Tag Archives: Arizona

Muses Fall Carnival Blog Hop– $70 gift card and many more prizes!

23 Oct

I took the liberty to steal a post from my dear author friends at the Muses’ blog. Why would I do that? Well, for many reasons, but the most important is because together we came up with the idea of a fantastic giveaway. Did I get your attention? I hope so!

With Fall officially here even for us in Arizona (yeah, we do get a break from the heat, but not from the sun–thank goodness) we’ve organized a Fall Carnival Blog Hop sharing prizes and fun.

Aside from the Muses blog’s grand prize which is a $70 Amazon gift card I added my own prize: electronic copies of all my books: Hidden Heart, A World Apart, Me Tarzan–You Jane, Born in Vengeance and Born In Sin. To win these copies all you have to do is become a fan of yours truly on Facebook. 

To enter to win the $70 gift card, simply subscribe to the Muses Blog. All subscribers between today and October 30th will be entered. However, if you want a greater chance of winning the gift card, you can visit each author’s website and enter their contest for their own individual giveaways. We will announce the winners on this blog on November 6.

Below are links to our Carnival Author blogs with details on their giveaways!

Camelia Miron Skiba

Mimi Sebastian

Shanyn Hosier

Anne Wilson

Jennifer Windrow

Sandy Wright

Leslie Jones

Hop on board and have fun!

The good, the bad and the secrets of Arizona Dreamin’ Convention

5 Jun

It’s been a week since the Arizona Dreamin’ Convention and, as much as I’m still recovering, I want to write about my experience, now when all the memories are so fresh in my mind.

Before I give you the good, the bad and the secrets I want to take a moment to thank the organizing committee, especially to Kris Tualla–my Momma Bear–, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Rhonda Conrad-Plumhoff. Let me tell you, these fabulous ladies are not only author extraordinare, they work their b*** off to put on a show. 

Arizona Dreamin’ Convention is a two part event:

1. Building the Dream (May 28 -May 29) it’s a 27 author-focused seminar sessions following 3 tracks: Honing your Craft / Publishing / The Business of Being an Author. It also includes: event bookstore, and FREE goody bag. Pitch your book to publishers and award-winning and bestselling authors critique your work & lunch. I taught a workshop about how to find the right critique group and I was thrilled to have a class full of people interested in my workshop, me the girl that dreaded public speaking.

2. Arizona’s First Romance Reader Event (May 29- May 31). This event is (as the title mentions) an event where readers meet and spend time with authors. From speed-meet, to dinner, to book club you get the one in a lifetime chance to know the person behind your favorite books or meet your next favorite author. This year’s treat? I was one of the featured authors and met in person three of my critique group members and amazing authors: Cindy C Bennett, Juli Caldwell and Shantal Sessions. We had a blast celebrating Juli’s 21-errrr birthday and hanging out long past bedtime. About that later.

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I’m a veteran at participating in both events, as a reader mostly. I remember my first participation, the nerves of being there alone among strangers, the train-wreck I was because I had no idea what to expect. And here I am four years later, excited to rekindle with old friends and make new ones. 

Highlights of the event: meeting old friends and making new ones. So many names, so many amazing people I hope to keep in touch with: Beth and Tim–thanks for sharing your breakfast with me and for being so amazing supporters. Jody, Shelley, James, Ashley, Rhonda, Erika, Shannon, Gloria Tony, Darrance to name a few. I hope this was not the last I’ve seen of you, but rather time and life will bring us back together.

Another fave moment worth mentioning: dinner with readers. Throughout the years I’ve met people who became dear friends. Some of them joined me for dinner Saturday night and we had a blast. Izzy, Fae and Nancy–thank you for believing in me and joining me at the conference.

I had a blast during the four book clubs I was scheduled for. Talking about my books and my journey through the maze of publishing and having people actually interested in what I had to say it was thrilling and scary at the same time. Yup, childhood dreams do come true 😉

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I got to see again several of my fave authors: Susan Squires, Sharon Hamilton and Shelley Corriell. In fact I did crafts with Shelley and got her to sign a bookmark for me.

