Saturday, December 24, 2011

Upcoming Release

Here's a preview, because I'm such a tease! Coming in January of 2012 is my upcoming release, DIMENSION, right now in the works. As you can probably guess from its cover, DIMENSION is a paranormal romance with a heroine who travels into another dimension. That's where she meets a strong, soft-spoken, hunky hero, who also happens to be a sexy rancher. More info to follow on this new book, which hopefully finds its way into many a reader's Kindle & heart!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Free for your Kindle

I'm late in posting this--forgive me, but it's only days before Christmas!--but if you haven't already done so, go to Amazon and pick up a copy of GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN for FREE! The promotion will last only a few more hours, so if you're looking for a sweet Christian romance that is also a breezy, short read, then this little book is waiting for your Kindle.

And more news on a brand-new book, coming very soon. So make sure to check back, as I'll probably have a post on it within a week or so.

Monday, December 12, 2011


My Christian inspirational, GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN, has a new look! I wasn't completely happy with the first cover, so I redesigned it. The picture reminds me of how much my own love, my husband Bill, love taking strolls along the beach, especially early in the morning. And, no surprise, there's a scene in which the hero and heroine take a stroll down at the Jersey shore.

But anyway, I'm happy with the new cover!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Author's Chat & More News

Join me tonight for a Winter Chat held by New Concepts Publishing! Also at the blog will be authors Fiona Neal, Nicole Ash, and more NCP authors. There'll be prizes to win, plus chatting about BOOKS! So come on over tonight at 10 PM.

In more news, want to win a free copy of 'TWAS THE SPY BEFORE CHRISTMAS? Author Mysti Parker is giving away TEN copies of my new Christmas romance novella right here on her great blog. PLUS more prizes. Drop by for a visit--better yet, bookmark her page and grab some of her books, too!

And now I'm off to work on my WIP, plus shopping and to hang out with my family. Our older son and his fiancee, Joey and Iris, are here with us for some days before Christmas, so we're taking in every moment we can!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November Wrap-Up

Good evening, y'all!

I probably should wait until tomorrow to post, since the hubby and I were up very early this morning. We wanted to drop something off at our church today before heading to a family event (the baptism of Brandon & Yesica's little nephew), with a lovely party that followed afterwards. After all that, I think I'm falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

But I was excited to announce that the first draft of 'TWAS THE SPY BEFORE CHRISTMAS is finished! The tentative date for its publication is December 1. This being my second indie book, I'm hoping to have it available for the Sony reader and other markets, in addition to the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook. TTSBC is a quirky romance, not your typical Christmas reading. So make sure to add this baby to your wish list!

What I found even more interesting, and it was NOT planned, is that there is room for a sequel. We'll see how that turns out.

In the meantime I've got other irons in the fire, including a few surprises for my readers. There are other things with publishers in the works, besides more indie books that I'll be producing myself next year.

So I'm happy about the November wrap-up of this work, because that frees me up to work on my upcoming projects and a surprise that's on the way. Check back for more details, plus a slice of 'TWAS THE SPY BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

And in case I don't blog more until later, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Hey--my publisher, New Concepts Publishing, has a good deal available on Amazon! Just $1.99 buys the ebook version of THE COP & THE MERMAID, my full-length paranormal for your Kindle. With the holidays coming up and all the running around being done, between shopping, cooking, and fighting for spaces in mall parking lots, don't you deserve a little treat? Let Tommy and his real-life mermaid sweep you away for some moments of fantasy and a romance that Long & Short Romance Reviews calls, "a wonderful, emotionally fulfilling story that entranced me from the first page to the last!"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Christmas Release

Coming very soon to a Kindle (or Nook) near you: 'Twas the Spy Before Christmas. A short romance, fun and sexy, to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate in front of the fire!

And coming soon to my blog is more information, plus an excerpt. So bookmark this site and fire up your ebook reader! I guarantee you'll love this romance, featuring a mature hero and heroine.

So I'm wishing you an early Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Great Treat, Less Fat!

What's not to love?

Our new Target has a Starbucks. Yes, baby! That's exciting to me, since you have to travel about twenty miles from our small town to get to the nearest Starbucks. I'm sure this isn't new for others, but the Skinny Peppermint Mocha (for only 100 calories; that's for the tall size) caught my eye. My only complaint is that I drank it too quickly. Great treat and surprisingly rich. Less fat, too, so it's a smart choice for those of us always looking for healthier but delicious alternatives.

Besides which, with that little dusting of peppermint mingled with chocolate, it really tastes like the upcoming holidays. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Once Upon a Consignment Shop...

...I came across a beautiful poncho that I just had to take home!

We were actually on our way to a festival when I spotted a store called My Big Sister's Closet and asked my husband to pull over. Like a typical woman, I can go into a shop and browse without any intention of buying.

But then I saw this little baby.

A combination of rayon (which is one of my favorite fabrics--I love the way it touches you) and polyester, this is perfect paired with a black skirt or black dress pants. I already wore it with boots, but as my great friend & fellow author Phyllis Bourne suggested, it would be perfect with a slinky pair of heels, too! Plus, you gotta love something with sequins. I love the poncho's flair for drama, its daring blend of colors, and the fact that it looks like something an actress would wear onto the Broadway stage or a fairytale character would wear while traipsing through a magical forest. Besides, who says 50+ women can't be blingy?

And it was a steal for under $20.

If you've got a My Big Sister's Closet by you, drop in and have a look around. You might just find something that will make a statement about you, too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Her heart began to pound hard again when he closed in the space between them. He removed his own helmet and held it under his arm at his side.

"I think you should know," he began. "I think of you as a friend..."

Hayley blinked twice. Her hopes were about to be dashed. "I do, too. I think of you as a friend, too--"

"But I think of you as...more, too. And I want to know if you feel that way about me, too. Because if you don't, then I understand. But I want to know--"

"I think of you this way."

Reaching up slightly to compensate for the difference in their height, she let her lips find his. It was a soft kiss, lingering only enough for her mouth to be pressed up against his, and still for a small, sweet kiss, it felt like it was packed with all her emotion. She was the one to draw away slowly, and it almost hurt physically to do so.

Zach moved toward her slightly, as if he were about to steal another kiss from her, but he stopped himself.

"That's what I wanted to know." He grinned and pulled the helmet back on. "I gotta get back to the church. See what's up. Can I call you later?"

"Please. I hope everything's okay."

Then, as he backed the Harley away from the curb, he winked at her again and blew her a kiss, prompting her to blow a kiss back at him.

She was still dancing on air when she entered her apartment. After tossing her purse in its usual spot, in the corner by the bookshelf in the living room, she saw the red light blinking on her telephone. That was when she realized what she'd done...

Get GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN for your Kindle or Nook!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Got Nook?

Good! Because now GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN, my new Christian inspirational romance novella, is available for the Barnes & Noble Nook as well as the Kindle!

And since I didn't make this clear in my last post, please note that this is my first self-published book. In the past I've always worked with traditional (print) publishers in addition to ebook publishers, and I'll be doing that again.

But there are stories that I've wanted to write that I wasn't able to find just the right home for, and that includes my inspirational work, which mostly found publication only in magazines. The interesting thing is that I began my career with a Christian novel, Crystal Waves, a book that was never published. Over the years I wanted to write for that market, but I then found another couple of markets that I enjoyed writing for, the romance and YA genres, and I never did write another inspirational novel. It's almost like I've come full circle now.

Because, with the advent of the ebook readers and the success of many an indie author, I decided to give it a go. Needless to say, self-publishing is a lot of work. I have the advantage of having worked as a magazine editor, so I also served as the editor for Glimmers of Heaven. The cover employs my own photography and design. In the future I may contract a professional for that area, but with this being my first venture in self-publishing, I'm content with the results.

My next book, which I have already begun to work on, will also be a genre that I have wanted to work in for some time. I don't anticipate completing that book for a few months, so it may not be available until early next year. I'm very excited about that, but I want to assure my readers that I will continue to write for the romance market, as I always have.

For now, enjoy Glimmers of Heaven and I'll be putting up an excerpt sometime this week!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Available now on Kindle--GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN! This is my first short Christian romance and it also happens to be my first self-published book, so I'm particularly excited about this new baby. This week, I'll also be making it available on Barnes & Noble for all you Nook fans out there. So if you've got a Kindle or a Nook and you're looking for a sweet inspirational romance with a lot of heart (and some city flavor!), put GLIMMERS OF HEAVEN on there!

