Monday, August 28, 2006

A mess of ickiness

I know I had no business going there but I was poking around the reviews of my books and found the nastiest, mean-spirited review I’ve had so far. The reviewer seemed so angry at having read my book, it was as if I’d gone to her house and pooped on her lawn. I’ve read some really awful books in my day but I never took them personally. I just figured they weren’t my cup of tea and moved on.

And then I found a blog dedicated to hating Rachael Ray. Apparently if you hate her, you can join and talk crap about her all the live long day. Why would anyone want to spend time and energy being mean?

I could pretend not to understand where they’re coming from, but sadly I do. I’ve been jealous of writers who have had more success than I have. I’ve had that, “why-not-me?” feeling when I read about someone’s six-figure deal in Publisher’s Weekly. And yes, I’ve read books by people I know and thought, wow, that wasn’t so great! But I would never, ever talk crap about them, or go on Amazon and tell potential readers that someone’s work was a piece of trash. Perhaps the difference between me and mean people is that I know how much of a writer’s soul goes into her work. I know what it takes to become someone like Rachael Ray and I don’t begrudge her for all of her hard work.

Well, I feel much better having gotten that off my back. By the way, if you hate my books, it's cool. I probably wouldn't like yours if you had actually written one. (evil laughter)

By the way, as soon as my editor approves my new novella, "Till Death Do Us Part," I'm going to record a mini reading on this blog.

And if you haven't yet, check out Avon Fan Lit!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I couldn't have said it better...

than Dana Diamond did on her blog, A Writer's Best Friend.

She talks about fear and putting it perspective. It's a must-read!


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Avon Fan Lit Is Here

Look! They used Isa to be their spokesmodel!

It's finally here! Today is the launch of the Avon FanLit event from HarperCollins Publishers. Visit this link to join bestselling authors and thousands of fans in the creation of an original romance e-book.

Early Birds can win shopping sprees from Saks!

Sign Up Now for a chance to win one of many shopping sprees from Saks worth up to $1,000! And be sure to check out the other amazing prizes, including:

  • An in-person meeting with an Avon editor;
  • A $5,000 Fox TV development deal;
  • Plus Borders Gift Cards, signed copies of Avon books, and galley copies for upcoming books months in advance of release dates

If you sign up today, you can vote on your favorite Story Premise which will decide the overall direction of our novella.

Starting September 7th, each week you will be able to write and submit chapters, vote on player submissions, and discuss everything that's happening in the forums. Plus, chapters from the weekly winners will be included in an Avon FanLit e-book.

Join Avon authors and editors for this one-of-a-kind event!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Make 'Em Cry!

For you writers out there: have you ever written a scene that made you cry? I have, but this time it was worse than ever. I couldn’t stop. Hell, I couldn’t see the damn screen! But I had to keep going because the sociopath/writer in me hissed, "this is good … this will make it better!"

You see, this scene involved a mother having to leave her child. Now that I have my Little Dude – who is a year old! – books, movies, TV shows and even commercials that portray children are now filled with emotional landmines. My husband is just as bad. There’s a Duracell commercial about a battery small enough for deaf child’s hearing aid. And then they show his face light up when he hears rain for the first time. (See? I’m already choking up just thinking about it.) Last night when that commercial came on, my husband was choking back his tears.

However, when my editor told me she teared up while reading one of my scenes, I puffed with pride. Making a reader cry - especially an editor who's probably read it all - is even better than making her laugh.

Sick! And yet, satisfying to my ego.

So I have to ask, what scenes in books and/or movies have made you cry?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I thought chapter 12 was hard...

Revisions to Switchcraft (working title, TBR July 2007) were humming along nicely until I hit some detours in chapter 12. Chapter 13 had a few bumps but nothing major. Chapter 14 was a smooth, empty highway and then I spun out on black ice at chapter 15. Pieces flew everywhere – some dialogue here, some action over there and a storyline that's now DOA. The real stuff is somewhere in the mess. If I look close enough I can see where the pieces fit together.

