Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Whether we end up sticking to them or not, everyone has their resolution list, full of do's and don'ts, ready to launch on January 1st.

As a rule, I don't make a list, as I never stick to resolutions. So this year, I decided to come up with just a simple goal to get me through the year. One that I can mold and shape into any given situation:

Work hard and do the best I can. 

I can apply this to work, writing, dieting, trying new things...anything really. And if I fail in one area, I can always succeed in another. It may sound like I'm taking the easy way out of bettering myself for the new year, but who can argue with simply trying you best?

On that note, I hope everyone has a great New Year! And if 2012 really does mark the end of the world, head South. Near water (if it's a zombie invasion). That's where the hubby, pugs, and I will be.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from me to you...

It's not possible for me to reach out to everyone individually during the holiday season, so I thought I'd share some of my personal holiday favorites on my website. So take a moment, mute the television, and sit back and relax.

Merry Christmas...from my casa to yours!!! 

It just isn't Christmas without listening to Cheech & Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady. The local radio stations always played this around the holidays when I was growing up. Every year, I download this from YouTube and pretend I'm a kid again, driving around in the car with my folks, quoting every line to the best Christmas story ever concieved since Charles Dickens.

Turn up the volume and sing along with me to some of my favorite Christmas tunes. I've never been into Christmas Carols (probably because I can't sing), but sometimes there are songs that brighten up your day and make you laugh, while others make you reflect and make you cry.

Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses (1981) is simply the best Christmas song ever...

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keen (1994), is the epitome of a Texas-style Christmas. If you're from Lone Star State (or the South), y'all will understand...

Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton (1982) is hands down one of my favorites. I wait for it to come on the radio every December so I can sing (and cry) along...(I'm crying right now as I'm listing to this). 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Year in Review

I can't believe it's the end of Round 4 for ROW80! I also can't believe that I stuck with ROW80 for 3 rounds (thats almost an entire year)! Wait, actually, I can. The amount of support and camaraderie from my fellow ROW80's was enough to keep me going. I don't know what I would have done without y'all. Seriously.

This final update will also serve as my Year in Review, so to speak. I have accomplished so much in such a short period of time, it only makes sense to tie this into my update, for I wouldn't have gotten this far without a little encouragement...

My goal for ROW80 (every round) was simple: write everyday. I figured that writing everyday, even if it was a minimal amount, would lead me to my ultimate goal - to publish my first book. And while I often wavered on my goals, I managed to publish a short novella AND my debut novel.

Of course, this last round was supposed to get me towards the end of book 2 in my series and while I didn't quite finish, I am almost done! I hope to spend the rest of December finishing the dreaded first draft.

I've come along way since last December, when I decided I was going to pursue my dreams and focus on my writing. But I didn't just focus and accomplish what I set out to do...I met some fabulous friends in the process. I thank you guys for commenting on my posts, beta reading, promoting my book, being a shoulder to cry on, and above all - just being there.

And if you're still reading this post, here are some 2011 highlights:

*Published my first story (The Fury)
*Published my debut novel (Parallel)
*October blog tour
*December book signing
*Third short story published (Demonic Dolls Anthology)
*Interviewed J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch
*Participated in ROW80
*Sold over 700 ebooks in 4 months (Parallel)

I had none of those things last December. All I had was an idea for a story and it just snowballed from there.

And just to be sure you get the message...I couldn't have done this without you guys. Sure, I can write a story and upload it, but it means nothing without you, dear readers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Debutante Ball - Feast of Debut Authors

I may be well and married and too old for a coming out party, but when I found out about this tour, I just had to pull out my dance card and participate!

For those of you who are new to my site, I recently published my debut novel, Parallel, the first in the Travelers Series. I am currently working on book two in the series, Paradox. 

I really wanted to put this post to good use and do a quick rundown of who would I would cast to star in the lead roles if Parallel ever got picked up and made into a movie (or even a t.v. show, I'm not picky). But I couldn't! I couldn't find the right Cooper and Etta, well I guess the image of her is spoiled due to the cover.

Destiny has a way of catching up. Saddled with powers she doesn’t understand, Etta Fleming’s world is turned upside-down the day she meets Cooper Everett, the man who transports her to an alternate reality. A reality she was meant to be a part of.

One minute, she’s an orphan living at Dominion House for Girls, an institution for delinquent foster kids, then finds herself attending the exclusive Dominion Hall Academy.

Plucked from the only world she’s ever known, Etta now has to deal with an aunt she never knew, a boyfriend she doesn’t know, and a best friend who can’t know. 

Here's what folks have to say about Parallel:

"I give this one a five out of five - an entertaining, fast paced, page turner..." Heather, Bewitched Bookworms

"I anticipated a fun read but I was blown away by how much I loved Parallel..." Jenn, Tynga's Reviews

"Ms. Lefeve did one heck of a job keeping me entertained but also keeping me at bay from answers till the end...Seriously Ms. Lefeve, you are brilliant..." Savy, Books with Bite

"This book has everything it has to offer to all the readers who wanted to take on a new journey of reading...Absolutely Fascinating! Two Thumbs-up!" Clarissa, Teen Readers Diary

Want a signed copy of Parallel? Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win* during the debutante tour!

** Contest ENDS the 31st of December!

Winners will be announced at the end of the tour on January 2nd on each participating author's blog.
*US residents can enter to win a signed paperback copy of Parallel. International residents will be registered to win an ebook copy.

For more chances to win, check out the following author blogs on December dates below!

12 Elizabeth Mueller

13 Regan Guerra

14 Melissa Pearl

15 Claudia Lefeve

16 Joseph Beekman

17 Pendragon Innmen 

19 Alex J. Cavanaugh

22 Anastasia V. Pergakis

23 H. Linn Murphy  

27 Patti Larsen

28 Red Tash

29 Annetta Ribken

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guesting, Reading, and Dancing...

I can't believe Christmas is a little more than a week away! Leave it to me to still be behind on my holiday correspondence (ahem...still need to purchase cards) and shopping! But as busy as I may seem, I always seem to have enough time to take on more than I actually have the time for.

Today, I'm guest posting over at Red Tash's site!! I never get over how gracious and welcoming other authors are with their precious web space. So, thanks Red for allowing me to take the spotlight for a day! You can read my post on what to get a writer for Christmas here!

If you noticed the sidebar, there are two holiday promos that I'm involved in. The first I'm sure you've already noticed is for the 12 Days of Christmas Reading giveaway! Don't forget to stop by and check-out all the funny and memorable holiday stories from 13 awesome authors!

And being from the South, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to participate in the Debutante Ball - A Feast of Debut Authors! Don't miss reading about the 20 fantastic debut authors and their novels for a chance to win big! My post will be featured tomorrow, so check back for a chance to be entered in the contest.

On the ROW80 writing front, I have another 2k words or so on book two. It is slowly (but surely) progressing. I would really like to bang out a lot more over the weekend before Christmas comes around! Best of luck to everyone on the final days of ROW80!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hate Math, but Love Numbers!

This will be a short update as I posted a rather long essay in yesterday's post, which is part of the 12 Days of Christmas Reading giveaway. I have another holiday guest post that I have to work on tonight for my good friend and author, Red Tash (Red, if you're reading this, I promise to have to you before tomorrow!!)

ROW80 Update:
I am making good on my word goals these past few days...yay!

Thursday - 1,000k
Friday - 1,470k
Saturday - I napped and read :)
Sunday - 1,040k and I'm still writing, so my Sunday word count might get to 2k by the end of the night.

On the humorous end of things, I'm a hit in France! Parallel is ranked #12 in Teen Sci-Fi/Fantasy, right below Veronica Roth's Divergent! I'm laughing as I write this because it only took ONE eBook sold in France to get to that ranking. So, merci beaucoup goes out to the sole reader who pushed me to the top!

But on a serious note, a BIG thank you goes out to all those readers out there for taking a chance on my book. So far this month, I've sold over 120 ebooks and it's only December 11th! So again, thank you dear readers!!!

Until Wednesday...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Christmas Story

I can't believe Christmas is almost here. The mail strewn on my kitchen counter tells me that I'm already behind on my holiday cards. And I'll be honest, Christmas isn't one of my favorite holidays. I'm much more comfortable celebrating Halloween or Thanksgiving, were I can gorge on candy or stuff myself with turkey. Sure, I love getting presents, but I'd gladly forgo gifts and holiday merriment, in exchange for not having to shop for last minute gifts.