And coming soon, a little snippet of this story, my newest book!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Where did all the good movies go?--Part 1

"Here's five dollars," my mom would say on a Saturday morning before going to work in the hospital's housekeeping department, "you and Linda go to the movies."

Amazing. Five dollars! For that amount, a kid could get an admission ticket, a frosty Coke, a box of Junior Mints, and a small buttered popcorn. Of course, this was in "the horse and buggy days," as my kids say (i.e., the early to mid-1970s), so I'm showing my age. But you'd hurry down Bergenline Avenue with your best friend to get to Union City's Cinema in time. You'd find a good seat in that cozy, air-conditioned theater and try not to eat all your popcorn before the coming attractions had run their course.

And then...there it was: The reason that would keep you in that theater for the next 90 minutes. You and your friend would only whisper to each other occasionally, and those words were usually along the lines of, "Oh, my God!", "Now that's hilarious!", "My sister does that all the time", and the traditional, "No, no--don't go in there!" You couldn't talk too much or leave even briefly, because you didn't want to miss a second of what was transpiring on that screen.

Sometimes the movie wasn't as good as you'd hoped it would be. Regardless, it would still be entertaining, one of those "so bad, it's good" movies. Sometimes it was as good as your other friends had told you it would be, ending with the advice, "You GOTTA go see it." Sometimes it was great.

And once in a while, it was unforgettable, awesome, magical, and every other adjective that basically meant you'd always remember the first time you saw that particular film.

Just from the 70s alone, in no particular order, here is a list of the movies that I either saw in the movie theater, which I loved as much as the bookstore and the library as a kid, or later on when it played on television:

Love Story
The Exorcist
American Graffiti
Kramer Vs. Kramer
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Saturday Night Fever
A Moment in Time
The Shining
Revenge of the Pink Panther
The Amityville Horror
A Star is Born
The Cross and the Switchblade (a Christian film based on Pastor David Wilkerson's book)
Distant Thunder (also a Christian film)

and last but not least, a really creepy thing aptly named

The Hills Have Eyes (which my mom and I watched together and realized it was a terrible B movie, but it still managed to make us laugh and cringe, and more on this later. This movie was not anywhere near on the same level as The Exorcist, but it actually ended up being a cult classic--and it sparked a remake in 2006)

But wait! There were also the old vintage films which I would catch on TV, those black-and-white antiques from the 1940s and 1950s, and the silly-but-fun films of the 1960s.

Those would include:

It's a Wonderful Life
The Mummy
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (B movie GOLD, I tell you!)
Hans Christian Anderson
Mildred Pierce
Some Like it Hot
On the Waterfront
A Streetcar Named Desire
Million Dollar Mermaid
West Side Story
A Christmas Carol (1951)
Alice in Wonderland
Miracle on 34th Street
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
To Sir With Love
The Birds

There were many more, too many wonderful--and some not-so-wonderful, but yet they were fun to watch in some way, shape or form--to list.

To be continued...

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Love Intuitive Eating

Cute thing that happened today at work: I bumped into a friend and coworker who works in a different department, who interrupted her chat with someone else to tell me, "Ooooh! You lost weight--you look so skinny and curvy!"

Vicky is the fourth person in the space of a month to notice I've dropped a little weight over the past month, dropping from 136 to 129. (In actuality, though, I fluctuate between 129 and 131, depending on if there's cheesecake around. Just teasing! More on that in a second.) What is most amazing to me is that I haven't done anything in particular for that to happen. I'm exercising, yes, because exercise is part of my life. It's something I enjoy and don't have to force myself to do--but I'm not doing it obsessively. Neither am I counting points, carbs, or calories and swearing off favorite foods.

That said, the way I look at food and eating HAS changed...and it's all due to Intuitive Eating.

Let me back up. I've been practicing IE longer than I've been blogging about it, bringing me to almost two years since I first discovered the book and subsequently waved goodbye to dieting. In that time, I've watched friends drop weight on diets, then regain it, then return to that diet or a different method of losing weight. My own weight has fluctuated, and at one time it went as high as 138 (at the beginning of my journey), with my weight slowly beginning to drop and hover around 129 and 131 for, literally, weeks. I have been maintaining that weight effortlessly, and I can't take the credit when it goes directly to IE.