I couldn’t end the good part of this post without talking a little about the Men Of Our Dream Contest. Let me tell you: Chippendales have nothing on us. Every year the contestants are better and better, entertaining us to tears–tears of joy, I assure you. It’s great to see Antonio coming back and winning this time, three years later since he first became one of the contestants. 

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Now moving onto to the bad of the event, shall we? Sleep depravation. During the five days I went to bed loooooong after midnight, and woke up around six the next morning. By the second night you think you’ve reached your max but you’re so, so wrong. IF by the third night you aren’t an owl yet, I guarantee you, you’ll become one. Concelear helps somewhat, but I wish someone invented IV line with coffee (Starbuck, do you hear me?). Which makes for the second bad of the event: coffee overdose. Even for me, which I’m a coffee addict, the amount of coffee I consumed during the event was too much, so goodbye coffee hello detox (only for a day ;).

And last but not least: the secrets:

1. Arizona Dreamin Convention will be back in 2017, same location (Embassy Suites in Phoenix, AZ). If you haven’t ever attend this event, I encourage you to do it, reader, writer and anything in between. The energy in, out and around it’s just contagious and you feel so inspired to tackle your next goal or dream. 

2. Look out for the event’s next announcement because they’ll have a discounted price for it. 

Is it 2017 yet?

P.S: I have more photos on my Fan Page on Facebook 😉

Tucson Festival of Books — March 14-15, 2015

13 Mar

To all Book Lovers,

Time to load on books, Peeps! The Annual Festival of Books held at Univ. of Arizona in Tucson, AZ is officially here. Books and their lovely “parents” (yes, we writers call books our babies) will be present at one of the biggest book events in the entire country. 

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Come join us on March 14-15 between 9:30am and 5:30pm for books, swag, giveaways, autographs and much more. All books will be sold at incredible affordable prices, you better plan on buying all presents on your Christmas list 🙂

Come see me in booth 107  where I’ll be selling books along with some of the most amazing authors: Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Mimi Sebastian, Sharon Hamilton, Virginia Nelson to name a few, and many more. 

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See you all there!

Pat’s Run–Never Stop

28 Apr

Once I year I wake up on a Saturday morning at 5:30am without grunting about it. It’s the day I participate in the annual Pat’s Run organized by the Pat Tillman Foundation here in Tempe, Arizona.

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I’ve been part of this event for the past 5 years and I don’t plan on stopping. For as long as I’ll walk, I promised myself I’ll keep going. You know why? 

It’s because Pat Tillman’s legacy must be carried on. We owe so much to all men and women in uniform who so selfless give their all, sometimes until the last sacrifice. Donating toward the Pat Tillman scholarships and honoring Pat’s life is the least I can do.

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A few years ago my sister Monica and her hubby Rene joined me. The next year my son Patrick joined me. Last year was the first time my cousin Cristina, her husband Tedi and their two children participated. This year my niece Bat-El registered which got our group up to 7 people. We call ourselves Devils4ever, a name that resonates with us not only because we are Devils’ fans, but because we belong heart and soul to the ASU community.

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We always have fun, spending the 4.2 miles either walking, jogging or running. But we don’t stop until the finish line on the Sun Devils Stadium among other 30k participants. 

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I’m not going to tell you anything about the training I do for this event. And I’m not going to talk about how hard it is, because it is not, or at least it doesn’t feel hard to me. What I want to tell you about is the emotions that pool inside my heart threatening to spill into tears. The feeling of belonging to what makes our country this incredible place to be, this nation that stand on its feet no matter what comes our way. No matter who or what hurts us, no matter what it takes, we always get up and move on. 

Pat once said, “Passion is kind of an important word for me, whether it’s playing sports or whether it’s just living or whatever you’re going to do.  In my opinion you should be passionate about it or else, why do it?”

This year’s race motto was NEVER STOP. I have every intention on doing just that.

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Debriefing Desert Dreams Conference

15 Apr

It’s been over a week since I’ve returned from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference held here in Tempe. I wanted to write and publish this post right away but I also realized I needed to decompress in order to gather my scattered thoughts. Overloaded on the amount of information, the thrill of spending time with fellow writers I call friends, meeting new ones and being scared out of my skin for meeting face to face for the first time with agents and editors I kept going and going for three days. By the end of the third day I was ecstatic for several reasons but also extremely tired.

I’m back to normal, whatever normal means. I have a lot of things I’d like to share with you so here it goes:

Best moment when . . . I was asked for a full manuscript of my newest novel titled Me Tarzan–You Jane, a contemporary romance with strong humorous elements. I won’t give any more info on this one so I won’t jinx it. But I promise once I have news worth sharing I will make the big announcement.

Worst moment when  . . .  at the end of Friday I was still unsure about my pitch (for those unfamiliar with what that is, a pitch is the essence of your book compressed in a few sentences). Arrived home around 10pm and went back to the board to draft yet another pitch. Close to midnight I had something that I liked better than the previous one, but still didn’t feel any goosies about it.

Aha moment when . . .  seating in the hotel’s restaurant Saturday morning and mulling over a bagel with my dear friend Shanyn Goodnight Hosier I wrote by hand another version of the pitch (can you tell I’m a perfectionist?) and reading it aloud I got all choked up and said, “This. Is. IT!”

Most painful moment when . . . I literally wanted to wrap my feet around my neck, they were hurting that much. I wore 2-inch heels which is a big no-no during conferences, but I couldn’t make myself wear anything else. Beauty suffers–I think that’s the saying. I need to “thank” my parents who couldn’t add to my DNA a little bit more height.

Funniest moment when . . . exiting my bathroom stall I saw Mrs. Sue Grimshaw of Random House coming my way. Without thinking too much I said, “I know I shouldn’t approach you here, but I have a copy of the February Issue of the Phoenix Magazine where you were cited during my interview. I thought you might like a copy of it. If you don’t mind I’d like an autograph on my copy.” She takes it from my hands, looks through it and, laughing she said, “Wow, I had no idea they published it. Thank you for bringing me a copy. Let me finish here and I’ll autograph it for you.” At this time my mind was already in panic mode for two reasons: 1). You NEVER EVER approach an agent or an editor during bathroom breaks and 2). I handed her a copy of the magazine without washing my hand. Mrs. Grimshaw was really candid about it and laughed when I said to her, “I apologize I gave you the dirty copy, BUT I’ll give you mine which I didn’t touch it until after I washed my hands.” She laughed, signed my copy and we made plans to meet during lunch. I hope she won’t always remember me as the “freak from the bathroom.”

One in a lifetime experience when . . . entering the elevator I realized that the one person standing in front of me was no one else but Mrs. Sylvia Day. The other lady I assume was her assistant. Sylvia smiled and said, “Lunch time?” I smiled, “Yeah, I need to feed the monster in my tummy.” She laughed and said, “Oh yeah, I know how that is.” Under different circumstances I would’ve run the other way, too shy to ever approach a person of her caliber. I’ve never read any of her book but I sure know of her fame. I hope one day I’ll be there myself…

Most inspiring moment when . . . during lunch time on Saturday we had the honor to listen to Mrs. Christie Craig talk. In the picture below she shows us how many rejections letters she got throughout her career. No one offered to count them, but they filled a plastic bin, that many.

