Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Do Over: Prologue and Chapter 1

Life doesn't look like it's supposed to for Dani Ruiz, a hopeless romantic. After a painful and sudden break-up with Rick Marin, Dani hides away from reality, retreating to a world of fiction where she prefers book boyfriends over the hassles of a relationship.

Almost two years later, Dani's friends are tired of watching her in a holding pattern, so they stage an intervention, forcing her back into the real world of dating.

Unexpectedly, Dani meets Liam Lucas, a down-to-earth firefighter. He might be the person to show her she's still worth something. Dani's hesitant to trust her heart with another man, but their instant and electric chemistry is something she can't deny.

As Dani starts to believe that she's found her real-life book boyfriend, Rick decides that he'll go to any lengths to get her back. Seeing Rick as a changed man makes Dani question everything. 

Can Dani trust her patched-up heart with Liam? 
Or has Rick transformed into the man she's always wanted? 

Written from various points of views, The Do Over is a story of second chances and new beginnings.

Read the Prologue and Chapter 1

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Simple Act of Kindness: One Day

This morning as I was walking into the building at work, there was a lady a few steps behind me just make her ascent up the steps to the landing. I slid my badge and opened the door, holding it for her. 

She looked up but told me to go ahead. Something in her eyes told me she didn't want me to be bothered. Who knows what burdens she was carrying inside? But on the outside, she was slow and had a mild limp. 

But I waited. 

I'm not a super hero or this selfless person who's always aware of those around me. In fact, I'll bump into people in the hallways because I'm off in my little bubble. 

But this morning, I was aware. And in that awareness, I offered kindness to someone else. 

Sometimes, they're called random acts of kindness.  Other times, people refer to them as manners and polite decorum.  Some will even call it being human.

When we're in touch with those around us, 
a simple act can make a huge impact. 

Have you ever done something that was "nothing" for you but seemed like the world for someone else?


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Madison Stuart School of Kicking Ana's Ass Into Shape: The Decision to Start

After a long sip of my green smoothie, I let out a deep sigh and traced the logo on the Jamba Juice paper cup. My eyes fluttered up, hoping she'd notice, but Madison sat uninterested, flipping through her phone. I sighed a little louder and took another sip.

"You're pathetic," she accused, keeping her eyes on the screen. "If you want my attention, speak. I've never understood women's subtle hints." Her steely eyes met my troubled ones as she reached for her cup containing some putrid combination of juices that I had yet to muster the courage to taste. "It wreaks of insecurity." With her straw at her lips, she ordered, "speak, already."

I hated her bluntness. "You're not a very nice person," I countered. I didn't like her condescending tone. Just because she was in shape, healthy, and whatnot, didn't give her the right to talk down to me. Excuse me! I was a lot older than her, and well as we age our metabolism, hormones, and everything goes to hell in a hand basket. I'd like to see her body when she's pushing her early forties. A little smirk spread on my face, imagining her fat and frustrated. 

Reaching for the napkin on the table, she dabbed the corner of her mouth. I hated, yet another thing about her, her manners. She always used them except when she spoke to me. That's when she was rude, callous, and insensitive. At that moment, I was fragile, and what I needed was compassion.

Sympathy often leads to apathy.

She propped her elbows on the table and laced her fingers together, creating the perfect cradle for her face. "If you wanted nice, you'd be sitting across from Dani." Her lips spread in a devious grin. "You want the hard truth, not a wound licking partner."

I suspected a little bitterness there. Madison's eyes were a dark sapphire blue and a little arch to her eyebrow told me that she meant to stick it to sweet and lovable Dani.

"Ah, I see you're bitter." I smiled, touche, bitch. 

Unimpressed with me, she sat back and pulled out her phone again. "I'm not the one wallowing in self-pity." She snickered. "Or the one that's in denial. Call it what you want. You're here with me because you need the hard honest truth. If you wanted the sisterhood bullshit Daniela preaches, you would've called her." Her eyes shifted above her phone and pierced mine. "I can't do it for you. You need to do it for yourself."

She was right on all counts. I'd wanted to follow her rules to getting my ass back in shape, but...

1. I'm a single mom of a six year old who needs me to be present to parent.
2. I have a full-time job with a lot of responsibilities.
3. I'm a writer, my agent is waiting for three (3) synopsis, I have a third novel to write.
4. My kitchen sink backed up and well, that was a nightmare (more on that one on another post)
5. The time change has really messed with my sleep cycle--I'm so tired in the morning.
6. I'm not twenty five, anymore.