Sigh. You’d think after six books (three of which will never see the light of the day...they were "learning experiences"), I’d have this book-writin' thing figured out. But Switchcraft is my greatest challenge because it is my most emotionally true story. There is so much of my real feelings in these characters that it’s scary to think that you’ll be reading it! With each book, I’ve had to stretch and push and fight to pull the story out of my head and onto paper. But this one keeps asking for more each time I sit at my desk.

I’m probably making a bigger deal than it really is ... I’m not complaining! To quote That’s Queen Bitch To You: “I don’t suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.”

P.S. If you're curious as to what the hell I'm talking about, follow this link to my Let's Talk letter.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One more photo!

Okay, back to work.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Essence of Latinas (more photos!)

One of my early inspirations is Sylvia Mendoza (far right), author of The Book of Latina Women. Between us is Reyna Grande, author of Across a Hundred Mountains. I should be jealous of her - actually all of these talented women - but they are all so humble and unassuming person that I can't be that low.

And this is Yvonne Delarosa, who will be co-starring in Shark with James Woods. Isn't she gorgeous?

By the way, I read in In Style Makeover that your arms will look slimmer in photos if you pose with your hand on your hip. Now that I look at these photos, I shouldn't give up the gym any time soon

Essence of Latinas LA

Last night I partied at Catalina Magazine's Essence of Latina mixer at La Vie L'Orange in West Hollywood. (Thank you to Volvo, Deloitte, Southwest Airlines and Eden Natural Foods for sponsoring the event!)

You know what I love about mixers with Latinas? There's none of that stand-offishness you encounter at most networking mixers. Latinas seem to greet each other like we're all related!

So here I am, looking sass-eh with Cathy Areu, founder of Catalina Magazine and author of Latino Wisdom.

The fabulous La Vie manicured and massaged everyone to the sounds of Karina Nuvo (right). Standing between us is Lara Rios, author of Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps.

For some reason, Blogger would only allow me to upload these two photos, so I'll be back with more!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I'm back from spending a week in the charming, fairy-tale cottage in Carmel that I'm fairly sure was haunted. We had two sunny days and in Carmel, a sunny day is a gift from God. Gold drips down from the pines and the ocean is transformed from slate gray to a searing blue. Even though the fog drifts through the trees like ghosts and gangs of racoons are likely to accost you on the street, we try to visit every other year because it is our spiritual home.

We spent a lot of time at the Secret Garden and Pilgrim's Way bookshop on San Carlos across from the Carmel Art Association. Together with my mother-in-law, I cleared the Buddhist section of all their books.

From all the exertion of walking up and down Carmel's hilly terrain, we rewarded ourselves with a lot of food. But the best was dinner at Piatti Locali on Sixth and Junipero. We loved the food and our server, Jesse so much that we went twice. The first night, I had chicken risotto which was like comfort food on a gray, chilly night. Ryan had a rich, meaty rigatoni bolognese topped with fresh ricotta cheese. The Little Dude dined on sweet peas and bananas ala Gerber. Grandma insisted that he have a taste of whipped cream from daddy's chocolate mousse. Eventually we had to restrain her or else we'd never sleep that night.

But what brought Ryan and me back to Piatti's the second night - grandma went on a date with the Little Dude - was Jesse. He reminded me a lot of my brother in looks and he was so unpretenious and friendly ... the kind of person you could invite over for a barbeque with all the kids. When I ordered the veal scallopini, Jesse steered me away from the grilled polenta and towards the garlic mashed potatoes. The light lemon and caper sauce melted on my tongue and the veal was deliciously tender.

Ryan devoured his cannelloni stuffed with ricotta, veal and mushrooms. Conversation pretty much died when the food arrived. Even though we were physically incapable of more food, we enjoyed a creme brullee that had a touch of lemon to lighten the flavor. I'll be wearing the potatoes, the bread and calamari fritti on my hips for awhile, but if I close my eyes and breathe deeply, I can still taste that meal.

But you wonder, did I get any writing done? Yes, I did. I fought a war with Chapter 12 through five drafts in a space of three days. Many lattes and cinnamon twists were consumed in the process but damn it, chapter 12 bowed to my will. Sigh. Now I have chapter 13 to face. I swear this book will undo all of the hard work I've undertaken to get into my size 8 jeans.