Monday, January 19, 2009

An Alternate Universe

I just completed my first internet radio show. I know some of you are saying, "Well she didn't invite me." Honestly I wanted to see how things went before I spread the word on here ;-)

Now that it's over, I can officially say it was a hoot! I was a panel member on the show. It was hosted by the CEO of Extreme Diva Media, which is the company that is publishing my two books. It was like girlfriends talking and laughing. I'm hooked!

So I'll be there most Monday nights. Next Monday I might be late. I have to go to ::gasp, gasp:: a meeting about high school. My oldest is in her final semester of middle school starting next Wednesday. Excuse me a moment while I wail like a baby. (WWWWAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH)

Honestly, between the books, the internet radio show and my child preparing for high school, I feel like I have been transported to an alternate universe. Y'all pray for me. I might not make it!
This is a lot at once. I mean really y'all, pray!

Okay now that I've gotten that off my chest :) if you have time stop by one Monday night and visit with Jean Ann and the ladies from Diva Celebration. Yes that includes me from time to time. I promise it will be fun and informative! Here's the link. And do not laugh at me when you stop by. Y'all should already know by now I am not playing with a full deck of cards.

I love you guys. Know that I am thinking of you and praying for you all. Now, duty calls. I have to go make my word count for the day (yeah that's writers talk) Egads, it's the alternate universe again! J/K

As always, be abundantly blessed!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I am So Blessed

I have an update on my book proposals. In the middle of December I submitted two book proposals (click here to read about those). Well I got news that both have been accepted for publication!

I cannot begin to describe to you the feelings I have about this. I understand that it is an incredible blessing. It is also a tremendous responsibility! I was so overwhelmed when I got the news that I cried, for days.

I guess in many ways my journey started when I was 7 and decided I wanted to be an author one day. But my active journey began in 2007 during a bible study for which I was a table leader. My group selected a study from a choice of three that I was not enthusiastic about. Well that study posed a question about what dreams had you tucked away that perhaps you needed to dust off and pray about.

I took out my writing dream, dusted it off and prayed about it for 4 months. God gave me the green light to begin pursuing it. I registered for the She Speaks! Speakers/Writers Conference early in 2008. I attended the conference in July (click here, here and here for more on that). In the months that followed, I submitted some items and got some rejections. I was finally accepted for publication in a devotional anthology called Penned From The Heart.

Fueled with that success, I pushed forward with my book. Where I started with it was not where God ultimately led me. I am glad. His plans are always so much better than mine! So here I sit, just six months post-conference, with two book deals. I would have never imagined that. I am sure glad God did though.

I can now look back on the hard experience of my husband's unemployment and see God's hand in it. Our journey through that is the basis for both the books. What a wonderful lesson! Our valley experience may actually serve as a tool for helping others. It makes so much sense now. It didn't while we were in the valley, but it surely does now.

There is so much more I could share about how I've looked back and seen God's hand. However, since this post is running long, I'll save some of those insights for later posts. I'll close with this question for you. Are there any dreams you've long since put away that perhaps you need to dust off and seek God about what to do with them? Whatever His answer, at least ask :)

Be blessed this weekend!

Monday, January 5, 2009

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Be Strong and Curvaceous (All About Us Series, Book 3)

FaithWords (January 2, 2009)

Plus a Tiffany's Bracelet Giveaway! Go to Camy Tang's Blog and leave a comment on her FIRST Wild Card Tour for Be Strong and Curvaceous, and you will be placed into a drawing for a bracelet that looks similar to the picture below.


Shelley Adina is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She knows the value of a relationship with a gracious God and loving Christian friends, and she's inviting today's teenage girls to join her in these refreshingly honest books about real life as a Christian teen--with a little extra glitz thrown in for fun! In between books, Adina loves traveling, listening to and making music, and watching all kinds of movies.

It's All About Us is Book One in the All About Us Series. Book Two, The Fruit of my Lipstick came out in August 2008. Book Three, Be Strong & Curvaceous, came out January 2, 2009. And Book Four, Who Made You a Princess?, comes out May 13, 2009.

Visit the author's

Product Details:

List Price: $ 9.99

Reading level: Young Adult

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: FaithWords (January 2, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446177997

ISBN-13: 978-0446177993


BE CAREFUL WHAT you wish for.

I used to think that was the dumbest saying ever. I mean, when you wish for something, by definition it’s wonderful, right? Like a new dress for a party. Or a roommate as cool as Gillian Chang or Lissa Mansfield. Or a guy noticing you after six months of being invisible. Before last term, of course I wanted those wishes to come true.

I should have been more careful.

Let me back up a little. My name is Carolina Isabella Aragon Velasquez . . . but that doesn’t fit on school admission forms, so when I started first grade, it got shortened up to Carolina Aragon—Carly to my friends. Up until I was a sophomore, I lived with my mother and father, my older sister Alana and little brother Antony in a huge house in Monte Sereno, just south of Silicon Valley. Papa’s company invented some kind of security software for stock exchanges, and he and everyone who worked for him got rich.

Then came Black Thursday and the stock market crash, and suddenly my mom was leaving him and going to live with her parents in Veracruz, Mexico, to be an artist and find herself. Alana finished college and moved to Austin, Texas, where we have lots of relatives. Antony, Papa, and I moved to a condo about the size of our old living room, and since Papa spends so much time on the road, where I’ve found myself since September is boarding school.

The spring term started in April, and as I got out of the limo Papa sends me back to Spencer Academy in every Sunday night—even though I’m perfectly capable of taking the train—I couldn’t help but feel a little bubble of optimism deep inside. Call me corny, but the news that Vanessa Talbot and Brett Loyola had broken up just before spring break had made the last ten days the happiest I’d had since my parents split up. Even flying to Veracruz, courtesy of Papa’s frequent flyer miles, and being introduced to my mother’s boyfriend hadn’t put a dent in it.

Ugh. Okay, I lied. So not going there.

Thinking about Brett now. Dark, romantic eyes. Curly dark hair, cut short because he’s the captain of the rowing team. Broad shoulders. Fabulous clothes he wears as if he doesn’t care where he got them.

Oh, yeah. Much better.

Lost in happy plans for how I’d finally get his attention (I was signing up to be a chem tutor first thing because, let’s face it, he needs me), I pushed open the door to my room and staggered in with my duffel bags.

My hands loosened and I dropped everything with a thud.

There were Vuitton suitcases all over the room. Enough for an entire family. In fact, the trunk was so big you could put a family in it—the kids, at least.

“Close the door, why don’t you?” said a bored British voice, with a barely noticeable roll on the r. A girl stepped out from behind the wardrobe door.

Red hair in an explosion of curls.

Fishnet stockings to here and glossy Louboutin ankle boots.

Blue eyes that grabbed you and made you wonder why she was so . . . not interested in whether you took another breath.


How come no one had told me I was getting a roommate? And who could have prepared me for this, anyway?

“Who are you?”

“Mac,” she said, returning to the depths of the wardrobe. Most people would have said, “What’s your name?” back. She didn’t.

“I’m Carly.” Did I feel lame or what?

She looked around the door. “Pleasure. Looks like we’re to be roommates.” Then she went back to hanging things up.

There was no point in restating the obvious. I gathered my scattered brains and tried to remember what Mama had taught me that a good hostess was supposed to do. “Did someone show you where the dining room is? Supper is between five and six-thirty, and I usually—”

“Carrie. I expected my own room,” she said, as if I hadn’t been talking. “Whom do I speak to?”

“It’s Carly. And Ms. Tobin’s the dorm mistress for this floor.”

“Fine. What were you saying about tea?”

I took a breath and remembered that one of us was what my brother calls couth. As opposed to un. “You’re welcome to come with me and my friends if you want.”

