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:

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews