Friday, September 25, 2009

Scribbler Award!!

A special Thank You to Jo Ann Hernandez at BronzeWord Latino for recognizing me with this special award.

As a recipient I too would like to honor some blogs. Each of these blogs that I honor are asked to do the same. In other words, here are the ground rules:

• Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.• Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

• Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

• Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

• Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

So, here is my list of The 5 Recipients of The Scholastic Scribe’s Superior Scribbler Award:

I hope you enjoy them as well.
  1. Murderati

  2. Murder She Writes

  3. STET!

  4. Killer Fiction

  5. The Scruffy Dog Review Blog

Congrats to all!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How far into your reading list are you?

I've been on a bit of a tear lately...uh, that's the expression, right?
Anyway, while I wait on my son to finally move out and give me back my office--(that sounds bad, but the kid is almost 22 and has no life) I decided to tackle my "To-be-read" list of books. I have a lot of them, some a couple of years old that I've just totally forgotten I had because I buy new books from my writer friends as they come out and add them to the stack. Yeah, I know, I should start my reading with the bottom of the pile, but, I don't.

Anyway, in the past couple of weeks I've read
Girls Just Wanna Have Guns (book three in the Bobby Faye series by Toni McGee Causey)
Natural Born Charmer --Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Kill Her Again--Robert Gregory Browne
Kiss Her Goodbye--Robert Gregory Browne (although I read this one last month)
Fatal Secrets--Allison Brennan (also read Sudden Death last month)
Say Goodbye--Lisa Gardner
Chasing Darkness--Robert Crais
Two Minute Rule--Robert Crais (my son read it too and was disappointed it wasn't an Elvis Cole book..hah)

I'm getting ready to read Black Lightning--John Saul
I love his work but haven't read anything in a while, so I'm looking forward to being creeped out. hah

On Friday the local library had a book sale (1/2 price) so I went to pick up some books I had once planned to buy but forgot about. So, yeah, instead of my list getting shorter, it's getting longer. (not that I'm complaining.) =)

I've always been a reader, even when I was a kid. I think I developed the love of books from my mother (and I hope she'd be happy to know she passed on something good to me) she was a fan of books. She used to go to the library every couple of weeks and check out up to ten books at a time. Mostly Barbara Cartland, at least those were the ones I noticed on her dresser. No, I didn't pick them up to read (I was only 11--but I did sneak one of her books once and it scared the crap out of me because it was Helter Skelter.) lol I think that's why I later became a John Saul fan...

Anyway, I suspect my mother's love of reading (like my own) came from a sort of lonliness and despair she felt at being a single mom of seven. I even suspect she planned to die at an early age (40) so she wouldn't have to be lonely (the mind can be a powerful tool).

Uh, anyway that's a post for another time (or couch) hah

Although my inital love of reading came from my need to 'escape' my life (as a teen), over the last ten years I've started using my love of books as a training tool. I'd always had stories in my head and occasionally I would write the stories down, sometimes in screenplay form (not that I knew how to do that..again, I was a teenager), but I never really thought to pursue the dream of being a published writer. It was a fleeting thought sometimes, but I never had enough faith in myself to go for it. Shortly before I turned 40 I decided it was time to do something about that dream...part of it was because I was nearing 40 and so far it looked like I'd surpass the age. (that's another 'couch' blog)

Okay, if you're not totally dizzy with this rambling post, I'll get to the point....whatever that was. ;-P

I guess I just want to thank those writers out there who had the courage to bleed onto the page and send those stories out there to be published. Without their knowledge and talent (and encouragement from many I've had the pleasure to meet--some of whom are listed above) I wouldn't have jumped on the bandwagon too. Their words not only entertain me for hours on end, they also teach me how to entertain others.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

National Hispanic Heritage Month--and Reminiscing

This is actually a repost from last year. But, since today marks the first day of National Hispanic Month, I thought I'd put it up again...hence the word repost. heh

From September 15 to October 15 the nation will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. I'm not sure when the holiday started or rather, when the nation decided to acknowledge it, but for as long as I can remember, there was always a celebration in my hometown, Port Arthur, Texas.

Every third weekend in September my family (and I mean everyone in my family) would attend a three day "Mexican Fiesta" held by the Mexican Heritage Society in Port Arthur. At that time, it was held in the parking lot of the local strip mall, Jefferson City (I remember only because last year someone commented and reminded me. She also remembered the Woolco department store that used to be on the corner...Geez, how old does that show my age or what?)

