Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Looking Up For You?


After having time to look back and reflect on all the hurdles, and disappointments of 2010. I gushed over the blessings. Some started out as little sparks in the beginning of the year, only to become true gifts in disguise. I've met some wonderful people, sold more books than I actually thought I could, and garnered wonderful responses and feedback to the stories I've written. Not to mention garnered 'Thank You's' from people who I didn't realize I was helping. Can you believe it? I actually mentored several people into finishing, and publishing their own books? Go figure. Life never seems to amaze me.


After such a monumental ride of highs and lows from 2010, I truly am humbled and don't know where I'm going with this new year. But here are some of the goals I've written down that I know are attainable - (given that Murphy's law doesn't inject itself in the plan and muck it all up, lol!)

Writing Goals:

Finish 3 more manuscripts this year. Promote BANDITS, which comes out this June, 2011 (Click here and take a peek - also has our debut author F. RAUSHAWN's short story in there as a treat. ) As well as edit the two I've finished (I've finished the sequel to THE PACK which is called THE PACK-RETRIBUTION and the sequel to EXPLORER X called EXPLORER X-BETA). Just started a new book called ... darn, my co-writer doesn't want me giving out the name yet.

Blogging Goals:

Review more YA books and get my YA book reviewer NYIA more involved. Do more contest, and build my following to 200 (*wink*)

Mentoring Goals:

Become more involved in YALITCHAT ( and mentoring other writers. Join a YA writer's group or start my own using ( Get more involved with MWA and start some promotional programs to help other authors reach success.

Life Goals:

Continue to be a better me. Grow from my experiences. Keep smiling, and give back in anyway I can. Save some darn money, Do my Hot Air Balloon Ride (yep, you heard me this is one of the last things on my dream list), and take my family to Hawaii (lol!).


Sunday, December 26, 2010

So, Are you Thinking about the New Year?


Every New Year, you hear about resolutions. I used to do them and never achieve them. One day my husband and I were talking and we came up with the idea of goal planning for the New Year.

Wouldn’t you know it – when we planned our goals – we achieved them (or most of them).


Sit down and set realistic possibilities for meeting your dreams. Write your dreams down, and map out how you plan on reaching them. Be realistic, and only plan for the year. Remember, anything you do consistently for 6 weeks you will achieve it.


Here are some ways to trick yourself into being successful at the most common goals for the New Year;

Trick Yourself into Saving Money
Okay, let’s say you want to save more money. Well trick yourself into meeting this goal by setting up an account or direct deposit to take the money directly from your paycheck. Don’t have an atm card for this account, or a check book. Make it really difficult to get the money.

Trick Yourself into Losing Weight
Get friends to join with you in your endeavor to lose weight (chose a friend who is already achieved the goal you desire to achieve). Then sign up for a walk a thon within four months of your goal. You can also join a gym. Make a promise to yourself that you can’t go to sleep without doing some exercise (even walking up the stairs 10 times will work).

Trick Yourself into finishing that novel you always wanted to write
Join a critique group. Yep, force yourself work with other authors who desire to finish their books by the end of the year. Accountability goes a long way.


What good is planning if you don’t give yourself a reward? I treat myself with a vacation. I book a cruise or an apple vacation that I can pay on monthly. Then when it’s paid off – I get my reward.

DON'T make a resolution

Make a Plan, and a promise to do something awesome for yourself!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself A Merry Christmas!!

Remember the Reason for the SEASON! Bless you all from the bottom of my heart :-D Know that someone truly loves you *wink* I do!

Enjoy this song, I love these artist!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


SHADOW WALKER synop from Amazon:

Sarah Rivera has a lot going on in her life right now. It’s bad enough that she’s being shipped off to Temt Tchaas Academy—also known as Neteru Academy, a high school for future Guardians of the Light who have special powers—but she has to go there with her cocky twin brother and the rest of her compound brothers and sisters. To make matters worse, everyone has ridiculous expectations of her all because her parents are like supernatural rock stars for saving the planet sixteen years ago. But what nobody, not even her best girlfriend Tami seems to be getting is the fact that, she’s not special, doesn’t want to be a demon-hunting hero, and is even afraid of the dark!

