Friday, June 23, 2017

News and Updates

Hey all! Been a while since I last wrote a post. Hope you're all doing well. :-)

I'm here today to let you guys know what's shaking. Before I get into things, though, I want to thank *you* for reading this. As you are well aware, I've been inactive and out of the publishing game for a long time, and I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you who have stuck around for my next release regardless of when that might be, or waited for me, and/or sent me emails wishing me well. Your patience and understanding mean the world to me.

And now for the announcements!

First up, GRL. Chicago 2014 was the last one I attended, and I'm super excited to return. Looking forward to reconnecting with all friends and meeting new ones. :-)

Second, self-publication. I love being hybrid. Some stories belong with my publisher, and some others, like the ones that exceed publisher's word count limits or deal with subjects I want to approach in a very specific way, belong to me. Those stories are gay romantic fiction. While the romance is front and center and there's a HEA, I've taken a very realistic approach to them. Simply put, my characters mess up, just like we do in real life, and deal with the issues the LGBTQ+ community has to deal with on a daily basis, but the stories are all about my characters falling in love, figuring things out, finding their way, and being happy.

Currently I have two series that are gay romantic fiction: 'Bylaws' and 'Caribbean Tales.' Hearsay' has already been published, and it is the first installment in a trilogy that's part of 'Bylaws.' Heavy Hitters, one of the books in the Caribbean Tales series, hasn't come out yet.

I've decided the rest of this year will be about these two series. 

In the next few months you'll see releases on both, but, instead of
seeing them published under 'TVD Books,' you'll see them published by 'Desecheo Press' which is my own publishing 'house' for my gay romantic fiction titles. Yay! I have a logo and everything, so watch out for it. :-)

And last but not least, 'By Degrees' and 'Six Degrees of Agony.'

I know the majority of you are tired of waiting for this book. I'm not going to rehash everything that's happened to me or the reasons it's been such a long time coming. Just know they were powerful reasons, and my priority is to give you a story I'm proud of and you're going to enjoy. Not to mention, I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason so...

You may or may not know that writing an installment in my 'By Degrees' series is a rather complicated process. The ensemble cast and continued storylines make me feel like I'm writing four books at once, which in a way I am, and the timeline and intricate details and little pieces require all my attention. It takes a lot of work to weave that web. :-)

That's the reason I decided to dedicate the rest of the year to 'Bylaws' and 'Caribbean Tales.' I want to...well, get them out of the way so that I can then focus on 'By Degrees.' That means 'Six Degrees of Agony' will come out in early 2018, closely followed by the fourth installment. It is my goal to finish the series by mid-2019.

I know some of you will be disappointed after reading this. I wish I could be faster, or write ten books at the same time, but the ugly truth is I can't, so I need to be realistic in my approach to my writing. My stories are long, you guys, and they're involved. I need to give them time and I need to take measures to craft them the way I want to. :-)

Thank you all for being awesome, and I'll be seeing you soon. ;-)


Friday, December 16, 2016

By Degrees Signed Paperbacks Giveaway

Hey all!

Today I'm over at The Novel Approach helping celebrate their fifth blogiversary, and I showed up bearing presents! Stop by to congratulate them and also to enter my giveaway. It includes an Amazon gift card, ebooks, and two sets of signed second edition paperbacks of Six Degrees of Lust and Six Degrees of Separation. See you there!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Music Monday

So, on this crappy Monday I thought I'd try to lift my own spirit by sharing one of my favorite Puerto Rican Christmas traditions. This is a video of a "parranda" which is basically Christmas Carols on steroids. The "parrandas" get organized at someone's house, then a bunch of people (never less than twenty) who happen to play all kinds of instruments show up at somebody else's house not earlier than two in the morning and wake you the heck up. Then the party start, and people sing and sing while the "host" cooks traditional food for them, usually asopao de pollo, which is like a rice chicken soup. Awesome times! <3

#TVD #boricua #boricuastyle

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition...

Tweaked, updated, longer, and better, coming at you from Dreamspinner Press on January 2, 2017.  Check it out!
Six Degrees of Lust
2nd Edition
By Degrees: Book One
New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong, he has stuck to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn't have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.
Former firefighter Machlan O'Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston, and after years of waiting, he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud and drama-free. His politically-aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high strung as the other is laid back. A chance meeting brings them together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don't want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks...

Is a bit difficult when you've had the worst year of your adult life. I've been thinking about it and the only thing I was able to come up with was "life." I'm grateful for my daughters and for being alive. Not healthy, not in a good mental-space, definitely not in good spirits, but I'm alive, and that's the most important thing, right? It means I can keep working on myself...I can keep trying to get better. And that's great.

The year isn't over yet. Many things can happen in a little over a month, but you know what? I've decided to let 2016 go.

Looking back at the last eleven months makes me sad. There are so many things I wasn't able to accomplish—not as a woman, not as a friend, not as a professional, and last but not least, not as an author. Simply put, I completely sucked at everything day after day after day, and, as much as I'd like to, the fact is I can't turn back time. I can't change anything. And I can't keep stressing over all the things I was supposed to do but wasn't able to for one reason or another.  So this is it for me. I'm throwing in the towel on this year and using the remaining weeks to try to get to a point where I won't feel so disheartened anymore. Hopefully it will work. :-)

I'm sure no one reading this post will be surprised by this, but throwing the towel includes giving up on trying to publish anything in 2016. I can't. I don't want to. I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason, and I'm convinced offering you guys a new story wasn't in the cards. So yeah, I'm not even going to try. I'm just going to start the new year with a bang.

Dreamspinners Press is releasing Six Degrees of Lust, Second Edition on January 2, 2017. That's good news for fans of my By Degrees series. It means Six Degrees of Agony will come out a few months after Lust. ;-)

As for Heavy does a late January, early February release sound? Is having back to back releases too much? What do you all think? Let me know. :-)

To those of you who have never stopped supporting me, and all the readers who have emailed me, messaged me, etc., etc., asking when I'll release some new material, I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You mean the world to me and your interest is the only reason I'm not giving up the writing gig. You all rock.

Have an amazing time with your families and friends on this special day. And take it from me—there's always something to be thankful for.



Thursday, June 9, 2016

TBT Post: Knocked Down By Homophobia

Hi all!

So, those of you who follow me know that Heavy Hitters was  scheduled to release well over a year ago. Then life happened, and it kept happening, to the point where I had to take a sabbatical to care for myself. While I was away, I decided to replace the story's gorgeous first cover with another gorgeous one, because the original reminded me of a painful period in my life and I wanted a clean slate. 

And here I am, months and months later, feeling better and ready to release this baby to the world. :-)

To celebrate the June 24th upcoming release, I decided to re-post a little piece I wrote a long time ago to promote the story. Hope you enjoy, and please, feel free to share your stories. I'll be giving away two copies to commenters I'll choose randomly. :-)

Knocked Down By Machismo

I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, a paradise in many ways. Tropical plants, rainforest, sunny beaches, transparent water, soft golden sand…. Do I sound like a tourism commercial yet? *g*

Down there people are friendly, family-oriented, and extremely lovable. They’re also mainly Catholic, and, to this date, ruled by machismo and gender roles. Men are expected to be brave and protect the honor of their families. They’re supposed to have excellent work ethic, be good providers, and live up to their responsibilities. Women, even if they have jobs outside the house, are expected to clean, cook, care for the children, and take orders from the husband. As simple as that. There’s little—if any—room for anything else.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Women are highly regarded.They rule the house and keep the family
united, but there’s no denying the patriarchal authority that exists in most every home. Dad says what’s allowed; he says when and how. In some cases he even subjugates his wife and resorts to domestic violence in order to prove his manhood. He wants his daughters to be like mom, and his sons to be little clones of himself. And I can tell you, not many dads are open-minded and accepting if one of their sons happens to have interests that are attributed to girls.

Such is the case with Julio Malavé, one of my main characters’ father. He’s belligerent on a good day, abusive on a regular basis, and he’s drunk most of the time. His mission in life is to make sure Santino becomes a boxing champion and behaves like a “real man,” and he has no qualms in destroying his son’s spirit in the process.

You see, coming out as gay wasn't really an option for many Puerto Rican boys. They faced discrimination, mockery, bullying, and downright abuse. A lot of times they’re killed for their sexual orientation. I wouldn’t say Puerto Rico isn’t a safe place for gay men. Hundreds of them are out and proud, but they are the exception, not the rule, and there’s a price to pay.

Heavy Hitters is a love story...a self-discovery story...self-acceptance story, and a reconciliation story with family, culture, and life. I hope you all join Luca and Santi in their journey through life. :-)

Do *you* have any experience with machismo? Any stories or opinions on the matter you’d like to share? Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Heavy Hitters. I’d love to “hear” your thoughts.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Music Monday

Hi all!

I give you DNA by Little Mix, one of the songs in my Official Heavy Hitters Playlist. Also, I'm obsessed with these girls. You need to check them out, especially their acapella stuff. So good! 



Monday, March 21, 2016

Music Monday

Hi guys!

Today I give you Years and Years' "Take Shelter" because I've had a lot of pressure in the past few weeks and I'm tired and ready to do whatever I need to do in order to protect myself. :-)



Monday, March 14, 2016

Music Monday

Hello, my beautiful followers. :-)

I want to share a huge favorite of mine for Music Monday, Troye Sivan and his Blue Neighborhood masterpiece. Today we have Wild, Part 1 of this heartbreaking Trilogy. 

I can't tell you guys how many times I played these tracks while working on Heavy Hitters. Childhood friendship, homophobia... domestic violence... the Blue Neighborhood Trilogy theme complimented my story arc so well, it often inspired me to keep on writing. And, let's just say, a story as long as Heavy Hitter's is required a LOT of pushing. :-)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Hey all!

It's been quiet round these parts, so I figured I'd post a little
something something from Heavy Hitters now that the 
release date is (FINALLY!) getting close. ;-)

This is an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen in Round Three:
The Conflicted Years. Santi and Luca are new adults at this
point, becoming successful in their respective careers, and
realizing they can't lie to themselves about who they really are.


“Ladies and gentlemen, the official time this fight comes to an end is at 49 seconds of round number eight. The winner by technical knockout and new WBC welterweight champion of the world, Santinooo Malavééé…”

The green title belt was firmly secured around Santi’s waist when Julito and Héctor picked him up on their shoulders. His discipline and drive had paid off, and hopefully his life would be better because of it. Luca couldn’t be happier for him.

Santi approached Hacine and gave him a quick hug. Hacine was gracious in his defeat. He patted Santi’s back and congratulated him. Luca decided Hacine was a classy guy even if he’d been a jerk while promoting the fight.

There were two dozen people crammed into the ring by that point, but Santi sidestepped officials, camera crews, and interviewers until he reached the side of the ring that was closest to his family. He stood on the ropes with a huge grin and blew them a kiss, then his gaze locked on Luca’s, and his exhilarated expression morphed into what could only be described as sinful intent.

That was want gleaming in Santi’s eyes. It was physical attraction and carnal desire—his true nature peeking from beneath the surface and taking control. It was the same thing Luca had seen in his eyes that time Santi jumped him in the back of his truck, and Luca’s entire body reacted in response.

The usual conflictive emotions warred in his chest, but his throat got hot and tight, and his cock rose to full mast. They stared at each other for hours… maybe seconds… Luca couldn’t tell. It was impossible to be certain of anything when he was flaming inside and shivering from head to toe at the same time. Years of suppressed desire were raging through his system, burning up his veins and melting his brain and religious restrictions. If he didn’t get out of there fast, he’d jump over the ropes and throw Santi to the mat.

You’re mine, pai… No matter what you say or don’t say, you’re mine.

Up in the ring, Santi gulped. He must’ve guessed Luca’s thoughts.

The pay-per-view commentator shoved a microphone under Santi’s nose. Before shifting his attention to him, Santi made a quick gesture with his head that Luca knew from all the times they’d used it in the past. Santi wanted to be somewhere else, and he was asking Luca to come along.

Was it to talk? Did Santi want to go have dinner together like they always did or did he want to blow his wad and wanted Luca to give him a hand?

Santi’s words from earlier slammed into his chest.

Ejaculating before a fight weakens energy levels and decreases aggression, so… you know… It has to be after.

The commentator wrapped up his interview. Santi walked to his corner and stepped out of the ring.

Luca didn’t hesitate.

He ignored the voices in his head warning him against acting on impulse and sneaked away.

His decision wasn’t impulsive—it was instinctual. In that moment Luca was more than willing to go against catholic rules, not because he had a sudden urge to jerk off another man, but because he’d been thinking about it his entire life.

He was born liking men. Wanting to touch them and kiss them came naturally to him. Besides, this was Santi he was talking about—the guy whose presence set Luca on fire until he felt like he was burning alive. He had no idea what was about to happen between him and Santi, but not even the ten plagues of Egypt descending upon him could’ve stopped him from finding out.