darkness. Yours truly has offered up a free copy of Parallel and The Fury as part of her grand prize giveaway, along with countless other horror-fic authors. See yesterday's post for contest info. Don't worry, I'll do another post to remind ya'll to enter!

Now that I finished up my short story, I have been working on Paradox (book two) of the Travelers Series. I'm still in the researching phase, but I have a haphazard outline done to guide me in the right direction. This is my favorite part of writing...the research. For Parallel, I read a lot of physics books on quantum mechanics (half of which I didn't understand), just to make a couple of scenes more 'believable'. Now, I'm looking into defunct government projects to add some realism into a few scenes I plan to have in book two. It seems like an awful lot of research for just a couple of key scenes, but whatever, I'm sure my readers will appreciate it!

On the promotion end, I've been working on a few posts for my upcoming Parallel Blog Tour, that is scheduled for October.

Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who has supported my writing by purchasing a copy of Parallel. I'm not selling hundreds a day or anything like that, but in the two weeks since its release, I've already beaten the odds. That's more than I ever expected to achieve, so thank you... Oh and if you enjoyed it (or didn't), don't forget write a review!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Red Tash Trick or Treat Bash!

Halloween is coming a little early this year... That's right folks, October is just around the corner and there's nothing like celebrating the awesomeness of the holiday than with a giveaway!!

Red Tash is hosting a Trick or Treat Bash to celebrate the release of her new book, This Brilliant Darkness. Fabulous treats will be given away, including a Kindle 3G!! But wait...there's more! Not only will the Grand Prize Winner receive a Kindle, but will also receive a virtual bag of goodies filled with some great horror, sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy ebooks by a haunting collection of authors...including me!

"It’s a virtual Trick or Treat bag of Halloween awesomeness—we’re talking ghost stories, zombies, vampires, and other fantasy adventures."

Other prizes include a $25 Amazon giftcard and a free copy of Red Tash's This Brilliant Darkness.

You have to play to win, so check out Red Tash's website for more details on how to enter. Contest runs from now until October 16th.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Looking Back at 9/11

I never thought I'd be in a position to write about where I was during such a horrific and influential event. I say influential, because what happened on September 11, 2001 not only shaped out opinion, but impacted our lives.

Having only just moved to the DC area less than a year prior, I was an idealistic 24 year old with dreams of working on Capitol Hill. At that time, I was working for a special interest lobbying group and our office was located near the Capitol. I remember going into the office that day, business as usual, when my boss called me to her office to inform me that the Twin Towers had been struck.

About half and hour later, we were informed that another plane had crashed, this time it was the Pentagon in Arlington. Being a small office, I was immediately instructed to go home - before the official evacuation had been ordered. Everything seemed to be happening so fast, we still didn't even know about the other hijacked plane headed towards Pennsylvania. On the news, there were reports that there was a possibility that the next plane was going to hit the Capitol.

Scared and confused, I got detoured several times and ended up in the really seedy part of DC (the section you always see on the news). I was so scared that I wouldn't be able to leave and that no one would be able to direct me out of there. After shedding a few tears, I finally found an open ramp to I395 and headed home to Alexandria, VA.

The implications of what had occurred still hadn't sunk in, I was so focused on getting out of there. Until I saw the smoke. In order for me to get home, I had to drive past the burning building...the Pentagon. That's when the smoke from the building came filled my car through the open window. I was devastated. This time, I wasn't fearful for my safety, but for the lives that had been lost.

Finally, I'd made it onto GW Parkway, than runs alongside the Potomac River. From there, it was only a couple miles to my house (the distance between my office and house was only about 5 miles) when I came upon a sea of cars that weren't going anywhere. The news on the radio was still speculating about that other plane...would it hit the Capital? The White House? Reagan Airport (which was visible and to the left of me)?

I sat in traffic for almost 6 hours. Only two miles from my house and I just sat there. I didn't have a cell phone, so I couldn't call anyone, not that anyone was getting through. It was a hot day, so I was sweating up a storm since I had turned my car off to conserve gas. Not once in my life had I ever felt so terrified, confused, sad, and desperate all at the same time.

After I got home, I didn't know what to do. But I knew I didn't want to be alone. My roommate and I decided to go over to a friends house and watch the news coverage. There, in our friend's living room, people with different political ideologies, faiths, and opinions, all crowded in front of the TV set and watched in silence. We put aside our individual beliefs for a moment and became united.

Every now and then when I pass the Pentagon, I still remember that day. I can't believe that was 10 years ago. I don't work in politics anymore, I live further south of the district, and I have a greater appreciation for those that continue to fight for our country - thank you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I've been slacking a bit I know...but I'm back. You'd think I'd have something substantial to report since I missed my last ROW80 post on Sunday...but I don't. For those just who have just discovered my blog, you can find out more about ROW80 by clicking the cute button at the bottom of the page. If you're a writer, Round 4 is just around the corner!

UPDATE: I have been working on a short story that I plan on submitting to an upcoming anthology (the theme is evil dolls), so it'll be another horror short. It's coming along, but I'm having trouble with the ending. I hate that!

As you guys can see, I've updated my website/blog again. I just can't seem to leave well enough alone. This is exactly why I don't do my own cover art anymore, or why I'm not an artist, or a chef.

On another note, here is a list of books I read this past week:

Heroes 'Til Curfew by Susan Bischoff
How to Date a Werewolf by Rose Pressey
Momentum by Imogen Rose

Have a great ROW80 week! (I can't believe Round 3 is almost over!!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Quest for Bacon-y Sweets

Okay, enough bacon already!!! Just kidding...but seriously, there's been so much talk of bacon on twitter lately (#booktitlesreplacedwithbacon), that I had to do a post on it. If you're on twitter and follow writers, you'll find that we are obsessed with bacon (and chocolate).

Earlier today, I asked if anyone had any bacon cookie recipes and I got no response. I don't know if my tweeps just ignored me, or if the lack of response meant that no one had a recipe. I bet it's the latter :) Yeah, that's it.

Photo credit: Pete Bakes! (yeah, the link will take you to another bacon cookie recipe)

So for your gastronomical pleasure, I have complied a list of bacon delicacy delights (yes, including a bacon chocolate chip cookie recipe):

Vosges Haut Chocolate Mo's Dark Chocolate Bacon Bar
This is my favorite bacon chocolate bar from Vosges . I usually buy one of these once a week from my local Wegman's. They also makes it in milk chocolate if you don't like dark.

If you're in Las Vegas, check out the Double Down Saloon, Birthplace of the Bacon Martini. They infuse their own vodka with, you guessed it, bacon! If you don't care for martini's, you can always order a Bloody Mary made with their home brewed bacon vodka. The hubby and I paid homage there on our last trip to Vegas. Oh, and there's a Double Down in NYC too.

If you live in my neck of the woods (Northern Virginia), you must cheek out Simply Sweet on Main, located in Old Town Manassas. I recently discovered this little gem when I found out they served bacon lattes!! You'll find me writing here from time to time when I need my bacon coffee fix!

Now, for you bakers out there, NPR posted an article a few years back, Bacon Gets Its Just Desserts. Recipes for Chocolate-Bacon Peanut Bark, Maple-Apple-Bacon Cake, Chocolate-Chip-Bacon-Pecan Cookies, and Bacon Fudge are included in the article!!

And directly from The Daily Bacon, a recipe for Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So the next time someone asks if you know of any bacon cookie recipes, you can respond back!!

(Guess what I'll be baking this holiday weekend???)