Braving the Sea

Last week, my grandparents — along with my aunt and uncle — made their way to the Port of Miami. Their plans were to board the Norwegian Escape and set sail in celebration of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. My abuelo and abuela had no idea that my aunt and uncle had arranged for my parents, my sister, and me to join them on their getaway. Needless to say, they were quite surprised! My family and I spent an amazingly wonderful week together. We visited St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, and Nassau (where we got to spend the day at Atlantis). This video is a highlight reel of our vacation. ūüôā

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New Book Trailers!

Earlier this week, author Lindsay Marie Miller released her eleventh novel, An Accident. I had the pleasure of composing the aforementioned title’s trailer, so I thought I’d share said video with you all. ūüôā

Drum roll, please!

I was also fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to¬†craft a trailer for Miller’s An Arrangement. Here’s that video:

I hope you all enjoyed these trailers! To learn more about Lindsay Marie Miller’s works, please click here. If you’re an author in want of your own book trailer, I encourage you to visit Stellar Book Trailers to view my portfolio and learn more about my packages.

Wishing you all a marvelous weekend!

– Jess

Exciting News

A most curious idea floated into my mind a few weeks ago.¬†Yesterday, I gave form to said idea and created…(wait for it)…a YouTube channel! ūüėÄ That’s right. Your eyes don’t deceive you. I’ve decided to start vlogging. Why? I figured that it’d be a great way to share with others that which¬†I’ve learned about the publishing world — namely, self-publishing.

If you’d like to visit my channel, click here.

Here’s my channel’s trailer:

And here’s my first video:

Like what you see? Feel free to subscribe! ūüėÄ

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. ūüėÄ

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

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. ūüėÄ

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. ūüôā

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?

Disney World Vacation Ride Videos

Last week, I went to Disney World with my sister and parents. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that Disney now not only takes your picture on certain rides, but they record you, too–a¬†lot like how Universal videotapes riders while they’re on Rip Ride Rockit. (Coincidence? I think not. Monkey see, monkey do. Lol.)¬†¬†The resulting footage is then edited and made available to riders. I was able to get the videos¬†from my visit to¬†the Tower of Terror and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I wanted to share them with you all, so–without further ado–here they are.

I’m sitting aaaaaaaall the way in the back in this video. See the third person from the left–the one in the light pink shirt? That’s me.

Keep your eyes on¬†the second-to-last row in this video. The girl in the striped tank top (the one on the right side of your screen) is moi. ūüôā

I’m loving these videos. (The intros are so cool!) Hopefully, Disney decides to expand this service and record park guests on more of their rides in the future. Wouldn’t that be neat?

#TBT–Thanksgiving 2015

I’m in the process of removing everything that isn’t directly related to author interviews from my other blog,¬†Coffee with Authors of Worlds Afar. Most–if not all–of what needs to be relocated would be most at home on this site.¬†For that reason, I’m dusting off¬†the welcome mat. ūüėÄ

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Here’s the first post that I’ve decided to move here:

Hello! Last week I was fortunate enough to travel to Orlando for Thanksgiving. I had a fantastic time, and the outing was made even more special by the fact that my grandparents came, too.¬†I hadn’t vacationed with them since 2003–so, needless to say, I was pretty stoked. I made a short video featuring some of the highlights from the trip. Hope you enjoy!

I hope that you all had a safe, joyous Thanksgiving!