Greetings humans of Earth. Recently, I entered a microfiction competition, and while I didn’t win I was actually quite pleased with my entry. And so I present to all of you, Biscuit:




My daughter’s kitten, Biscuit, keeps me up all night. She’s hard to see, despite her clumsy paws and soft round tummy, and I can’t always get a good look at her. But she’s there; scratching at the doors, ripping up the carpet.

It’s gotten worse, and she’s chewing right through the walls most nights now. Gnawing and scratching and spitting out bits and pieces of drywall and insulation like some kind of zombie robot cat, back from the grave and surviving off of useless bits of wire and mesh debris.

Sometimes I wonder why she can’t just be quiet. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be able to count past five without crying again. Sometimes I leave gaping holes in my walls and doors with my fists, a hammer, anything I have handy. I’m just trying to find Biscuit, make her be quiet.

Those are the nights my husband screams. I can’t make out the words, except when he cries softly that he loves me. I wonder if he remembers our vacation as a family, how much little Emma loved the warm waters of Manzanillo.

Uno. Dos. Hola. Adios. She taught herself some words in Spanish that trip. Would run through the sand and into my arms shouting, “Momma! Hola means hi!”  I can’t forget.

Just like I can’t forget about Biscuit. Can’t let her run through the house, chewing through wires and walls and carpet.

My daughter’s kitten hasn’t left much in the way of walls. There are holes and gaps and giant caves dug out all over. Everywhere except Emma’s room. Biscuit doesn’t go in there – almost like she can’t. I can’t either. Can’t swing open that door and see her colorful clothes and toys and messy bed all covered in a layer of dust and loneliness.

I can’t watch the television or cook or turn on the lights anymore, either. Biscuit’s chewed through the wires. She scampers out before my husband can catch a glimpse of her.

“Did you see her, babe? She was right there.”

It’s obvious where she’s just been – the carpet is shredded with the destruction that only tiny little teeth and claws can effectively create. But my husband still doesn’t see her. He only pulls me close, shakes a little.

Biscuit leads me through the house – everywhere but Emma’s room – and I follow her now. Leaving my own holes in the walls. Stitching together memories as I go. A cherubic, smiling face. Dark curls and blue eyes. One dimple. Sunshine and a sandy swimsuit. Uno. Dos. Hola means hi momma. Momma my head feels funny. What does the doctor mean, momma? Momma I love you I want to sleep now. I can’t forget, not like my husband has. So I look for Biscuit, hear her scratching inside the walls. Tiny claws and even tinier mewling.

She was so cute, my little one. Cute enough to make me put hole after hole in the walls and doors. Shouting the little Spanish she knew with wild abandon. Jumping into every picture, eyes saucer-wide and grin full of mischief. Maybe when I catch Biscuit I can open Emma’s door again. Maybe Emma will be sitting there again. Color back in her round cheeks.

My daughter’s kitten made my husband leave. That’s not what the divorce papers say. They sit on my kitchen table next to the chewed up wrappers and dead mice that the zombie cat leaves littered about. It spends more time out in the open now that I’m alone, and sometimes she talks to me. Mostly in Spanish. We went to Mexico once, you know. Biscuit stayed home and little Emma asked about her every day.

It’s funny that Biscuit remembers that trip. It was so long ago – Emma was only five. She even remembers how cute – cute as a button – little Emma looked, all tanned and happy when we came home from that trip. Before she’d ever seen so much as the inside of a hospital lobby.

We talk about Emma a lot, Biscuit and I. She stays in my housecoat pocket most nights now. I can keep her safe there. I’ve even started to patch up some of the holes in the walls.

We count together at night, all the way to five and back down. And then I swallow down the sand in my throat and we drift off to sleep, remembering.


Los Angeles: The Writer’s Natural Habitat


“There are just as many starving writers in Los Angeles as there are actors parking cars.”


That was my mom’s standard response whenever I told her I wanted to be a writer, beginning somewhere around age 5 when I first fell in love with the written word. (Incidentally, the irony that I began the freelance writing career that allowed me to raise my brother and sister only after she passed isn’t lost on me. I like to think it makes her smile, wherever she is.)


At any rate, I understood her desire for me to focus on a more stable career path. Hey, I’m no dummy. L.A’s smoggy, congested streets are littered with the broken dreams and half-finished manuscripts of the writers that came before me. But if there’s anything I’ve gleaned from my time hustling articles, blogs, press releases and web copy it’s that I am nothing if not tenacious and driven. Instead of being discouraged by all of the unemployed and “aspiring” writers in the City of Angels, I’ve come to discover that there’s plenty about my home town that’s actually pretty inspiring. So, as I carve out my “I am going to start writing fiction, too, even if it kills me” plan, here’s a look at some of the (sometimes surprising) reasons why I love LA –


Characters are Everywhere

Seriously. Have you ever been to Los Angeles? Or any part of California, for that matter? There are characters, personalities, fascinating people everywhere for you to explore and gain inspiration from. I grew up in a part of North Hollywood where most people roll up their windows and try to drive through as quickly as possible. Thinking back on my grandma’s apartment complex, I could probably populate an entire novel with the characters behind those faded numbered doors.


There was the incredibly sweet old woman old woman who still wore the huaraches she’d crossed the border in every time she walked to the Laundromat; her face a crisscross of deep lines and a wide, toothless smile. The gang bangers with wrap sheets longer than they were, who always – always – brought my grandma’s groceries into the apartment for her so she wouldn’t have to carry them. The German man who lived across the street and washed his old and immaculately kept Volvo every afternoon, muttering way too loudly about how this used to be a nice neighborhood. And, of course, my own loud Cuban family.


Basically, everywhere you turn in Southern California, you’re going to run into someone with a story. And those people make for great stories.


Beauty is Inspiring

No, I’m not talking about the perfectly plastic and polished actresses strolling along Rodeo, or the buff bodies strutting their stuff on Muscle Beach. (Although, there is a lot of that kind of beauty in this town, too.) No, I mean there’s something about the city and the suburbs themselves that are beautiful. And that kind of setting inspires.


I live in a high desert suburb now, where there’s not much traffic and sunsets over the Joshua trees and mountains still catches my breath. But I’m a close drive from lakes, beaches, palm tree-lined streets, soaring buildings… basically there’s something to see all over the place, and that variety and scenery is a gift for writers.


It’s Gritty

Behind all that beauty, of course, is the noir side to the city. Crooked cops, riots, tension, drugs, pollution… The best art comes from pain, and LA is definitely a city with a past. Tapping into that is sometimes all the inspiration you need.


You’re Not Alone

Finally, there’s something to be said for the fact that there are so many damned writers in LA. Writing is often a lonely, confusing world. Knowing that there are talented, struggling, successful, and brilliant writers near you that you can talk to, ask advice from, and who just *get* what you’re going through makes you feel less like an island and more a part of a community.


So there you have my reasons for loving LA. Do you find inspiration from your location? Is there something about your town, city, state, trailer park, UFO or farmland that pushes you to be better at what you do?

And the Nominees Are…


After being recently nominated for the fantabulous Versatile Blogger Award, it is now my honor to present to you 10 intriguing, intelligent, and otherwise completely cool blogs worth looking at. Some of these are writing related, some are not, but all are completely awesome. Ready? Here we go, in no particular order:




This is Delilah S. Dawson’s blog. A great romance writer and hysterical Twitter-er.



A must-see type blog for any spoonie out there.



Another inspiring and though provoking blog for anyone dealing with autoimmune issues.



If you’re at all a foodie (which I completely am, can’t lie… love getting my creative vibe going on in the kitchen) then this blog is definitely worth checking out. I’m nowhere near Charleston, but still get a major kick out of the extensive food porn on this blog.



While absolutely on the NSFW side, this blog has some of the BEST writing advice I’ve ever come across. “Finish your sh**.” Enough said.



This blog from the editors of Writer’s Digest is full of insider advice. A must read for new and experienced writers.



Well sure, this blog mostly makes the list because I am the new official writer for it. BUT, I feel the need to let you all know that it’s actually quite full of fun and sexy ideas, tips, tricks, and steamy fantasies. (Also, NSFW, obviously)



Everyone needs a laugh break. When you should be working but would rather be cracking up, check out these hysterical Facebook status FAILS blog.



This blog, where a woman bares her soul to the Internet in an attempt to avoid divorce or homicide, is not only relatable, it’s hilarious.



A fantastic blog for anyone living with or supporting someone who has an invisible illness.

Versatile Blogger Award WOOHOO!


Among the fabulous comments and notes I received during my little hiatus from the blogosphere, I was thrilled to find that a fellow blogger (and fabulous fibro chick) had nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!


You like me… you really like me!


Now this is awesome on several fronts. Thank you very much, Miss Chrissy Faery, for the nomination. Y’all should probably go check out her blog, because it’s pretty effin cool. So winning this distinguished honor comes with two responsibilities: telling your readers 7 fun or interesting things about yourself, and nominating 15 other awesome bloggers for the award. I have decided to split this up into two posts, in order to completely milk the awesome good feelings for all they’re worth. Er- I mean to give both aspects of my nomination the respect they deserve. So here we go, ladies and germaphobes – seven things you didn’t know about me!


  1. I want to write a killer romance novel

I absolutely love the idea of penning a sexy, smart, witty romance or chick lit novel. Which is actually pretty surprising to those that know me, because I tend to be a bit of an anti-chick. I’d rather watch the Exorcist than the Notebook. What can I say? Which brings me to…


  1. I’m fascinated by the paranormal

Ghosts, hauntings, possessions, Santeria, mediums, spirit communication… anything that gives us a clue as to what happens when we leave this physical world has always fascinated me. I love Long Island Medium and American Horror Story, and writing paranormal fiction is on my writer’s wish list.


  1. I’m a complete audiophile

Whether I’m writing, cooking, cleaning, or mindlessly updating my Twitter status, I’ve almost always got music playing. Sometimes I think my Skull Candy earbuds are an extension of my physical being. My tastes are pretty eclectic, too. A quick glimpse of my recent playlists reveal everything from Frank Sinatra. Train and The Sex Pistols to Pink, Maroon 5 and Martina McBride, with a million things in between.


  1. I love to cook

Getting my kitchen on is an awesome way to let my creative freak flag fly, and I’m all about it. I’ll try new things all the time. And I love to make up my own recipes.


  1. I can be really mean to myself.

There are things I can control. There are also a lot of things I can’t. But just because something is completely out of my control doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t beat myself up over it. This is especially true of things that limit me, like my lupus and fibromyalgia. If I’m too sick to work as much as I like, or if I have to put something off for later or leave a function early, I take it tough and immediately get down on myself. I’m working on this.


  1. My cat is as clumsy as I am… and that’s saying something

I have an all black cat, named Onyx. I love her. I really do. I think she might need glasses. Her depth perception is way off. She falls off of things, like the bed, on a regular basis. The other day she fell into the bathtub where I was soaking. I’m still wearing the battle scars. The thing is, I completely understand her. I once set my own hair on fire. I have clumsiness issues of my own. So, really she’s more of a familiar than a pet.

onyx 001

  1. Despicable Me is one of my favorite movies, ever

You could say that I have a very young aspect to my personality. That being said, I absolutely LOVE those “children’s” movies that have as many jokes geared towards adults as for kids. Despicable Me is possibly my favorite of these. My boyfriend gave me my own minion (stuffed, sadly) for my birthday. His name is Dave and he rocks.


So there you have it, guys. Seven things you probably didn’t know about me! Next post, I will give you all my list of 15 Versatile Blogger nominees, so that you can go out and explore their fantabulous blogs on your own! Till then… ASSEMBLE THE MINIONS!

She’s Back! (My Triumphant Return to the Blogging World)


So it’s been a little over a month since my last post, and for this, faithful followers, I am sorry. I hot a rough patch, health wise, and was conserving my energy and only using my writing powers to get work done. But no more! I’m feeling a bit better, and what’s more, I am more motivated than ever before to take my writing to the next level.


For those of you that liked my post on some of the sultrier work I’ve published recently, I am pleased to announce that I am officially the new Fantasy of the Month and Suggestion of the week writer for Simply for Lovers. I highly suggest you check them out for all of your adult toy, massage, lingerie, and sexy reading needs.


I have all kinds of other news and plans to share with you all. So stay tuned and I will be back with more soon!


*Takes Bow*

*Exits Stage to Thunderous Applause*

Awesome Stuff of the Week


Being a woman, I have been known to adorn my face with the beautifying products known as makeup.


Wait a sec… I am a woman. I am female. [Fe] + Male = Iron Male OMG I AM IRON MAN!!!! Where’s Jarvis?! Why isn’t he writing this for me??? Sorry. I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, makeup.


As it turns out, my face is sort of special needs when it comes to cosmetics. Lupus has this God awful way of causing all kinds of rashes and dermatitis and red spots and drama. About 4 or 5 years ago, when the skin symptoms really started making an appearance, I set out on a sort of quest to find makeup that wouldn’t aggravate my skin, but still offered coverage. Good gravy, I had no idea it would be such a painful process – and I do mean that both figuratively and literally.


I tried all kinds of things, from liquids to powders to creams and back again. My face went from breakouts to blisters and rashes and I was pretty much convinced I would just have to go around bare-faced for the rest of my life.


Enter Colorevolution. It’s a mineral makeup company that actually creates spoonie-friendly makeup. Not that that’s what they set out to do. Turns out that they just create makeup that is made from actual minerals, without gunk and fillers. (I found out the hard way that most mineral makeup companies – even the big name infomercial ones – use a heck of a lot more than real minerals in their products. Hello, rash)


At any rate, I have no intention of ever going back. Not only is this stuff easier on my skin than everything else I’ve tried, it costs a whole lot less than you’d think. Check out their website for specials, but honestly even at regular price I think it’s more than fair. Plus, they make eye shadows and lip glosses in a zillion colors, and have makeup for just about every skin tone. Even Latinas who are far paler than they should be.


Oh, and if you’re worried about coverage, I think it’s worth mentioning that this is the official makeup being used on Rupaul’s Drag Race. And if it’s good enough for those ladies…


As usual, I am not affiliated with or getting anything from the awesome stuff of the week products.

A Little Awareness Coming At You

So May has arrived, and seeing as though ‘tis the month of lupus and fibromyalgia awareness, and seeing as though I carry the badge of both lupus and fibro warrior (I’ve got the scars to prove it!) I thought I’d share with you some websites and blogs that are doing a whole lot to increase awareness and funds to fight these two big bad diseases.


Don’t know much about lupus or fibromyalgia? Don’t feel too bad… neither is very well understood, or spoken about much. And despite the fact that lupus affects more people every year than AIDS, MS, Sickle Cell Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Cerebral Palsy combined, there is actually very little happening in the way of research and new treatment options. In fact, the last major advancement in lupus treatment was about 50 years ago. I will be adding some more info throughout the rest of May on Lupus and Fibromyalgia. For now, here’s a look at some websites that are representing the fight.


Metal Mama Designs on Etsy

So, the problem with most awareness jewelry is that it’s, well, ugly. Sure a purple rubber bracelet is ok and all, but it’s not really a new and inventive concept any more. Nor is it winning any fashion awards. This Etsy site has all kinds of cool handmade spoonie jewelry that’s cute, fresh and downright pretty. Plus the creator will personalize absolutely anything for you. It’s all surprisingly affordable, but for an extra 10% off, use the code AlannaRocks.


The Spoon Theory


Anyone who’s ever tried to describe what it’s like living with an illness or chronic pain has probably struggled with how to tell their friends or family about their daily fight. The spoon theory, written by Lupus fighter Christine Miserandino is hands down the best way I’ve ever found to explain my situation. (It’s also where the term “spoonie” comes from.)


Tune Into Your Autoimmune (Facebook Page)

So I was lucky enough to meet this page’s mod, Lena, via Twitter. She’s a feisty chick who doesn’t let her MS or her fibro stop her. Plus we share an off-beat sense of humor and she bakes zombie cakes. So yea, cruise on by the FB page and say hi to her. And if you know anyone who’s dealing with an autoimmune disease, send them there. Now. Do it, I’ll wait…


Hurry Up!!!


Ok, so that’s my starter list for awareness pages that rock. I’ll be adding to it as the month rolls by, so if you happen to know of any pages, blogs, or other sites that are fighting the good fight, let me know! Otherwise, go give these pages some love.

On The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance

Being a reader with lady parts, I’m not ashamed to say that I indulge in the occasional romance novel. In fact, I have often said that a well-written romance is my dream gig, and will most likely be the first thing I actually publish of my own. However, I will be the first to admit that I am all kinds of picky when it comes to my girlie reading. I’m all about a good plot first and foremost. I’ll take a little paranormal with my story, as long as it’s not all throbbing members and heaving bosoms. In fact, I tend to steer clear of anything that doesn’t have a modern setting, and have been known to toss aside a freshly purchased novel at the first sign of a heroine that can’t seem to find her own backbone.

Maybe that’s why I’d avoided the whole steampunk thing thus far. Hey, I’m not normally one to roll my eyes at an entire genre without giving it at least an honest to goodness shot first, but it all seemed a little out of my comfort zone.

And then, in the midst of my quasi Twitter stalking (Twaking?) swearalicious author Chuck Wendig and Stephen Blackmoore (who’s Dead Things I absolutely could NOT put down) I stumbled across another author with lady parts – Miss Delilah S. Dawson. If you’re the Twittering kind, I highly recommend you check all three of them out, as they are Twitterific. At any rate, it didn’t take long for me to develop a total word-crush on Miss Dawson. I figured if she could keep me chuckling and entertained and thinking with 140 characters or less, it would definitely be worth checking out what she could do with a whole novel.

As it turned out, her brand spanking new novella, The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance was due out in 48 hours. I figured it would be the perfect gateway into the whole steampunk romance world, as well as a peek into her Wicked series of novels. Boy, am I glad I gave it a shot!

First and foremost – yes, it’s part of a series. But, I didn’t read anything that came before this, and I didn’t feel the least bit lost. I will say that I probably would have felt more “in the know” had I read Wicked as They Come first, but all in all, I had no trouble keeping up.

The whole tale takes place in Sang, a parallel world crafted by Dawson where live animals are a rarity, and living, breathing pets are rarer still. In the midst of this somewhat Dickensian London sits Needful Creatures – an actual pet shop run by Frannie Pleasance. Frannie happens across a needful creature in the form of Casper, a fellow that reminds her of her late brother. She gives the drunken cad room and board, and it isn’t long before he’s flirting away.

And then we meet Thom – a sexy Scottish fireman in a kilt. Think a love triangle is coming? Think again.

Soon, strange things start happening to and around Frannie, and it’s obvious that someone is out to do the feisty pet shop owner harm.

Dawson weaves an incredibly detailed story, making you feel a part of her world from page one. The character development is quick, which is important in a work this short. I found myself immediately drawn to Frannie, and relating to her – despite (or maybe because of?) the whole steampunk vibe. Oh and Thom? Totally yummy hero.

Five stars to The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance, and I’ll definitely be reading more of Delilah S. Dawson’s work in the near future. Hey, who knows, maybe she’ll swing by and write a guest post? (A girl can dream, can’t she?!)

Why Richard Simmons is a Cool Guy – No, Seriously

So I have some weight to lose. (What, you’re perfect? Stop judging.) I figure gnawing on twigs and branches instead of eating dinner will only get me so far, and heading to the gym just isn’t an option. No big deal, right? I’ll just work out at home.

Only, I have lupus and fibromyalgia and the whole low impact/high impact thing makes a difference. A big difference. A ginormous difference, as it turns out. I came to this realization rather abruptly on day two of Denise Austin’s three week body boot camp. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Denise is a perfectly pleasant (if overly peppy) person, and I’m undoubtedly speaking from a place of pure, unadulterated jealousy. But somewhere between minutes 18 and 19 of this 20 minute video I found myself reaching for the remote in an effort to SHUT HER UP.  Why wasn’t she the least bit out of breath? Why weren’t her knees crumbling and weeping blood as mine surely were judging by the throbbing, searing, aching pain emanating from them? Why on Earth was she so damn PERKY as she did one armed push-ups with a small legion of brick toting monkeys perched on her impossibly firm butt cheeks?

At any rate, I finished the video, and paid dearly for it with a fibro flare of epic proportions in the days that followed. Time for a new plan. A plan that included the words “low impact.” A plan that wouldn’t kill me in my quest for biggest loser-dom.

Wrapped in my heating pad, I crawled face first towards my laptop and pecked my way over to Amazon. And was more than a little surprised to find that the low impact workout DVD selection is pretty scarce. There’s a handful of yoga and stretching vids, which seem like they’d be nice for warming up or cooling down your muscles but don’t exactly look like they’re going to burn up much in the way of fat and calories. Lord help me, Denise Austin has some 12 minute workouts called the Daily Dozen that I ordered. I was afraid that I was stuck with this crazy b— err, lovely aerobics instructor as my only option in the battle of the bulge. Then I saw it.

Turns out some of the best selling – and highest rated – exercise videos on Amazon are actually by none other than that whacky, cheesy, king of fatties himself: Richard Simmons. I read the reviews. I laughed. I scoffed. I mocked him with my boyfriend. And then I ordered one anyway. (Disco Sweat).

The day it arrived, I put the DVD in and rolled my eyes. The video begins with a parody of Saturday Night Live that includes the Simmons selecting his tank top to wear for the evening before heading to the disco for the night. But then the workout begins and you’re off. Ok, yes, it’s cheese with a capital C. Moves like ‘Travolta Arms’ and ‘The Hustle’ had me making sure that my door was locked and the shades were tightly drawn.

But here’s the thing. It’s a helluva workout. No joke, it kicks butt. A solid hour of sweating and working. And because it’s broken into songs, I can squish it into my work day (I work from home) and squeeze in 2-3 20 minute workouts a day. The impact on my joints is waaayyyy easier. Obviously, exercise makes you sore (hey, that’s how you know it’s working, right?) but I don’t feel like I’ll never be able to walk again. Most importantly, I’ve lost about 9 pounds so far.

And Richard? Eh, the little guy grows on you after a while.

What Are You Reading? (The Dead Things Review)


Perusing through the Terrible Minds blog a few days back (see my last post) I stumbled across an interview with author Stephen Blackmoore. Now, I have to admit, I’m sort of a sucker for a well written story with a paranormal slant, so when I saw that the description for his novel, Dead Things, included words like necromancer, ghosts, and Santa Muerte, I was intrigued. By the time I had read through the whole interview, I was making a bee line towards Amazon to download a copy of the book for myself.


And holy guacamole am I glad I did! It’s been a while since I stumbled across a novel that I couldn’t put down, but this was definitely it. Set in my hometown of Los Angeles, the whole story is a gritty, dark, ghostly noir explosion of awesomeness.


Eric Carter sees dead people. He’s a necromancer, and as such, he’s made quite the name for himself among the dead (and undead) putting dangerous spirits to rest once and for all – for a fee, of course.


Fifteen years ago, Carter left L.A and never looked back. With too many bad memories and too many enemies – dead and otherwise – to be wary of, it just wasn’t the best place for a necromancer to be. But when his little sister is brutally murdered, he finds himself headed straight back to the one place he’s sworn to never return. With a list of suspects too almost too long to keep track of and fewer friends by the second, Eric is determined to figure out who killed his sister and get revenge… as long as they don’t kill him first.


So here’s the deal about this book: it’s a great read. As in, an “I was up all night reading it in one sitting” great read. The characters drew me in from the first page, the story line withheld enough to keep me greedily turning pages, and the hero was imperfect enough to make me feel truly sorry for him every time he got himself throttled. All in all, an exceptionally well-written story.


Oh, and a quick note for those that are picky about their paranormal. I grew up as part of a traditional Cuban family. That being said, magic, Santeria, traditions, ghost stories, and the like were spoon fed to us right along with our first bowl of Cheerios. Few things will make me walk away from a book faster than over-used, mis-used, or poorly used paranormal/magic elements. Details like Santa Muerte’s traditions were well researched, there were refreshing new takes on magic (as in not the same tired, eye-roll inducing stuff you see in every shaky “found footage” flick to hit the theaters come October) and there is plenty to keep even a mage snob intrigued. Keep an eye out for the Hello My Name Is stickers, as they prove to be fantastic bits of comic relief sprinkled throughout the entire story.


Check out the first chapter of Dead Things (and pick up a copy for yourself) at or else head on over to Amazon.


In the mean time, what was the last book you read that you absolutely loved?