Friday, April 1, 2022

Story Excerpt: Temptation - Chapter 1

It's been a while since I uploaded a story excerpt, almost three years! I thought it was time to update you guys one! Here is the first chapter of a story I wrote merely for fun and with no hopes to publish. Welcome to Temptation


        She didn't expect to be handcuffed to a table in a cold windowless room but there she was. Twenty-five, and now with a record that will follow her for life. She jiggled the handcuffed but it was no use, she was stuck. No officers had come in since the arresting officer but she didn't care. She just had to find a way to get out of there. However her thoughts were disrupted by a door opening, and she looked up to see a man that looked semi-familiar.

“Ivelisse Hernandez,” He drawled and threw a folder onto the table.

He slammed the door behind him, and Ivelisse recoiled slightly as he approached the table. 

He towered over her, and she could hear his labored breathing as he tried to intimidate her. Instead, she raised an eyebrow in question, and he sneered. He plopped himself into the other chair and it screeched against the floor. Normally, this would bother other people but not Ivelisse. Instead, she studied his moves and made her own mental notes. 

“25 years old, and now you're in a police station. It is not looking good for your Ivelisse, but your friends call you Ivy right?” He asked. 

“Sure Officer …” Ivelisse trailed off and assumed that working with the police would work in her favor. 

“Reynolds, Captain Reynolds,” He said. 

“Sorry, Cap'n,” Ivelisse said with a smirk. 

“You enjoy that? Making light of a serious situation? Do you even know why you're here?” Captain Reynolds asked and leaned forward. 

“Clearly I don't, I don't know why you thought having a bunch of cops break into my condo and pull me out of bed! It's like what four in the fucking morning. Don't I get a phone call, or is that just TV magic?” Ivelisse asked 

“You will get a call when I am done with you,” Captain Reynolds. 

“Shouldn't a detective be grilling me, and not the captain?” Ivelisse asked.

“I personally wanted to talk to you! I have had my team on you for a while now,” Captain Reynolds said and opened the folder. 

“Ivelisse Hernandez, twenty-five, Ph.D. student at NYU, very impressive for someone of your background,” Captain Reynolds said. 

“Was that a racial dig?” Ivelisse asked.

“Was it? I mean you are the Social Psychology major. With Carter Lucas?” He said with a smirk.

Ivelisse seized up at the mention of the name and glared at him.  

“Twin brother to Romeo Hernandez, daughter to Julian Hernandez, investor to Temptation Lounge, that's where you work right?” He asked. 

Ivelisse didn't answer him, he already knew the answer to that question. Clearly, he knew a fucking lot. Instead, she drummed her fingers onto the table and Captain Reynolds flipped through some more papers. He stopped on one and scanned through the words before he smirked. 

“Tell me about your mother,” Captain Reynolds asked.

“Look, why am I here? Why am I arrested? Do you have any legal right to keep me here?” Ivelisse asked but Captain Reynolds didn't say a word. 

“You have to tell me,” Ivelisse demanded.

“I don't have to tell you shit. I can keep you here for forty-eight hours with no word on what your next steps are, so let's talk about your mother,” Captain Reynolds gritted.

“I want a lawyer,” Ivelisse snapped. 

“I guess you said the magic words, but know this Ivelisse once somebody walks in here, we cannot work out a deal. You would be on your own, whereas we can work together and make some middle ground. Doesn't that sound like a smart idea?” Captain Reynolds said and leaned back in his chair. 

Ivelisse thought for a moment but she knew her answer wasn't going to change. He clearly had enough information about her, if he was serious about this threat. Something would have occurred, he wouldn't be pushing about her mother of all people. 

“I'll take my chances,” Ivelisse said. 

“Fine, have it your way,” Captain Reynolds said. 

He shoved the chair back and it screeched across the floor. Ivelisse moved to cover her ears but she couldn't. She had to endure all the sounds that came with Captain Reynolds. As he stopped up, he leaned down towards her. 

“One last chance Ivelisse,” Captain Reynolds muttered. 

“Lawyer,” Ivelisse said. 

Captain Reynolds nodded and raised his hands out in defeat. He turned and walked out the door he came in. Ivelisse looked up at her reflection in the mirror, which she knew was two-way. She stared passed her reflection and at whoever was on the other side of the mirror. 

“Whatever you want from me, good luck,” Ivelisse gritted and glared.

She looked at her hands and leaned her head down on the metal table. 

On the other side of the mirror, stood Captain Reynolds with a grim look on his face. 

“She's one tough cookie to crack,” He muttered.

“I know,” 

“Are you sure you want to do this? Are you sure she knows more than you think?” Captain Reynolds asked. 

“I know her, I know her better than anyone, and she's lying,” 

“Are you sure because you know I got the feeling she isn't,” Captain Reynolds said. 

“She’s lying, I know it,” 

“I’m doing you a favor and-”

“I know my sister Reynolds, and she is a lot worse than you think, we are twins you know,” Romeo Hernandez said and sighed.

“My sister,” he whispered.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Winter 2021/2022

As I was thinking of something to post, I realized it had been a while since I posted one of my seasons of the year. Winter being my favorite, because I love snow, I thought I post the latest two snow storms we had in New York City. 

Seriously isn't it breathtaking? 

Blogger doesn't do this video justice, but here is a winter wonderland walk one morning! Sound removed for safety reasons.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Book Review: In the Midst of Magic by Christian Cura


In the Midst of Magic by Christian Cura

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: Meet Kara Hartman, a young painter who is hiding her magic from the world. Traumatized by the loss of her brother, she wants nothing more to do with magic. But just as her art career takes off and she has found new love, it becomes apparent that the universe has other plans for Kara. When she discovers that an old foe has broken out of prison, hellbent on destroying her new life, Kara has no choice but to embrace the only power that can stop her.

Want a story with a strong female lead? This book may be just for you! Kara Hartman is a bonafide badass who is trying to keep it all together. She may be a badass but she is definitely trying to keep it under wraps and hold her shit together. Kara is trying to keep a major part of herself hidden which is proving to be harder than she expected since life is like Nah sis, this is who you are, embrace it.  

So let's jump right into the story, which is what Cura does. Within the first chapter, you are thrown right into a giant conflict between Kara, and her bestie or ex-bestie Charlotte. (I have a soft spot for that name). Charlotte is delving into the dark arts and playing with magic she shouldn't be. Kara just wants what is best for her, and tries to help her as a friend. However, shit goes left and all hell breaks loose. Cura does an amazing job at captivating you in those first 25 pages or so, and you just have to keep going. Especially since there is a time jump, and you're all like we need to unpack what the freak just happened

This was a great fantasy book, that does an excellent job at world-building. We are thrown into a world unlike our own, or at least my own. There is no magic over here my friends. Cura doesn't shove all of this new knowledge into your face but sprinkles it through so it's digestible for the reader. As someone who is a fantasy lover, it was pretty quick to understand and enjoy. If you read my other reviews, you'll know I am a sucker for worldbuilding, and if you do it right, A+ my friend

As the story progresses, so does Kara and that is just a selling point for me. Sometimes in fantasy books, you get all wrapped up in the world, and all the awesome things people can do. In this book, Cura makes sure we know this is Kara's story and we are growing with her. She is coming out of her shell and is friends with all these other amazing peeps. Seriously, they are awesome for her. 

So you may wonder, hey K why not a full 5, you are right there? Well, at some point the story felt as if it were two different storylines because of other characters. When that happens, it pulls me out of the story and makes me wonder which story is truly being told. While the other plotline doesn't still the limelight it is quite pulling. Another thing is the ending. It sets up to be another story, and when something like that happens, I want to be sure there will be another one. Not sure if there is. Is there Christian? I love stories to finish as if they are stand-alone, and if there is another great, but tie up those loose ends, please. 

Overall great fantasy book, with some amazing women empowered characters. If you are into fantastical worlds check this book out! Also that cover? GORGEOUS!  

This book will be available in Summer 2022. 

I received this ARC in exchange for a review.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Goodbye My Friend!

Credit to PBS Kids

 Saying goodbye to my childhood happens today! Today, PBS Kids is ending the famous cartoon Arthur, and it simply breaks my heart! I’ve watched Arthur religiously since I was about six years old. Growing up without cable, watching PBS Kids was a common thing in my household. Something that was routine for me became my life. Even now at my older age which I will not mention 😂 I watch it with my daughter. We curl up, play a few episodes, and talk about what we learned. It’s a cartoon I don't have to worry about adult situations or inappropriate content. It does touch on some great topics, autism, gay marriage, different cultures, and worldwide events such as 9/11 (April 9th) and Hurricane Sandy (Shelter from the Storm). Lessons are a major aspect of the show and they’re great to teach kids. Why not explore this world with children, and begin conversations that would have been too hard before. 

After 25 years, the final season aired today! Four episodes and we are getting a flash-forward to see our favorite friends grow up. I’m simply excited, especially to see some of my faves (Fern, Arthur, and Sue Ellen). During the pandemic, it’s been great to watch something that doesn’t deal with that trauma. A reminder that there is hope still in the world. So escape to Elwood City and be reminded of what it’s like to be an eight-year-old! 

What a wonderful kind of day! 

Monday, January 31, 2022

Manifestations for 2022

Credit Kimberley Aguirre


man·i·fes·ta·tion /ˌmanəfəˈstāSH(ə)n,ˌmanəˌfesˈtāSH(ə)n/

  1. an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea.
    • the action or fact of showing an abstract idea.
    • a symptom or sign of an ailment.
I am a big believer in manifestation! I write goals every year with my best friend. I mean, you guys can even check them out here. The point is, every year I work on some major goals for myself and I love to do it. I have been doing manifestation scripting, and vision boards my entire life (exaggeration) but I do think I have been doing them since the 7th grade. The idea of accomplishing something gives me a surge of energy, it's the Scorpio in me. Scorpios are known to be driven, passionate, and creative amongst other things. Getting back to the point, manifestation is real, and this year I am pushing it into hyperdrive. 

This year 2022, I will manifest some major goals I have had since I was a little girl. I am also going to push myself further out of my comfort zone, and take chances. The kind of chances that always scared me, but I can't be scared anymore. If I want to become the person I have always dreamt of, I need to go after those dreams. Some of those dreams will be educational, writing, and personal! Now, how will I accomplish that goal? 

Scripting is one way to do so. Scripting is a manifestation tool, that uses the acts of visualization and writing the life you want in the present tense. I always start with gratitude to the Universe and write out the goal in the present tense. It's that speaking it into existence, and if you say or in my case write it enough, then it will manifest. 

However, manifesting isn't just spiritual, and believing. You need to actually put the work in. One goal of mine, has been a dream goal, and I want it to come true so bad, however, if I never do the work on it, it will never come true. Like it will physically not be possible if I don't work at it. So that's a big thing to manifesting as well, putting in the work. 

Now you may be wondering, hey K why haven't you mentioned your goals. Well, in my culture we have something called Mal de Ojo (Evil Eye), and that is something I believe in heavily. Just like manifesting, I believe in negative energies, and people wishing downfall on me. I use to have friends, who envied who I hung out with or what I could accomplish, and never lifted me up. Instead, they would speak down about me, and cause drama in my life. I learned a lot over the years, and this time, those major goals, my dreams, I am keeping to myself, well passed accomplishment. 

So hopefully, this journey I am about to go on is one you will join in and hopefully get a glimpse of what is happening in my world. I am also sending positive vibes to those out there who are going for their dreams! Accomplish those goals, and know you have someone rooting for you! 

Cross-posted on Medium 


Monday, October 18, 2021

Preptober 2021 | Week #3


Another year down in the books, and NaNoWriMo is creeping back up! This Preptober is starting later than usual because life has been a whirlwind. I started a new job this year, I am also going back to school for yet another Master's degree (will update about my MFA), and the usual life roles of being a mom, wife, and friend. 

This Preptober will really be outlining different story ideas that have been in the back of my mind. I don't have a set idea of exactly what to do but I have a few story ideas. This year I feel like I am going to be a Pantser to the max, and as a Planner that doesn't sit right with me. However, life is kicking this writer's booty. I will write out in my newest notebook some ideas but I may definitely just be typing away. 

Do you have any ideas this year or will you too be a Pantser?

Friday, October 1, 2021

Book Review: A Wish Too Dark And Kind by M.L. Blackbird


A Wish Too Dark And Kind by M.L. Blackbird

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: Among the immortals that inhabit our world, Arnaud Demeure is known as the man who can fulfill your one true wish or who can also conjure your worst nightmares.

Eight invitations are sent to eight immortals, and when Arnaud Demeure hosts a party, no one refuses his request. Why have they been summoned? Is it for a celebration or does a sinister fate await them? After all, in the ways of magick, a party can also be a ritual to end the world.

As the mystery deepens, the attendees must overcome their personal grudges to unravel the threads of Demeure's grand plan that has been centuries in the making. But, with one of the guests secretly working with their host to sabotage the group's every move, it seems impossible to look behind the curtain to learn Demeure's true intentions.

With each guest hiding dark secrets and darker intentions, will they be able to uncover Demeure's mysterious motives or will the party prove to be the deadly nightmare that they each fear?

What a synopsis, huh? As soon as I read it, I knew I had to read it. Just in time for spooky season aka Halloween. The book starts off ... interestingly and took me a moment to know what was going on before we switched characters. We are introduced to Alexandra, or Alex, who works at the School of Winchester (Is this a Supernatural reference? I hope). My feelings towards her were conflicting. I mean, she is a boss-ass chick but sis is also rude, but it could just be her ego. She's practically immortal. Then we meet Millard and Hermann, and there are mentions of dreams and Paris. Then we meet Daniel, and if you are not catching on, we are going to keep meeting new characters. 

That was one of the things that stopped this from being a 5 in my book. Almost the first 75 pages are introductions to these characters. They are getting invited to this event by Arnaud Demeure who we still kind of don't know. We get tidbits from his letters but not enough, and it frustrated me a bit because I wanted to know more sooner. 

Another aspect of this book that stopped it from getting a 5 was the back and forth between timelines. Personally, I am not a fan of them. One moment you're getting to the nitty-gritty with a storyline, but then you are pulled out with the other. Once I got pulled out, I was reminded I was reading a book and not getting lost in the story. Which this book does set up to be fantastical.

Finally, I feel like the book could have been edited more. What I mean by that is, some chunks I would remove. Have us start at the party, then learn more about the characters through conversations. Something to move it along quickly. As I mentioned, we spend almost a 1/4 of it just getting background.

However, Blackbird makes up for it in the second half of the book when we are all caught up to the party. These characters all with a connection in one way or another realize something is amidst. Having characters like Alexandra and Ioan helped me looked for clues. Daniel, oh sweet Daniel, was a good stand-in for the reader as he is learning just as we are. 

Another thing Blackbird has done well was building this magick system and world up. It's a world you want to get lost in and explore more. His description paints a vivid picture and you feel as if you are part of this world. While it is complex I think the beauty lies in that. You can tell that a lot of hard work went into building it, as it practically leaps off the pages. However, some descriptions may make you shiver but dammit it's so freaking good.  

As a murder mystery fan (I'm serious, that's what I am doing for my birthday) I was excited to get to the party. I wanted to Clue it up with the best of them, and figure out what the hell is going and why this party? Blackbird does a great job at that suspense and the whirlwinds of mystery that you just have to give it an A+. 

So it gets a 3.5, and I do want to say to Blackbird. You have a story with the School of Winchester! Alex, and whatever the hell is going on there needs its own book. I would love to read that story

Overall great book, with wonderful graphics here and there. If you are into gothic, mysteries, and/or the fantastical world check this book out! I do warn it's a dark story, and happy endings, ain't happening in this novel. However, if you want to feel chills and see morally grey characters curl up with a book just in time for All Hallows Eve. 

This book will be available in November 2021. 

I received this ARC in exchange for a review.