#ThrowbackThursday Sweet Fifteen – a Cuban Quinceañera

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and I’m taking you back to my daughter’s Quinceañera. In Latin customs, it’s not typical to do a Sweet Sixteen, but rather a Quinceañera – a “Sweet Fifteen.”

The Quinceañera is a big ritual which usually starts with a mass at church and then on to a venue for the rest of the celebration.

Since the celebration is about the passage of a female child into womanhood, there are many symbolic moments in the celebration.

For example, the young lady walks in with her father wearing a very fancy dress, children’s shoes, and a toy, but then changes into heels and hands her toy off to a young child to symbolize that she is leaving childhood. The young lady is usually accompanied by her father and a court consisting of 14 young people.

After a dance with her father and the court, the women of the family present various gifts to the young woman to signify her new role in life. It’s customary for the young woman to receive:

    A tiara
    A bracelet or ring
    Earrings
    A necklace, cross or medal
    And since it is partly a religious ceremony, a bible or rosary

At our daughter’s Quinceañera, I gave her a ring from her my mom, who unfortunately never got to meet. This is a picture of that moment.

Quince

After this, there is usually a meal. Later, there is a lighting of 15 candles, where the young woman offers a candle to 15 people (or groups of people) who have been special in her life.

After that, more food and dancing! Cubans love to party! The theme of our Quinceañera was Old Cuba since we can’t go to Cuba yet. Maybe one day.

We had a fabulous time at the Quinceañera and I know it will be a day we all will remember with joy and happiness.

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#WriteWed JUST ONE NIGHT New Adult Erotic Romance Inspiration

On May 12, I’ll be in the release of an erotic romance novella boxed set titled ONE NIGHT ONLY with my friends Stephanie Julian, Judi Fennell and Sara Humphreys.

My story in the boxed set, JUST ONE NIGHT, is a new adult erotic romance. As you can guess from the title, the story happens all in just one night when twenty-four year old Nicole de Silva decides to finally take a chance with her younger brother’s best friend, Jason Hart.

Jason, Jase to his friends, and Nicole have basically grown up together and for years, the sparks have been flying between them, but neither of them has done anything about it.

Jase is a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Marines and he only has one night with Nickie before he heads home and then to his deployment.

The inspiration for Jase came from my time at Villanova which had a very large and active ROTC program. I even had the honor of going to a ROTC formal event my freshman year and it was amazing to see all the young men and women in their dress uniforms.

At the start of JUST ONE NIGHT, Jase and Nickie’s brother have just graduated and Jase is in his dress blues and looking way too handsome.

It’s going to be up to Jase and Nickie to decide whether to take a chance and explore the heat that’s been building inside of them for way too long. Trust me, it’s going to be a sizzling hot story as they finally give in to that attraction all night long.

Can’t you just picture Nickie helping Jase out of dress blues just like these?

military man

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Vampire Reborn #TeaserTuesday & #Giveaways

Vampire Reborn NovellaToday’s #TeaserTuesday is from VAMPIRE REBORN, the new novella in The Calling-Reborn Vampire Novel Series.

In this scene, vampire Ryder Latimer is returning home after a meeting with a member of the Slayer Council that has not gone well. Ryder went to see the Council member in the hopes of finding out why he may be becoming more human. When he left earlier, he and his newlywed wife had kind of had a fight, but Ryder can never stay angry with Diana for long.

Warning, this excerpt is for mature audiences only.

If you can’t read the excerpt, you can click her for the free read from Vampire Reborn.

Vampire Reborn Novella Excerpt



Don’t forget we’ve got a number of giveaways happening which end on April 18th! Click here to tag a friend on Facebook and earn a chance to win!

