Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!

The sidewalks are shadowed with damp and the air crisp with the smell of fallen leaves and wet grass. Pumpkins smile grotesquely from porches and front windows while skeletons and ghouls creep up from the grass. Ghosts dance under the trees, their gowns whipping in the breeze. A waning moon lingers in the western sky and giant spiders busily take down their webs after a night of patient hunting.

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year when you dig out your sweaters and boots. A cup of coffee or tea warms your fingers as you get to work or school. It's my favorite time of the year ... Halloween!

Before I don my kitty ears and take Little Batman trick or treating tonight, I want to thank all of you for taking the Chica Lit Halloween Tour and thank my fellow authors, Berta Platas, Sofia Quintero, Caridad Pineiro and Kathy Cano-Murillo for a week of freaky and fabulous stories!
If you haven't read these amazing stories, don't miss out!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Blog Tour: Necessary Evil

"I can't do that!"

"Well you're gonna have to unless you want to look like that forever." Adrienne waved her hand in front of her nose. "Bel, I swear I had no idea it would really work."

"I'd believe you if weren't trying not to laugh," Bel replied.

Adrienne covered her mouth with both hands, tears welling in her eyes as she stared at what she'd done to her best friend.

"I practically let you live here for free!" Bel burst out.

"I know," Adrienne said. "I just thought- Well, you're not the girl I knew."

Bel glanced at her reflection in the mirror. Just a few minutes ago, she'd woken up and then hobbled from her bed to the bathroom, thinking she'd over done it at the gym. But oh no. Her sanctimonious friend and soon-to-be ex roommate put a hex on her and Bel had woken up like this.

Gray skin rotted off Bel's face and neck. Her mouth was ripped wide and through the flap of skin she could see her teeth. Her right ear was missing and scraps of her normally blonde hair stuck out of her scalp in white patches. Adding insult to injury, she stank like a piece of maggoty beef.

But now that she knew Adrienne had done this on purpose, her blood raced through her veins and she could hardly keep her breath. "I can't go to work, I can't leave the house- You have to fix this!"

Adrienne shook her head. "But-"

"Who are you to tell me what I should do? I'm not telling Melanie that I slept with her boyfriend. I told you because you've never judged me and now I-"

"The Bel I once knew and loved would never have done something like that."

"But I-" Bel's insides curdled as she remembered that night when she stumbled in the ladies room with Rick. It had been such a naughty thrill to tease and taunt him after the way Melanie treated her in the office. But the fun was all over when he hoisted her up against the wall and pulled her panties aside. Bel had gone cold through the rest of it; disconnecting herself from her body.

Bel shut her eyes, trying to block out the memory. She hadn't been with another guy since; as if her abstinence could make her clean again.

"You're going straight down a dark path, Bel. I thought that if you could see what you're becoming you'd-"

Bel looked into Adrienne's earnest, saintly brown eyes. "I don't need your voodoo mumbo jumbo crap. Just tell me what I have to do to turn back."

"I practice curandismo."


Adrienne sighed impatiently. "The spell lasts as long as you want it to."

Bel rolled her eyes. "So you don't know? What about your guru or whatever she's called?"

"I could ask Maestra Luz but she doesn't know that I did this."


Adrienne squirmed, breaking eye contact. "It's technically against the rules for a curandera to hex someone but I thought this was an emergency."

Bel's skin crackled like paper as her hands curled into fists.

"Clear your conscience with Melanie or else, I'm not sure Maestra Luz can turn you back."

Bel stood up. "You can take your altars and all that voodoo crap and get the hell out."

That Halloween morning, Bel tried everything but confess to Melanie to undo the hex. She brought Sprinkles cupcakes into work, hoping if she got the good stuff instead of the crap from the grocery store that she'd earn extra points. No one at work touched them because of the lingering dead meat stench.

Then she had to explain to Melanie that she looked like an extra from Dawn of the Dead because the make-up wouldn't wash off. Dressed like a cat with whiskers glued to her face, Melanie believed her and Bel couldn't look her in the eye.

At lunch, Bel volunteered to cover the phones so everyone, including the loser receptionist could go to the office's Halloween Costume Parade.