Anyway, the festivities would start on Friday evening and consist of mostly food booths....what better reason to go to a fiesta, I ask?? The food was so totally awesome! made by local families and parishoners from Our Lady of Guadelupe Church and the money raised for the Heritage Society and the Hispanic community. They also had a pagent to crown a queen (done on Saturday evening), mariachi players, Calpulli dancers, tamale eating contests (which my brother Dave won once) and a street dance (literally since we were in a parking lot) with bands from Victoria Texas or Corpus Christie and other towns. Most of the people attending either sat on the gates of their pickup trucks or brought lawn chairs to sit on, circling around an area designated the 'dance floor'. My brothers and sisters and cousins and I used to jump in when the band played The Cotton-eyed of the few dances we could do without a partner. Occasionally we were allowed to work a food booth or drink cart...always fun when you're a kid. (and on a side note, I had my first kiss at the fiesta, but I won't say who he was or my age at the time.)

Nowadays the fiesta is held at the Port Arthur Civic Center and (imo) isn't the celebration it used to be. It's lost a lot in it's transition (mostly the tradition). Last year Hurricane Ike forced the cancelation of the celebration, but it came back strong over the weekend. One of these years I'm going to make it back home for one of these celebrations.

Anyway, if you've never been to an actual Mexican Fiesta, you should go. Aside from the one in Port Arthur, Brownsville also holds a week long celebration called Charro Days. It's held yearly at the end of February, and celebrates the sister cities of Brownsville, Texas and Matamoras, Mexico. I've never had the opportunity to attend this party, but one of these days I will. Especially since I've introduced it in my current WIP, House of Cards (soon to be sold...uh...once I finish it.)

So, how do you plan to celebrate Mexican Independence Day and National Hispanic Heritage Month? I know....why not curl up with a hot Latina Romance?

Today only I'm giving away copies of my novella, Her Will His Way to everyone who leaves a comment. Just send me your email info.

Her Will His Way is a romantic love story set in the Rio Grand Valley, Texas.

After her husband’s infidelity ends their ten year marriage and allegations of fraud send her interior design business into bankruptcy, Anita Perez is more than happy to take over her late grandfather’s flower shop in the Rio Grande valley. However, she has a problem–she doesn’t speak Spanish, which is something her grandmother’s sexy neighbor, Antonio Hernandez, feels the need to remind her of on a daily basis.
Antonio has loved Anita for as long as he can remember, but the only attention she’d give him was in willful response to a dare. Now that she’s returned to the valley Antonio will stop at nothing to win her heart.
But Antonio’s plan may backfire if Anita finds out that he made a deal with the devil, and he used the flower shop to lure her into more than just his bed.

Antonio’s lips curved into a sexy grin. “Are you still afraid of me, Anita?”
The amusement in his eyes stopped her from answering. He was baiting her again. Well, two could play this game, she thought smugly.
She moved her hand to the V of his shirt, skimming her finger over his chest. The warmth of his skin shimmered through her, charging every nerve in her body. She’d never seduced anyone before, but maybe it was time she did. After all, she’d moved to the valley to start a new life. And taking what she wanted, when she wanted, was the best way to do that.
She sent him a feline smile and gripped his shirt. “Maybe it’s you who should be afraid of me,” she said, pulling him into a kiss.

**For those of you who stopped by today (9/19/2012) get a copy of the book Her Will His Way or one of the other books of your choice (since there are three now...and one on the way.) Just email me at

Monday, September 07, 2009

Guest Blogger Mayra Calvani

Today I’m honored to host Guest Blogger Mayra Calvani.

Multi-genre author, reviewer and animal advocate Mayra Calvani hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, playing the violin, and interviewing other authors for her blogs and newsletters. She’s a member of SCBWI and the Latino Books Examiner for, as well as a regular contributor to Suite101 and Blogcritics. Visit Mayra at:

For a special treat Mayra has posted one of her short stories.

Déjà vu
By Mayra Calvani

Amanda stood on the sidewalk overlooking the sea. The splash of the waves against the rocks below resonated in the air. She could taste the salty tang sharply on her tongue, feel the cool breeze tousling her hair. She hugged her arms to stop the goose bumps.

Tonight Old San Juan vibrated with a magical quality. Twinkling multi-colored lights and shimmering garlands adorned shop windows and balconies. Christmas trees glowed from inside the flats that lined the street.