I had an excuse for everything.

She leaned in. "Are you ready to stop making excuses? Between your self-pity and excuses, I'm exhausted. You know what you have to do. When you're ready, I'll help you. Until then, you're just occupying a seat across from me and breathing heavy like a chronic smoker." She shrugged. "I have better things to do, but since I like you, I'll help." She then rolled her eyes. "The last time I agreed to help a pathetic soul..." she trailed off smiling.

"It worked out perfectly for you," I added with my own sheepish smile. I glanced away and let the truths settle as the tears pooled in my eyes. I had a hard time explaining how I felt. My life in many ways was chaos. I need to pull things together, but I was overwhelmed. I didn't have 10 lbs to lose. I had a lot more than that... a way lot more than that. I was tired of feeling bad about myself and for myself. I was tired of laughing it off. I was tired of pretending it didn't bother me. I hated that I avoided mirrors and walked with my head down.

I swallowed the lump in my throat. "I need to do this."

"We'll start light. After all, this is a marathon, not a sprint. I want 20 minutes on the treadmill every day. I don't care when but you move on that damn dust collector every day. You can't go to bed without getting on it."

"Okay, fine," I agreed. That was doable. She didn't specify that I had to reach a target heart rate, break a sweat or anything. I just needed to move.

"Oh, and no more Diet Pepsi." She raised that perfectly groomed eyebrow. She went for the jugular and we hadn't even started. "Water. It's good for you."

"I hated her, but loved me." I took a moment of silence and said farewell. "Good bye my most beloved Diet Pepsi."

She pushed back from the table, placed her phone in her bag and flung it over her shoulder as she stood up. "My job for today is done." She winked, a bad habit she had picked up from Rick. "Same time tomorrow."

Today I purpose not to make any more excuses. Today, I claim my life back, one step at a time. How about you?

One woman's journey to weight loss and reclaiming her health
All Rights Reserved
Post is Unedited

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Unrequited: Chapter 1

Catch a glimpse of Alex Santana from It's Not Over as he casts his sights on Madison Stuart. If you didn't like him before, you might hate him now.


Handsome, Hotties, and Hunks: Pedro Soltz

Love this video. 

 I've recently thought that he might be the perfect muse for Rick? 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From my bed to the treadmill: One woman's journey to weight loss and fitness

My alarm blared, and I cursed the day I agreed to follow the Madison Stuart School of Kicking Ana's Ass in shape. Ugh, I hate her guts.

"Five more minutes," I mumbled, hoping somehow or other that would be enough to snap me out of my state of complete and utter exhaustion. I pulled the covers up and snuggled with my pillow, sighing in comfort as I dozed off into peaceful slumber.

Suddenly, the comforter flew off my body and the cold air from the vent and ceiling fan caused a terrible shiver to course through my body.  "What the hell?" I cursed in a raspy voice barely able to open my eyes sealed with sleep.

The bed dipped. "Get your lazy ass out of bed," Madison ordered in a menacing voice.

How could I argue with that?  Easily! I was tired.

I'm a single mom who works a full time job, takes care of a my son--by myself, takes care of my dog, my house, and oh yeah, I'm also a writer who has to finish a third book. Excuse me if I'm tired. Sorry to inform you Madison, I am not lazy. I'm tired. I went to bed at 2 am last night because that was when my creative juices were flowing.

As if she could read my mind, she leaned in and in a steady voice said, "I'm giving you thirty seconds before I leave." She pulled back and tucked her hair behind her ears. "I have things to do and places to be."

"More like someone to do," I said, the smart ass in me waking up. "And for the record, I hate you."

"Yes I do." She smiled as her eyes brightened. Lucky bitch. "And yes, you do. For the record, I don't care.  Is this the best you can do? Manipulate me with your approval?" She stepped toward the door. "Won't work. I really don't care if you like me, hate me, or even love me," she stated in an unaffected tone.

A slight chill radiated off of her. I wondered if she was related to Elsa from Frozen. Then again, maybe she was Elsa. That would make a lot of sense.  Let It Go.

As much as I wanted her to slither back under the rock she came out of, I needed her.  This was me the other day. Well, not literally me but pretty close if someone would've been video taping me.