Now, what I do love about the holidays are all the memories I have of my family during that time. Never one to be conventional, our family always celebrates together on Christmas Eve. Every year, the entire lot travels to my aunt's place, doing last minute runs to Feldman's Liquor, piling all the presents for the cousins in the back of the mini-van, to be rewarded by the savoring aroma of brisket as soon as we enter the door (we're from Texas, okay?). Not to mention the heaping pile of steamy tamales (to clarify, we're from South Texas) that my aunts prepare special for the occasion. Shortly after we load our plates up with goodies, we gather around the television set to watch A Christmas Story on TNT, for what seems to be for the umpteenth time that day, before gifts are finally exchanged in-between helpings of brisket and beans.

But there was one Christmas Eve we didn't gather. That was the year that will forever be known as the South Texas Christmas Miracle. For that particular day in 2004 boasted the biggest snowfall in Brownsville. I remember waking up that morning to my mother exclaiming, "it's snowing! Come look!" My response? Some sort of morning grumble - I think I even threw a shoe - followed by, "it's just frost. I'm not waking up to look at frost." Now, by this time, I was a bonafide expert when it came to snow. I had lived in the Washington, D.C. area several years now and had already experienced blizzards and snow day closings, so I knew what I was talking about. But when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed later that morning...there it was, greeting me in all its fluffy white splendor. Snow. That day, Brownsville, Texas made national headlines for having the greatest snowfall in day...a whopping 1.5 inches. Yes, that's inches, not feet. It was the first measurable accumulation of snow in the area since 1895. In a place were palm trees line the streets in almost every neighborhood and the Gulf of Mexico is just a few short minutes away, we finally witnessed our first official White Christmas.

Even I had to admit, it was kind of impressive, given that the year before I wore shorts and flops to Christmas Eve dinner. And now there I was, having travelled all the way from D.C. to visit family, only to being told that "there's too much snow on the ground, so we can't go to Tia Toni's." That's right, amigos, dinner, gifts, and holiday cheer was ultimately postponed a day, until everyone felt "safe" enough to travel. I had to laugh about the entire ordeal, really. The roads were too warm for any of the snow to actually stick and all the white powder soon melted of roofs and lawns by noon, but it was truly a Christmas to remember and surely one for the record books. Some even capitalized on our little miracle: one couple wrote a coffee table book, while others displayed some entrepreneurial holiday spirit and sold snow on eBay (some poor souls actually bid on it).

It's been a few years since I've been home for the holidays and if memory serves, that might have been the last Christmas I spent at home with my family. Oh, I still manage to go home once or twice a year, but usually when I can avoid the holiday spike in airfare. And no matter what time of the year I visit my family, there's still plenty of brisket, beans, and tamales to go around...and I always remember to bring my flops.


This essay is part of 12 Days of Christmas Reading promotion that runs from December 10 - December 22.  If you want to check out the other fabulous writers participating in this promotion, check it out here. Make sure you leave a comment to enter to win some great books, including a copy of Parallel. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For All Us Slackers...

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for another ROW80 Update. I don't know how much I actually wrote these last couple of days, but I did manage to write a whooping 1k this morning before I headed off to work (that's what happens when you take a 10 min nap at 7pm and wake up at 3am!)

I also wrote a fun holiday post that I will have up sometime on Friday, as part of the 12 Days of Christmas Reading Giveaway, hosted by fellow ROW80's, J.R. Pearse Nelson and Nadja Notariani!

Also, I am proud to be a part of (which accounts for my awesomeness word count the morning) National Novelist Slack-A$$ Month (#NaNoSlackMo), the brainchild of another fab ROW80'er, Jenny Hansen. This challenge is for those that didn't win NaNoWriMo (although y'all are winners in our hearts) or didn't participate to begin with (like moi). So let's see if I can do 25k this month!

Until Sunday, have a great ROW80 week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Down to Business

I've debated on writing this post for awhile now. I know there are a lot of writers that post their monthly sales figures and while I find those reports very informative, I have to question, "is this something I want to do?"

After much thought, I decided to go ahead and post my sales stats for Parallel. I don't know if this will become a regular occurance on my blog, but maybe I'll try it just this once. In the last few weeks, I've had emails from writers interested in my sales, not to be nosy, but wanting to gauge how they are progressing by comparison and since most of my followers at this point are writers, why not share my own progress?

To be honest, I actually appreciate it when writers share their sales figures. I know not everyone feels the same way, but it really does give me an idea of how other authors in my genre are doing in terms of sales/trends/etc.

So for those that are curious, here are my recent stats for the last three months:

August (I hit the "publish" button until August 26th, so this is only a few days of sales for the month):
Amazon Kindle: 12
Barnes & Noble Nook: 52

Amazon Kindle: 26
Barnes & Noble Nook: 25

Amazon Kindle: 64
Barnes & Noble Nook: 23
Apple iBook: 1

Amazon Kindle: 224
Barnes & Noble Nook: 25
Createspace (paperback): 1

eBook Sales: 452
Print: 1

All in all, not bad for three months! Since November, I am averaging about 6-10 books a day and even though we are only in the first few days of *December, I am still seeing a rise in sales. Aside from actual book sales, I've also been asked what I'm doing to get these numbers and to be honest, I have no idea...maybe the spike in November sales was due to the blog tour I did in October, perhaps I'm just in the right genre, or it could very well be the luck of the draw. This is not to say I'm killin' it, but personally, I'm pretty damn proud to have sold this many books in such a short period of time.

Book Signing!

As some of you know, I did a very small book signing in Old Town Alexandria (where Parallel takes place) on Friday. My friend Jody was kind enough to let me sell books during her Islay Trunk Show. I only brought 10 books to sign, figuring I'd sell only a couple, then I could just give the rest away for Christmas gifts, but surprisingly, I ended up selling/signing 9!! There were several folks there that were desperate to find stocking stuffers for their nieces/daughters. So now, I actually have to get a couple more to add to my gift list! 

It was a nice affair, complete with champagne, cheese, and other goodies. Not to mention getting to see a few friends that I haven't seen since moving away from Alexandria. I don't know if I'll do more book signings, since it's not really cost effective (gas, chipping in for snacks, etc.), but it did get my name and website out and it was a total blast. Perhaps I'll do another small one in the future...we'll see.

ROW80 Update

A few weeks ago, I decided to revamp my goals from writing everyday, to writing at least 5,000 words a week. Well, that's not really working for me. I am writing everyday, but as we all know, life gets in the way. That being said, I guess I'll just stick to my original goal of just keeping it real and write what I can a day. 

Paradox (book dos) is coming along nicely and I'm totally digging what my characters have come up with in terms their adventures. So far, I've traveled to Mexico City, Boston, and Las Vegas, and in different dimensions no less!! 

I'm also working daily on my other WIP, an adult paranormal, that I sometimes forget to share my progress on. I'm about a third of the way done and I'm pretty excited about it. 

On the promotion front, I'm scheduled to do three guest posts this month. Yay! I'll keep you posted on those as they are posted. 

*I'm already over 500 in ebook sales as of today (all months combined). 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Okay, So I Lied...

I know I promised an update on Sunday, but I was enjoying my four day weekend so much, I kinda forgot. Not that I had much to report. I did get a lot of writing done and I'm happy to say that book 2 is starting to take shape, or rather, it's starting to read more like a book than just random scenes and notes.

By the time I returned to work on Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to have several of my co-workers tell me how much their daughter's enjoyed Parallel (guess their kids got in some reading time over the long weekend) and had another colleague bombard me with questions about book 2 (she said it's not every day she gets to ask an author questions).

So while I'm still grinning from all the kudos, I am going back to writing a few scenes before American Horror Story comes on tonight. I think I'm more obsessed with the house (and Jessica Lange) than the actual show. Seriously, folks, I would buy that house if I could.

Oh, I hope to have some photos up this weekend from my first book signing in Old Town Alexandria on Friday. It's nothing major, but maybe I can finally get some new photos (i.e. author pics) up, seeing that I'm no longer blond...that was soooo two years ago!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Counting My Blessings...

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: my family, husband, good health, the goofy pugs curled up next to me on the couch, and all of the wonderful things to come.

During this recession, I am not only fortunate enough to have a full-time job, but a part-time one that I enjoy, and of course, my after-hours gig as a writer...a job I love. Yeah, I gotta appreciate that. My checking account may say otherwise, but that just means the bills and mortgage are being paid.

This is also a time when my thoughts go out to those who aren't as fortunate as others and to those oversees, who serve this great country, that can't make it home to see their family and loved ones during the holidays...

I'm skipping my ROW80 update today, but will make up for it on Sunday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quick ROW80 Update

I'm on a writing roll, as they say, so I'm going to keep my ROW80 update short...