Where am I now on this journey? Well, there are better benchmarks than what the scale has to say, for one thing. I no longer measure myself by what digital numbers show up in that little square. For one thing, I and my family are eating less processed food, less fast food, and less eating out in general. We're enjoying more the fruits (and vegetables!) from our garden and local farmer's market. If it's not delicious, I don't have time for it. I do indulge in what is referred to in Intuitive Eating as "play foods" (chips, ice cream, Snickers and such, usually a Friday or Saturday treat), but I no longer feel the urge to go overboard. My portions are smaller than they used to be. I don't need a diet to tell me how much I can put on my plate. If anything, I am satisfied with less naturally, by just honoring my natural hunger and fullness.

Interestingly, though I'm no longer dieting, I still stock my fridge with yogurt and I still ask the young lady on the other side of the counter at Subways for a little extra lettuce on my sandwich. Jeans that I haven't worn in a long time are fitting me perfectly again, and if I'm lost in a book my Kindle is reading to me, I can stay on the treadmill for an extra 15 minutes and not even notice!

Because of IE, I've discovered that I'm a foodie. I never would have admitted that to myself when I was dieting because, according to diets, there are Good Foods and Bad Foods. When you're a foodie, you acknowledge that grilled cheeses made with Gruyere cheese are even sexier than those made with American cheese!

And also because of IE, I've sort of become my own nutritionist. I had a professor in college who once told us, "I make it my business to know all there is about cars so that I know what the mechanic is talking about." (Don't ask me why she was going on and on about cars; the class was Children's Literature! Heh!) To paraphrase her, I've made it my business to know all I can about nutrition, so that I know my family and I are getting the best nutrition we can."

Besides, there's something about eating homemade creamy tomato soup that you can't quite get in a can. It's especially delicious after an invigorating walk out in the fresh air, under God's blue sky and a brilliant sun!

Are you an intuitive eater? How has your journey been? Feel free to share them!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Something for Your Treasures

For some time I've had a dilemma: What to do with my little collection of necklaces? I mean, other than having them strewn all over my dresser?

I can't take the credit for this idea. While at an engagement party recently, I saw something similar in the room where the hostess let us toss our purses. Since then, I began a little hunt for a similar wall hanging and found this steal at a local Habitat for Humanity for only a dollar!

With just a couple coats of ivory spray paint, what was probably used for hanging keyrings is now transformed into a necklace organizer! The flat surface works for other items, like small framed pictures or miniatures.

Thanks to my neighbor for the great idea!

Friday, July 29, 2011


So if you happen to Tweet yourself, or if you just want to catch some updates, catch me on there! Just search Connie Keenan & you'll find my pic.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Butterfly Kisses Moment

That little monkey sitting on our endtable belongs to my granddaughter, Aubrey. She forgot the poor little guy yesterday when she and her parents and brother Matthew came for dinner, but he's dutifully waiting, either for us to return him to her or for her to come back for him, whichever comes first!

Each time I see him there, he's a reminder of something so touching that happened last night. It's been really hot here in North Carolina for at least the past two weeks, so we've been getting a lot of use from our pool lately. After dinner we were all gathered on the pool deck, and Aubrey and I are in the water together. She's got her little pink lifevest on and she's in her float, kicking her legs playfully in the water, and I'm giving her a big hug and a kiss and telling her how much I love her.

Well, my granddaughter, who's a toddler of 2 1/2, gently turns my face and kisses my cheek with such complete and genuine affection, as only a child can express her love. And the look that she gave me afterwards, without any words at all, basked me in that same love, so much that she touched my heart with her tenderness.

There are moments like that which remind me of that song a few years ago, the Bob Carlisle song "Butterfly Kisses." The song applies more to her mom and dad, but her grandfather and I can relate, too. Because both Aubrey and Matthew won't stay little forever, and I'm grateful to the Lord to be a part of their lives. They'll grow up too soon, first into bigger kids and then into teenagers and young adults, and they won't have as much time for their Grandma and Grandpa. These precious times won't last, so I want to store them in my heart.

