Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vacation Memories

        So we’re talking vacations this month. It’s a bit premature since most vacations happen in the summer. 
I never really took vacations until after I was married and had kids and my husband retired from the Coast Guard and found another job, because we just couldn’t afford to. Our first family vacation was 2002. A trip to Florida. My nieces Heather and Sierra joined us, along with Sierra’s brother Nik. We went to both Disneyworld and Universal studios and had a blast! The kids were all at the perfect age to enjoy the rides and shows.  As much fun as that was though, I think my most memorable vacation was the one I took in 1975, with my whole family. It was the first and only vacation I can remember us taking and the last because a few months later my mom passed away.  I can still remember when she came to tell us we were taking a trip. She just walked in the room while we were watching TV and said, “We’re going on a trip, so pack some clothes and get some sleep. We’re leaving very early in the morning.”  Yeah, it was a spur of the moment thing. I think my aunt and uncle talked her into it, they came with us.

So we all piled into our Suburban…seven kids aged nine to seventeen, a two year old toddler and three adults and took a road trip south along the Texas gulf coastline. I remember we made stops in Alice, Kingsville, Corpus Christie and Brownsville….visiting with family mostly. Then we took a trip across the border to Mexico to do some shopping.  I don’t remember which town it was, there are a few you can cross into that welcome tourists.  Along the river on the Mexico side, you’ll see children of all ages begging for money and scrambling like ants for the measly coins people toss down to them. Once you cross the river via the international bridge and you’re accosted by merchants trying to sell you everything from candies to clothing to wall hangings. Even children, some as young as five, will try to sell you packets of gum.  The streets are lined with stores and the sidewalks are crowded with carts filled with leather belts, handbags, jewelry,  everything you can think of. And, occasionally you’ll pass a store and your senses are filled with the spicy aroma of Mexican food.  I don’t remember if anyone bought anything, although I’m sure we did.  But, you have to be careful who you turn down because if it’s the wrong person, you could end up cursed. I saw a woman give my mother a dirty look when she told her no and a couple of months later mom got sick. (Superstitious much?)

I’ve made a few trips back to Mexico over the years and not much has changed.  The children are still begging for loose change, merchants are still trying to make deals, and you won’t find better Mexican food. Of course, I avoid eye-contact, for obvious reasons. Hah

A few years back, while I was working on my book Dark Obsession (available May 5th), my aunt, cousin and I took a trip back down the Rio Grande Valley (the gulf coastline) so I could get some visuals. Dark Obsession takes place in the valley….almost all of my stories do, actually.  I got some great stories from my aunt’s in-laws as well as some great scenery to use in the story.  

Anyway, speaking of Dark Obsession, the book is being re-released May 5th. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and help spread the word. =)

Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt for your reading pleasure. 


        A chance encounter seals the fate of a reclusive farmer and a mysterious woman who's on the run from a man who will stop at nothing to control her--including murder.
Ray Chavez  doesn’t believe in visions or omens or the mysticism of his Mexican/Indian heritage. When he’s awakened by the spirit of this great-grandmother with a message that something is coming, Ray passes it off as a bad dream. But he may just reconsider his position when he finds Lexie Solis stranded on the edge of town, in search of a new life. Ray feels an instant attraction, as well as a connection, to the skittish young woman, and he pursues a relationship with her. But what Lexie doesn’t tell Ray or his family, is that she is on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend and he may be more powerful than even she wants to believe. When Lexie is assaulted by an unseen force, they learn that the man she is hiding from is a master of the dark arts and his obsession with Lexie goes beyond his need to control her; he wants to possess her soul as well. As their past lives parallel, Lexie’s only hope for salvation is in Ray’s hands. But can he accept his destiny in time to save the woman he loves? 


Sylvia dropped onto the kitchen chair and scowled at her brother. She’d rushed straight from work after her grandmother called and told her about their new visitor. She couldn’t help but wonder if it were the same visitor her cards had been warning her about for the past week and even after she voiced this concern Ray still had the nerve to patronize her.

She’s not some stray puppy you picked up from the side of the road, Ray,” she said. I’m just saying you don’t know anything about her.”

Ray leaned against the counter, crossing his legs at the ankles, and sent her a crooked grin. Damn. And I was really looking forward to teaching her a few tricks.”

Stop thinking with your glands and think with your head, Big Brother,” Sylvia snapped.

I’ve been thinking with my glands since I was fourteen. It’s a hard habit to break.”

Sylvia curled her lip at him and turned to her grandmother for support. She had sensed a mal puesta in the young woman and performed a limpia to heal her. It was a ritual they often worked for the families in town who came to see them about their curses. The inflicted would lie on a small cot and her grandmother would wave an egg over them, chanting a series of novenas.

She did this same cleansing on the young woman in Ray’s old bedroom. When she finished she took the egg and cracked it into a glass of salt water. The egg sizzled and cooked, curling its way to the surface like a snake trying to escape the flames of hell.

 Look for this and other works at my website:

Monday, January 20, 2014

I knew....