So what that her mother was a warrior angel and her Dad used to be a Council level Vampire? Opposites attract. Go figure. As far as Sarah is concerned, all she got from the combination was a pair of fangs that lengthen at inappropriate times to embarrass her in front of her secret crush; whereas her brother, Alejandro, got the good looks and cool wings. However, what her parents’ status has created is drama in her life, by ensuring that the mean girls at school will make her life a living nightmare. Sarah knows her family’s renowned slayer reputation will also ensure that everyone at school will assume she had it easy and should be able to do everything her famous rebel parents can do, when she can’t. Not by a long shot.

Once at the hidden boarding school, things go from bad to worse as Sarah tries to fit in. Her nightmares increase and it isn’t just anxiety—her second sight is suddenly developing at a record pace. Layers of secrets are held by the building, held by her parents, and nothing is as it seems. There is something really bad going on at the school, worse than bad—deadly. Only, faculty and administrators don’t know where to begin to look for the cause as students start to disappear. Sarah must then make a choice to stand on the sidelines or to help use her gifts to save someone dear. But to do that means facing all of her greatest fears, along with a demon or two.

Here’s some fun related to her book SHADOW WALKER,

Want to buy it too?

LA Banks will be on twitter with YALITCHAT on

WED. JAN. 5th at 9pm under the hashtag #yalitchat,

because of my stalking of her. I’ve always loved paranormal vamps, but love LA Banks twist on it. Specifically the multi-cultural team of characters, and now I’m uber excited about her new YA paranormal novel, SHADOW WALKER, which is now offered for a great promo-sale price of $3.99 in ebook form which can be downloaded in .pdf formats, kindle, epub and others. Here’s where to purchase, you won’t be sorry.

Here’s some about her from her site:

Leslie Esdaile Banks: New York Times and USA Today Best-selling author, L.A. Banks has penned over 40 novels and 12 novellas in a wide range of genres and is the recipient of the 2009 Romantic Times Booklover's Convention Career Achievement Award for Paranormal Fiction and the 2008 Essence Magazine Storyteller of the Year Award, as well as the 2008 Best 50 Women in Business Award for the State of Pennsylvania. Recently she was featured as a speaker on the HBO Special on Vampire Literature and Legends as a prelude to the True Blood premier.

Want more? Here’s her site list of her books.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TRON LEGACY Movie Review

I scooped this from Legacy: An IMAX 3D Experience is THE BEST!! (my opinion)

Runtime:2 hr. 7 min.

PGSequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.

Tron: Legacy” is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.Read More

The OLD TRON bio: My opinion a movie WAY before its time.

A hacker is literally abducted into the world of a computer and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program.


Let's just say, I enjoyed this movie and so did my kids. My teens never saw the original (1st movie in this series) TRON, but that didn't stop them from enjoying the vivid colors, fight scenes and suspense of TRON LEGACY. The writers did a good job of making the story plausible for those that had seen the original TRON and for the newbies it told the story in a father and son scene to bring those new TRON lovers up to date. My teens were impressed with the colors, 3D shots of battles and the overal look of the computerized world called the GRID. The story was simplistic, the characters likeable but to me...something was missing. I couldn't put my finger on what, but it caused me to take down my SNOWFLAKE rating to a 4 out of 5 SNOWFLAKES. A descent movie to take the teenagers to, but my 7yr old active kid got rather distracted, but his attention was grabbed during the action scenes. This one would be a fun movie to go to during the days after Christmas when you are trying to find something to do with your kids.


Friday, December 17, 2010


You know the feeling. Christmas comes and you are anticipating that one special gift you’ve been hinting at for months. You wake up at midnight, or meet up with your significant other, anxiously awaiting that special present and … it’s a bust.

You didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas. You didn’t get that ipod touch, that kindle, that engagement ring, that ‘I love you’ or that piece of jewelry from your boyfriend, or anything you really wanted for the Holidays.


Hold that face, plaster that smile on and BE grateful for whatever you get. I know it’s cliché’ that “Some people don’t get anything for Christmas.” But the cliché’ is true. Not only that remember the reason for the season is to GIVE and not to GET.


Wait it out. I always sock some money away during the holidays for after holiday shopping. I also encouraged my teens to do this. You know what? Now they ask me to give them 1 present to open for Christmas and to give them $175 to splurge with on New Year’s Eve.

Our tradition now is to have a skinny Christmas and to have a wonderful New Year’s by going on a shopping spree of savings. It’s a boon and even now the little ones are loving it.

Since we travel, that’s usually when we do our shopping for extended family since we don’t see them until two weeks after the holidays.