And I'll always remember that moment in the pool, when my sweet granddaughter said I love you so poignantly and so powerfully, without even having to say the words. It's times like that when I can feel the Lord Jesus close, sharing that hug with us.

As for her monkey, I'll take good care of him until he gets back to her!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lunchtime Scribblin'

Whoever said that you couldn't work a full-time job and write obviously never sat in Wendy's, working on their WIP over a small chili and a medium unsweet tea.

In my travels, I've sat on a bench while working on Leading Lady, pausing to look out at the Hudson River and the New York skyline. Once or twice I toted my notebook and pen over to a small area near the East River while a chopper landed and took off several yards away from me at a heliport. (Yes, I'm putting good at tuning most noises out!) A favorite spot was in a church courtyard, where I sat listening to the sounds of the City while banging out stories on my AlphaSmart. There was also the Tea Spot, down near New York University in Greenwich Village, where I sipped on tea and wrote a good portion of The Cop and the Mermaid.

Now I'm working on The Bride With Wings, a paranormal novella, that is written in said Wendy's and in the car at the park, with my Neon in auxilary and playing relaxing spa music, perfect for composing.

A little bit every day, even if it's just 500 words, with just a little bit under an hour to work. That's how stories get done.

And that's one answer to that eternally annoying question, "How do you find time to write?"

Answer: You make the time. You carve it out. And you nibble on a Subway sandwich while you do it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Don't you just love being a girl?

These are not your mom's 50s! Well, my mom, unfortunately, didn't make it past the age of 48, but I remember her referring to herself as "an old lady." Now that I'm a few years past her age, I realize she was anything but an old lady, with several good decades still left in her.

As for the "I'm an old lady" mentality, that's not what I'm seeing today from us young-at-heart chicks. We've hit and run right past "The Big 5-0," and yet many of us are even more fashionistas than when we were little 20- and 30-somethings.

Or maybe it's because it seems those ladies in my generation are cool with acting and dressing our age...but we're redefining exactly what that age looks like. Stylin'-wise, that is. Check out both a bracelet set, inspired by one worn by Susan on Desperate Housewives, who I'm sure didn't get it for $8 at Walmart's. Or maybe she did?? The Fossil watch, also below, was a gotta-spoil-myself-sometime splurge from Belk's.

So when I go out with my hubby for a coffee with his sister and her husband for a latte in Belmont, or even if I'm just headed for work, I'm not ready for the matronly look of the 50-somethings in those black-and-white sitcoms.

And as you can probably tell, I really love accessories! I actually got a compliment on the bracelet below, purchased at, of all places, a flea market. Flower jewelry has been my favorite for a long time, and the $3 bracelet above was handmade and sold at a flea market. In the "You'll never guess where I picked up this trinket" category is this fun piece below, which dangles from a long necklace, that I got from, of all places, Walmart! At $8, it's already gotten its share of compliments, too.

Speaking of flowery jewelry, this is one of my favorites, and it's from Charlotte Russe:

I guess the moral of the story is, even in your 50s, you can still be as girly-girl as ever!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Live on Wisteria Lane

Or, sometimes I wish I did!

Lord, I love that show. Love, as in, love, love, LOVE.

Last week I had to make an emergency visit to the dentist, leaving work early to do it. With my mouth all numbed-up and getting over a couple of weeks of pain inflicted by a malevolent wisdom tooth, what could I do at home?

So Bill and I watched a 9-hour marathon--yes, NINE hours--of Desperate Housewives on Netflix. I can't believe eight seasons have gone by and we're only now discovering Susan Meyer, Bree Hodge (formerly Van de Camp), Lynette Scavo and Gabrielle Solis. Oh, and let's not forget Mike, Orson, Tom, Carlos, Edie, the Scavo kids, Andrew Van De Camp, Carl Meyer, and the rest of the wonderful, fictional people in fictional Fairview.

We can thank our daughter-in-law, Yesica, for getting us addicted--I mean, turned on to that show. As if I didn't have enough distractions as a writer. And as any writer can tell you, those of us who write stories as our life's work don't need any more distractions. Now, in addition to my Real Life, which includes being a wife, mom, grandma, working full-time, hitting the gym, checking e-mail fifty million times a day and making homemade pickles, I can look forward to my husband tempting me with these little words: "Wanna see what Bree and Orson are up to in Desperate Housewives?"

