Crossed Out

Crossed Out

Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday Five

1. Can you believe it's already October?

2. Another thing I love about this season is the Cybils!  Nominations are now open until October 15th!  Go over and nominate your favorite YA/children book of this year!

3.  Totally getting into EMPIRE this season.  Yes, it's a diverse soap opera but wowza the grittiness behind one character from the inner city getting a break and building an hip hop empire in music is really, really good.  And sorry, but I still feel the actress who plays Cookie should have got that Emmy for her stellar performance.

And wow, was that Becky G on this weeks episode?

4. Right now reading IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH:

Think Mean Girls meets IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE:

This is a snarky, hilarious tale of a Mean girl that 'accidentally' is taken after the targeted soul pushes her in front of the Grim Reaper.

5. Should be getting this collection soon!

Loved the first collection.  This is a fun anthology of YA shorts by YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.

**Guilty pleasure:

After doctor visit?  I might run over and get a Starbucks holiday drink.  They're Salted Caramel Mocha is really good!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Five

1.  Have annual thyroid sonogram visit later today.  Back in 1988 my gynecologist found a huge growth in my throat which later was diagnosed as possible thyroid cancer.  I had surgery and the surgeon removed the half of the thyroid with the growth.  Luckily for me it was benign.  My younger sis had the same thing happen to her only hers was thyroid cancer.

So two years ago I asked for another sonogram to check out the remaining side.  They found some nodules and one is bigger than the others.  This means I have to go back every year so they can monitor them to see if they grow any more.

Cross fingers it's okay!  In the meantime, I've not had a diet Coke for a week.  One tech told me to do this with my mammograms as it might help not get cysts.  I've also tried to have a salad every day and been cutting back on other sugary things as next Monday I have to have blood work to not only check my thyroid level but my cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Oh, joy.

2. Watched the season premier and enjoyed this campy Mean Girls meets Slasher.  A little gory but still hilarious;

3. Excited that publisher sent me this YA horror book to review:

Here's the awesome book trailer:

4. Finish reading this awesome YA novel:

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Haunting ghost tale of loss and love set in a centuries old Gothic mansion off the coast of Maine. Also a story of being true to not only yourself but coming to terms with a painful past.

5. Listening to the audio of this one!  I'm a huge Tudor fan! 

This story though is no THE TUDORS; 

This King Henry is older and shown in graphic detail.  Let's just say he's not gorgeous at all.  For his soon to be 6th wife, her fear of displeasing him and her description of the aging king are very vivid.  So far really enjoying!

**Guilty pleasure:

Need to find a tiara for next month's OCCRWA Birthday Bash event. 

I really want to go for the Queen Levana look though from FAIREST by Marissa Meyer:  Might need some gaze material? 

I'm going and spending the night at the hotel so I can go to the pj party afterwards.

If you just happen to be at FenCon?  Check out the Zumaya Publishing booth where copies of NO MORE GODDESSES are!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Five

1. So it's official!  I'll be a Cybil's judge this year for the YA Speculative Fiction category.  You all know how much I LOVE this genre!  I'm also so excited to be working again with the fab Sheila Ruth, who is filled with awesomeness!  Plus, there's some amazing YA fantasies this past year!

Can't wait!

From last year's Kidlitcon.  Sheila is on the left side of me!

2. Actually watched the GOP debate.  Husband was surprised.  I'm not a Republican but I feel you need to keep on top of things and not just read Twitter for your information.

The day before I saw this on Access Hollywood and couldn't resist taking a photo.  Talk about Freudian slip:

I try not to get all political, considering all the trolls and hate that's out there right now but I vowed I wouldn't be silent whenever I hear racism.  Trump's hate comments against undocumented individuals really frightens me.  Not so much him, but those who are his supporters.  It has been bringing out the ugliness of our nation.

And why should Bush apologize for speaking Spanish?  This is another thing that really infuriates me.

Just ugh on it all.

3. A good book that shows the plight of undocumented families is this one:

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Bittersweet glimpse into the lives of a couple from two different worlds and how love might be able to crack through the hatred thrown their way. An important read right now especially in light of recent political rhetoric that targets undocumented immigrants.

4. Just finished reading FACELESS:

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Riveting portrayal of an accident victim who struggles to come to grips with not only a new face but the person she becomes.

5.  Halfway through this spooky tale:

Really enjoying this story of a teen who finds out the truth about his dead Ghost Adventures type dad, who leaves him more than he thought.  Let's just say he finds out he's now the boss over some dead spirits.  Some aren't too happy about this!

**Guilty pleasure:

Loved the books and of course I totally love Dylan O'Brien.  Can't wait to see!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Five

1.  This week started off with my younger brother, Brent, getting married to Angelica in Vegas.

Doesn't she look gorgeous in this photo?

Angelica is from Baja, California.  I've only spoken to her over the phone, but she seems very sweet.  One thing is for sure.  She's made my brother happy after a very unhappy previous marriage.  Wishing both of them the best.

2. Homeschooling week three has been tough.  In our church, teens in grades 9-12 go to early morning Bible study called Seminary.  In our ward(kind of like local church), it starts at 5:45am.

Yes, you heard me right:

5:45 A.M.

Since I'm the mom and all, guess who has to get him up at 5am?

So this is me:

Though I've been using that time to do some writing.  So it's ending up to be a win-win situation.

3. Oh, have to share this latest.  This is a video with Mexican-American actor George Lopez's take on Trump.


Everyone knows how passionate I am to see more Latin@ protagonists in YA/children literature.  The whole Trump trashing Mexicans makes me ill.

I wrote EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA back in 2007 for not only my second language learners to have a mirror to their culture but because there was a lack of strong Latino protagonists in fantasies.

I will continue to write my stories which happen to have Latin@ protagonists because this is part of who I am.  For now, I'm going to step aside and just concentrate on writing the best stories I can.


Just finished reading this very intriguing YA:

I really enjoyed!

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Powerful glimpse into the world of darkness and the love that can pull one from its depths. A creepy, haunting read that will surprise readers at the end.

Just started reading this book: 

I've always been intrigued on Queen Levana's back story. 

5. Really excited to receive DREAM THINGS TRUE by Marie Marquardt

This one is a diverse love story between an undocumented Latin@ and a Southern White boy.  Can't wait to read!

**Guilty pleasure:

Not sure.  Have to finally get new tires for our Rav4.  Today is the only Friday I really have open for a few weeks.  Man, living in So. Ca is $$$$.  These tires will cost $650.  Then I noticed the Honda's service light just went on.


Monday, September 07, 2015

Release Day Blitz: SERPENTINE by Cindy Pon

I'm really excited about the latest Cindy Pon book!  Why?  I love her way of weaving in Chinese mythology into a fantasy that makes it come alive!  Plus, it has a diverse protagonist!


Cindy Pon is the author of Silver Phoenix (Greenwillow, 2009), which was named one of the Top Ten Fantasy and Science Fiction Books for Youth by the American Library Association’s Booklist, and one of 2009′s best Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror by VOYA. The sequel to Silver Phoenix, titled Fury of the Phoenix, was released in April 2011. Serpentine, the first title in her next Xia duology, will be published by Month9Books in September 2015. She is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. Cindy is also a Chinese brush painting student of over a decade. Visit her website at

“Skybright … ” He tugged her gently to him. “I never feel
as if I can speak of my past with the other monks. Because of
my birthmark. Because I’m different. But with you, I … ” He
didn’t finish the thought, but instead leaned in and kissed her.
It was like a jolt, quickening her pulse. His mouth was full,
firm against her own. He smelled of camphor wood and sweat.
Of boy. His tongue flicked across her lips and instinctively she
opened her mouth to him. She gasped when their tongues met.
Warmth pooled in her stomach and spread, till her entire body
was roused.


His hands had wound around her waist, sneaked under
her sleep tunic so she could feel his rough palms against her
midriff. They met at the small of her back and slid upward,
till his fingers caressed her shoulder blades, and they were
crushed against each other.

They kissed until the blood roared in her ears and she felt
drunk with desire. Then something ignited inside of her, that
now familiar heat, writhing through and pulsing down her
legs. Terrified, she shoved his shoulders hard, and he stumbled
back, dazed.

Skybright clutched her head between tight fists, willing the
blazing heat away. Willing herself not to change. No. Not now.
Not in front of Kai Sen. Her body shook with the effort, still
trembling from the kiss they had shared. Terror constricted her

His thumb stroked her cheek, and she jerked away from him.

“What was that?” She tried to catch her breath, and the
words came unevenly.

“I’ve always wondered what it was like, to kiss.” His voice
sounded low and thick.

“So you decided to experiment on the first handmaid you
came across?”

The first handmaid he came across naked in the forest.
Humiliation and anger wound tight within her, and she
welcomed the emotions. Anything to smother the heat that
threatened to rise below.

Kai Sen made a choking noise. “No. Of course not. I
wanted to kiss you.” He lifted his hand to touch her again and
she slapped it aside. “I like you,” he said quietly. “I’ve seen
plenty of servant girls in town, wandering the markets. But
you were the only I ever knew brave enough to climb a giant
cypress to spy on monks.” He smiled. “You’re the only one
I’ve felt I could share my past with–”

“You don’t even know me,” she said. And it felt as if her
heart was shattering like brittle porcelain, because Kai Sen
could never truly know her. Not ever. “Please go.”
He took a step back, and she hated him for obeying her.

“Will you still meet me in the morning by the creek?” he asked.

And there's a giveaway!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Friday Five

1. Week two of homeschooling ninth grade has been filled with confusion on the whole on-line thing.  During our yearly family meeting, went over goals and incentives to motivate son to do well so he can transition over to public high school next year.

High school so far has had it's challenges.

So can see son telling me this:

Since I write YA, I always kind of related with my protagonists and not the parents.  Now that I'm a mother of a teen?  Omg, am I one of those 'parents'?

I can get through this.  There's always cute animal gifs to look out, right?

2. OCCRWA's Birthday bash's theme this year is ONCE UPON A TIME. I'm suppose to dress like one of my favorite characters.  I'm thinking of either doing the whole America thing from THE ELITE series:

Or evil Levana from Marissa Meyer's LUNAR series.  I love tormented antagonists.

3. I'm a guest blogger over on my publisher's blog.  TOP 5 HAUNTED SITES IN SACRAMENTO includes some background on why I set my YA novel CROSSED OUT over there.  There's a lot more than the Gold Rush to the city of my birth.

Here's Great-grandfather Baccelli's salon that was located in Old Towne, Sacramento.

My guest blog post:

4. Right now reading the creepy, spooky YA ebook galley SHALLOW GRAVES:

I have a hard time reading ebook galleys so you know the book must be a winner if I'm totally engaged!

5.  Finally picked up this book after a number of people recommended it, including the fab librarian Karen Jensen, @TLT on Tweeter.  Karen never has steered me wrong with her YA suggestions:

**Guilty pleasure:

Pedi time!  I'm thinking of going more dark navy this time. It's been a month and I so need a little pampering right now!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Five

1.  School started on Tuesday.  Son is now a ninth grader!

This is his last year being homeschooled as he wants to go to regular high school and try out for the football team.  Right now we need to concentrate on some things and then that means I can be a full-time writer again next year!


2. The whole Trump thing has really been getting to me big time.  I'm very proud of my Mexican heritage.  My bisabuela's family were migrant workers from outside of Sonora, Mexico.  No, they weren't citizens.  And no, Mr. Trump, they weren't murderers or worse.

Someone told me I shouldn't let it get to me or worse, not say anything, but I vowed to myself after a terrible experience I had back in college, that I would never not stand up whenever racism was happening.

And I do open my mouth and voice my concerns.

Actress America Ferrera nailed it:

3. Finished reading the sequel to KILLER OF ENEMIES from Tu Books.

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Gripping story that has readers re-enter the harsh post-apocalyptic world with a tough Native American heroine who's struggles to overcome her own pains, while guiding others to a place of refuge, make her a character all are sure to rally behind.

4. Right now reading Libba Bray's latest: LAIR OF DREAMS.  Love!

Libba is one author I actually did go all fangirly over when she signed a book for me at ALA12:

Libba is such a good sport.  She's all like mellow when I basically told her, "Omg, I love you!"

Her photo:

Really loving the sequel to DIVINERS.  I'm not usually a fan of multiple points of view but Libba nails it.  Loving this paranormal horror set in the roaring 20s!

5. At halfway mark of revision.  This is hopefully the last round before I sent over to critique buddy.  Then I plan to research agents and also outline my Nano project which is going to be a historical romance set in the 20s.

**Guilty pleasure:

After I do the monthly Costco run, play to just sit down and finish reading LAIR OF DREAMS.  Maybe I'll grab a nom-worthy Starbucks summer drink before the Fall ones come out next week!

Yes, I heard that the Pumpkin latte will be out!  Totally grabbing one!  Love the individual packs too.

Photo courtesy of