Didn't achieve my 5k a week word goal, but I think I came pretty close. Today alone, I'm pleased to have gotten about 1,600 words on my adult paranormal and 500 on book two of the Travelers Series. And the words are still flowing. The writing gods are looking down on me today!

Don't forget to check out my review of Stirred, co-authored by Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath. I also got the opportunity to interview them both, as part of their book launch. Stirred goes on sale November 22nd.

I also finished my guest post for Teen Readers Diary today, yay!

And if I don't get around to posting on Wednesday, have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All Stirred Up: Blake Crouch & J.A. Konrath

Once again, I'm honored to have the privilege of reading an advanced copy of anything written by Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath. This time, I was offered the opportunity to read their most recent collaboration, STIRRED, that concludes the Andrew Z. Thomas/Luther Kite and Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels saga, respectively.

(Book Blurb)
"Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels has seen humanity at its most depraved and terrifying. She's lost loved ones. Come close to death countless times. But she always manages to triumph over evil. Luther Kite is humanity at its most depraved and terrifying. He's committed unthinkable acts. Taken human life for the sheer pleasure of it. He is a monster among monsters, and no one has ever caught him. Each is the best at what they do. Peerless. Unmatched.

Until now...

In Luther's experience, people are weak. Even the strong and fearless break too easily. He wants a challenge, and sets his depraved sights on Jack. But with a baby on the way, Jack is at her most vulnerable. She's always been a fighter, but she's never had so much to fight for. So he's built something especially for Jack. His own private ninth circle of hell--a nightmare world in a forgotten place from which no one has ever escaped.

It's J.A. Konrath's greatest heroine versus Blake Crouch's greatest villain in Stirred, the stunning conclusion to both Konrath's Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels thriller series and Crouch's Andrew Z. Thomas series."

When I began STIRRED, I didn't know if I was going to be disappointed or elated over this final installment. I loved both series separately, but equally (I don't like to play favorites) and to be honest, I didn't know if these two grand masters of words could pull it off. I'm sure I won't be the first one (or the last) to say this but, they did. Not only did they deliver on their promise, but managed to do so so in spades.

As we've come to expect from both Crouch and Konrath, there is a lot of guts, gore, and gratuitous violence in this grand finale. Personally, that's what I've grown to love and expect about the stories they tell. But if you're the squeamish kind, don't let that dissuade you from reading STIRRED, or any of their other books in the series. While Blake and Joe have a penchant for violence in their tales, there's also a very strong underlying theme of love in this book. I don't know if it's intentional, or if I just find it in a lot of what I read, but it's there. And for you literary folks, there's enough reference to Dante's Inferno to keep you intrigued and guessing as to where they're going with this.

Having read every book in both sets of books, I was able to figure out some things as I read along and followed the clues, but I was completely floored at the end. After I finished STIRRED, I actually had to go back and read the last pages of some their other works (KILLERS and BREAK YOU) to see if I had missed anything that would have hinted at the ending.

Crouch and Konrath left a few things open at its conclusion and I wouldn't be surprised if, in the somewhat distant future, we see some of our favorite villains, sipping margaritas and plotting revenge, in some touristy tropical destination (somewhere near the Bermuda Triangle, I'm sure).

(Side Note:) For those who haven't read either series or just one of the series, the author's did allow for STIRRED to be read as a stand alone novel. Not only that, but they added interactive links within the book every time a character is introduced, referencing their original appearance. Nice touch guys...but I must say to those readers out there, you lose the entire perspective if you don't go back and read both series, including all the novellas and shorts that are included in the universe.

(Oh, yeah:) A word to the wise, have some fritos or pork rinds handy before you begin reading STIRRED. For the first half of the story, Jack ate so much junk food, I totally had the munchies the entire 7 hours it took me to read it. All I had was an apple pie, so I ate that...

Q&A with Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath

1. Did you ever imagine, when writing your respective series, that it would turn into something much grander like STIRRED?

Not at all. Even when we first wrote "Serial" (our first collaboration) we thought it was a one-off kind of thing. But as that expanded to "Serial Uncut" and "Birds of Prey" we started to understand how we could link our series together (through the villains). By last summer (2010), it was obvious that we needed to do a collaboration novel that concluded both of our series.