And of course, I'm a woman, so I don't just watch what is essentially a soap (albeit, a very well-written soap, with a terrific and talented cast that really makes you care about the characters) for its stories. I've also got to stop and wish there really was a Susan Meyer, so maybe I could figure out how best to raid her closet for her amazing clothes. (Not that Teri Hatcher's clothes would fit me, but again, this is fantasy!) Twice, I've paused while watching the show to look up on AllRecipes whatever scrumptious dessert one of the characters was whipping up. Can't wait to try that fruit tart! And watching Edie or Gabby set out for a morning run reminds me that I need to recharge my Ipod for my morning or evening workout.

Okay, so maybe I don't live on Wisteria Lane. But I applaud the writers of this awesome show, which makes me laugh about as often as if makes me shed a tear or sit on the edge of my seat from a suspenseful cliffhanger. And for making Wisteria Lane and its residents so real, because at heart, it's a story about families and friends and life and love and passion and dreams and forgiveness and death and living in the suburbs. One of my favorite shows so far was the one that starred Beau Bridges as a handyman who'd touched each of the housewives before he passed from this life to the next. This isn't just a TV show, but one with a lot of heart and soul.

If you've never caught the show, make a point to give it a try. But beware: It is addictive.

And don't say I didn't warn you!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Very Own Master Gardener

Okay, full disclosure here: My husband, Bill (the handsome guy pictured below) is the master gardener in this household. This year we got REALLY adventurous and decided to try our hand at growing a variety of fruits and vegetables, with a focus on SALAD!

So what's out there getting watered, sunned & loved, then devoured before the main course each night? Well, we've got iceberg and green field & sweet peppers. And, not tyically used for salad, but we've also got strawberries, blueberries, grapes, broccoli, cucumbers, and a variety of spices including cilantro.

Our berries aren't doing too well, though I'm told the garden lizards think they're utterly divine, and the grapes and the tomatoes aren't anywhere near ready, but the lettuce is making an appearance on our table DAILY! Obviously, lettuce alone does not a salad make, so we hit up the local farmers' market today for fresh mixings like chopped red onions, hothouse tomatoes and radishes.

And while I baked my first classic pound cake from scratch--a recipe that is delish, and you can find it right here--Bill fixed some homemade salsa, also from scratch. I happened to pick up the Mission tortilla chips on a recent trip to the supermarket, since we've always liked Mission's other products, and how better to enjoy them than with some salsa you whip up in your own kitchen? Did I mention our homegrown cilantro came in very handy? Yep. The hubby told me, "How'd we get into all this fresh, homemade stuff, anyway??? Is that what happens when you grow your own garden?"

Who knows? But it sure beats the processed stuff!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

For Papi

JORGE VAZQUEZ, JULY 8, 1934 - APRIL 5, 2011

How I loved this man. My dad died at the age of 76 last week. During my life, I've made so many trips down to Miami, Florida where he lived. On the flight down last Friday evening, I remember thinking it was the saddest trek I'd ever make to Florida.

Between my sister Sandra and I, we were able to put together a memorial for him that was held at La Ermita de la Caridad del Cobre, a pretty little chapel in Miami named after the patron saint of Cuba. Papi loved that chapel, which is set by the sea, with its mural that included Cuba's history, and attended it often. Since there was no casket, we instead tossed roses into the sea in his honor. Afterwards we assembled at Sandy's house for an intimate gathering of friends and family to celebrate a man who was always filled with life and laughter.

Our relationship might not have been perfect--Mami and my dad divorced when I was about 3--but my father and I loved each other. More than anyone, Papi taught me that you don't have to have a perfect relationship with someone to love them with all your heart. As an adult, I shared many a heartfelt conversation with him. That's him in the picture above, taken at my 50th birthday party last year. My sister affectionately claims he was always eating! He was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was part of that great generation belonging to my mom, Madrina, Padrino, Soledad and others.

There will never again be anyone like Jorge Vazquez. And when I tossed down that rose into the sea, that large part of my heart that belonged to him also disappeared into the waves.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Classic Namesake

Kind of a spooky thing to hear, while you're doing a story that involves a car, to hear that you have one named after you! But that's exactly what happened to me. Meet Connie--my cousin's classic Nova!

Pep is my cousin only technically. He's more of a kid brother to me, since we were raised together by his mother (my Madrina, which means grandmother) and my mother. You can't talk about our childhood without also talking about his half-brother and half-sister, Danny and Solie, who were siblings-of-the-heart to me, too.

We're all older now, and it seems like everybody's life is so busy. In this entry, I wanted not only to show off my very cool namesake (the Nova has a big "C" on its hood!), but to make a tribute to Pep, Danny and Solie, as well as Pep's wife Marlene, who has also been like a sister to me. They're the reason that, when chatting with people who've said, "I'm an only child," I've responded with, "Oh, me, too! Well, actually no--my Padrino filled my life with two brothers and a sister." So, in addition to my half-sister Sandra and my stepsister, Tammy, I guess I come from a big, crazy, and loving brood of kids!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Slowdown on BIAM

What hasn't happened to slow me down?

Well, I had to exchange Red, for one thing. Got the very same PC, but hopefully one that doesn't do that "check disk" thing every single time I start up the laptop. Every. Single. Time. Y'all.

And...I got a Kindle! Love it, love it, love it!

Also slowed down reading OPERATION PRINCE CHARMING by Phyllis Bourne and I THINK I LOVE YOU by Allison Pearson. Two great books in a row--that's very unusual. Felt like one delicious meal after another! I THINK I LOVE YOU is about a young girl in the 1970s who was in love with...that cute guy in the pic above.

So now it's back to work on my latest project. I have a lot of catching up to do.

If I can stop browsing through Amazon, that is!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Me & Red

We've been spending a lot of time together lately. Me & Red.

Red is my new computer. It's an HP Pavilion dv5, or so it says on the lower righthand section of the screen. Red is--well, red, hence the not-so-clever name.

I'm one of those women that names things. My first car, a 1977 Rally Sport Camaro, was affectionally known to my mother and me as "Rally." After I got married, I got my husband and sons in on the act, too. We owned a Chevy Celebrity named "Joshua," a Jeep Cherokee known as "O'Neill," and we leased a Ford Explorer (we loved that car!) known as "Topanga"--named after the Boy Meets World character played by the lovely actress, Danielle Fishel. Currently, we still have O'Neill, but we've also added my Dodge Neon, "Candy," and our older son's car is "Naomi 2," since he traded in "Naomi 1."

Yes, we ARE a nutty family.

And this is the first time I've got a computer with a name. Kinda makes it harder to exchange it, even though the mouse on this laptop acts weird. I'm already attached to Red, and even more so since we started--uh, I started--doing Book in a Month.

We were off to a good start, though we had a couple rocky days. During one, I didn't get any writing done at all, and during the second day, I only wrote about 300 words. But now I'm right on target, with about 1,300 words to write for the day.

So who cares if Red's mouse disappears? He's helping me write my first YA novel--a paranormal--in many years. That'd be like ditching a friend...or a beloved car!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Book in a Month

And it's a short month, so my BIAM will be short, too. My goal is pretty doable, too: I'll be penning 1,000 - 2,000 words per day. The hardest part is waiting until the end to edit this baby! Something I didn't realize until years later is that "Once an editor, always an editor." So I'm doing my best to turn off my internal editor and have a new project, one I'm excited to talk about on here, by the time March comes rolling in like a lion!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Odd Woman, diet-wise, that is

Seems like a lot of my coworkers are on the Diet that Shall Remain Nameless. The ones that aren't are losing weight (or trying to) by other means, and they give progress reports. Then there are the ones who *want* to be on a diet, but aren't on one currently, though they express guilt that they're not dieting. This week, one of the ones on the DTSRN had a small loss, though I have to say, she remained positive (at least outwardly) and my other friend was disappointed because she "only" maintained. She did everything right, according to the "rules" set by the DTSRN, and yet she didn't gain, but she didn't lose, either.

I'm going to be honest here, because I know there are readers who lurk specifically because of IE. I don't want it to seem like this has all been smooth sailing for me. Along the way on my Intuitive Eating journey, I've almost fallen off the wagon a few times. I've seen people with their little books and materials from the DTSRN, or announcing triumphantly how they've dropped a size, and sometimes I've almost gotten swept up in all the diet-generated excitement. The keyword there is almost.