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Her humor got us laughing out loud quite a few times. Her story brought tears to my eyes twice. What a woman! Diagnosed in third grade with dyslexia, high school drop out at 16, Mrs. Christie is nothing but the quintessence of perseverance and humility. There were several things she said that hit home and I will forever cherish them as part of the most treasured gifts I’ve ever received. Some of those gifts are: Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t; you know better. Surround yourself with people that look forward. Persist. If you fall, stand up and try again. It might not come to you overnight, but when it comes be prepared to say: I did it. Celebrate even the tiniest success. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better photo bombing although Shanyn tried to convince me the lady in orange was actually looking at my boobs. I can’t disagree more with her.

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Most relaxing moment when . . . Saturday night after the book signing event finished around 8:30ish we went out to celebrate each other.  Eager to apply what we learned from Mrs. Craig’s speech, we made the best out of it.

To old friends and new beginnings: cin cin everyone!

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Tucson Festival of Books –March 15-16, 2014

5 Mar

To all Book Lovers,

Time to load on books, Peeps! The Annual Festival of Books held at Univ. of Arizona in Tucson, AZ is fast approaching. Books and their lovely “parents” (yes, we writers call books our babies) will be present at one of the biggest events in the entire country. 

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Come join us on March 15-16 between 9:30am and 5:30pm for books, swag, giveaways, autographs and much more. All books will be sold at incredible affordable prices, you better plan on buying all presents on your Christmas list 🙂

Come see me in booth 107  where I’ll be selling books along with some of the most amazing authors: Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Mimi Sebastian, Virginia Nelson to name a few, and many more. 

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See you all there!

Living in the fast lane @ Arizona Dreamin’

3 Jun

Wow! What a weekend I had. And not just any weekend, a looooong/ incredible/ fun/ energetic/ interesting/ educative/ relaxing weekend which started on Thursday with the official release of my newest historical romance BORN IN SIN, and a virtual party on Facebook to celebrate  it.

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Later in the afternoon I met the committee organizing the AZ Dreamin Conference, Arizona’s FIRST Romance Reader Event and began preparing to welcome the attendees. Beginning Thursday night I didn’t get home until after 10pm only to do it all over again the next morning starting at 8am. I have to admit that while my energy level sunk progressively toward the afternoon I operated on Carmel Machiattos which gave me the exact needed boost. Whoever invented Carmel Machiatto: God Bless You!

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Friday morning during the Buildin’ The Dream Event I took some interesting workshops about The Pitt falls of Self-publishing with the sassy Morgan Kearns, Creating Your Brand with the one and only Kris Tualla, and Characters To Love and Hate with Erin Quinn and Erin Kellison.  I also wanted to attend Deena Remiel‘s workshop about Marketing your books, but it was given at the same time with Morgan’s workshop and unfortunately my clone wasn’t there to join me. I’m humbled and honored to have spent hours in their lovely companies while learning more about the crafts of writing and publishing.

While I met old friends I made new ones. Loved catching up with everyone, and being introduced to new authors. Sharon Hamilton is one of them. Not only is she a sweetheart, but Sharon is also a mother of a SEAL, which brings both of us on common ground since I’m a sucker for all things army. Tami Vinson, KC Klein, Amber Scott, and so many more have also been added to my fave list of new authors.

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photo-3The highlight of Saturday night was the contest “Man Of Our Dream.” Tall, handsome, packs of muscles, corky, funny–you name it, the guys had it all. They gave us a ton of reasons to laugh and enjoy the view while entertaining us with their sexy persona and not only. And that’s as far as I’m going to disclose what happened there… I would only add that James D Magnussen won. Look at the photo below and you will understand why…

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Sunday morning’s author panel brought everything to a point we all dreaded: saying goodbye. I already miss “my girls”, but I also look forward to keeping in touch and seeing them next year at the 2014 AZ Dreamin Conference.

For those of you interested to meet new authors, make new friends with the same passion for books you can also join us. Kris, Morgan and Deena are hard at work organizing already the next event. For more info click here. Check regularly for when tickets go on sale. I know this year we were sold out at least a month in advance so get your ticket in time.

Goodbye AZ Dreamin 2013. Hello AZ Dreamin 2014!