2. For Joe - I'm dying to know. What happened to Alex Kork? I thought for sure she'd show up somewhere, helping Luther along the way.

You've got to read Serial Killers Uncut, which is the companion double novel to Stirred and our respective series. It contains every villain we've ever written, and yes, there is an, um...interesting interlude with Luther and Alex.

3. For Blake - I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I'll ask this as generic as I can... Did you change the relationship between Andrew and Luther when writing STIRRED or did you already have that in mind when you wrote BREAK YOU and KILLERS?

I already knew what we were going to do in Stirred while writing Break You and Killers. Break You is essentially the set up for Stirred.

4. If STIRRED was made into a movie, who do you envision playing Andrew, Luther, Jack, and Harry McGlade?

Andy: John Cusack

Luther: Christian Bale

Jack: I will not sell the movie rights to the series, because the only person who can play Jack Daniels on the screen is me.

Harry McGlade: Due to the magic of Hollywood cinema, I can also play Harry.

5. I have followed both your writing careers, both as a reader and a writer. Do you two have any other collaborative projects in the works?

We are going to be writing a followup to Draculas called Wolfmen. It'll be Joe and Blake and two new writers. Joe is writing more in the Flee series with Ann Voss Peterson. Blake's also doing some collaborations with some new blood.

Thanks so much guys for taking the time to answer my questions! 

STIRRED goes on sale November 22nd!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleep, Sickness, and Sales

Once again, I had every intention of posting my ROW80 progress on Sunday. Really. But instead, I decided to stay in bed all day after spending the previous two days organizing and cleaning for my hubby's 40th birthday party Saturday night. But even though I flaked on my update, I did get some writing in on Sunday (@500 words), inspired by the Stephen King marathon that was on all day.

Then, I got sick. Nothing major, but what I initially thought was strep is probably some sort of cold, so I stayed home from work yesterday and slept. Still sick today, but think I can scrounge up a few words before America Horror Story comes on later tonight.

On a brighter note, I broke 100 in ebook sales on Amazon this month! Meaning, this is the first month that I've actually sold that many within a month (last month was around 70). Yeah!

Next up, the promotion front. I've kinda let marketing and networking slide this month (still exhausted from my blog tour last month), but I've got some guest posts lined up for next month and I owe Teen Readers Diary a guest post this week (I got sidetracked by being sick). And on December 2nd, I'll be doing a very small book signing...Actually, it's more like I'm crashing my friends trunk show in order to hock my books - I have very nice friends.

AND I don't want to give away any details yet, BUT I have a very special Q&A post coming up soon, where I get to interview two of the most epic authors ever! Keep checking in!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Goal

I had every intention of posting my ROW80 progress this past Sunday, but I was having too much fun visiting the folks in Texas. I ate way to much, went fishing, played with animals on the ranch, and ate a little bit more. What can I say? I totally neglected my writing for a few short days...but I did manage to get some writing in on my 8 hour layover in Dallas.

Here are some pic's from my trip home...

My sister, cousins, and me after an awesome day of fishing on South Padre Island...that's me in the long sleeve tee. My dad treated us to beer, shrimp, and oysters! 

Me and Pumpkin the Goat at my Grandpa's.

Now that I'm back home and after careful consideration, I decided to step up my game in terms of writing goals for this round. The last couple of rounds, I always just listed "write everyday" as my goal. But now, I'm thinking I have to do a bit more than that if I want Paradox to be completed by my December deadline. So the new goal is: write at least 5,000 words a week. I usually average about 2-3k a week, so if I just push a little more and watch a little less t.v., I think I can manage it. But deadline aside, I'm really doing it for my readers. Those that have already picked up Parallel really seemed to like it (yes, much to my shock) and I'd like to have book two out before the story gets stale.

So that's it...I gotta get back to writing!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Eve!

I can't believe Halloween is tomorrow. Normally, I'd already have all my Halloween decorations displayed all over the house, but I realized yesterday that I totally forgot! That seems to be the theme of my month... I think I've said this before, but where did October go? It's my favorite month and I just totally lost track of time.

On the writing front, I've gotten a few scenes written out and a few more written in my head. Perhaps I should have gotten the iPhone 4S, instead of the iPhone 4 (I did save about $100 though), so I could just dictate everything that's rummaging around in my head. I'm happy with my new phone regardless. I just uploaded the Pages app and can now do edits to my documents without having to lug my laptop around with me everywhere.

Sales for Parallel have been great. I'm not experiencing sales of epic proportions, but selling a few books a day is more than I could have ever imagined. Thanks to all of you who have supported me and enjoyed reading my story (don't forget to leave a review!!). Oh, and Parallel is now available for iBooks!!

As for Halloween, I don't hold out much hope this year. We didn't get any trick-o-treaters come to our house last year (they stopped coming a block before our house...I blame it on all the old neighbors that surround my end of the street), so I have nothing planned other than teaching night class. If any kids DO manage to come to our end of the street, well, they can have the candy we still have from last year. It doesn't go bad, does it??

And don't forget to check out my guest post on November 1, over at Karly Kirkpatrick's blog, where I discuss my thoughts on Dia de Los Muertos (although the holiday is actually celebrated on November 2nd. The 1st is Dia de Los Angelitos).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grand-Prize Winner Announced!

I'm 35 today!!! Now, I know most folks dread turning another year older, especially after the age of 30, but not me. I always say life only gets better with age. Take last year for example. I didn't have a book out and I didn't have all these new wonderful friends that I have now. By this time next year, I hope to have more books out and more fabulous friends and fans. See? It only gets better.

Since it's a day of celebration, I'm going to announce the Grand-Prize Winner of the Parallel Blog Tour! And the winner is.....

Melissa from Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf!! 

Melissa will recieve a signed copy of Parallel, a OOAK Battle Grounds coffee mug, a OOAK bracelet, and a custom eReader skin.

Congrats and thanks for entering Melissa! Don't forget to check your email today!

And thanks go out to all the book bloggers who hosted me this last month and everyone who stopped along the tour! It was so much fun! (Yeah, I'm totally overusing my exclamations points in this post...)

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I'm a bad ROW80 writer this week (again). Thank god I'm not a sponsor this round or I'd be forced to resign!

My blog tour is officially over. Well, the grand-prize winner still needs to be determined, but essentially, my part is done. Now I can go back to writing book 2!! I have worked on it off and on and I'm itching to get back to my story. Thank you again Danny and Heather at Kismet Book Touring for doing an awesome job on my tour. Seriously, I really could not have done it without you two!! XOXOXOX

Today, I spend the morning writing a guest post for fab author Karly Kirkpatrick's blog and updated the new Parallel cover to Amazon and B&N. So while I haven't written anything in a few days, I have done something on the writing front (yeah, I keep telling myself that).

Oh, I also managed to get approved as a seller on iTunes last week, so I promptly uploaded Parallel to iBook. I hope it goes 'live''s been about a week since I uploaded it and it keeps telling me they are reviewing it for quality or some such nonsense.

Just an FYI, I may not have much of a writing update on Wed. I have so much going on that day, I may just have to do my ROW80 update on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cluck, Cluck...

...I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. Where has October gone? Do I even know what day it is? That's pretty much what's been rattling around in my mind the last couple of days. With being swamped with work, finishing up the last of my guest posts for my blog tour, and getting about four hours sleep a day, I'm just lagging.

If that wasn't enough, now I have to try to find the time to renew my driver's license (which for some reason I am not allowed to do it online) AND take my truck back to the shop after they already had it for a month putting in a new engine. Oh yeah, and my tire is going flat again.

So on the ROW80 front, I've got nothing. I had to work last weekend and work some late nights, so I barely had enough time to do anything else. Perhaps I should worry, but then again, I seem to do well when I procrastinate and get behind. I hope things will go back to normal in the next few days.

In other news, if you haven't already noticed, I have a new book showcased on the sidebar. Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls is now available!! I am so honored to be part of this anthology, as horror is one of my favorite genres. So if you need something creepy to read on Halloween, don't forget to pick up a copy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tours and Prizes

Just a quick note to say good luck to those who entered Red Tash's Trick or Treat Bash! The contest has ended and I can't wait to see who ends up winning the grand prize giveaway! 

I'm a day late on my ROW80 Update and comments, so I'll probably do a longer post on Wednesday to make up for it. Still catching up with the last guest posts for the last week of my blog tour. Speaking of which, JL Bryan kicks off his blog tour this week for The Paranormals with the lovely Heather over at Bewitched Bookworms! If you haven't read the series, you're missing out! 

