Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Love Is All You Need

Time to share with you another Virtual Bookbag author. This week, I'd like to introduce you to Lori Devoti, if you don't already know her. Her latest release is LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED, and here is the back cover copy:

When Del Montgomery's boss sends her to the Missouri Ozarks in search of a legendary pottery pig, her mission seems simple: figure out which of the clueless locals has the pig, convince them to sell it for peanuts, and then hightail it back to Chicago. Local auctioneer, Sam Samson, could be the perfect secret weapon in her search-- as long as he never figures out what she's really after. But is it possible to resist a tall, dark, gorgeous guy who's as sly as he is sexy?
Everything about Del turns Sam on, from her city sass to her delicious cleavage to her habit of twitching her nose when she's about to tell a whopper. And she's been telling a lot of them. Still, Sam knows a true babe when he sees one, and he's not about to let Del slip away...

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED received 4 stars from Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine!!

Check it out. You'll love it!


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Chica Lit Fiesta and Alisa Valdes Rodriguez

Wow! Amazing! Nothing else like it for Latina's who love to write and read books. I'm talking about the inaugural Chica Lit Club Fiesta that I attended over the weekend of May 19-21. I felt like I was at a three day slumber party where I got to meet and share stories and books with women who are a lot like me in their tastes and passions.

Alisa Vales-Rodriquez brought together the hottest authors in the genre of chica-lit and women's fiction, along with top Hollywood producers, editors, and magazine columnists. The energy was explosive. Most importantly, it was intimate enough for readers and authors to get to know each other. This event is going on my must attend list from now on. Alisa really needs to be congratulated for putting something like this together.

It's funny because I remember the first time I met Alisa -- it was at BEA (book expo america) for the launch of DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB. I was pretty excited about her book -- mostly because the Latino line of books I had been writing for, Encanto, had recently folded and many of us believed that the idea of seeing commercial fiction for Latinas in the marketplace was going to be a faded dream. Alisa's book gave us all hope that maybe there was a market after all. So, I eagerly attended a panel where she was to speak about her book. She was asked if she was the answer to the eagerly awaited Latina Terri McMillian, and she responded with something like she wasn't the next Latina anything. That she'd written a book about a group of friends who happened to be Latina. I'm sure I'm misquoting, but I left with the impression that she wasn't embracing Latino literature at all, and I was disappointed.

But everyone has to follow their own path, and I knew I sure hadn't accept my Latino roots for many years, so I shrugged off her comments. I still loved her book, and recommended it to friends, and knew that she'd tapped into something important whether she knew it or not. Of course, she did know, and I hadn't actually understood what she meant up there on that stage that day. What she apparently resented was being compared to another minority group. Why wasn't she the next Janet Evanovich or Jennifer Cruise? Why compare her at all. None of us can really be compared, because everyone writes from their own unique experiences and life views.

Following her career the last few years, I figured out where she was coming from, and realized that my original "hope" (as silly as that sounds) for the kind of author she would be was right, and my brief BEA impression was wrong. And now with this fiesta where she brought together such a diverse group of writers (something she didn't have to do), she's made her point again about how different we all are and how our literature is not a reflection of an entire culture, only a snapshot of a small section of the huge Latin American umbrella. I enjoyed learning more about the Mexican immigrant experience from one of the authors for example, and about Puerto Rico from a documentary producer. Though I'm Latina, I'm familiar with very little of the Latin American world. So this was a special opportunity to learn more. Besides, the location couldn't have been more fabulous! Right on Miami Beach! Gorgeous!

This was a much needed event for readers and authors as well. A safe place for us all to share our experiences and our hearts with each other. I highly recommend it -- can you tell? I came home inspired, and sick (but you can't have complete perfection), but mostly grateful to have been given the opportunity to share this special time with so many awesome people.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I try to call my grandmother who lives in Argentina once a month. I don't always get around to it. Mostly because when I think about it, it's 9pm when my kids are finally asleep and I have a few moments to myself. The problem is that there is a five hour time difference, so it would be two in the morning there. As much as she loves me, I don't think she'd appreciate the wake up call.

But today, I thought about it early enough to check in with her. She was thrilled of course. She filled me in on all the relatives and asked how we were doing here. She told me she got the article in the newspaper I sent her recently. And she reminded me that she will be 89 this year. Wow.

Eventually, the conversation turned to my father as it usually does. My father passed away about ten years ago. He was her baby. To me it's sad. To her, it's devastating. And I could hear the tears in her voice. And, I can do nothing but repeat a few words to console her -- though nothing really can. But after a few moments, she pulls herself together, and tells me how lucky she is. She has a wonderful family, with great grandkids. She has her health. She's lucky.

On my end, I'm thinking, "You're not lucky. You live in a country so unstable that you don't know if your money is worth anything from year to year. You have to fear for your safety everytime you leave your apartment because there is so much crime and poverty. You lost one of your two sons (that alone would be enough to crush the spirit of most women). You only have four grandkids and two were raised in America, away from you. " Of course, I didn't say any of this. I just told her that yes, she's lucky because she's had a good life. And we all love her very much.

Afterward, I sat in my office by myself thinking about her and her wonderful attitude. What a strong woman. To be able to look at only the positive and say, I'm lucky. In this country where we all have so much -- so much wealth, so many opportunities, so much freedom, so much of everything -- so much of the time, we aren't happy. We complain about our lives, rather than looking at what we have and saying, I'm lucky.

I've always admired and loved my grandmother, but I was never sure where the admiration came from. After all, I never got to spend much time with her. A few weeks here and there, when I've visited or she visited us. Not enough to really get to know a person. But through those visits and through phone calls I've gotten a sense of the kind of person she is. Strong, confident, persistant, and most of all someone who looks for the postive in life. Now as a woman who has gotten to know her as a woman, I absolutely know why I admire her so. Everyday, I strive to incorporate some of her traits into myself. One I have to work on is to learn to look at my life and say I'm lucky. Because I am.

I'm guessing most of you are too.

Sorry to get so personal today, but on Mother's Day weekend I wanted to share with you one of the great women in my life who has shaped who I am.

Have a great Mother's Day!!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Virtual Book Bag Authors

In the next few days I'd like to share some of the great releases coming out by some of my Virutal Book Bag buddies. I know you'll love the variety. We'll start today with Melissa Schroeder's newest: VOICES CARRY.

VOICES CARRY includes the three action-adventure books, Voices Carry, Lost in Emotion and Hard Habit to Break, previously released in ebook form, together for the first time!

A Federation under siege. A Counter-Terrorism Department overworked. Paranormal abilities outlawed. But when no one suspects what you can do, criminal Voices Carry. Called by lust and longing, three telempaths risk their lives to put their skills to work for the Federation Counter-Terrorism Department.

Voices Carry
When a criminal organization stealing secrets jeopardizes her boss’ life, secret telempath Shana Adams risks everything to uncover the truth and save Marcus. Drawn into a dangerous web of passion and suspicion, she’ll offer Marcus more than her body to survive.

Lost in Emotion
Alien Gorgons, Federation enemies? No contest. Telempathic anti-terrorist agent David Adams can fight anything. Antying, that is, but his feeling for Genoa, the sassy, sexy spy he’s been charged with protecting.

Hard Habit to Break
Once a powerful paranormal, psychically crippled Drug Enforcement officer Nolete Ashford has rebuilt her life from ashes. Now she’s on a mission to stop a drug that is killing paranormals,. nothing to it, no problem–until she’s assigned to work with Drake, the one man she could never forget.

Three stunning stories of lust and peril by critically acclaimed rising star of erotic romance.

Voices CarryReviews
“Strong characters, intergalactic espionage and lots of steamy ecounters to sizzle up your day.”
Shelley Bradley, Bound and Determined, Berkley

“Melissa Schroeder packs adventure, spice and emotion into every story.”
Lucy Monroe, Tempt Me, Berkley Sensation

“Ms. Schroeder has written a sizzling science fiction tale of espionage, telepathy, romance, and hot and heavy sex. Voices Carry is a twelve out of ten, I couldn’t put it down until I found out who the enemy was, and how Marcus would react to Shana’s secret. Ms. Schroeder is quickly making her way onto my list of favorite authors, read Voices Carry and see why… ” - 5 Angels, Ansley at Fallen Angels Reviews.

“Reading this book is like watching Han Solo (or any other space ranger) on a mission. Besides the smoldering bed scenes, there are bounty hunters after them, back stabbers aplenty, and some pretty fancy space piloting! It is a stand alone story; however, the author has what seems to be a series shaping up for this future universe. Do not begin reading this space opera tale until you have plenty of time, because you will not want to stop reading. And make sure your lover is near by.” - 5 Stars! Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews on Lost in Emotion

“I loved this story! Melissa Schroeder writes an exciting, fast moving plot, characters that leap from the pages and lots of hot, sizzling sex. Both hero and heroine are somewhat tortured and it was very satisfactory to see them work out their issues and find their way to true love. I love the way Ms. Schroeder gets the characters right into the reader’s heart. This is a very emotional story. Ms. Schroeder writes a villainous villain, who just drips with evil. Surprises are also in store for the reader while reading this story, so that there is no chance of getting bored with the story. So, if you like a fast paced futuristic, with hot, sensuous romantic sex, and characters that reach into your heart, I say, read a book by Melissa Schroeder, she will fulfill all of your desires.” - Plot Factor: FIVE CUPIDS, Pleasure Factor: FIVE CUPIDS. Valerie, Cupid’s Library Reviews on Hard Habit to Break.

To find out more about Melissa Schroeder and her books visit her website at