Thursday, July 31, 2014

COVER REVEAL....Darkness by Elizabeth Arroyo

I am totally fan girling all over this cover. It's beautiful, spooky, with a dash of a thriller chill. My long time crit partner, Elizabeth Arroyo, will be releasing this bad ass book on August 12th!

That's thirteen days from today....even spookier.

Seventeen-year-old Carly Lopez suffers from post-traumatic stress, though the “post” part technically doesn’t apply…not when the killer’s still out there.

As the only survivor of the killing spree that left four dead girls in its wake, Carly fails to unearth her buried memories of that day and is consumed with guilt. After a year of silence, the killer's back, and Carly will stop at nothing to stop him.

With each new death, Carly’s reality shatters, propelling her deeper into the darkness where the dead haunt her and where the truth lies. Her only firm grasp of reality is Hunter Jackson, whose mysterious overprotectiveness of Carly forces her to doubt the reason behind her guilt.   

But Hunter has a secret.

And when she discovers a horrible truth, Carly questions her involvement in the murders. Was she directly responsible? Did she help the killer? Carly soon learns that finding answers may mean risking more than just her sanity.

AHHHH! It's too much too handle. I couldn't imagine what it'd be like to be the only survivor of a killing spree. Or the psychological damage one experiences from witnessing said killing spree. Poor Carly. Ghastly. 

Other than just being my loyal crit partner and friend, Liz is also a writing machine and has other books out too!

Elizabeth is the author of THE SECOND SIGN and THE SECOND SHADOW, a dark young adult paranormal romance series. Elizabeth currently teaches writing to teens at a local community center. You can find more information about Elizabeth at:

Monday, July 28, 2014

I've Signed with an Agent

Thrilled to announced that I've signed with Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services. Here's a little video about it =)

Signing Day from Saxena Video Productions on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Writing Community

Sometimes I just sit back and think about how awesome the writing community truly is. The camaraderie. The willingness to donate time to help someone else. It's astounding really.

When I look back at my own journey, the list of people I'd have to thank would be quite long. The people who've critiqued my writing and allowed me to critique theirs. You can learn just as much from giving critique as you can from receiving it. The people who've commiserated. The people who pulled me out of the low points. The people who congratulated me during the small triumphs. The generous, such as Brenda Drake and Authoress, who try to create opportunities for writers to get noticed. The writer friends I've made through Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, and SCBWI conferences. Random tweets of encouragement. Writers who share their journey to publication and inevitably inspire others.

What a strong community we truly are. *happy sigh*

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Football Memories

Yesterday evening huzband and I needed a break from our Breaking Bad marathon and we decided to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather and throw the football around. It reminded me of some of my happiest times in college and graduate school: playing intramural flag football. Our team was called the Broke Jokes and we even had snazzy t-shirts.

I was #19 Ice Princess. Go figure (ahhhh....bad skating pun). Anyway, I loved the weekly practices and games, and I was always sad when the season was over. I think Broke Jokes was the first time in my life that I had really played in a team sport. Figure skating is very solitary and I loved the whole team dynamic. My friends taught me how to throw and catch a football. How to run passes. How to play defense. And I found myself loving a sport that I had never really paid much attention to in the past.

One year we even made it to the UAB co-ed flag football intramural championships! Sadly, we lost to Excitement, Inc. I still remember the name of the team--the loss was that hard.

So back to yesterday evening. Huzband and I are throwing the football around, and the skin of the football is sticky and was literally coating our hands in reddish brown goey rubber. The seams were coming apart and the football was in this permanently deflated state.

And so it is with a heavy heart that the official Broke Jokes football had to be laid to rest today. He suffered from a terminal skin disease and was no longer fit to play.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gossip Time...WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae

I recently got to spend a few glorious days at the beaches of Miami. During which I shared some of my time in the sun with Kristin Rae's debut WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN. I devoured the book!

WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN is the fun story of Pippa, who is sent off to Italy for the summer to study boring art so that one day she can work at her Mom's boring art gallery. But Pippa decides to get a little sneaky, and pretends to go to art school while she sets off on an Italian adventure of her own! I thoroughly enjoyed spending Pippa's Italian summer with her (and the cute boys!).

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

What's even more interesting than WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN is the author herself! She's a former figure skating coach, photographer, and is always making crafty art projects. Plus she's expecting a baby girl this August. Check out her website here. Congratulations Kristin on a fantabulous debut!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Never Under Estimate a Snail

I've always loved animated films, especially those by Disney and DreamWorks. I love the fantastical story lines and the cartoon characters and the songs. I don't think I've ever watched an animated movie that I didn't like.

But I tried watching TURBO a couple of months ago and I simply couldn't get into the movie. I've been going through what I'll call Anita's Jaded-Full-of-Adult-Stuff Phase of Life for most of 2014. And the reason I couldn't get into the movie wasn't because the snails weren't cute enough, or the animations didn't wow me enough, or the humor wasn't ha ha enough. It was nothing like that.

It was because the main character--a snail--wanted to become an Indy race car driver. My brain screamed: NOT POSSIBLE! NOT POSSIBLE! I mean, it's a snail. It's too small and too slow. It's just not plausible or possible. I couldn't even fathom how the writers were going to transform this run of the mill garden snail into a contender for the Indy 500. So, I remember I got up from the couch, turned my back on the movie, and proceeded to the dishes.

Seriously. The dishes.

In my mind there was no way the main character, a snail, could get what he wanted most, and I wasn't going to spend the next ninety minutes watching him flail about, only to accept in the end that he was never going to be fast, and he'd just have to accept his lot in life.

Fast forward a few months. Anita's still dealing with the Full-of-Adult-Stuff Phase of life, but I'm not as jaded. So I decided to give TURBO another chance. I was going to let DreamWorks prove to me that this snail would become the next Speedy Gonzalez. So still skeptical, I sat down to watch Turbo again with Sarcastically Delicious (aka huzband).

And I was blown away.

Literally, this snail raced past me and my narrow minded brain and left me choking on his exhaust fumes. I applaud DreamWorks for their ingenious creativity. And not only for that, but for teaching me a big lesson about keeping my mind open to possibilities.

Needless to say, if you're looking for a good movie to watch this Memorial weekend, I recommend TURBO.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


So I started listening to this fantastic audiobook called MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill. It's the story of a straight-A high school student named Julia and her educational class trip to London. I love stories that are set abroad, and so when I read the back cover of the audio book I was hooked.

But I've been having trouble staying in the story because the narrator of the audiobook is Shannon McManus. I love her voice. She's perfect for YA and has so much enthusiasm and emotion. But she's also the narrator for LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins and I've listened to that audio book at least a dozen times.

So it is embedded in my brain that the voice is of Shannon McManus IS Lola Nolan. And Lola and Julia (the main character of MEANT TO BE) couldn't be more different. Lola expresses herself by dressing in costume, she does decent in school, is super creative, talks to the moon, and is the exact opposite of straight-laced. At the beginning of the novel Lola's dating a hot twenty-something rockstar. Julia would never break a rule, prefers to spend her time with books, and is a disciplined athlete. Julia's school appointed travel buddy, calls her book licker and accuses her of not knowing how to fun--which is kind of true.

So while I'm listening to MEANT TO BE, I'm like what's wrong with Lola? Why doesn't she want to go the party? What happened to her wardrobe? And then, I'm like's Julia. Not Lola.

What's even worse is when Shannon McManus does the voice of a British Guy, it sounds exactly like Etienne St. Clair from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Etienne plays a role in LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, as it is a companion novel to AATFK. So when Julia is at a party in MEANT TO BE and is talking to some British guy that's hitting her. I'm like, why is Etienne hitting on Lola? No, I mean Julia. Why is he hitting on Julia? Why is he in London without Anna? Why? Why?

So, unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to finish the audio book for MEANT TO BE. There's just too much character confusion going on in my head. This may be a story I'll just have to pick up in its book form.