And don't forget to stop by Tynga's Reviews where I'm interviewed by the fabulous Jane *squeal* and you can read her review of Parallel. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Writing, or almost...

It's that time again! This last week found me writing all right, but instead of working on book 2, I've been working on guest posts for my blog tour. I'm almost done, so I'll be able to get back to my regularly scheduled program that is writing. I do have my outline and a few scenes written for book 2 (I had to use an outline this time...when you're writing about multiple realities, it's a must). So technically, I'm keeping with my goals of writing everyday. It's just not as much as I should be.

Speaking of guest posts, I reached out to author Karly Kirkpatrick yesterday and I'll be doing a guest post on her blog in the near future. If you dig YA paranormal and haven't read anything by Karly, please do so...NOW. She's super sweet and uber talented and I'm honored to be guest on her blog.

And I almost don't want to add this, because I'm so not worthy, but the fabulous Kate Copeseeley wrote a great post featuring me. Again, so not worthy. If you haven't read any of Kate's books, you are doing yourself a disservice. Compis is one of my favorites and I'm honored to have read (beta'd) the first half of book two in the series, Aeris.

That's it for today folks. Don't forget to check in at I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read, where I guest post on balancing life and writing. And over at The Book Faery, where my main character, Etta, gets interviewed!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Happy Columbus Day! It's happy because I don't have to go to work today. Well, I still plan on spending the day writing, which totally counts as work, but I get to do that in my pi's.

The hubby and I just got back from a great weekend camping and I totally forgot my Sunday check-in for ROW80, but I did get some writing done, so we'll leave it at that for now. I plan on getting a lot more writing done today to make up for this past weekend.

Week one of my blog tour is over and aside from one small kink along the way, every stop has been fabulous! Thanks all around to all the readers that chimed in, the wonderful hosts that kindly allowed me to stop at their blogs and for those that also posted reviews of Parallel. If you missed the first week of the tour, no worries! You still have two more weeks to stop in and win either an ebook or the grand prize giveaway! Don't forget I'll be at Kindle Fever today, discussing parallel universes.

Oh, I almost forgot! Before I left to go camping, I was able to get the print version of Parallel up on Amazon! So for those of you who wish to purchase it in paperback, it's now available. It hasn't linked up to my Kindle version yet, but I expect that to happen very soon by the good folks over at Amazon.

And lastly, there's only 6 days left for your chance to win over at Red Tash's Trick or Treat Bash. Grand Prize is a new Kindle (and by new, I mean one of the fancy newly released versions) and a library collection featuring some horror-fic authors (including me), 2nd Prize: a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Red Tash's book, This Brilliant Darkness, and 3rd Prize: a $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of TBD. I'm in the middle of reading TBD and I'm totally intrigued so far!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Today is the first check-in for ROW80! I can't believe we're on our last round for the year. It's been an amazing one and I can honestly say that I wouldn't have gotten this far with my writing without all the fabulous support from all my fellow ROW80'ers...I'll be seeing you guys at the twitter party later.

I totally neglected to post my goals on Monday, so I'll go ahead and post them now.

1. Write everyday. This has always been #1 in each round and it seems to work for me.
2. Finish writing Paradox, book 2 in my series. I hope to have it released by December at the latest.

Yeah, I know. These are pretty simple goals, but I know myself well enough to know that I work best keeping things simple. Anything extra is just icing on the cake :)

So now that I have that out of the way, I'm happy to report that I've stuck to my goals so far and I am writing away, everyday. I'm going out of town this weekend, but I'm taking my laptop with me so I don't slack on my goals.

In other news...I just received my proof copy of Parallel and it looks awesome! I should have the print version available by the end of the week. And don't forget to check out the third stop on my blog tour today for a little bit of This and That over at Smitten with Books!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Day of Firsts

Today is the first day of my blog tour *squeal* and the first stop in the tour is over at Alice Marvels, where I discuss the heroes in Parallel. She's a very gracious host, so don't forget to check-in and leave a comment. Every stop on the tour will be offering an a ebook giveaway and each comment left throughout the tour will enter you for the grand-prize giveaway!

Also, don't forget today is the first day of Round 4 for ROW80! For more info on this awesome writing challenge, click on button at the bottom of this site. There's also a Rock the ROW twitter party on Oct. 5th. We worked hard Round 3 and we deserve a party, so don't forget your virtual baked goods and beverages!! For details, click here.

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.