Josephine Martinez Molina
January 20, 1935 - June 15, 1975 

It's so true when they say your life can change in an instant. I've always believed things happen for a reason, that there's a purpose for why or when. Events in your life, good or bad, build the person you become. You just don't realize it until later if they made you better or stronger.
My mom died on Father's Day, 1975, two days before my thirteenth birthday. I remember the day vividly; waking up at eight in the morning and seeing my oldest sister climbing into my aunt's car. My first thought, before I fell back asleep was, "she must be going to the hospital because mom died." Yeah, pretty morbid thought to have, but I just had that gut feeling. In fact, several months before, when my brothers and sisters and I gathered on the floor around my mom's easy chair and she told us she had to go into the hospital my first question to her was, "are you going to die?" She spent a lot of weeks in the hospital and in that time I mourned her loss. I just knew she wasn't going to come home. And, a couple of hours later, when my cousin came to the house and ushered us into our Suburban without caring if we'd had breakfast, I knew. When he dropped us at the entrance and said to go to the nurse's station. I knew. When we rode up into the elevator to the fourth floor, my younger brother and sister chattering and laughing, I knew. When the floor nurse told us to go to the room opposite the one our mother was in, I knew. And when I opened the door and found it full of my family, tears streaming down their cheeks, my brother standing still against the window, his expression blank...I knew.
Over the years, as I got older, I thought a lot about what it must have been like for her, raising seven children, alone, widowed at the age of 36. As a child, I didn't give her the respect she deserved--children rarely do when they're young. But, I was number 5 in the bunch (of 7), and I didn't feel like she cared about me as much as the others. I now know, with that many children, it's hard to give time to just one. Especially when all they do is fight...yeah, we fought often...not physically, verbally. I used to wonder if maybe she begged God to take her away.

When I started having children I used to think: don't let me be like her.  When, in fact, I want to be like her. She was strong and caring and loving and she didn't let anything break her.
I don't know what kind of relationship we would have had if she lived, but I like to believe we would have been close.

I think about her often, especially during the holidays when my children are gathered around me.  I wonder if she knows how much I love her and miss her. And I hope I've made her proud.

There's a song by Christina Aguilera called Hurt, that resonates with me and sums up a lot of what I would say if she were here today. The lyrics are below.

But, most of all, I would tell her, Thank you. 

Happy Birthday.

Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face
You told me how proud you were but I walked away
If only I knew what I know today
Ooh ooh
 I would hold you in my arms
I would take the pain away
Thank you for all you've done
Forgive all your mistakes.
There's nothing I wouldn't do
To hear your voice again.
Sometimes I wanna call you but I know you won't be there
Oh, I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself by hurting you
Some days I feel broke inside but I won't admit
Sometimes I just wanna hide 'cause it's you I miss
And it's so hard to say goodbye when it comes to this, ooh, whoa
Would you tell me I was wrong?
Would you help me understand?
Are you looking down upon me?
Are you proud of who I am?
 There's nothing I wouldn't do
To have just one more chance
To look into your eyes and see you looking back
Oh, I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself, oh, oh, oh.
If I had just one more day
I would tell you how much that I've missed you since you've been away
Oh, it's dangerous
It's so out of line
To try and turn back time
I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself by hurting you

Oh, and, in honor of mom's birthday,  from now (January 20) thru Wednesday (the 22nd) my novel House of Cards will be on sale for just .99 cents. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day!

Official seal of the United States Department of Veterans AffairsIn November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
Did you know we've been celebrating this holiday for nearly 100 years? I don't think a lot of people do (know it). I think it's become one of those holidays you wait for because it means "big sales" at the department stores or a day off from work (especially if you're a government employee). Like most of the holidays, Veteran's Day has also become 'commercialized'. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to celebrate and support our nations military...I was a military spouse--my husband retired in 2000-- and a soon to be military mom. I know what our service people go through and what the families have to deal with daily. As a military spouse you're suddenly thrust into single-parenthood. You become both mom and dad to the younger children. You have to learn to split your time equally...which can be difficult if you have more than one child...and multitask like a maniac and hopefully squeeze out a little bit of 'me' time in the evening. 

When my husband and I married, he'd already been in the Coast Guard for ten years (yes, the Coast Guard is part of the military). In those ten years we had four children, moved four times. The first move was in Alaska, when our son was 4 and our daughter was nine months old. My husband was on a Cutter for two years and in those two years spent a total of 6 months at home...long enough to give us another child. haha After returning to the lower forty-eight, we had another child and moved three more times, but luckily within the state of Texas. The last year and a half, my husband lived on-site in south Texas while we lived six hours away....all for financial reasons and because child #2 had special needs and needed to be closer to Houston's Children's Hospital. So I was a single mom of four for 18 months. But, for me, it wasn't much of a chore.  I was used to doing things on my own and taking care of a large family. The hard part came when my husband visited because he messed up our routine. haha  But, being with him, serving with him, made us a stronger unit than we could have ever hoped for. And I'm very proud to have been a part of his first career.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews