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Let’s listen to Lost in the Light audiobook together!

get link AudiobookTourJoin the Lost in the Light audiobook interview tour hosted by Audiobookworm!

go to site If you love audiobooks, blog about books and/or looking for a chilling paranormal mystery, this is a great opportunity for us to get to know each other and talk about books.

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canadian viagra sales in drugstore go here Praise from Audible Listeners

“A fun, escapist read!” – An Amazon customer

“Wow, that’s all I can say, what a book! Dori is a police detective recovering from an injury that puts the badge she wears in jeopardy. Needing an outlet Dori buys an old house in her hometown, determined to slowly bring it back to life. ” – Audio Audits

“Lost in this Good Book!”

I thoroughly enjoyed Lost in the Light. It’s a wonderful combination of ghost story and historical fiction with a modern-day heroine to root for. The author does a great job toggling between the main character, Dori Orihuela in the present day and the life story of her ghost, Vincente. The intertwining stories drew me and kept me riveted until the end.  – Deb

“A sweet story”

Would you listen to Lost in the Light again? Why?

I loved the quirky and sympathetic characters in this book, they were so easy to listen to I would definitely listen again. – Nia Wright

“Entertaining new series – I’m looking forward to t”

I really liked this book. I love paranormal mysteries, historic fiction, and stories about haunted houses. This book hit all those points. The book has lots of interesting characters (I especially love Grammy Cena and Meg), and is a fun look back at the times of prohibition in California. – Leslie F.

“Terrific First Book in the Series!”

Where does Lost in the Light rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was wonderful, and I know I will listen to it again. Mary Castillo did a terrific job narrating it, bringing all the characters to life. She is a top-notch writer, and she covers an intertwined plot that spans two time periods perfectly. A great story! – Fascinating Books

Mary’s Ladies Who Lead – Grammy Cena

enter Meet Grammy Cena from the comedic women’s fiction collection of stories in Names I Call My Sister

enter site Readers Weigh In

“Till Death Do Us Part” by Mary Castillo was my favorite novella in the collection. Castillo’s treatment of the sister Dori and Sela made me laugh till I cried.”
— Victoria

“Names I Call My Sister is a beautifully written and bold collection of novellas. The sisters in each story are struggling to find themselves within each other’s strengths and weaknesses. An excellent choice for a book club.”
— Emily (Jefferson, GA)

“It’s an anthology worth reading, but be warned: It just may prompt a middle of the night phone call to one’s own sister. In ‘Till Death Do Us Part’, two sisters attend their perfect brother’s wedding. Castillo’s characters are hilarious, touching and real all at the same time.”
— Romantic Times BOOKclub

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NaNoWriMo Tip 2: How to Make Your Goal

I should’ve added, “How to Make Your Goal Without Losing Your Mind.”

So this is by no means the absolute, fool-proof, 100% guaranteed list of how to achieve your NaNoWriMo goals. It is what works for me and I share this with the goal that it might stimulate you to come up with ways that will work for you.

Here we go:

  1. dove acquistare il vardenafil Understand how you write. I’ve been doing this writing thing since 1994. One would think I had it figured out. But life changes. The demands on your attention and energy change. You develop back problems and the old eyes stop working the way they used to. I was trying to do the same old routine: sit my behind down for an hour and write without a break. I can tell you what that accomplished: a page or two of work and way too much Facebook scrolling, sharing, liking and commenting. I read and practiced  http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=maximum-lasix-dosage-in-24-hours The Chunky Method and it changed my writing life for the better. I learned that I have an optimal 15 minute attention span. So I set my stopwatch and within an hour I work in 15 minute segments. And guess what? I write like the damn house was on fire in those 15 minute sessions! Do I say and not as I once did: rather than write the way you think you should write, embrace your work style and make it work for you!
  2. see Give yourself a break. Oh I just heard that groan. I’m a mama so I also caught that eyeroll with the eyes on the backof my head, too! But seriously, give yourself a break. Even if it’s just to stand up, do some wrist circles or scream into a pillow, moving re-energizes the body and mind. My personal favorite is to do the dishes. Maybe it’s the flow of the water but it just gives my mind a release and then those characters start up again and I’m ready for my next 15 minute session.
  3. minoxidil versus brand propecia There will be days you can’t work and that’s okay. This is a judgment-free zone. Life happens. Kids get sick. You get sick. Someone at work gets sick and you have to pick up the ball. On days when I can’t write (and boy do I get a grumpy!), I remind myself that the world is always there. Because really, where the hell is it going to go? What will the characters do without you? I find that the simple statement, “The world is always there,” lifts the stress off my shoulders and prepares me to jump in mess up my characters’ lives even more.
  4. http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-levitra-Liguria Meditate. Dude, this changed my life. I’m telling you the truth. A short prayer followed by a ten-minute session of quiet gets me in the world and ready to go. I’ve now started meditating after my writing session to transition into family time or work. I highly recommend davidji‘s Sweetspot Online Community for free meditations. He brings ancient meditation techniques to the modern world and he’s a funny guy. Plus Rocky the pug may have a crush on Peaches the Buddha Princess.
  5. http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=read-and-buy-brand-cialis-generic Turn off social media. In fact as soon as finish reading this, do yourself a favor and turn off your browser. Set your mobile to Airplane mode, throw the wireless thing-of-boob out the window and get writing!

NaNoWriMo Tip 1: Goals

Today is the start of National Write a Book Month. Does the idea of writing an entire book in 30 days intimidate you as much as it itimidates me?
 
If so, consider setting a specific goal between November 1 and November 30th. Here are some that have served me in past NaNoWriMo’s:
  • Write the first five or ten chapters
  • Revise Act I
  • Write a novella or short story
 
The more specific I am with a goal, the more likely I am to accomplish or exceed that goal. For this year’s #NaNoWriMo I’ll be editing Act III of Lost in Whispers. Nothing more, nothing less. And I know there will be changes that will require me to back to Act I and Act II in December so that the book makes sense. But my goal is not for Act III to be perfectly publishable. It just needs to get done so I’m closer to my final goal of getting this book in its very best form to you in March 2017!
 
But if you really want to write that book in 30 days, go for it! I’ll post some tips to make it as productive as possible tomorrow.
 
If you’re NaNoWriMo-ing this month, please share your goals and stay in touch with your progress!

Note to Ego: Shut the Hell Up. Thank you.

The Broken Bridge and the Dream by Salvador Dali @ Art.com

Well, that pretty much sums up what I have to say. My writer’s brain is a strange contraption. It takes me to places and creates people that I swear are real. And just when I’ve got a handle on a character, the key to a scene or a sparkling bit of dialogue, within the same brain Ego snidely whispers, “That sucks. You think that will sell? You think people will actually read that and not laugh at you?”

I don’t know how many hours and days I’ve wasted caught up in the nastiness of when my brain and Ego conspire against me. If I added all that time, I bet its close to at least half my life … possibly more.

But in the last four years I’ve learned a thing or two. Meditation and study has helped me to recognize when my brain is turning away from the light of creation towards the darkness of despair. In her book Taking the Leap, Pema Chodron writes a great deal about shenpa, the Tibetan word for attachment. She describes it as the moment when we react or get hooked by a dirty look, a harsh criticism or even a compliment. She writes:

“Shenpa is not the thoughts or emotions per se. Shenpa is preverbal, but it breeds thoughts and emotions very quickly. If we are attentive, we can feel it happening.”

The only way to become free from the evils of shenpa is to become familiar with it, to recognize the taste, the feel, the sound and the smell of it. Only then can we unhook from it. Easier said than done because it takes study, meditation and awareness – all that stuff I claim I never have time to do. By the way, I’ve yet to catch myself from stopping shenpa and my deeply ingrained habits of obsessing, self criticism or talking smack about someone who hurt my feelings. But my practice has taught me to become aware of those habits and then I can carefully, attentively work myself free. Let’s face it, there’s something delicious about good pity party or bitch fest.

Yesterday was such a day. I got some critiques that really knocked me on my bum and made me question this whole writing racket. Suddenly the great WIP idea I’d been working on seemed like a dead duck, a terrible idea! What was I thinking?!? But I had to proof the copy edited pages of my upcoming short, “2:45 Out of Santa Ana” because they’re due before Friday. I haven’t laid eyes on this story in nine months and in my very sensitive, high-strung “who the heck do I think I am to attempt another lame story” state of mind, it would be fatal to proof my own work.

But alas, I’m a classic Capricorn and we scoff at weakness even when we’re dragging our wounded, bleeding limb behind us. When I began reading the proof pages, the snap of the lashes went quiet in my mind. In fact, these were no longer proof pages, it magically became story until I got to the fifth page when I realized this was my work. And God please don’t smite for saying this (so I’ll whisper) it was pretty good stuff. Re-experiencing the plight of my heroine, Danielle Dawson helped me to stumble through the dark room of my mind towards the shades and then crack them open to the light. After three passes, I proofed the pages and I was simply to busy to be bothered by all those dark thoughts and feelings. Suddenly the WIP that seemed DOA had promise again. I even heard the characters’ voices in the way that you tune a radio to catch a station. Just words and a few broken sentences. But they were out there. It was enough to give me hope that I wasn’t reaching well beyond my means, or going on some wild goose chase.

I’m not quite sure why I’m sharing this with you. Initially it was to give myself a pat on the back and then when I went back into edit it, I thought no, this is something all of us, writers or not, face every single moment. It’s not about victory or “hey look at me!” I’m just being honest that sometimes – many more than I care to think about – I feel like a failure. My ego and I beat myself up until I’m black and blue. And yet, I’m learning how to (politely) tell ego to go take a hike.

Getting Comfy

So the other day, after almost two weeks of wandering in the desert of my mind, I committed to a project. Incidentally I also gained 10 pounds during that time so writing is much better for my health than I realized.

Well I’m at the part of process where I’m researching and character sketching. No plotting. That comes later. In years past I would be freaking out about now; antsy to start writing and have something to sell. But in my old age I’ve become comfortable with my process and that’s a big step. This is the part where the mysterious part of my brain seems to be conjuring up all the surprises that I’ll mine in the writing.

In other words, I look like I’m doing nothing but really there’s a lot going on.

And like The Ballad of Aracely Calderon (which Margo Candela is graciously reading), this project seems to have been percolating ever since I was ten years old and saw Marilyn Monroe perform “That Old Black Magic” from Bus Stop.

If you’re bored at work or curious as to what I’m up to, here are some of my inspirations for this particular work-in-progress:


Photo from the Ambaassador Archive @ www.ambassadorarchive.net

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCG3kJtQBKo&hl=en&fs=1&]

Beginner’s Mind

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

This week I began a page one rewrite of my mariachi book. I know, I know. I’ve been working on this book for three years. The writing experts would’ve told me to give up and move on to more profitable pastures. Actually, three years ago I would’ve told myself the same thing.

But the last eight weeks (and being dumped by my agent) have shown me the number one reason why this book has yet to fly. It’s not the fault of my agents or readers. It’s not because the market sucks or Mercury in retrograde. It’s because I worked on it with the mind that I knew what I was doing.

I’m not saying that this journey has been wrong. I’m not blaming anyone or anything or labeling my decisions as mistakes. In fact, I’m beginning to waver on the concept of right versus wrong and adopting the idea of “what is.” (Note to Karen Maezen Miller: you’re rubbing off on me, comadre!) For us Westerners, specifically for us writers striving to become published/acknowledged/adored, the idea of “it is what it is” is wrong and scary and exclusive to authors with a lot of money and mileage on the best-seller lists.

Through all of May and June I wrote a pilot script, a series treatment and then a spec script. I began those projects never having taken a TV writing course or having written a script for TV. (Although I’d taken screenwriting courses in university, that was 15 years ago and I’d lost those class notes!) How did I do it? Well, I did it by pinching my nose and jumping in. This journey turned everything I had believed in as a writer upside down. I believed in business plans, outlines, the three-act structure and 10,000 hours of practice. I believed that I had to get away from my beginner’s status as quickly and efficiently as possible. I even believed that my producer should have hired an experienced screenwriter instead of a beginner like me.

But then I remembered what Nora Roberts had said in one her chat sessions back in 1994. Someone asked if she ever got over the fear of writing a new book. Nora, who has written something like 120+ books in her career, replied, “No. Starting a new book is like starting all over again.”

At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought it was nice of Nora to say that to all us beginners, but now I know what she meant and it freed me to write the pilot, spec and treatment. No matter how many books or screenplays I may end up writing, I will always be a beginner. It’s not scary or discouraging. A beginner’s mind isn’t hemmed in by business plans, right vs. wrong, plot-driven or character-driven or the three-act structure. A beginner’s mind damns the consequences and is open to spontaniety and “what if.” Isn’t that what we writers do?

Between the Pages with Karen White

Give me a story with a plucky heroine in a mysterious house surrounded by trees draped in Spanish moss and I’m one happy girl. It’s enough to make me wonder if I was a Southerner in a former life. Nonetheless, Karen White delivers the goods in her latest novel, The Lost Hours. Its a powerful story of redemption and how the past still sends ripples into our present day lives. But man is this story powerful. When I reached the denouement, I had to put the book down and hold my Little Dude in my arms.

Please welcome Author Karen White!

Chica Lit: The Lost Hours is a story of healing about a heroine who wants to bury herself alive and a mystery that probes into a very ugly part of U.S. history. How challenging was it to write and how did you keep going when it got rough?

Karen: I always start out with flawed characters who have a lot of growing and learning to do. When I put them in tough situations, I feel like a mother with a toddler helping him to walk for the first time. We have to suffer with them through the falls and stumbles, but we’ll all be better off with the end result. So, when my characters are suffering, I know it’s for a good reason and they will learn and grow from the experience. I still cry and/or laugh with them through some of the scenes–which always takes a lot out of me, but that means I’m on the right track!

Chica Lit: Why do you think Southern Gothics are so fascinating?
Karen: I don’t know about other readers, but for me it’s simply because it’s such familiar territory! I come from a long line of Southerners (my dad’s family has been in the South since the French Revolution) and I’ve got a very ‘interesting’ family tree. I don’t want to call them crazy , but there are characters and settings that I’ve experienced in real life that have certainly fed my fascination for “Southern Gothic” and inspired quite a lot of my own writing.
Chica Lit: What comes first: character, theme or story idea?
Karen: Always, always, always the character. Everything else stems from her and what she needs to learn.
Chica Lit: How do you know when a book is done?
Karen: When I’ve reached my deadline. Just kidding! When I feel as if I’ve tortured my characters enough and they’ve learned what they’re supposed to–that’s when I know the book is done.
Chica Lit: What’s next?
Karen: In November, The Girl on Legare Street (the sequel to The House on Tradd Street) will be released. I’m contracted for two more books in this series to be released in 2011 and 2013. In the meantime, I’ll have two new ‘southern women’s fiction/Southern Gothic novels out in spring of 2010 and 2011, and somewhere in there (we haven’t figured out exactly when) will be the re-written and re-released Falling Home, originally published in 2002.

All this will be accomplished if my children leave me alone and my head doesn’t spin off my shoulders!

To learn more about Karen and her books, please visit her website!

Update

After my last post, many of you wrote and asked me not to give up book writing. Not to worry. I’ll never stop writing books. They’re just going to take longer than usual. Today I turned in a pilot script and series treatment and on Monday I’ll start writing a spec script that is due at the end of June. In July I plan to go back to Aracely and whip her into shape for the fall. That’s the plan and I’m stickin’ to it.

In other news, I did an awesome interview with Chef Daisy Martinez last week. It will appear in the July/August issue of Latino Future magazine. Typically my interviews with celebrities are pretty cut and dry. But Daisy was special. She’s one of those women who’s done it all. She’s sustained a loving marriage, raised a family of four, acted in commercials, matriculated from the French Culinary Institute and is now a Food Network chef, magazine columnist and author.

Some pretty amazing opportunities have come my way recently (hard to believe after my last post but its true). Being me, I was freaking out because of the huge changes these opportunities would bring to my family. I mean, I’d die if my son ever had to call my assistant to schedule himself on my calendar. But then I talked to Daisy, who in spite of all that she does, puts her family first. When I asked how she does it all, she said the following which I printed and stuck it above my computer:

“I’m one of those girls that shows up, you know? When I have a job to do, I get it done.”

Every day since that interview, I step into my office and tell myself: I’m showing up, doing the work and then when I’m done, I’m walking out of here to do what I gotta do with my family. I can’t tell you how amazing that kind of attitude has been. My output is off the charts and while I know it won’t last forever – these things ebb and flow as they should – I’m really enjoying the flow! So if she’s reading this, thank you Daisy!

I hope y’all have a rockin’ weekend.

Cheers,
Mary