SNIPPET SUNDAY: Hope

couple on a bed holding hands

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Nineteen

Dear Maddie,

I’m sorry. For stealing the privilege of using the name only your friends call you. You may no longer consider me your friend, but I will always think of you as mine.

I’m sorry for letting my job take precedence over you. It was never my intention to hurt you, yet my choices took away yours. I will give up my career if it means having you by my side and in my arms again.

I’m sorry for my selfishness in holding on to your things. As long as they remain with me, I have hope that you’ll return.

I’m sorry my words are inadequate to express my regret for hurting you. I will wait until you grant me the opportunity to say it in person and seek your forgiveness and love.

Always yours,

Aidan

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Crave

vanilla massage v2

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Twelve

The moment the heady scent of vanilla infused the air, she knew what he was going to do. Just like that, all tension left her.

“I bought this from your perfumer,” he said as he spread the fragrant oil on her shoulders and all over her back. “It promises to soothe tired and sore muscles, promote rest and relaxation, and nourish your skin.”

It was working. The soothing and relaxation part, at least. Maddie sank deeper on the bed as Aidan alternated the pressure and pace of his ministrations, digging hard and slow at the base of her neck and shoulder blades, while sweeping fast along the fleshy parts of her back and thighs.

He delivered on his promise to take care of her, sliding off the bed to better reach her entire body.

There was pain—was there ever. The tear-inducing force of the heel of his hand on her left calf, the jolt caused by his thumb on her right instep that had her gasping for breath, she’d expected all of that. It was part of the therapy.

She also anticipated the healing and the pleasure. Especially the pleasure. There was relief when he scratched the marks her tight bra had left on her flesh. Tingles fluttered on her skin from the glide of his palms on the sides of her breasts.

”’

Aidan’s voice was rough as he tipped the vial over his palm, catching the drops as they fell. “Did you know when you chose vanilla to be your signature scent that it’s a powerful aphrodisiac?” He rubbed his hands together, warming the oil.

“Yes,” she gasped as he brought his hands down to her chest, smoothing the oil in circular motions.

“That’s why I can’t keep my hands off you. The reason I can’t get enough of your scent,” he said, bending down, inhaling deeply. “Why I enjoy the feel of your skin, why I crave your special taste.”

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Please

bed 1

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Sixteen

… tonight was for giving, not taking. Tonight was for Maddie, not him.

He lowered her to her feet beside their bed and took the towel from her.

“I can dry myself,” she protested but released the fabric at his tug.

“I know you can. I want to do it for you. Will you let me?” When she sent him a questioning look, he said, “Please?”

Please forgive me for keeping secrets from you.

Please remember tonight.

Please know how much I love you.

Her nod of assent felt like an absolution that he didn’t deserve, but that he wanted more than anything else.

Soft pats burst the bubbles that still clung to her silky skin. Gentle swipes dried most of the moisture from her body.

He’d get her wet again, Aidan promised himself as he laid them both down on the bed.

He’d get her hot. It wouldn’t take much. It never had.

One kiss. All they needed to set fire to their passion for each other.

As if she’d read his mind, Maddie reached up to twine her arms around his shoulders and pulled him to her. “Kiss me, Aidan,” she murmured against his lips.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Coffee

coffee 3

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Three

Maddie started at the sound of his amused voice. She turned in her seat to stare while Aidan made his way to her side. He’d changed into a moisture-wicking top and track pants, both black, better suited for walking than the cotton he wore earlier. Again, he looked like the spy Rini had thought he was.

And now, she was wide awake once more. This morning, she’d likened Aidan to dark chocolate.

Wrong.

He was coffee. Black, no sugar, the way she preferred it: strong, hot, addictive.

Maddie let out a sigh filled with regret. She should have jumped him when she’d arrived. In white t-shirt and gray sweatpants, jaw shadowed by a day’s growth of stubble, he had looked totally jumpable.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

SNIPPET SUNDAY: Bathtub

bathtub scene

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles 2
Chapter Sixteen

A baby. An image of a black-haired, brown-eyed little girl flashed in his mind. She’d have her mother’s beauty and his height. Their child. His and Maddie’s. Without thinking, he dragged the sponge to Maddie’s flat stomach. “Do you want to have children?”

She stilled in his arms for a second before resting her head on his shoulder. “Yes. At least one.” She exhaled a soft whish of breath against his neck. “But not yet. Before I turn thirty-five for sure,” she said in a perkier voice, but he still heard the wistfulness she tried to hide.

Aidan, who’d never planned anything long term, was all of a sudden dreaming of babies with the woman in his arms. If this wasn’t love, he didn’t know what else it could be.

 

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

It’s now available from your favorite etailers in eBook and paperback.

Check out other blogs participating in Snippet Sunday on Facebook.

BORACAY VOWS Recipe – Lumpia

In Boracay Vows, lumpia is one of the dishes Marissa Lopez prepared for Krista and Blake when they went to Quezon to meet the family. It also happened to be a belated birthday celebration for Krista, so there were plenty of food.

There are many variations of lumpiasariwa (fresh), Shanghai (thin pork spring rolls), hubad (unwrapped), vegetable, or with meat. The latest version I made has chicken in it, but can be done with ground pork or shrimp. Some people call it lumpiang togue, which translates to spring rolls with bean sprouts. Others use cabbage instead of bean sprouts, or sometimes both in their vegetable spring rolls. There’s not just one way of making these, all of them delicious.

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Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • extra firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 cup of shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped (optional, if vegetarian)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut thinly on a bias
  • 8 oz. mung bean sprouts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of lumpia wrapper

 

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a wok or pan. Add tofu and fry until brown. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add garlic and onion to hot oil and cook until softened. Pour the fish sauce on the side of the wok. Cook until smell goes away (2-3 minutes).
  3. Stir in shrimp (if using) and cook until pink. Add chicken, green beans, carrots, and bean sprouts. Cook until all ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and drain. Mix in the tofu. Let cool.
  4.  Lay the wrapper on a flat surface. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling two inches from the top. Fold the top end of the wrapper over the mixture. Fold the sides and roll tightly into a log. brush the bottom end with water to seal completely. Repeat until there’s no more filling or wrapper. (At this point you can stop to freeze the wrapped lumpia until you’re ready to eat it.)
  5. In a skillet, heat about two inches of oil. Add spring rolls with the seam side down. Fry, turning once or twice (about 2 minutes per side) until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot and crispy with garlic-spiced vinegar dip. Enjoy!

 

Boracay Vows is available in eBook and paperback from major online retailers. Signed copy of the paperback can be purchased from this website.

 

Happy New Year – 2018 Goals

A review of my 2017 Goals/Plans:

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  • Rewrite and edit Boracay – Done
  • Write New York and Singapore – partially done
  • Publish Boracay and New York – Boracay Done
  • Set-up a blog – Done
  • Set-up a Facebook Author page – Done
  • Join Romance Writers of America – Done, plus the San Antonio Romance Authors chapter, too
  • Win NaNo again – Not done
  • Read 180 books – Read and reviewed 208.
  • Spend only $240 on books – Success! Spent only $190.
  • Attend a writing conference – Not quite. Attended a one-month editing workshop and four reader events all over Texas.

Based on these results, I consider 2017 to be a successful year.

 

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For 2018, here are my goals/plans:

  • Finish writing New York Engagement, have it edited and published. Target date: Saturday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day)
  • Finish writing Singapore Fling. Publishing target: July 2018.
  • Achieve full PAN status at RWA.
  • Get Boracay Vows into independent bookstores all over the US.
  • Secure local distribution for Boracay Vows in the Philippines. Attempt a movie deal.
  • Read and review at least 120 books for Goodreads Reading Challenge:
    – 1 craft book on writing/editing/publishing
    – 1 male author/non-romance
    – 4 historical romance (2 from my Mount TBR, 1 ARC, 1 new/new-to-me)
    – 4 contemporary (2 from Mount TBR, 1 ARC, 1 indie author)
    Rereads will be after the 10 have been fulfilled.
  • Attend a writing conference.
  • Spend only $180 on books.
  • Register a profit on all books.

So, here’s to 2018. May it be the Best Year Ever.

#Thankful – Boracay Vows

On November 21, I celebrated my birthday and the book birthday of Boracay Vows and it was awesome!

This has been an incredible year and I wouldn’t get here without the love, encouragement, generosity, and support of my family, friends, and even strangers.

My husband is a Rock Star. His belief in me is unwavering. I am not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t have accomplished this without him. He gave me the means to put this book together and have it published. Our son is my inspiration, my heart. I am grateful that at eight years old he can already prepare his own meals, otherwise he’d starve. Expert of things Stevie. Bad mommy.

I am ta novel byhankful for my book club OSRBC. They were there for me from the very beginning of this journey. Their encouragement propelled me to turn my two-pager opener into a full-length novel. OSRBC members informed me about the National Novel Writing Month and cheered me on as I pantsed my way into winning in 2016 with Boracay. They’re the first ones to pre-order my book and help me spread the word around. Best book club in the world!

My editor Linda Hill is from OSRBC. She saw me through dozens of drafts from December in 2016 all the way to proofreading in November. If there are mistakes in the book, they’re most likely things I changed after she gave the final manuscript back to me. Thanks, Linda.  Sorry, Linda. To my writer friends who are planning to publish independently, you are going to need an editor. I recommend you contact Linda ASAP.

Many of my Beta readers are also from OSRBC – Eva Moore, Rizalee, and Cecille. They’re the ones who pointed out what’s missing as well as what’s there that they loved. Thanks, ladies.

My cover designer also belongs to OSRBC. Lucy Rhodes of Render Compose was recommended to me by a common friend Leni Browne and I just marvel at how in sync we were while doing the covers. She’s in Australia, I’m in the US, but there were no barriers to our communication. Another note to my indie friends – ask me for Lucy’s contact information. You won’t regret it.

There are so many people to thank: my sister Myrtle and future brother-in-law R.G. Gallardo; one of my forever friends Chiqui; my first boss and fellow book-addict N; my Belarusian sestra Yulia; design consultant Celeste Odono; fellow Indie writer Rainne Mendoza; reenactors of my cover concept Renee, Tiara, Chippy, Lia, and Jonathan; my ARC readers, and my barkadas UNYLACE, CPP, and Burlesque. Thank you very much. Maraming salamat.

Special thanks to Tessa Dare for her wonderfully motivatTessa Dare noteing words at the beginning of the year. She told me, “Doubt not.” Sometimes I did, but I persevered and now I’m a published author.

And now, I’m thankful.