Vampire Reborn Release Celebration Giveaway
Dangerous Dozen Giveaway
Lucky 7 Bad Boys Giveaway

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#ManCandyMonday Mark Wahlberg

What can I say? I love Mark Wahlberg. I love that he’s redeemed his life and seems to have accepted responsibility for the things he’s done. There are some of his movies that I will watch whenever they are on, like INVINCIBLE and THE FIGHTER. I think why I like them is because they’re about ordinary guys rising above the ordinary to make something of themselves. I kind of imagine Mark plays those roles so well because of his own life and he rose above it.

I’ve been enjoying the show about his brother’s restaurant, Wahlburgers. It’s fun to watch them and see their interactions with their mom and how she rules the roost.

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s Man Candy Monday!

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Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi@en.wikipedia.com

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#FoodieFriday Italian Easter Egg Bread, Freebie E-book & #Giveaways

Whew, we have a lot going on today. First, a recipe for a traditional Italian Easter Egg Bread. We never had these as kids, but learned about them from my hubby’s Italian family. His grandma used to make these every Easter and I’ve made them on several Easters. You can either make a big braided version to use as a centerpiece before eating or make individual ones to place at your guest’s place settings!

Ingredients

Sweet Dough

2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in 1-inch pieces (room temperature)
1/2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
2/3 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar
1 packet dry yeast
Dyed Easter Eggs

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk
colored sprinkles

Directions

Warm the milk, transfer to a bowl and add a tablespoon of the sugar and then the yeast. The milk should be just warm and not too hot or it will kill the yeast. When the yeast is foamy, whisk in the eggs.

Place the rest of the sugar salt and flour in a stand mixer. Add the milk and mix. Then add the pieces of butter one at a time about a minute apart until incorporated into the dough. Then need the dough for another 4 or 5 minutes until it is nice and silky.

Grease another bowl and place the dough there to rise. Lightly grease the top of the dough and cover with plastic. Let rise until doubled.

Then knead the dough and cut into three equal strips. Braid the dough and join the ends to form a circle. Once you have that, nestle the hard boiled eggs into the braids.

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Make the glaze and drizzle it over the bread once cool. Add the sprinkles to the bread and voila! You’ve got a beautiful Italian Easter Egg bread!

You can see some pictures of Easter Egg Breads by clicking here!

Freebie E-book!

I’ve got a free download of Now and Always for you at Kobo!

If you need the book for your Kindle, please e-mail Amazon and ask them to match the price!

Giveaways!

Wow, I’ve got giveaways galore going on for you at Facebook. I know some of you don’t do Facebook, so here’s what we’ll do. If you leave a comment on this blog post and leave the name of the hero and heroine in Vampire Reborn, I’ll include you in the list of people that entered when I choose winners using random.org.

Posted in Cook's Treat | 3 Comments

#ThrowbackThursday 2012 RITA Nomination

There’s lots of exciting things that happen when you’re an author. “The Call” when an agent or editor lets you know they want to buy your book.

The first time someone asks you sign a book.

Meeting an online friend face-to-face (one of my favorite things to do!)

And for romance writers, it’s getting the call that you’re a RITA finalist. I got my call in 2012 for THE LOST, one of my paranormal romances.

It was so exciting for so many reasons. First of all, the RITAs are like the OSCARS for romance writers. Second, I took a really big risk writing THE LOST because it wasn’t your typical paranormal. No vampires, shifters, etc., but something different and unique – an ancient race of energy gatherers.

I loved that concept and plan on releasing the third book in the series later this year!

This is a picture of me and my editor, Selina McLemore, all dolled up for the very fancy and exciting awards ceremony!
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This is a picture of the screen when they announced my nomination!
RITA Award Nomination

I didn’t win – :( – but it was still a most exciting, rewarding and happy moment in my life.

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#WriteWed The Inspiration Behind the Books

Wow, the inspiration behind the books. Where do I start? It’s such a tough thing to pinpoint because the inspiration can be so varied.

Vampire Reborn novella from The Calling Reborn seriesFor The Calling-Reborn series, the inspiration for the series and FBI Agent Diana Reyes was very much the emotion I was feeling during a dark time in my life. Her character totally epitomized someone mired in darkness who needed to find herself again and be reborn (namely me!). I shared more of that inspiration in the blog titled Into the Abyss with Vampires.

In the 10 years since that first book, Diana has definitely grown and learned so much and I am so very happy to see where she is in Vampire Reborn. She’s a very different person now and a much stronger one, but opening herself up to love makes her vulnerable in so many ways.

I’m really looking forward to exploring that in future stories.

To Catch Her Man, on the other hand, was inspired by location, location, location and also mother/daughter relationships. That’s kind of been a recurring thread in the Charity Pineiro books set in South Beach – friends, family, mothers and daughters.

Why location? Well, South Beach is all glittering and glamorous, filled with celebrities, but amidst all that hype is the dark side of what goes on in all those party places. I thought South Beach would be the perfect place to have a romance with suspense elements, namely, an investigation into whether an undercover cop is dirty and responsible for the murder of one of his fellow officers.

To Catch Her Man is available alone or as part of the Dangerous Dozen Romantic Suspense Boxed Set. The boxed set is specially priced at .99 cents for a limited time.

Thank you for making it an Amazon and B&N bestseller!

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Dangerous Dozen Release Party Today

It’s our Dangerous Dozen Release party today! Come and play with us and our special guests. We’ll have fun and prizes for you! My time slot at the party is from 12 pm to 1 pm EST.

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Posted in Caridad's News! | 2 Comments

#ManCandyMonday & Release Day Dangerous Dozen #Romance

OMG, the big day is finally here! It’s the release day for the Dangerous Dozen Romantic Suspense Boxed Set. It seemed apropos to share with you my vision for Carlos Ramirez, the sexy undercover detective who is tying investigative reporter Sylvia Amenabar into knots! LOL!

Here’s how I pictured him hanging out in South Beach, waiting for Sylvia to finally commit to their relationship.
Carlos

Sexy, right? But more importantly, Carlos is a true hero who not only saved Sylvia’s life, but also that of his former partner. He’s a man with a heart of gold who is in love with a woman who sometimes doubts she even has a heart.

I loved exploring their relationship as well as the mystery of whether or not Carlos is a dirty cop. That’s the suspense part in the book as Sylvia is told that Carlos is responsible for the murder of another undercover officer and it’s up to her to either prove that he’s innocent or deal with the consequences of not only her feelings for him, but the damage she will do Carlos, his family and her friend Adriana, who is dating Carlos’s old partner, Riley Evans. The man who accused Carlos of being a dirty cop has also fingered Riley as being part of the murder.

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the boxed set which is specially priced for only .99 for a limited time.
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#FoodieFriday Chocolate Pudding

Who doesn’t like chocolate pudding? It’s so rich and thick and tasty. Comfort food.

I still remember coming home from school and my grandma would be standing at the stove, making it for us. She’d be stirring and stirring and when it was done, we’d fight over who got to eat was left in the pot and who got to lick the spoon!

My grandma was an amazing cook and could make just about anything tasty. Even leftovers.

But this recipe is one ANYONE can make. Yep, you read that right, ANYONE. It’s that simple and fast.

Keep It Simple Chocolate Pudding

Ingredients:

    2/3 cup sugar (you can substitute Splenda)
    2 1/4 cups milk (you can substitute skim milk or almond milk)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cinnamon stick
    3 tablespoons corn starch
    1/4 cup powdered cocoa (milk of dark or a mix!)

Directions:

Blend together all the dry ingredients and set aside. Add milk, cinnamon stick, and vanilla to a saucepan and start to heat it. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Over medium heat, stirring regularly, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir it for another minute and then pour it into either a big bowl or individual dessert dishes.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Let the kids lick the bowl and spoon clean or give yourself a Cook’s Treat!

Some people say to cover the warm pudding with plastic so you don’t get a skin. For a lot of us, the skin is one of the best parts of the pudding, but I leave it up to you since it’s a matter of individual taste.
Chocolate Pudding

Posted in Caridad's News! | 3 Comments