Bel even called her mother. But because they got into a fight when Mom roasted Bel again for not attending her grandma's rosary – hello, a senior account manager at a firm like hers didn't take off seven days to pray much less go to Tahiti – Bel's other ear fell off.

The next day - All Saints Day – Bel still looked like one of dancers from Thriller and then lost the tip of her pinky finger when she ripped her design team for the crappy work they'd done on one of her biggest accounts. For the first time, she saw the hatred in their eyes.

And then on the day after All Saints Day, Bel made an altar to her Grandma. She didn't so much as touch the cap to the bottle of Cazadores, her Grandma's favorite tequila. But Bel cried when she set out the package of Virginia Slims, remembering how her Grandma would slip her a five to get an ice cream for buying her cigs.

For that, Bel went to bed without losing any more body parts.

The next morning, Bel went into Melanie's office.

"I have to tell you something," she said, leaving the door open because the rotting body stench could suffocate them both.

"Don't you think you're taking this whole costume thing a little too seriously?" Melanie asked.

Like being forced to eat her own vomit, Bel almost couldn't do it. Maybe she should become a freelancer and work from home.

"Your boyfriend, Rick, is a cheating bastard," Bel said, deciding to lie by omission.

"Excuse me?"

"I know this because I-" Some of Bel's skin fluttered to the floor like dead leaves. She sucked in a chest-full of air and then choked on the smell.

"I, uh. Well, I slept with him. In the ladies' room so we weren't really sleeping together but-"

A high-pitched yelp popped out of Melanie's mouth. She didn't leap over her desk to bash in Bel's head with her stapler. She didn't even cry. But with one look into her eyes, Bel knew she'd just yanked the rug out from under her.

"Look, I know I can't work here anymore because everyone hates me already so I'll just leave and-" Bel stood up out of her chair. "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry for what I did and I hope you'll- Okay, I know you'll never forgive me but maybe you'll be better off knowing."

Later, as Bel walked out of the elevator carrying her stuff in a cardboard box, she had no idea how she'd pay the minimum monthly payment on her credit card, much less next month's rent without her job.

Adrienne had been right. She couldn't undo what she'd done with Rick. But by telling Melanie the truth, Bel didn't get that squishy feeling in her stomach when she thought about what she'd done. That must be the self-forgiveness kicking in.

An agonizing pain snatched her breath away and the box fell to the ground. Bel's knees skidded on the rough pavement. She wrapped her arms around her middle, as if to keep her insides from breaking through her skin. But then just as quick as it consumed her, the pain vanished.

Bel wasn't sure if she had the strength to stand. Her bones shaking, she placed her hands on the box and then realized the skin was normal. Frantically touching her arms, her neck, both of her ears and her face, Bel realized the monster was gone.

Relief rained over her like cold clean water.

"I knew you'd do it," Adrienne said when Bel walked through the door. "I'm really proud of you."

"You didn't move your stuff," Bel said, putting her box on the floor by the door.

"Do I have to?"

Bel shook her head. "But you'll have to pony up more money for the rent."

"Its money well spent to have you back."

© Copyright 2007 by Mary Castillo

For more Halloween chica lit...

Saturday, 10/27 Berta Platas!

Monday, 10/29 Sofia Quintero!

Tuesday, 10/30 Kathy Cano-Murillo!

Wednesday, 10/31 Caridad Pineiro!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Southern California Wildfires Volunteers & Donations

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. The last Mom heard was that my dad was back at his station. The fires are still going so there's a chance his strike team will be deployed.

I also received the following list from the Las Comadres network and wanted to share this with everyone.

To make a cash donation: Your donation can help organizations obtain goods and services locally to issue assistance to victims.
  • American Red Cross: Support their Disaster Relief Fund which enables them to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster
  • San Diego Humane Society and SPCA: Help to rescue and evacuate pets
  • Volunteer San Diego: Support their Disaster Program which allows them to meet volunteer needs locally
  • San Diego Foundation: Support their After-the-Fires fund which will provide food, shelter, housing and address healthcare needs of the victims.
To offer non-cash donations (blankets, food, etc):
  • Please call a special hotline set up by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to offer your non-cash donations, 1-800-750-2858
  • To volunteer: Search for ways to volunteer at
  • You can visit also : to give and receive help.

Here's a link to help out in Orange County:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

While I'm Stuck in the House...