As far as the not getting the ‘I love you’ – Say it to the person you love instead. For not getting that special ring or jewelry from the said boyfriend – Buy it for yourself instead (that’ll make him wonder). If you can’t afford it – work towards it by saving and gifting yourself – there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself some love.


I know don’t throw snowballs at me, but re-gifting isn’t a bad thing. When I was in college, myself and some of my friends would bring back the stuff we got that we didn’t want and we would do trades. It was the most fun I’ve had when getting back from the break. I found some treasures during those swaps and so did my friends. Things that none of us wanted, we would donate.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

FRENCH KISSMAS by Cathy Hapka - Teen Review by NYIA

Please welcome our teen book reviewer, NYIA ! She picked out a wonderful romance for Christmas in her favorite place - PARIS :-D

Here's the book description:

For Nicole Larson, the Christmas season in Paris is more than just a romantic interlude—it’s also a homecoming. Nic studied abroad in Paris a year ago, and is back in town with her friend Annike to spend Christmas and New Year’s in the City of Light. Of course, now that Nic is there, the chemistry she once had with Parisian hottie Luc instantly reignites. But why fuel a romance that has only three weeks to survive? Nic would rather spend time with her new buddy Mike . . . until it becomes clear that Mike is also interested in being more than just friends. With a backdrop of twinkling lights on the Champs-Elysées and Parisian Christmas carols, it’s going to be difficult for Nic to deny the romance around her. . . .


I would rate this book a 3 out of 5 CANDY CANES because while it is a good romantic Christmas story, it is also has some slow places that I had to skip at some points in the book. The story did have a lot of drama and at times I had to a guess at who the main character, Nicole, was going to end up with. The book was descriptive, but didn't over describe details that didn't need to be over described, such as clothing and every accessories that each girl is reading. The boring parts of the book usually included when Nicole was on the set filming, the filming days always seemed the same as the last. Overall, this was a good romantic book and I enjoyed reading it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I’m a guest at the GEN MOBILE event sponsored by the FCC on Tuesday, Dec. 14th at 10am. It’s an event for teens and parents regarding the usage and abuses of cellphones in today’s society. The focus is on the use of cellphones by teens and misuse of it.


It’s when sexually explicit text messages are sent via cellphones. Now you may think your 12 year old boy or girl wouldn’t possibly be exposed to this – BUT YOU ARE MISTAKEN. I first saw this when my son was around 12 yrs old. He and a friend had got home from camp after meeting other 12 year old girls and were laughing over some rather explicit text messages that his friend got from a girl he’d met at camp. Not only was I shocked, but I was enlightened that one should never assume that there kid is safe from what the world has to offer – good or bad. Parents need to be realistic and start thinking like a kid.


Do you know that girls that are rather young – as young as 12 years or less send boys pictures of themselves? Not nude pics but pictures in their bathing suits and in poses used to be seductive. Never assume that your daughter or son isn’t sending or getting these messages. Some kids even post them on Facebook. I’ve been shocked at some of the friend pics on my kids FB pages and I wonder if the parents even check on their kids accounts. I suggest parents talk about these to their kids and let them know that once a picture is taken – it can end up ANYWHERE.


Yep, you know it. If you can harass a person on the phone, you can text them and the harassing comments last for-ever. This is another misuse of cellphones by kids. In cases like this you have to teach your teen that words won’t physically harm them and that there are ways to trace those messages and fight back against this form of harassment.


Parents don’t have to be on the eight ball when it comes to this. Contact your cellphone provider and see if they offer a service that allows you to monitor the text (in and out) to your kid’s phone. As the one who pays the bills parents, you have the right to check up on how your property is being used. It’s time for parents to act like parents and monitor what their kid is doing. You just may be surprised what you find.

Lastly, talk and educate your kid. I do that with my kids. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes, it means that I am educating them and guiding them in their growth. I leave the door to communication open, ask my kid the questions instead of demanding that they do what I say only, I expect my teens to take ownership of their actions.

The misuse of cellphones can be a life changing event for teens and has led to depression, possible prison time, and in some cases suicide. Step up parents and get knowledgeable.

To find out more about this event sponsored by the FCC click here.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I have always, always, always had a passion for karate flicks. I grew up when Bruce Lee was the hottest action star smoking. Everyone wanted to be in one of his movies. I even took martial arts because of my obsession with his movies. You would think I would have outgrown him and flicks like that, but I haven’t.

One of my hobbies or obsessions, is to go to the local flea market and purchase karate flicks. I talk the vendor down to 4 for $25 because I go so often.

THESE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES!!!! Why? Because they have great kick a** moves, girls that have skills that blow your mind, and the fight scenes are drool worthy!

I remember a beta reader, an older guy, telling me that he absolutely loved my fight scences. He commented on how real they seemed. He wasn’t the only one. Many of my beta’s said they loved my descriptions and the defensive moves my smaller characters made.

Well I get a lot of my material from all of those years watching those Karate movies and wishing I was in them. Hey, some of the moves I even tried out on my baby brother (shhhhh…. Don’t tell him I told you that).

NINJA ASSASINS – the most recent Karate movie I went to purchase was brutal, yet beautiful. No it's not filled will all the things of good drama filled flicks, but it puts KILL BILL to shame with the sword play.

Now that you know all about my obsession, then you know why I love writing action filled YA and MG books. My love of these movies with cool moves, blood, a little romance, and fighting is addictive.

So if you want a rush, head online or to your local flea market or mall and pick up some kick a** foriegn karate flicks. They aren't much on plot, indepth story lines or romance but they are high on action! Just what I like.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Are You Going To Be Bored For the Holidays?

Before I had kids as an adult I really didn’t have anything exciting I did for the Holidays. I’d either stay home in the apartment I shared with other college students or I’d try to scramble up something to do so I wouldn’t be home alone.

Now I have a few single friends who are in the same boat. Here are some things I figured out over my years of trying to entertain myself for Christmas.


I know it sounds corny, but this time of year is the best time to volunteer. People are so nice and grateful to have a hand. You don’t have to go sign up for any organization, you can create your own elf like good deed. Like taking food to the elderly in your community. Or cooking for a friend or several that have nowhere to go on Christmas. Lastly, I used to volunteer at the soup kitchen and help with gathering donations for the women’s shelter.


Believe it or not this is the busiest time to travel. Now, my family travels for the holidays. You know what else? Other friends of ours meet us with extended family at various locations and we have a wonderful time. Not only that, but there are a lot of other people that travel this time of year. We’ve met a ton of them and spread good cheer by saying hello. Most times we’ve met life long friends on these travel adventures.


This is the time of year for cheer. So throw a party! For everyone of all ages. I loved my Aunt’s Christmas parties growing up. All of the sisters would donate gifts for the kids. We’d play games in the basement while the grownups partied upstairs. Usually an older teen would coordinate our fun games like hide and get the present.


Go on! Do it! Go to your friend’s house that invited you. People love to see you just as much as you’d like to see them. So take them up on their invite.

All in all the holidays can be a great excuse to make someone smile. Even yourself, if you explore new things to do each year, you just may…make your very own Holiday tradition.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There’s Something Bigger than getting Published

I know, I know, you think I’m crazy. But when I did my recent book event, I realized what I love more than writing…having a forum to talk to others.

Writing a book, opened more doors than I ever could have imagined. And guess what? I’m not a Best Selling Author yet, I’m considered a Midlister. Meaning – I do okay. I sell some books, not hundreds of thousands, not millions, but a decent amount coming from a new small press publisher. But that’s not what keeps me writing.

I write because it makes me extremely happy, and my kids love, love, love hearing about my stories. To them – I’m the best. I also love it when I do a signing, book event, or am just talking to someone about the book and their eyes shine – like I did something great. But to me, writing is easy. It’s like breathing, I love it, my own guilty pleasure. Truly I personally don’t see it as a special or great accomplishment, because whether I sold books or not, I’d still be writing them… just for my enjoyment.



Writing your work, loving the writing, meeting others while writing and learning things about yourself while writing.


Getting stronger through the process. No one can tell me that letting beta readers read your stuff, rip it up to make it better, then having to pimp yourself out to tons of Lit Agents that reject you, then your Lit Agent pimps you out to a publishers who may reject you, to getting ‘not so nice’ book reviews doesn’t make a person stronger. It does, now I see that for me, I’m so much more laid back. Less intense about what people say or think, but better at taking the gold nuggets of positivity out and throwing away the negativity – why? Because I’ve come to far to stop, give up, or call in the towel.


This is one of my most treasured parts of this entire journey of getting and being published. I have a bonafide reason to talk to young people – they’ve always been my passion which is one of the reasons I love writing about their struggles and their strength. I’ve met hundreds of young people in the last year of my book promotion. They’ve hugged me, encouraged me, thanked me, and just plain showed me love in their most innocent ways – that’s why young people are so special. That’s why – I keep on writing for them. I already know that quite a few – get me and what I write, and they keep encouraging me to write more.

YEP, there is definitely more than getting PUBLISHED, its growing from the experience of the journey.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Swagger = charisma, coolness, that something that draws people to you and makes them want to hang around.

You know those people, writers write them, readers love them or hate them, but we all… sorta want to have a bit of that SWAGGER. That’s what my teen son and his high school group use for the word I used to call COOL. The word may have changed, but being popular in your own way will never go away.


Nope! It’s something you can get by: growing into it, working at it, or just being in the right place to have it. Every group has one. The ‘go to’ girl or guy.

Growing Into It:

My son (shhh… don’t tell him I’m talking about him) didn’t always have it. Neither did I. His story is, up until 7th grade he was pretty much bullied. Him and his friends were the kids that always seemed to get caught holding the basket if you know what I mean. I’m telling you whenever there was someone getting in trouble – my boy was usually just hanging around ‘watching’ and would be hauled off with them. He was kinda the one most kids liked to pick on. BUT WAIT something changed in 7th grade. He started to get involved in school activities, he started playing football (for the first time he actually wanted to play), basketball, track and you know what…he started to get it. That SWAGGER just by widening his ‘friend and acquaintance’ base. People knew him and you know what else he did? He found a friend that had that ‘natural’ SWAGGER and hung out with him. I guess it must of rubbed off, because now…he has his own swagger.

Working At IT:

Well, me on the other hand, I worked at it. When I was in middle school, I watched girls that had it and truth was…I wanted that SWAGGER and I wanted it bad. Now I wasn’t jealous, I just wanted my on entourage of friends and peeps that thought I was cool. You know that I fit in with and who listened to me when I had you know a ‘deep’ thought or idea. So what did I do, I befriended the popular group by use of …(I’m ashamed to say it now) bribery. See I had a side business at school. I sold candy – lots of it, but if you were in the cool group, I used it as a way to sit at their table. Soon, kids that wanted to be in the group with SWAGGER sought me out. They knew that they would never be excepted in the uber SWAGGER group, but were more than willing to bask in the glow of someone that was able to step into that group and report all the juicy gossip gained by hanging out with a group with SWAGGER.

Right Place Right Time:

Sometimes you can get SWAGGER by the luck of the draw. You can be at the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time. For instance, (another example of my son – Shhhhh… don’t tell him I told you) we went on a cruise ship sometime ago. The ship had a lame teen party. Well my son had been working really hard on his break dancing at the time to get ready for a school dance. On the cruise though, he was the only kid that knew how to break dance, and when the party kicked off … that’s what he did. Then the kid taught others how to do it and Viola’ he got SWAGGER by being in the right place at the right time.


Believe you have it? Get comfortable talking with people. Don’t sweat rejection, just move on to the next possible friend in order to find your own friends that you can SWAGGER with. Share the SWAGGER if you have it, by treating people the way you would want to be treated. And get your SWAGGER on!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I am pooped, whipped, wore out, exhausted and brain numb. Nanowrimo kicked my living … ‘hush your mouth’

I’ve always been a fast writer. Finishing a book in 3 months was my best time, and after several books it’s my natural rhythm. A great improvement from the first book I wrote. So what did I think about Nanowrimo? I thought I could shave off my natural timing and kick out 50K words in a month.

I almost did it…just a-bout there, when what happened…I shut down and my bad old Achilles heel tripped me up. You see I have a problem, a big – o – problem with ….

ENDINS! There I said it, I admit it. I hate writing endings. Not because I don’t know what’s going to happen, but because…well I just can’t seem to want to let go of my characters. Even though I know I’ll be editing in a few months and seeing them again, I won’t BE them when I writing them.

I thought Nanowrimo would help me solve this small problem. Truth be told, I didn’t really see that it was a major problem until I had a seriously – bottom line deadline like Nanowrimo.

So what now?

Well I believe I can cut that 3 month to draft time of mine down by 2-4 weeks, but truth is I won’t try it again until Nanowrimo next year. I say that as I struggle to write the last chapter of THE PACK – RETRIBUTION the sequel to THE PACK.


I learned that I really do get almost unhealthily attached to my characters – at least when a short deadline is staring me in the face.

Hopefully by this Sunday, I will be ready to let Shamira Nobles finish kicking butt and taking names for maybe the last time :-D