Amanda admired the sea a little longer; it was late and she had to go home. She and her husband were giving a party. They always did on Christmas Eve. She was stalling and she knew it, though she didn’t know exactly why.

Abruptly someone bumped into her. She turned to see a little boy running down the street. She froze for a second before realizing what had happened—he had stolen her handbag.

“Hey!” she said, running after him. “Come back here!”

A sensation of unreality grabbed her. She saw the little boy running in slow motion, his dark curls floating behind him as if there were no gravity. An intense feeling of déjà vu shook her to the core. She had to catch up with him. She had to stop him!

“Stop!” she shouted, breathless.

Everything happened in a matter of seconds. The boy glanced behind his shoulder just as he tried to cross the street. A fast approaching car was coming in his direction. Amanda reached for the boy’s shirt and pulled him harshly to the sidewalk and away from the street. The boy struggled against her, but she held on, a wave of relief flooding through her.

“Stop that. The policeman will see us,” Amanda said, her eyes on the strolling officer across the street. Oddly, he looked bored, as if he had not noticed anything unusual.

The boy relaxed under her grip and for the first time she had a chance to look into his face. He had shoulder-length curly hair and large brown eyes surrounded by thick lashes. Under the streetlight his chestnut curls glowed. He couldn’t have been older than eight. In spite of his arrogant attitude, he reminded her of a cherub.

“What do you think you were doing? Trying to get yourself killed? That car almost ran into you!” she said.

“Are you going to have me arrested?” he said, lifting his chin.

Amanda glanced at the officer, who was now far away. She sighed. “Are you going to give me back my bag?”

Looking oddly calm, he gave her the bag.

“Thank you,” Amanda said drily.

“Can you let me go now?”

Amanda realized she was still holding on to him. Confusion and fear filled her being. She didn’t want to let go.

“I’m not going away,” the boy said enigmatically.

Their eyes locked momentarily.

“Oh… all right…” She let go. “What’s your name?”


“Why did you try to steal my bag?”

His small, thin shoulders lifted in a shrug. “Why do poor kids steal rich people’s bags?”

She decided to ignore his wisecrack. “You should go home. It’s late. Your parents must be worried.”

“Nah, they never worry.”

They began to walk side by side.

“Let me bring you home.”

“I don’t want to go home. There’s always too much fighting in there.”

“It’s Christmas Eve. I bet your mom is preparing a nice meal.”

“I don’t want to go home,” he said coldly, stopping her in her tracks.
Amanda looked at him. She was not ready to say goodbye. “Well, do you want to come to my house? We can have something to eat together.”

“Do you live in a mansion?”

“You could say that.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“I have a dog,” Amanda said.

His expression brightened. “What’s his name?”

“Noah. Well?”

Felipito seemed thoughtful as he stuffed his hands inside his pockets and resumed his walk. “I’d like to meet Noah.”


At Amanda’s home the party was at full swing. Guests in sophisticated attire were gathered around the pool with drinks and cigarettes in their hands. Some couples danced. Others ate by a long buffet table. Holiday music poured out of hidden speakers.

Amanda led Felipito to the back of the garden and towards the back door of the kitchen.

“Do you know all these people?” he asked.

“Yes and no.” She halted momentarily to look at the guests. “My husband is an important man. These are mostly his co-workers.” Her voice had turned sad, bitter. “ I’ve always been sort of a hermit.”

“What’s that?”

“I like being alone.”


“My husband is a very important man.”

“So you said.”

They looked to the kitchen as a large blond dog stormed out the door and dashed into their direction.

“Noah!” Amanda said, smiling for the first time that night. “Come here, boy! Let me introduce you to someone.”

She bent over to stroke him and scratch him behind the ears. Felipito laughed as he joined in the petting. Noah whimpered as if he couldn’t have enough of Amanda’s affection.

“Let’s go inside,” Amanda said.

She led him to a table at the far end of the kitchen, while the servants continued their duties on the other side of the room. After bringing an assortment of food and pastries to the table, Amanda sat across from Felipito. Noah lay at her feet, his tail still swaging from contentment.

“Go ahead, eat,” she said.

“Aren’t you going to eat?”

“I’ll just have a drink,” she said, lifting a glass of wine as if in toast.

Felipito studied the servants in the kitchen, then turned to Amanda. A dark cloud crossed his features; he appeared infinitely older than his years.

“Do you have any kids?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I’ve always wanted kids, but I can’t have them.”


After Felipito finished eating, Amanda said, “I probably should bring you back now. It’s late. Your mom must be worried.”

Amanda leaned over to stroke Noah, who had started whimpering again as if sensing her parting.


Amanda and Felipito stood by the door of the small house which was his home.
Felipito looked somber. Amanda was about to knock when he stopped her and said, “Don’t. Let’s just go in.”

Inside the small living room there was no Christmas tree; no lights or garlands or poinsettias.

A woman sat alone in the dark, her back to them. She had something in her hands.
Felipito took Amanda’s hand and together they approached the woman until they stood over her shoulder.

Felipito sighed. “Don’t cry, Mami,” he whispered.

“What that in her hands?” Amanda asked.

Then she saw it. It was a photo of Felipito.

Amanda turned to him, the floor shifting under her, the room swirling around her. She opened her mouth, but no words came out.

“I died one year ago,” he said calmly.

Amanda took a step back. “No…”

She moved away from the crying woman and away from Felipito. His big eyes shimmered with emotion as he extended a hand towards Amanda.

“Come. I’ll show you,” he said.

“You can’t be dead. You’re here, with me, talking to me. You just played with my dog, ate at my kitchen. You can’t be…”



In the late hour the Old San Juan cemetery was cold and windy and Amanda could hear the waves crashing against the rocks below.

“Where are you taking me?” she said.

Now it was his turn to hold on to her. “You have to know, Amanda. You have to let go.”

She shook her head, tears flowing down her cheeks. “You’re going to show me your grave, is that it?”

His small hand pressed tighter around hers, his nails digging into her.
“There,” he said, pushing her in front of a tombstone.

She read the name engraved on the stone and covered her face with her hands, while all her life, all the memories rushed through her mind until that last very moment. “No! No! No!”

“Why is it that no one can see or hear us—no one except Noah? How do you think we moved from here to your house without a car?”


“You have to let go,” he said.

“No!” She fell to the ground, wallowing in the knowledge, guilt and pain.

“You’ll be here forever without freedom or peace until you forgive yourself. Look at me, Amanda.”

Her sobs weakened as she looked up at him.

“It was not your fault that I tried to steal your handbag. You had to run after me. It was not your fault that I got ran over by that car. You’ve punished yourself enough, drowning in alcohol and pills. Why did you take so many pills that night?”

“It was an accident…”

“I know.”

“I never meant to kill myself!”

“I know.” Then he said, “I forgive you, Amanda. This is why I’ve come here. Tonight.”

They were quiet for a long time. Amanda stood up and looked around her. Would she smell the sea again? Play with Noah? She felt scared and lost. “What now? Where do I go?”

Felipito took her by the hand. “Let me show you the way.”

The End

More of Mayra’s works ::

The Magic Violin
By Mayra Calvani
Illustrated by K.C. Snider
Guardian Angel Publishing
Tel: 314 276 8482
ISBN: 978-1-933090-49-8
November 2007
Paperback, 32 pages, $10.95
Picture Book, Ages 4-8

“This is a beautiful book with lyrical text. Vivid descriptions make Melina’s
emotions tangible. The accompanying illustrations are a perfect match.
They give a charming view of 19th Century Europe. A lovely addition to any
child’s bookshelf.” --Julie M. Prince, YABooksCentral

“Filled with old world charm, children will find this book has a distinctive foreign flavor. Illustrations are reminiscent of earlier days and the story itself conveys an old-fashioned feeling. The magic of a European Christmas Eve comes to life through text and pictures in this gentle tale for music lovers. Young violinists may discover their own dose of self-confidence in this unique picture book.”
–Nancy K. Wallace, VOYA reviewer
Order Here at

by Mayra Calvan

iIllustrated by Anna Pylypchuk
Guardian Angel Publishing
ISBN: 1-933090-54-5
April 2008Paperback, 32 pages, $10.95Picture Book, Ages 3-6

Join Marcelo as he learns to care for his brand new—and very peculiar—puppy and sets out to choose the perfect name for it.

Find out more about Crash here

Check out the Spanish edition, Chocalin:

In a bazaar in Istanbul one evening, ten-year-old Alana Piovanetti glances into the shadows to find a man watching her. He smiles, and over time she convinces herself that it was just her imagination that placed sharp fangs amongst those flashing teeth.
Twelve years later, Alana is surprised when she is chosen to manage a new restaurant opening in her home city of San Juan. She has neither training nor experience to justify her success. But La Cueva del Vampiro has the kind of ambience she adores, for Alana has always had a penchant for horror and the dark side of life. Yet she is also plagued with dreams of dark sensuality, dreams that take on shattering reality when she meets the stunningly handsome, charismatic Sadash.
For Sadash is the man she saw in the shadows so many years before...and Sadash isn't human….