I wanted to share what I'm doing while the Little Dude sleeps.
By the way, the sunlight is tangerine because the sky is a smutty pink gray. Everyone has been told to stay inside and after a brief venture with Rascal the Pug during his morning constitutional, I'm taking it seriously.

Also, my grandma and uncle were able to go home this morning. But they're ready to leave if the winds change. My dad and his team were called to the fire near Jamul but were then sent back to the station. I think he's bummed because like all fire fighters, he wants to put out fires.
I'm watching:

I'm reading my new favorite author:

I'm also wrote the first scene of my new book that I wanted to start on November 1st for NaNoMo but couldn't wait any longer!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Update on Mary's Dad

First, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers yesterday. I think it's making a difference as the winds are very calm out here in Costa Mesa and down in National City where my family live.

Yesterday, my dad was at a high school fire set by two idiots who apparently were unaware that all of Southern California is burning. Luckily no one was hurt and the fire crews took care of the fire. Last night my grandma and uncle left Spring Valley and today, there are evacuations fo Spring Valley and Bontia.

It's a very serious situation and I feel a bit helpless checking the updates. I think I'll go through our stuff to set aside for donations.

If you want to stay on top of the news in San Diego, go to

For new in Orange County, go to the OC Register.

In the Wings With Kikey Castillo

At the Catalina Magazine party last month I met Actress Kikey Castillo. (Isn't she goregous?) It's not often I meet another Castillo and when I do, we always wonder if we're related.

Kikey will co-star in Virgin Love, a production of the new Ricardo Montalbán Repertory Theatre Company. Virgin Love is a musical Commeda set in the 1700's on the fictional island of Latinia.

Chica Lit: In your bio, you said that you were on your way to becoming a CEO. How did you get into acting and what did your parents think?

Kikey: It's true. I always envisioned myself a corporate career woman in suits. Senior year in college I took an elective course, "Intro to Acting" and really liked it. From there I pursued plays and got bit by the acting bug. I remember thinking: "I'm a month away from graduating college and all I want to do is move to LA and pursue acting. My mom is gonna kill me!" I think she was a little disappointed at first (though she may never confess to this) because she wanted me to have a better life and more opportunities than she had. And I can understand that, but when she saw that I was actually good at acting and that I was making money and appearing on TV, movies, and print then she really started to believe in me and now she's my rock and my biggest supporter.

Chica Lit: Talk about your role in Virgin Love. What were the challenges of your character? What do you love about that character?

Kikey: I play Franceschina, the jeweler's wife who loves jewels more than her husband and consequentially ignores him but is having an affair with the town bachelor (who is also having affairs with several women in's a comedy).

A big challenge for me was that i couldn't sing and the play is a musical commedia! I was very nervous about singing and didn't want to sound terrible in front of anybody, even my cast mates, so I hired a voice coach -- thank God! She's really brought me a long way.

I love my character Franceschina. She has an air of prim and proper about her but yet she has this youthful spirit about her. I found it really easy and fun to step into her shoes.

Chica Lit: How do you keep up the energy night after night, rehearsal after rehearsal?

Kikey: Energy? What is that? :) The rehearsal process has been very physically tough at times. We have been rehearsing five nights a week for the last three months but it's all worth it in the end. Our opening night is Friday, October 26, 2007, so high energy is definitely going to be required during our run. But for me that's usually the easiest part. I can keep going and going during performances...there's something about performing live that always gives me lots of energy.

Chica Lit: Where did you grow up? If not L.A., how did you adjust to becoming an actress in the Hollywood?

Kikey: I grew up in very small town in Eastern Oregon. My family were migrant workers and the work was good up there and we all stayed. Growing up in a small town was very nice, apple pie kind of nice, but I always wanted to live in a big city. So LA was an easy adjustment for me and I really love it. However being an actress in LA has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears...but it's my passion, my dream and I wouldn't dream of doing anything else.

Chica Lit: What struggles have you encountered in Hollywood?

Kikey: I think I've encounter the typical actor struggles here in Hollywood the whole "my agent doesn't send me out enough", "Getting good representation is hard", having to constantly get new headshots, feeling like you never work enough and thinking to yourself why didn't you know about that audition for the TV show, commercial or movie you just saw. Now saying it here makes it seem so comical but trust me, these are serious topics for an actor :) LOL.

Chica Lit: What's next after Virgin Love?

Kikey: I have a few projects in the works. I'm shooting a national Chevy commercial this month; I'm in an indie feature film called The Broken Hearts Club which shoots in December, more on-air hostessing projects and a webisode project. And si Dios quiere, a lot more!
For performances and ticket information, go to the Ricardo Montalbán Repertory Theatre Company.

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Fires

It's a bit scary out here today. The Santa Ana winds whip fiercely through the trees and you can see ash flakes and leaves tumbling in the air. The air is stripped dry and it hurts your eyes and throat to breathe outdoors. We're supposed to have these winds till tomorrow.

Would you mind if ask you for a favor? My dad has been sent out on a strike team today to fight the fires in Southern California (we don't know exactly where he'll be deployed). Would you take a moment to think or pray or send blessings to the fire fighters out there, as well as the people whose lives, homes andbusinesses are in danger?

Thanks so much!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Outting Myself

If J.K. Rowling outted Dumbledore, than I'll out the fact that I've signed up for NaNoWriMo. I even have a profile! So for the next two weeks, I'm focusing on a short story for the blog, my adaptation of Switchcraft and all the pre-writing for my NaNoMo book.
If you want to join me, become my buddy here.
Truthfully, I'm a little nervous. I've never committed to 50,000 words in one month and with a nanny-less two year-old and Thanksgiving looming ahead, it'll be a real challenge. (Not to mention a real kick in the ego if I don't make it!)
But for the last three weeks or so, I've been in promo mode for Switchcraft, which has been a life of writing press releases, stalking bloggers and reviewers and setting up events. It's been great but I miss writing and I'm starting to crack up. For example, in my non-writing interests I initially wrote "booking" when I meant "cooking!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Crafting with the Chica: Fabric Collage Dream Journal

My friend, Kathy Cano-Murillo taped some webisodes for Lifetime and in this segment, she demonstrates how to create a fabric collage dream journal. For every book that I've written, I've also kept a notebook. In them, I jot down lines of dialogue or those little spurts of inspiration that pop in my head when I'm no where near my computer, or when I need to be away from my computer and refocus on thoughts.

Today, I'm baking and preparing for my event tonight at Calacas but on Saturday, I'm going to create a journal that will accompany me as I write my new book!

Thanks Kathy!

Also, check out Kathy's book!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Taking Note

This Saturday I went to my first Orange County Chapter of RWA meeting in a looong, looong time. Best selling author, Robert Crais spoke about his childhood - he grew up behind a drive-in theatre reading comics - and his adventures in Hollywood and publishing. He did a good job, signed a ton of books and in all, I think everyone was happy.

As a member of OCC RWA, I've seen quite a few big-name NYT best-selling authors take our stage and realized that the only difference between a little fish like me and a guy like Mr. Crais is that he makes a lot more money than I do. So perhaps the true secret to success in publishing is to wait for the big fish to die or retire.
However, here's my list of what I have in common with a New York Times best-selling author:
  1. No matter how many copies of books in print and sold, authors still count and remember their rejection letters.
  2. Even if their latest book debuts high up on the NYT list, best-selling authors still envy writers whom they think are (a) more talented than they are or (b) get more money and attention from their publishers.
  3. Best-selling authors always talk about how during their childhood, they were the family mutant. Only when we succeed do our families look at us in a different light. (Usually to see if we used them as a character in the book, or if we've made enough money to spring for lunch.)
  4. Best-selling authors always walk into the room looking a bit bewildered by everyone's awe and reverance. Wait, that's not true. Jackie Collins once paid a visit to OCC RWA and she made an entrance. Then again, Nora Roberts struts around RWA National like she doesn't notice everyone staring at her so maybe it's a guy versus girl thing.
    Moving on...
  5. Most best-selling authors - actually I should say that the ones who are still good and aren't paying other writers to write their stuff - never lose that sense of awe that they get paid to make stuff up.
  6. No matter how many millions they've acquired (and that their publisher will fly them first-class and not put them up in a haunted hotel), best-selling authors still want us to feel sorry for them when they tell us how they struggled in the early years.
Hey man, I feel your pain. So when are you thinking about doing something else?
(Me, bitter? Nah!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh What A Night

This Thursday, Oct. 18th, I'm having a Ladies Night at Calacas Inc. in Santa Ana from 7 to 8:30 p.m. There will be treats, prizes and copies of all my books including, Switchcraft!

If you have copies of my books already and would like them signed, come on by! No book - unless it is written by someone else because that would be rude - will be turned away!

All the details are here.
P.S. I have no idea why the flier has that block of gray.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On The Radio: Hot 92.3

Early this week, I taped an interview with Hot 92.3's Josefa Salinas as part of her celebration of powerful Latinas. The fun part is that I forgot that we were doing an interview so it's a very personal, fun talk about my books and what it means to me to be a Latina.
So if you're interested - there's a pretty cool contest that I wouldn't miss if I were you! - tune into Hot 92.3 FM, Sunday, Oct. 14th at 7 a.m. Pacific Time. You can also listen on your PC.
Thanks for your support!

Image from Art. Com

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In the Kitchen with Chef Daisy Martinez

Last month I was happily flipping through my copy of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine when I happened upon a new column by Chef Daisy Martinez. My first thought was: that recipe sounds good! My second: I have to have her on the blog!

Seven years ago, Daisy's husband told her over dinner that he was sending her to the French Culinary Institute as a birthday gift. Litte did they know that she would transform from a full-time wife and mother to host her popular PBS show, Daisy Cooks!, publish a best-selling cookbook and this year pen "Mucho Gusto," a regular column in Rachael Ray's hugely successful magazine.

After Daisy agreed to a Chica Lit interview and I sent off my questions, I decided to try her recipe for cazuela baked apples; a rich dessert made of butternut squash, sweet potato and apple served in the shells of red Rome apples.

However for me, it was a harrowing lesson in proper prior preperation prevents piss-poor results. I had forgotten to buy heavy cream and then realized that I had run out of cinnamon. But I'm a Capricorn and true to my nature, I presevered. I used Chinese Five Spice and then added just a touch of cream cheese with some low fat milk. Triumph!

But then my baked Rome apples fell apart because in my zeal, I forgot to let them cool down. In the end, when I served it on a graham cracker crust, my husband pointed to it and said, "I can get seconds because this has vegetables in it, right?"

¡Que rico! We each had seconds and then the rest for lunch!

First, read the interview with Daisy and then check out the recipe!
Chica Lit: You've had a really interesting path to becoming a chef. What inspired your husband to sign you up for the French Culinary Institute (which is one of the most romantic stories I've read!)?

Daisy: My husband knew the pleasure that I gained from entertaining friends and family, and he would often see me, wistfully looking through the ads in the back of the cooking magazines. In appreciation for all the energy that I had devoted to raising my family, he wanted to reciprocate, and offered me the opportunity to be totally selfish and immerse myself in an intense culinary program at the French Culinary Institute.

Chica Lit: Were you intimidated? I ask because I've considered culinary school and with my humble cooking background, it's a bit scary!
Daisy: Intimidated? I don't think so. I was SO eager to learn the classic technique that I never gave thought to my ineptness...I was there to learn, and the faculty at the FCI always rose to that challenge, so I felt very supported.

Chica Lit: Are your kids cooking, too?

Daisy: All of my children cook. I am the very proud mother of four incredibly fantastic kids, which range in age from 25-12 years old. They can all carry their weight in the kitchen, which has made the boys very popular on campus!

Chica Lit: How did you meet Rachael Ray and what is it like to work with her?

Daisy: I met Rachael at a New York Times event which was hosted by Amander Hesser, and which featured Rachael, Dave Leiberman and myself, on a panel discussing food and the direction it's going. One would think that all that energy would be too much for one room, but Rachael and I share a very similar sense of humor, so it worked really well together. We stayed in close touch and became fast friends very quickly. It is always fun to work with Rachael because of her thirst to learn about Latino ingredients and cooking.

Chica Lit: What misconceptions about Latin cooking do you want to dispell?

Daisy: Latin food is NOT Tex-Mex, as great as Tex- Mex is! There is incredible diversity within the cuisine of any Latin country (think Spain, Mexico, Chile, Peru, etc), not to mention the diversity with the Caribbean, Atlantic South America, Pacific South America, Andean South America, Incan South America, Spain, etc. We are an exercise in diversity, passion, flavor, heat, and spice!

Chica Lit: My great grandma was the cook in my family and unfortunately, many of her recipes were lost to us because she refused to share her secrets! Do you share all of your family recipes or are there some that you keep for sentimental reasons?

Daisy: YES!! I share my secrets, because this is the inheritance and legacy I leave to my children. I am a firm believer in the "you don't know where you're going if you don't know where you came from school". When I teach my recipe, you can be sure that they are completely and genuinely reproducible...what kind of a teacher would I be, if they weren't?

To read Daisy's column, check out Mucho Gusto.
To learn more about Daisy, her show and her book, please visit her website.

Or heck, order Daisy Cooks!

Thanks Daisy!

Someone Has Juicy Mangos!

Phyllis L. of Victor, ID was drawn from the hat and will recieve her copy of Juicy Mangos! If you'd like to get your hands on a juicy mango (okay, sorry but a dirty mind is too precious to waste!) then order your copy today!

Also, come back later today for a new profile. I'm sorry I didn't have it posted this morning but someone who shall not be named didn't take a nap yesterday! But he did help me decorate for Halloween.

If you're in the Orange County area, I have two book-signing events coming up. This Saturday I'll be at the birthday bash for Orange County Chapter of RWA and then next Thursday, I'll be at Calacas serving up signed copies of Switchcraft and the spicy Mexican brownies! All the info is here. Oh and if you already have Switchcraft and would like to have it signed, stop by Calacas where I promise no book will be left unsigned!

See ya later today!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Still Got It, Baby

I hesitated to post this because I thought that you might think I was getting a bit big for my breeches. Then again after my weekend of gluttony, I've got some serious muffin top over the waistband if you know what I mean!

But then I remembered how hard it was to write Switchcraft and how, for so long, I thought I'd failed in capturing my vision. So here's a really great review from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel and in the spirit of my conversation with Jen as we drove to Glen Ivy last Friday, I'm gonna celebrate a job well done.

And then go right back to work!

Two best friends find themselves switching lives in “Switchcraft” by Mary Castillo.

Aggie is living the single life, running her own clothing store and debating on whether or not to strike up a romance with her friend, Kevin. Nely is the former business manager turned stay-at-home mother who is fighting for supremacy in her marriage and daughter’s life against her meddling mother-in-law who lives right next door. Aggie thinks Nely has the perfect life and Nely envies Aggie’s freedom. A weekend retreat with a spirit guide leads to the two switching bodies. Now Nely is Aggie and Aggie is Nely until the next full moon.

Nely soon finds that Aggie’s business is in trouble, a property manager is stalking her, and Kevin doesn’t want to take no for an answer. Aggie learns Nely is being mowed over by her domineering mother-in-law, taking care of a toddler is not as easy as it looks, the local mommies group is headed by the ultimate mean girl, and her husband is feeling neglected. Sometimes it just takes someone else to sort out your life, which is exactly what Nely and Aggie do, with hilarous results.

Nely and Aggie are both highly relatable characters you can’t help but cheer on. They both are tough in the face of adversity and go for exactly what they believe their friend would want for their life.

This book is a fun love letter to all women and the bond of sisterhood that is best friends.

“Switchcraft” is published by Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins. It is $13.95 and 282 pages long.

Photo from!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More Tease Please!

The following is a semi work-safe excerpt from Sofia Quintero's novella, "Sensually Yours" from Juicy Mangos!
The second Steve appeared on the landing holding of lilies and a bottle of wine, I knew he liked what he saw. I hope the skeezer across the hall saw it, too.
“You are so good!” I said as I reached for the wine and flowers. This goes perfectly with what I have planned tonight. Come in and see.”
I led him into the living room where I had a picnic set up on the carpet. The centerpiece was one of SY’s latest additions. The Lovers’ Throw. It was a blanket that also served as a game board. Steve and I lowered ourselves onto the blanket’s silky center. I fed him strawberries while I explained the game.
"It’s simple,” I said as I handed him the palm-sized red pillow. “You’re red, and I’m white. Start here.” I placed both pillows on the starting square which reads Kiss each other good luck.
Steve gave me a loud smooch that tickled my cheek. After I stop giggling, I said, “We take turns rolling the foam dice and moving our pieces forward. . .”
“Doing whatever the square says,” Steve said as he uncorked the wine.
“And whoever makes it to the end first is the winner.”
“And what do I win?”
I giggled again. “The winner chooses the first position.”
Steve huffed. “Hell, if we’re not in the first position halfway through the game, send the damn thing back.”
I loved it! I was definitely going to use that line in my presentation. I give you my money-back guarantee. I handed Steve the foam dice. “You go first.”
He rolled a four, advanced his piece forward and read the square. “Eager to please. Advance three spaces.”
“My rotten luck,” I teased. I sipped my wine and a little dribbled down over the glass and landed on my thigh.
Steve counted forward three spaces. “Maybe not,” he said as he read the square to himself. Kiss erogenous zone of lover’s choice. “So. . .”
I leaned back on my elbows and bent my knee, sending the wine trickling down my thigh towards my crotch. “Would you mind getting that?”

Enter to win a signed copy of Juicy Mangos by emailing me with "Juicy Mangos Contest" in the subject line. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, Oct. 10th! Enter now.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Between the Pages With Michelle Herrera Mulligan

When I was in college, a friend of mine told me that her mother would say to her and her sisters that when it came to sex, they had to sit like they were holding a dime between their knees. My mom never put it that way, but it was understood that I would die if I came home and told her that I was pregnant before I got married.

Even though us Latinas are portrayed as spicy sex-kittens who render men powerless, most of us walk around with the specters of our disapproving parents looming over our shoulders. When I saw the cover for Juicy Mangos, my first thought was: what would the authors' mothers think?

So I had to ask the editor and one of the contributors, Michelle Herrera Mulligan about her experience.

Chica Lit: You write in the Editor's Letter that Johanna Castillo approached you with the idea. How do you know each other?

Michelle: Johanna contacted me because she liked the work I'd done on Border-Line Personalities, a new generation of Latinas dish on sex, sass and cultural shifting. The anthology had a raw, honest sexuality, and I think she liked it and wanted to tap me to edit Juicy (not to mention the fact that she heard I was a slavedriver editor!).

Chica Lit: How did the story of "Juan and Adela" come to you?

Michelle: Juan and Adela came to me as I started reflecting on characters I hadn't seen before. I started to visualize this woman who fascinated me, a complex, sexy older woman who hadn't had the opportunity to realize her dreams, someone like my mother. I wondered what would happen if her world got shaken up by a younger man. I experimented with a lot of voices for the narrator that would tell her story and once I had that down the rest just flowed.

Chica Lit: Did you have any fears about writing erotica? How did you overcome those fears?

Michelle: my fears about writing erotica were that one: my work wouldn't be taken seriously and two: people would judge or speculate about my sex life personally. I definitely had the subconscious Catholic bad girl fear thing...I was so worried about what my family or my boyfriends family would think if they found out. Ultimately it was doing good work that got me over those fears. When you write good sex scenes, it is hard work and it was a great challenge to my writing.

Chica Lit: How did you find the contributors?

Michelle: We found the contributors by seeking out diverse authors we admired. We didn't look for "erotica writers"; we wanted incredible authors who made sex and sensuality pivotal parts of larger works. We wanted the sex to reveal something deeper about their characters. Once we had a small list of people we wanted to target, it was surprisingly easy to get people to agree--the writers were really excited to write about sex in an unexpected way.

Chica Lit: What were the challenges you faced while editing the stories?

Michelle: The editing challenge was for all of us to find the patience to go through many drafts together--these were erotic novellas and I wanted the stories to be really strong on their own, without the sex. I really loved doing the anthology and the challenge of writing amazing love scenes. I would consider doing another--but when my schedule frees up some day! (I don't want to give my agent a nervous breakdown!)


Enter to win a signed copy of Juicy Mangos by emailing me with "Juicy Mangos Contest" in the subject line. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday, Oct. 10th! Enter now.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Trick or Treating

Crafty Chica Kathy Cano Murillo just announced that her jewelry is for sale at Target's Red Hot Shop today through Oct. 6th. I can't decide if I should get the Day of the Dead bracelet, or the Our Lady necklace ... dang that Crafty Chica for being so good!