Getting to Know Me

headshotMy first language was Spanish, followed quickly by Spanglish as I learned new words and phrases from other kids on the playground. With a Mexican American dad who served in the Navy and a Puerto Rican mom who earned her business degree from the University of Puerto Rico, my life has been a mix of our Latino culture and good ol’ US of A traditions.  Kinda like my books.

I’ve always been a reader—my parents even remind me about how I won a trophy in 2nd grade for reading the most books over the summer.  In high school I wrote a few short stories, and I read my first Harlequin romance while waiting in a hurricane shelter with my parents and siblings in the Florida Keys. When I started complaining about being bored, my dad—yes, my dad, that’s not a typo—handed me one of his Harlequin romance novels.

Voila!  A devoted romance reader was born!

Years later, as a married college student with a new baby, I decided I should try writing a romance novel.  Boy, is that a book that will remain stuffed under my bed until…well, let’s just say, forever.  I typed it on my handy dandy electric typewriter in one semester, put a sticky note with my name and address on the front page and mailed my “baby” off to New York.  Yes, I hear your gasp of shock.  No cover letter, no query letter.  Nothing.  Totally not the right way to submit. But what did I know?  It wasn’t until later that I discovered Romance Writers of America thanks to a list of resources in a how-to book.Through RWA I learned about the business of publishing, honed my craft, and met some of my best friends and mentors.

Five more unpublished novels, two more daughters, countless military moves, a marital status tax-filing designation change, one bachelor’s & two master’s degrees later, I was still plugging away on my writing when I got “The Call” from my agent Rebecca Strauss and then from Martin Biro, my first editor with Kensington Publishing, in 2016!

*cue choir of angels*

One of my degrees is a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Enrolling in SHU’s WPF program was one of the best decisions I made for my writing & teaching career. I’d recommend this program to any genre fiction writer interested in honing their craft, whether published or not.

If an MFA isn’t the right option for you, but you’re interested in learning more about writing romance novels, check out my continuing education course offered by  ed2go.Romance Writing” is an 8-week, 12-lesson course that covers the basic key elements of writing a romance.

In between writing and my day job, I enjoy running, Zumba, dancing, watching sports (Go Cubs! Go Gators!), hanging out at the beach, and spending time with family and friends. Oh, and hammock naps! I’m a champion hammock napper.

In short, I’m a proud Latina who enjoys familia, fun, romance, and relaxation.

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Represented by Rebecca Strauss DeFiore & Company


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