"[Embraced by the Shadows] is a superbly written, deftly balanced story of love and death and twisted loyalties that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. More importantly, it will make you think and perhaps take a closer look at the shadowed corners of your own psyche.” –The Blue Iris Journal

"Mysterious, intriguing and somewhat unsettling at times, this novel is a must for all vampire reading fans. A rich, twisting plot and a surprising ending awaits you."
--The Midwest Book Review

"[Embraced by the Shadows] is a wonderful tale of a woman torn between a love she can not resist and a life she does not understand. Alana is a character to fall in love with... Mayra Calvani did an exemplary job in weaving this story of passion, love and betrayal. Once the reviewer started the prologue she was hooked and could not put this book down. This is a must read for fans of paranormal!" –Love Romances

“A dark brooding novel, Calvani takes us on a journey into the darkest corners of our hopes and desires, especially the desire of all humans to somehow survive and how far would we go if we were given the chance to live forever...This is a must read for all fans of vampire romance novels.”
--Murder & Mayhem Book Club

"...For any of you female readers that have always had the fantasy of your masculine vampire following you all through your life and not revealing himself until he thinks you are ready, this book is for you. This was an excellent read."--ParaNormal Romance Reviews

Embraced by the Shadows
By Mayra Calvani
Twilight Times Books

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
By Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards
Twilight Times Books
Twilight Times Books
Trade Paperback
188 pages, $16.95
Foreword by James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review
*2009 ForeWord Best Book of the Year Award!
*EPPIE Finalist
*Next Generation Indie Finalist
*USA Book News Award Finalist
Ebook ISBN: 1-933353-89-9, Available on Fictionwise
Trade Paperback coming in October 2009
Visit the author’s website at

Are you passionate about books? Do you have the desire to share your thoughts about a book with readers, yet are unsure about what makes a good review? Are you curious about the influence reviews have on readers, booksellers, and librarians?
If you’re an experienced reviewer, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will serve as an excellent reference tool and amalgam of resources. If you’re a beginner, this book will show you how to write a well-written, honest, objective and professional book review. It will also teach you:
· How to read critically
· How to differentiate the various types of reviews
· How to rate books
· How to prevent amateurish mistakes
· How to deal with the ethics and legalities of reviewing
· How to tell the difference between a review, a book report, and a critique
· How to start your own review site
· How to publish your reviews on dozens of sites and even make money while you’re at it, and much more

If you’re an author, publisher, publicist, bookseller, librarian, or reader, this book will also bring to light the importance and influence of book reviews within a wider spectrum.

Visit: and
by Mayra Calvani
Zumaya Publications
Release date: February 2009
Print ISBN: 978-1-934841-18-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-934841-19-8
Parody/Satire/Women's Fiction
Available on Amazon and as ebook from

Visit: for reviews, excerpt, etc.

Daniella, a naive and deeply sensitive architecture student who feels herself surrounded by carnivorous creatures from the Mesozoic Era.
Zorro, a deranged criminal running rampant on the streets of San Juan, terrorizing women who wear miniskirts.
Tony, Daniella's boyfriend, smug and selfish and demonically handsome, who seems oblivious to everything about him except to his own obsession with fame and LSD.
Ismael, Daniella's ex-husband, as cruel and innocent as a child, an art critic whose fantasies of revenge will force him to do something that will shock the entire island.
Irene Carlier, Ismael's new wife, better known as Lady Dracula, a ghastly rich woman who collects torturing devices and in whose penthouse apartment something utterly dreadful will be discovered.
Set in steamy San Juan, Puerto Rico, these and other crazed, eccentric characters swirl together in an intriguing, warped, darkly humorous world where not even Turkish cats are safe from marijuana smoke.

Mayra’s tour continues thru September 18.
Find out more about her at these wonderful blogs.

8 Roxanna SpanglishBaby
9 Silva Martinez
11 Icess Fernandez
14 Efrain Ortiz Jr.
16 Christina Rodriguez
17 Ricardo Lori
18 Misa Ramirez Chasing Heroes

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews