Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Good Things happen to Good People

I'm embarrassed, okay, maybe ashamed is a better word to admit that in spite of my love of reality TV (really just Survivor and The Bachelor- but The Bachelor is another blog for another day) that I've never watched Extreme Makeover. I think part of that is due to the fact that it's on Sunday night and Sundays aren't really a TV night for me.

But that's going to change because Extreme Makeover has come to Tallahassee! And it's not only come to my hometown, but the family featured is one that I actually know. Sort of. I first met Barbara Kadzis 9 years ago when she came from up north (basically that's the rest of the country to us Floridians), and began teaching 8th grade at Trinity Catholic School. She taught my daughter Stephanie social studies and my husband and I were impressed with her no-nonsense attitude and wealth of knowledge. Their son Michael was in Stephanie's class and their younger son Christopher was in our Megan's class as well.

I remember being a little saddened when a couple of years later, she quit teaching. But when I discovered that it was because they had adopted a little girl from China it made perfect sense. They've gone on to adopt more children from China, most with some sort of handicap. Then their house got damaged by one of our infamous hurricanes. When I discovered that it was the Kadzis family that was getting a new home on the show, I was thrilled. It seems that good things really do happen to good people sometimes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Celebrity for a Day

Yeah, right. But really, I did sort of feel like one, even if it was just for a couple of hours. Yesterday, I had my first real author interview. It was for an upcoming feature in Tallahassee Magazine.

Making the surrealness (is that a word?) of it complete was the fact that the interview took place in Starbucks. A place I often frequent (and really do love) but make complete fun of in my books. Ah well, such is life's little ironies. I really was quite thrilled to sit across from the lovely Jennifer who wrote down everything I said. I just hope I didn't ramble on too much and make an idiot of myself.

This all happened a mere hour before I turned in a Q & A session on myself to my equally lovely publicist at Berkley who requested I do one for my press kit. You know what I'm talking about. It's those "frequently asked" questions on author sites. I have to admit, I've always wondered where those questions came from, and I'm sure that established authors get them from their fan mail. But for debut authors like myself with a fan base that pretty much consists of family and friends at this point, the questions are... yes, made up by the author themselves. LOL. That was the hardest part. Not answering the questions, but thinking of what questions to ask in the first place. NOT. EASY.

With that under my belt, today looks to be like any other ordinary day. No interviews in sight. Sigh... I guess I'm back to being a normal person.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I think Jen is going to be okay

Was I the only woman in America last night who gasped when she realized that poor Jen was going to have to stand up and present an Oscar less than ten feet away from her ex and the woman he left her for?

I mean, I have nothing against Brangelina. They seem perfectly nice and likable for a couple of adulterers (whoops, did I say that?) But really, what these Hollywood types do is none of my business and normally I wouldn't care, but last night at the Oscars (which really was a fabulous show) the cameras kept making a big deal of Brad and Angie sitting in the front row. Then about half-way through the presentation, out comes Jennifer with Jack Black. You could feel the tension sizzling through the air. At least you could in my living room. Isn't it enough that Jennifer has been dragged through tabloid magazine hell? Or that Angie already has one Oscar under her belt and was up for another? Just the fact that Angie is drop dead gorgeous would give any woman reason to hate her. Not that Jen isn't pretty. But Jen is sexy clean and Angie is sexy dirty, and Brad obviously prefers the latter.

So, the presentation progresses and after making Oscar small talk with Jack Black, it's time for Jennifer to do her thing. That's when it happened. It was only a split second, but I caught it. Her eyes flitted to the front of the audience (to the exact spot where Brangelina was sitting) and she gave the "hey there" smile/eye narrowing thing. The air swooshed from my lungs. It's okay. Jen has moved on. Maybe now I can start to like Brad Pitt.

Last night's big stunner for me was Hugh Jackman. When I heard he was hosting the Oscars, I was dumbfounded. He's about as appealing as a sheet of cardboard to me. But I was pleasantly surprised. He can sing. He can dance. He has a personality. He was actually good! Maybe I'll give him another chance. After seeing him in "Kate and Leopold" I've avoided his movies like the plague, but I've heard some good things about "Australia" so I'll put it on my Netflix list.

The highlight of the show for me was seeing my beloved Kate win her first Oscar. I absolutely adore her and everything she does and it was so nice to see her finally recognized. She looked fabulous (although I wasn't crazy about her hair do). I'll admit, I almost had tears in my eyes as she gave her acceptance speech.

All in all, the show was fantastic. One of the best Oscars I've seen in a long time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In which Maria Blogs about the Invisible Maid...

So I haven't posted the 2nd part of My Big Fat Cuban Baby Shower blog because this week has been unbelievably busy. I screwed up and somehow lost my electronic copy edits for Bunco Babes Gone Wild. Can you say Idiot? Yep, I admit it. Nevertheless, I pulled an all nighter and managed to get the copy edits to NY today. I was rewarded with a visit from the FedEx man. This is what he left on my door step.

ARCs for Bunco Babes Tell All! Woo hoo!

And if you want to know more about the Invisible Maid, go here to the Title Wave blog.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Big Fat Cuban Baby Shower (part 1)

This past weekend I drove down to Miami for my cousin Carolina's baby shower. Imagine my glee when I found out the baby shower was going to be held at a bookstore (my most favorite place on earth).
But it wasn't just any bookstore.

It was held in the courtyard of Books & Books , a very cool indie shop located in beautiful Coral Gables (the store also has locations in Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and the Cayman Islands). The shop is shaped like a large U with a spacious open air courtyard in the middle (the courtyard is where the baby shower was held). Besides having fabulous books and a very helpful and knowledgeable staff, the place also has this very charming (and extremely narrow) indoor cafe. One side is solid wall filled with photos of famous authors who've done events at the store.

The cafe has also done culinary collaborations with author-chefs such as Lidia Bastianich, Anthony Bourdain and Jamie Oliver.

I have to admit though, probably the coolest part of the store was that open air courtyard. As you walk inside from the street there's a bar set up, where they serve beer and wine from around the world. When I complimented the wait staff on their beautiful store, one server proudly told me "You should see this place at night." I later found out on Friday nights the cafe hosts live music.

An awesome array of books, a beautiful atmosphere, good food, wine, beer and live music... When I go back?

(tomorrow I'll actually blog about the baby shower!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I have a winner!

My "Got Bunco?" blog contest officially came to an end at midnight and the winner of the $25 gift certificate from Victoria's Secret is... Estela! Congratulations! And thank you to everyone who entered.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Steamy Romp!

I got my first cover quote!

Haywood Smith, New York Times Bestselling Author says, "A steamy romp of a read whose lively characters kept me turning the pages."

Woo hoo!

I'm honored and thrilled to get such a wonderful quote from an amazing author whose work I've always admired. I absolutely love The Red Hat Books series. And her newest book Wedding Belles is an absolute hoot!

The New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hat Club fearlessly takes on mothers and daughters, wedding madness, and midlife passion in this frank, funny, and fabulous new novel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sweet 16!

It's hard to believe my baby is 16 today! Wow. Where did the time go?

As far as deliveries went, she was pretty easy. Third times the charm and all that. I went to bed the night of the 11th and woke up around midnight. I poked Mike Geraci in the shoulder and told him it was time to go the hospital. We'd already taken our other 2 kids to the neighbors for the night b/c I'd had some bloody show earlier in the evening, coupled with the fact that I was a week past my due date, and I was pretty certain that I'd go into labor that night (being a labor and delivery nurse does have it's advantages).

Let me just tell you Mike Geraci doesn't wake up well. He looked at me and said, "I don't think you're in labor." Then he rolled over and went back to sleep.

So I got up and took a shower. Put on a little makeup. After all, I was going to be delivering in front of my co-workers.

This time, I stood over the bed and gave him my "I mean business" eyes. He sighed and got up and went to brush his teeth. "I'll be out in a second," he said.

I went out to garage and got in the car. It was cold. We were living in Austin at the time and it was a chilly February morning.

I waited.

And waited.

Where the hell was he? What part of "I'm in labor" did the man not understand?

So I unbuckled my seat belt (not an easy feat at 9 months + 1 week pregnant) and rolled myself back in the kitchen. Mike Geraci was standing by the refrigerator, stuffing a piece of frozen chocolate pie in his face. WTH?

"I'm hungry," he mumbled, stuffing the rest of the pie into his hole, watching my expression leerily. Yeah. He knew he was in trouble.

I rebuckled myself into our Explorer, and we drove the 5 minutes to Seton NW Hospital. Back then you had to do a U turn to get to the hospital coming from our direction (probably that's different now). I remember as he did that U turn he gave me a long sideways look. "You don't look like you're in labor."

"How do you want me to look?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I don't know. Like you're in pain."

"You'll be the one in pain if you don't step on it."

His brows shoot up.

Yeah. He knew I meant business now.

We get to the hospital. Mike Geraci immediately tells my nurse, Jacqueline, that he doesn't feel well. His stomach hurts. Poor baby. He must have eaten something that disagreed with him. Yeah, that chocolate pie. No one pays any attention to me. After all, I work there. I know what to do. So I put on a gown and get in bed. Jacqueline runs to get Mike Geraci some antacid. My doctor checks me. I'm 8 cm dilated.

Now Mike Geraci really looks sick. "I thought it was false labor. You didn't act like this when you were 8cm before."

My doctor breaks my bag of water and an hour later I have a baby. It's 4:29 in the morning.

By 5:30, Mike Geraci is sleeping on the fold out couch. An hour later, he wakes up, looking disoriented. "Where are we?" he mumbles.

"At the hospital."

"You mean... that wasn't a dream?"

Ha. That's his story and 16 years later, he's still sticking to it.

PS- My Valentines Day contest is open till Friday midnight. Go by the Knight Agency blog and scroll down to my "Got Bunco?" post and leave a comment to be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Victoria's Secret.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Today, I'm guest blogging at The Knight Agency Blog. Click on over there and enter my contest to win a $25 gift certificate to Victoria's Secret (just in time for Valentines Day) AND, check out my new website. YES. It's finally done! My web designer did a fantastic job. And he's not done yet. This blog is getting a make over to match the new site too. Should be done by the end of the week:)

And there's more big news. Mel's book is finally available for pre-order on BITE ME! comes out late August and is everything awesome YA should be- funny, a little scary, and full of teenage angst and romance. Readers are going to lap this up!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Valentines Week Give-aways

In honor of Valentines Day, The Knight Agency is running a series of romance writing (what else?) guest bloggers on their site. Today's guest is Dakota Cassidy, the author of the awesome "Accidental Friends" series (I've read the first 2 and they're a hoot!) Check out her contest right HERE.

Yours truly will be guest blogging on Wednesday and I'll be giving away a $25 gift certificate to Victoria's Secret. I'm pretty psyched. My website will be ready to unveil by then and I'm so happy with the final product!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Baby Girl Geraci

Here is the newest addition to the Geraci family. Right now, her name is Truffles. That could change, but not if Megan Geraci has anything to do with it. She's a 6 week old Dachshund puppy and she's absolutely adorable. The blue blanket came from her mother's house, so she's pretty firmly attached to that.

So far, she's 3/3 for tinkling outside. I'm not naive enough to think she's got the peeing outside thing down pat but it's a good start.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thank you, Pioneer Woman

It's getting close. My new website is almost ready to go live! Here's a little taste of it above. I really love what my web designer, Delroy "Ricky" Neath at Yard Media has done. If you could only see the concept the first designer came up with. I still have nightmares about those dice tattoos on the naked butt... but I digress.

Last night was my Bunco night and it was freezing cold here in north Florida. Go ahead and laugh, but 20-30 degree weather is intolerable for us Floridians. I hate to run off to Bunco without feeding my family and last night's chilly temps called for comfort food. Big time. So I whipped up some of Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti.

If you aren't a fan of Pioneer Woman, then you should be. I can get lost for hours in her site. Her chicken spaghetti recipe was a huge hit at my house. My son rated it an A+ and my daughter called it a "keeper." It's rare that my men folk (see, I'm almost talking like PW) and my health-conscious-eating-almost-16 year old daughter all love the same dish. But they did. And it was so dang easy.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Who doesn't love a cowboy?

My good friend Kate Pearce is coming out with the 3rd book in her cowboy series. All I can say is YOWSA. If you haven't read Kate before, then you need to. Right. Now. She's even doing a give away on her blog. Click right HERE.


Rodeo cowboy Dakota Scott has a problem. His truck has broken down and he’s stranded in small town New Mexico. He’s due in San Francisco to star in a commercial for his half-brother’s boot company and hopes to God he’s going to make it. To complicate matters he’s picked up another stray, this time a woman who needs his help. Robyn Sparrow is a washed-up celebrity, famous in the 90’s for being the youngest of three sisters who had their own TV show. Now she’s reached rock bottom. When she meets Dakota, she’s desperate enough to promise him any sexual favor simply to get a ride back to the West Coast. While Dakota struggles to understand Robyn and comes to care for her, he unwittingly leads her back toward the spotlight that almost killed her. Can she resist the lure of Hollywood and can Dakota really believe she’d give it all up for love?

Monday, February 02, 2009

If someone takes away your mouth, then just put on your angry eyes...

I admit it, I'm one of those people who watches the Super Bowl for the commercials. But I have to admit, last night's game was fantastic. I'm just sorry the Cardinals couldn't pull it off (I'd volunteer to console Kurt Warner, but he DOES have that wife and million kids of his...) And it was refreshing to watch a half-time show that delivered pure entertainment without a bunch of smoke and mirrors and falling off tops.

So, there was no question which commercial was my favorite. Someone at Bridgestone has been spying on Mike Geraci and I and has turned us into Mr and Mrs Tater Head.


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