Mini-Vacation to Key West

This past Saturday, I went to Key West with my parents, sister, grandparents, aunt, and uncle. It was an awesome trip, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you all. Without further ado, here’s my trip to Key West in a nutshell:

Our first stop was to Blue Heaven for some breakfast. The restaurant’s history is truly quite colorful and fascinating. Throughout the years, it has purportedly hosted cock fights, no dearth of gambling, and boxing matches refereed by none other than Ernest Hemingway. Yes, you read correctly. Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West for some time. His house still stands and can be toured; wedding receptions are held there, too. Here’s something interesting that I learned: while residing in Key West, Ernest Hemingway was gifted a six-toed cat which he dubbed Snow White. Many of Snow White’s descendants presently reside in the Hemingway house, and a lot of them are also six-toed.

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Public domain image

After leaving Blue Heaven, we hopped into a taxi and made our way to The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Over fifty species of butterflies are contained in the conservatory. Joining them are several koi fish, turtles, butterfly-friendly birds, and a pair of flamingos.

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Can you spot the bird in this pic?

Upon bidding the conservatory farewell, my family and I took to strolling down a few nearby roads. We passed by the famous Southernmost Point Buoy. The line to take a photo with it was extremely long, so we opted to simply appreciate it from afar. I pulled the photo displayed below from the internet–so as to show you all what the buoy looks like.

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A few yards from the buoy, we noted the following inscribed into the sidewalk. (I realize that a shadow obscures part of the inscription. Hence, please see below the picture for the text.)

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Ninety Miles
Oh, Havana
Coffee-colored dreams of rainy streets
Boys playing with balls
La Playa Santa Maria
If only I could get to you
And your people could come to me

JENNIFER GRAFIADA

Speaking of Cuba–or writing of it, to be more accurate–there’s currently talk of initiating a ferry service to shuttle people to and from the island for day trips. Apparently, it would only take a few hours to reach Cuba from Key West. As a Cuban-American, I think that this sounds like a really interesting idea! (Did you know that Key West is closer to Cuba than it is to Florida’s mainland?)

Moving on…

Walking around made us work up quite a thirst. To say that it was hot would be an understatement. The forecast called for weather in the upper 80s with a “feels like” of over 105. My family and I were looking like this:

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As soon as we cooled down via a combination of coconut water, bottled water, and ice cream, we boarded a trolley and took a tour of Key West. Here’s a picture of one of the streets:

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Here I am goofing around near one of the trolley’s stops:

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My family and I ended the day by visiting Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and enjoying a nice dinner together. Here’s another interesting fact: the Margaritaville in Key West is the location of the original Margaritaville. 😀

In keeping with how I closed my trip to Key West, I leave you guys with the following song. 😉

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Book Two News

I am pleased to announce that today is the grand reveal! The revealing of what? you ask. Well, I’ve officially set a release date for the sequel to Capering on Glass Bridges, so I figured that I’d share the book’s cover in celebration.

*Clears throat*

Without further ado…tada!

TYOT Book Cover copy

It’s been a year since Kaia’s first encounter with the turned ones. Every day since then has been fraught with uncertainty. Most in the Kingdom of Mar prepare for a life wherein they will be free. Kaia, however, knows that even if the curse should be lifted, the Marian people will not be unburdened in the near future. King Sol promised them a war with Darlbent, and a war they shall have if the fog dissipates. Swords have already been thrust into the hands of every man in the kingdom, filling Kaia and her friends with trepidation. Things have changed in Mar, and Kaia worries that it is only a matter of time before some blades are turned against them.

The moment of truth is approaching. Soon, it will be known whether or not the curse was meant to have an end. If it wasn’t, can Kaia and the others learn to make lives for themselves in a forsaken land like Mar? Will they ever truly know safety there?

To further complicate matters, Kaia has Ruelena to contend with…

🙂

The Yesterdays of Tomorrow, book two in the Hawk of Stone duology, will be released on 19 August 2016. It is currently available for pre-order. If you’re interested in reserving your copy, click here.

I would like to mention that I will be distributing advanced reader copies (ARCs) of The Yesterdays of Tomorrow. Those who would like to read my novel before it is released may fill out the contact form below. To receive an ARC, you need simply agree to post a review–preferably to Amazon and Goodreads–on the date of my book’s release.

If you haven’t read Capering on Glass Bridges but are interested in receiving an ARC of book two, fret not! I’d be more than happy to provide you with an electronic copy of Capering on Glass Bridges. Upon reading book one, feel free to contact me and I’ll send you an ARC of The Yesterdays of Tomorrow.

The Girl From Everywhere

This book looks good!

bookNix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

My Book is in Print!

A while ago, I was conducting some research on POD (print on demand); I was looking into various sites and comparing what each had to offer. Long story short, I came across this one site called TheBookPatch. I decided to give them a try and have Capering on Glass Bridges printed with them. Well, I am pleased to announce that my order just recently arrived. 😀

Behold! ‘Tis my book…in print!

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Fresh out of its packaging
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Mingling with a few of my other books
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Isn’t it beautiful? You should’ve seen me when I took it out of its packaging. I was one proud mama. Seeing my novel assume a physical form has made me so inexplicably happy. As I flipped through its pages, it hit me–I actually wrote a book. That story that was in my head for so long is now a physical object. Wow.

Excuse me for just one moment.

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Okay, I’m back. My apologies for the brief interlude; I’m having a bit of a hard time containing my excitement.

To all of my fellow authors: if you’re thinking about printing your novel, I highly recommend that you consider TheBookPatch. They deliver precisely what they promise: a high quality, professional looking product. I have no complaints–not one.

If you’d like a physical copy of Capering on Glass Bridges, you may purchase one through TheBookPatch; it’s listed at $9.99. Simply click on the button at the bottom of this post to be taken to my book’s page. (For those of you who prefer to read on a Kindle or on a Nook — or on some other electronic device — Capering on Glass Bridges is available as an ebook at all major retailers; for download links, please click here.)

I hope that everyone has a wonderful day! If you have any specific questions about my experience ordering from TheBookPatch, please feel free to comment down below.

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A Trip to the Theater: Me Before You

I don’t normally gravitate towards contemporary romance films–not at all. The content of such movies rarely manages to engage me. Nonetheless, when I saw the trailer for Me Before You a few months ago, I felt something strange. I felt…desire. There. I said it. I actually wanted to watch this romance film. No. Let me amend that. It was, after all, more than just desire that filled me. There was excitement, too. I couldn’t wait for Me Before You to hit theaters. Why? you might ask. I’m not sure. If you’ve viewed the trailer, you’ve probably realized that the film utilizes an all-too-familiar trope: it chronicles a love story of sorts between an ill person and a healthy one. (A Walk to Remember, anyone? The difference is that in Me Before You, Will’s illness isn’t in and of itself killing him.)

Ultimately, I didn’t care that this film was posed to trod down paths already traveled; I think that the comedic elements sprinkling the trailer hooked me. For quite some time, my sister and I were counting down the days. We were determined to watch the movie as soon as it came out. In retrospect, I admit that this probably wasn’t the best of ideas. Though we went to the theater in broad daylight–figuring that the teenagers wouldn’t come out to play until much later–the auditorium was pretty filled…with unreserved girls who dedicated themselves to the task of commenting on nearly everything that transpired on screen. To my delight, I was fortunate enough to sit next to a pair of such girls. Unlike the rest, they also took to completing the characters’ sentences; I suppose that they read the book. Lol! Oh well. You live and you learn. (Note to self: allow at least one or two weeks to pass before going to the theater to watch a romance film. Never go on its release day.)

Though I don’t intend to review the film at the moment, I will briefly share my thoughts on it.

*Clears throats*

I liked it. The film came across as well-balanced. It had its funny parts–seriously, the comedy here was probably the best I’ve seen in a romance film–its heart-warming pieces, and it also explored some truly delicate issues. I won’t elaborate too much on this latter bit so as not to spoil the film for those intending to watch it. Overall, I award this film a happy face. 🙂

Oh! Speaking of movies, I have to share this trailer with you guys. It played prior to the screening of Me Before You.

The idea of someone being born on Mars just seems so cool! What do you guys think?