The thing is, once you've tasted freedom, it's really hard to willingly march back into the emotional jail cell otherwise known as the diet mentality. And sometimes it feels like I'm Odd Woman Out, because after over a year, I've come to embrace Intuitive Eating. For over a year, I've maintained my weight, which has fluctuated anywhere between 130 and 136.

Only recently did I realize that I LIKE this weight. It's not what the charts say is right for me, but it seems to be the natural healthy weight that my body returns to again and again. It's not the "ideal" weight that I always believed I was supposed to adhere to, but it is what I weigh naturally.

This morning I could barely wait to get my exercise clothes and sneakers on and then hit the pavement! It is an amazing thing, exercising because you WANT to, because you know how good it feels to have those endorphins bursting through you, because you've been stressed out and need exercise to de-stress. It's been unseasonably cold here in North Carolina, and last week my schedule was kinda packed, so I didn't make it to the gym as often as usual. That's okay: There's a beautiful park, complete with a track that runs all the way through it, within walking distance of my home. All the flashy little diet books and materials and even a golden number popping up on a scale can't compare with knowing that you're exercising not because you're trying to erase some of yourself, but because it's a pleasure to move a body that is healthy.

And after a year, what would you find when you open my fridge or my pantry? How about a carton of fresh sliced baby portabella beans prepared Cuban-style...fat-free yogurt...a large bottle of apple juice...fresh carrots, both for cooking and snacking...gourmet coffee ground from the beans...strawberry preserves...a loaf of pumpernickel bread and one of whole grain...strawberry ice cream...lean chicken breasts...sweet peppers, to be sliced up with onion and sauteed in olive oil--a heart-healthy fat!..instant apples-and-cinnamon Chai tea...and Diet Mountain Dew, because I'm used to diet soda now and find the "regular" stuff too sweet for my taste.

In short, you'd find a blend of healthy choices and "guilty" pleasures, which now don't make me feel so guilty anymore, because I find myself eating less of them than when they were "forbidden" and therefore more attractive to me. That's where I am now on this journey. I've come to a point where I now consider myself an intuitive eater. Food is now both fuel for the body and a pleasure to be savored.

And at times, I'm Odd Woman Out. But I was at one time One of the Girls, right there with my diet books and materials and giving progress reports, feeling like a failure when I "only" maintained or "only" lost .5 pounds after a week of "doing everything right."

In light of that, it's not so bad at all, being Odd Woman Out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gadget Lovers

Right now I'm wearing my Kindle. Future Kindle, that is. I don't have it yet. Saving up for it, but I used what I would have saved at an excursion to get my nails done. Boy, that's a clutsy sentence for a writer!

I'm one of those gadget lovers. In my purse there's a Sony Ebook Reader, which I've had now for about a year. It's a great little thingy, and I've got a couple of books stored and waiting, plus the Bible (which I am reading on it. Now THAT'S a new experience), and also stored on it is John Grisham's The Confession for my husband's reading pleasure. But the Kindle is all the rage among my friends at work, so now I'm seriously but seriously coveting one.

It got even more enticing when I brought my Ereader in to show a friend, who then asked, "Does that one read to you?" I just did a double-take at her and asked, "W-w-w-what?" Apparently that little thingy reads to you while you're fixing the roasted potatoes and veggies for dinner. Que chevere, baby! So now I'm even more jazzed to save up for one.

Only I'm wearing mine. For now, since I spent the portion of my weekly allowance, which I would have set aside for the Kindle, at that little nail shop in town. My nails do look pretty nice, though. Look at it this way: I can be grateful for my Ereader, which is the loyal little gadget that I DO own right now.

And anyway, I should have enough saved up for the Kindle--and then some--by the time I get through reading the Bible!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


"Prince of the Forest," my romantic paranormal novella, is part of the anthology STRANGE DESIRES. If you've never caught this story, you'll want to drop by Melange Books, which has revamped the cover for its new release. The works of my fellow authors, Mae Powers, Mila Ramos, Chris Cumo, Lisa McDonald, Ravyn Reccio, and Megan Hussey, all from Midnight Showcase, are all packed into this one terrific anthology.
While you're at it, be sure to check out the other new and upcoming books from the exciting new publisher, Melange Books!