Since I refuse to buy the next size up, I have to do this. Madison is going to whip my ass in shape.  Follow my journey as I go from fat to fit.... That is if Madison doesn't kill me first.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dreamer, writer and hopeless romantic: One Picture

My book signing cherry was popped yesterday.  It was a sweet and gentle lovemaking.  I met some fantastic readers, bloggers, and other authors.

I was supposed to take a lot of pictures.  But I didn't. 

I mean, I was in a lot of pictures.  That was both overwhelming and humbling.  
I met local readers, and I was able to talk to them about the Miami flavor in The Do Over Series.  We laughed at some things that might get lost on others like freezing when it's 68 degrees or Rick setting the heater to 85 degrees to defrost. 

On a side note, when I arrived at the Bahia Mar, I froze my butt off. In fact, as I was waiting for the bell hop, I was shivering. I think it might have been 70 degrees but it felt like -10.  (Just go with me on that one)

But alas, I did take one picture.  And yes, there's a little story behind this one. 

The sky was a beautiful crisp blue and the palms swayed with the wind, dancing a sensual Rumba.  But my heart was doing more of a Merengue or Salsa with it's fast beat. This was it. My first signing as an author.  

Before I could make it into the building, E.K. Blair pulled up in her SUV. Relief. I know her. Never discount the power of the pack.  There's an inherent feeling of safety in numbers.  And when I saw Daisy and Ciara, the adrenalin surging through my body at rocket speed slowed down, and I was able to function and not make a total fool of myself in an awkward, geeky, nerdy kind of way.  At least I hope I didn't. The jury is still out on that.

Ah, then Sandi showed up with my badge. I felt like a superhero.  No, I didn't have any magical powers that allowed shape shifting--as in making me a size 4 and making my muffin top vanish. No it was a badge of courage and accomplishment. 

DeNiro said it best. Yeah, he gets me.

Fast forward to the story behind the ONE PICTURE I did take.

So, after lunch, I stretched  and felt like a cow for eating too much. My only consolation was that I didn't have any cheesecake. That alone should have erased the calories I did consume. 

Pulling out my phone, I saw that Alison Bailey posted on Facebook that there was this hottie here at the signing and that I HAD to go find him. 

Huh?  What was she talking about?  There was no hot guy here. That little bit of information would have spread like a wild fire through the Everglades during the dry season.

 Alison, if you don't know already, is a little pushy and demanding. When did she think she became the boss of me?  I rolled my eyes. 

I spotted Daisy, making her way back to SL Jenning's table with Ciara along her side. Sidling up to them, I said, "Alison is smoking crack. She told me there was some hottie here." 

Daisy giggled and had the look of someone getting her hand caught in the cookie jar. "Yes, there is." She pulled out her phone and showed me his picture. 

Ciara added something about his tattoos. While I'm not an ink girl, I don't know, I was intrigued.  

"What is wrong with you?" I asked shocked. "I thought we were friends."  Shaking my head, I concluded, "You're both officially fired." 

To make matters worse, they pointed him out, getting into the elevator. My chance went poof, up in elevator fumes. Oh well. I let Alison and the girls know that I missed my opportunity to see the hottie up close and personal. 

The signing continued. I met some more readers and chatted with some bloggers. But there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. I'm not a quitter. This guy couldn't be gone, gone. He had to be here. So, I snuck to the other room and saw him with a crowd of people around him. Were they all for him?

I turned around and walked out, feeling like a silly school girl who was checking out the hot guy. As I planned my cool exit, I ran into an author friend, who will remain nameless. "Did you see, all those crazy women hanging on that guy? Ugh, he's okay, I guess but not my type."  I thought..."Yeah, what she said. Whatever. I'm so over the hottie, with the abs and great body." (Did I convince you? Nah. I don't even believe that)

I went back to my table but the wheels in my head kept spinning. I couldn't give up. Since I'm a woman of do-overs and believe in redemption, I gave Daisy a second chance to make it up to me. She'd break the ice. And that she did. We walked through the crowd and right up to Assad.

He was charming and offered light banter...just the right amount to make me feel like not so much like a silly school girl but like a woman. Of course, the smooth lines I could have exchanged came after when I was sitting at my table, in the other room, feeling like a little girl with a crush.

The thoughts going through my head at that moment: "Can I touch him?"

He mentioned being on the cover of my next book. I looked at him and then at Daisy. "I think he might make a good Rick."  

Without skipping a beat, he added, "Oh Enrique."

Hmm, this might work. "Yes, his name actually is Enrique."

I am a dreamer, writer and hopeless romantic. AND a firm believer in happily ever afters.