Pop! went the latches on the trunk. She threw up the lid and looked at me over the top of it, her reddish eyebrows lifting in amusement.

“Thanks so much. But I’ll pass.”

Okay, even I have my limits. I picked up my duffel, dropped it on the end of my bed, and left her to it. Maybe by the time I got back from tea—er, supper—she’d have convinced Ms. Tobin to give her a room in another dorm.

The way things looked, this chica would probably demand the headmistress’s suite.

* * *

“What a mo guai nuer,” Gillian said over her tortellini and asparagus. “I can’t believe she snubbed you like that.”

“You of all people,” Lissa agreed, “who wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings for anything.”

“I wanted to—if I could have come up with something scathing.” Lissa looked surprised, as if I’d shocked her. Well, I may not put my feelings out there for everyone to see, like Gillian does, but I’m still entitled to have them. “But you know how you freeze when you realize you’ve just been cut off at the knees?”

“What happened to your knees?” Jeremy Clay put his plate of linguine down and slid in next to Gillian. They traded a smile that made me feel sort of hollow inside—not the way I’d felt after Mac’s little setdown, but . . . like I was missing out on something. Like they had a secret and weren’t telling.

You know what? Feeling sorry for yourself is not the way to start off a term. I smiled at Jeremy. “Nothing. How was your break? Did you get up to New York the way you guys had planned?”

He glanced at Gillian. “Yeah, I did.”

Argh. Men. Never ask them a yes/no question. “And? Did you have fun? Shani said she had a blast after the initial shock.”

Gillian grinned at me. “That’s a nice way of saying that my grandmother scared the stilettos off her. At first. But then Nai-Nai realized Shani could eat anyone under the table, even my brothers, no matter what she put in front of her, so after that they were best friends.”

“My grandmother’s like that, too,” I said, nodding in sympathy. “She thinks I’m too thin, so she’s always making pots of mole and stuff. Little does she know.”

It’s a fact that I have way too much junk in my trunk. Part of the reason my focus is in history, with as many fashion design electives as I can get away with, is that when I make my own clothes, I can drape and cut to accentuate the positive and make people forget that big old negative following me around.

“You aren’t too thin or too fat.” Lissa is a perfect four. She’s also the most loyal friend in the world. “You’re just right. If I had your curves, I’d be a happy woman.”

Time to change the subject. The last thing I wanted to do was talk about my body in front of a guy, even if he belonged to someone else. “So, did you guys get to see Pride and Prejudice—The Musical? Shani said you were bribing someone to get tickets.”

“Close,” Gillian said. “My mom is on the orchestra’s board, so we got seats in the first circle. You’d have loved it. Costume heaven.”

“I would have.” I sighed. “Why did I have to go to Veracruz for spring break? How come I couldn’t have gone to New York, too?”

I hoped I sounded rhetorical. The truth was, there wasn’t any money for trips to New York to see the hottest musical on Broadway with my friends. Or for the clothes to wear once I got there—unless I made them myself.

“That’s it, then.” Gillian waved a grape tomato on the end of her fork. “Next break, you and Lissa are coming to see me. Not in the summer—no one in their right mind stays in the city in July. But at Christmas.”

“Maybe we’ll go to Veracruz,” Lissa suggested. “Or you guys can come to Santa Barbara and I’ll teach you to surf.”

“That sounds perfect,” I said. Either of Lissa’s options wouldn’t cost very much. New York, on the other hand, would. “I like warm places for my winter holidays.”

“Good point,” Gillian conceded. “So do I.”

“Notice how getting through the last term of junior year isn’t even on your radar?” Jeremy asked no one in particular. “It’s all about vacations with you guys.”

“Vacations are our reward,” Gillian informed him. “You have to have something to get you through finals.”

“Right, like you have to worry,” he scoffed, bumping shoulders with her in a chummy way.

“She does,” Lissa said. “She has to get me through finals.”

While everyone laughed, I got up and walked over to the dessert bar. Crème brulée, berry parfaits, and German chocolate cake. You know you’re depressed when even Dining Services’ crème brulée—which puts a dreamy look in the eyes of just about everyone who goes here—doesn’t get you excited.

I had to snap out of it. Thinking about all the things I didn’t have and all the things I couldn’t do would get me precisely nowhere. I had to focus on the good things.

My friends.

How lucky I was to have won the scholarship that got me into Spencer.

And how much luckier I was that in two terms, no one had figured out I was a scholarship kid. Okay, so Gillian is a scholarship kid, too, but her dad is the president of a multinational bank. She thinks it’s funny that he made her practice the piano so hard all those years, and that’s what finally got her away from him. Who is my father? No one. Just a hardworking guy. He was so proud of me when that acceptance letter came that I didn’t have the heart to tell him there was more to succeeding here than filling a minority quota and getting good grades.

Stop it. Just because you can’t flit off to New York to catch a show or order up the latest designs from Fashion Week doesn’t mean your life is trash. Get ahold of your sense of proportion.

I took a berry parfait—blueberries have lots of antioxidants—and turned back to the table just as the dining room doors opened. They seemed to pause in their arc, giving my new roommate plenty of time to stroll through before they practically genuflected closed behind her. She’d changed out of the fishnets into heels and a black sweater tossed over a simple leaf-green dress that absolutely screamed Paris—Rue Cambon, to be exact. Number 31, to be even more exact. Chanel Couture.

My knees nearly buckled with envy.

“Is that Carly’s roommate?” I heard Lissa ask.

Mac seemed completely unaware that everyone in the dining room was watching her as she floated across the floor like a runway model, collected a plate of Portobello mushroom ravioli and salad, and sat at the empty table next to the big window that faced out onto the quad.

Lissa was still gazing at her, puzzled. “I know I’ve seen her before.”

I hardly heard her.

Because not only had the redhead cut into line ahead of Vanessa Talbot, Dani Lavigne, and Emily Overton, she’d also invaded their prime real estate. No one sat at that table unless they’d sacrificed a freshman at midnight, or whatever it was that people had to do to be friends with them.

When Vanessa turned with her plate, I swear I could hear the collective intake of breath as her gaze locked on the stunning interloper sitting with her back to the window, calmly cutting her ravioli with the edge of her fork.

“Uh oh,” Gillian murmured. “Let the games begin.”

© 2008 by Shelley Adina.

Used by permission of the author and Hachette Book Group USA.

My Review:

This is a young adult book that appealed to this "older adult". I've not read the first two books in the series. However, Ms. Adina certainly gives you enough information in this novel to give you a fairly good idea about what has gone on in the lives of the main characters.

The focus in this book is on the character named Carly. She is attending an exclusive boarding school on scholarship because she checked Mexican on her application and in her own words, filled a minority quota. She struggles with keeping up appearances that she is as rich as the next person attending Spencer. She has strong friendships with several Christian girls and they accept her as is. But then, they don't know her secret. Carly will do whatever she can to make sure they never know she's a scholarship student.

In this book, Carly gets a roommate who happens to be royalty. She also gets under the skin of the school mean girl. Carly has to make a decision whether to ignore Mac or befriend her. A difficult and frightening situation Mac finally reveals to Carly seals the decision and the adventure keeps going from there. Several surprising twists and turns. I was impressed.

Interwoven into this is the story of Carly's dream of being a fashion designer and how that dream will be impacted by a school event. And what good young adult book would leave out a romance? I had mixed feelings about her love interest until the very end when his true character was revealed. I'll let you rad it yourself so you can learn the lesson Ms. Adina wove into the story about judging others (well at least I got a lesson out of it!).

All in all, this was a good read. I will say that I had to backtrack a few times in the beginning chapters because of a few run-on sentences. But after that, it was smooth sailing and good reading. If you are young or young at heart, I think you will enjoy this book.