2013 in Review

Here we are again. The end of the year is a couple of hours away. Where has 2013 gone? I’ve stopped wondering about the passage of time. I accept it as something that keeps moving forward with or without my participation. This is why I’m learning to live more in the moment than in my past or in what is to come.
            As has been my practice for a few years now, I always take a moment to review my year. Many things have happened for the past three hundred and sixty some odd days. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the most pertinent ones.

            A Year of Being Busy

            The beginning of 2013 found me juggling multiple projects. I wrote four books in three months. A personal best for me. Editing those books and the ones I’d submitted at the end of 2012 followed. I can honestly say all my months were filled to the brim with work. This is a wonderful thing.
            When I used to work fulltime, being busy meant having a toxic schedule. This was especially so when I was a teacher. From checking papers to creating lesson plans to putting tests together, I never ran out of things to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this kind of work. I loved my students, don’t get me wrong, but the work…I shudder just thinking about it.
            Now that I’ve dedicated myself to writing fulltime, I’ve never been happier to be busy. In fact, I get the shakes when I’m left idle for too long. I’m always working on something new. At the final hours of 2013, I’m elbow-deep in writing and editing Relish; I’m collaborating on a novel with my long time critique partner and sister in writing; I’m gearing up to rewrite one of my favorite novels of all time; and I’m in my third pass edits for Til Death. If I didn’t love what I was doing, I would call this a toxic situation. But because I wake up every morning rearing to go, the work is what I look forward to the most. I’ve never been happier than when sitting in front of my laptop transferring the scenes in my head onto paper.

            Learning to Let Go

            I consider myself a sensitive person. I remember many of the things that happened in my life. Some of the not so good ones I tend to hang on to. At the end of 2012, I made a commitment to let go of the baggage I carry around. This included letting go of people in my life I’ve grown apart from. I kept telling myself, what good were they sharing in my life? The ones that brought me down I cut off like unwanted ballast. This process was a painful one. I really had to dig deep, tell myself I can keep going, and actually take the steps that would lead me away.
            I’ve also learned to let go of things I cannot change. The past is no longer an issue for me…most days. I have to be honest; there are days when it’s not easy. Sometimes I remember something that happened years ago that still pisses me off. But I’ve learned to pause, take a deep breath, and let go.
            Another form of letting go is not holding on too tightly. Things will happen in their own time, you just have to be prepared when they do. Just because I want something right now doesn’t mean it is the right time to have it. I’ve learned to take a step back and see the bigger picture. By no means am I a hundred percent proficient in this, but I’m trying.

            A Year of Self-Discovery

            I think this is because I’m getting older. I’m learning more about what I really like. My real guilty pleasure? All-You-Can-Eat Japanese Buffet. When I’m there, I eat to my heart’s content. When it’s over and my stomach is full to bursting, I feel all guilty inside. Yet I’m willing to do it all over again. *laughs*
            What is my one luxury? Traveling to Singapore for three days and two nights. That’s really all I need to clear my head and refresh myself. It’s become a bonding experience with my mother. We save up for an entire year, split the costs, and go shopping. Why Singapore? Well, you only have to sit in a plane for three hours and you’re somewhere else. And it’s a place my mother has come to love. I’d promised myself that I would return when I first went there so many years ago. Now I make it a point to at least visit once a year.
            And I’m a shopaholic no more. I’ve learned which brands I like. I know the silhouettes that suit my body shape. Also, I know my size. I don’t buy shoes like a fanatic anymore. I go for comfort with a flare toward my personal style. I know maxi skirts suit me more than knee or calf-length. A-line dresses are a must. Blazers as well. I’m no longer afraid of the cardigan. Oh, and leather jackets too. As for shoes? It’s boots or wedges. I hardly wear pumps anymore or open toe. Heels are still important, but not the life-threatening kind. Comfort…can’t emphasize this enough.

            Strengthening Relationships

            With time moving the way it does, I’ve learned to value my relationships with those I love. Now more than ever, I don’t take for granted how much time I have with someone. I’ve cancelled RT and a chance to moderate a panel there because I value what remaining time I have left with my father.
            2013 also found me deepening my ties with my mother. We have found an equilibrium we both can handle. We share everything. We still have our moments. Two women with equally explosive tempters? But we laugh more than we fight. We tease each other, make each other smile. And when we need to get away from life, we always have Singapore.
            My relationship with my brother is ever an evolving one. We are growing up at different paces. He slower than most. But I can see now that he gets to where he needs to be eventually. I can’t hurry him in any way. Of course, this annoys me sometimes. Especially when I’m hormonal. But my brother’s capacity for patience rivals that of a saint. He’s forgiven me more times than I can count. I cherish that more now than ever.

            Wishes for 2014

            For my family, I wish continued health and happiness. As long as we have each other, we can weather anything that comes our way.
            For my friends, I wish you joy. Thank you for being in my life and for showing me what true friendship means. You light up my life.
            For my editors and publishers, I wish you all continued success. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your guidance. I’ve learned so much from each of you, and I look forward to learning more. Thank you so much for putting up with me.
            For the bloggers, I wish you happy reading. What you do is invaluable to authors. Your enthusiasm is lifeblood. And the support you continue to give cannot be repaid. Thank you for reviewing books, posting cover reveals, and participating in tours, blitzes, and whatever else we have come up with to promote our work. We would be lost without you.
            For my readers, I wish you all the best and more. Thank you for taking a moment to pick up my books and reading them. Thank you for sharing your joy for my work with others. Thank you for writing reviews and posting them. Thank you for being you for what is a writer without a reader?
            And for myself? I wish for another wonderful busy year. I wish to reach more readers. And I wish to continue to grow as a person and as a writer. I’ve realized there are times when I rub people the wrong way. I may have said the wrong thing or expressed myself the wrong way in an email or a tweet. It’s difficult to convey proper emotions in text, but I’m a writer, I should know better. To those I have wronged this year, I sincerely apologize. Know that I did not do it out of malice. I accept the mistakes I have made because they have taught me to be better, to do better. This is why I’m excited to face 2014.

            Here’s to another year of living, loving, and most of all, writing!

            Happy New Year, my lovelies!

Darkly Delicious YA Invites You to Feed Your Ereader

Curl up with today's hottest YA novels!

One of the things I love about winter is I have more time to read, and with my eReader, I know new books are just a click away. So this winter pour yourself a warm beverage, snuggle up with your favorite eReader, and get lost in a new story. 

 .99 cents

Read EMBRACE today: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

How for would you go to save the people you love? 

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Read REAPING ME SOFTLY today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?


Read A SHIMMER OF ANGELS today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can't admit to seeing?

Read EMBER today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

When Candra Ember wakes up in hospital after a dangerous encounter with a red-haired woman, she is shocked to discover that seeing a winged boy wasn't her imagination. Candra is exposed to a world of rivalry and sacrifice she never knew existed, and the aftermath of a war to save humanity thousands of years ago. Soon she finds herself relentlessly stalked by Sebastian, a beautiful and arrogant Watcher Angel and romantically pursued by his darkly seductive rival, Draven. Ultimately, dubious about her own goodness, Candra’s very existence compromises a tentative peace in the city of Acheron.

Read HOLD TIGHT today: Amazon Barnes&Noble

What’s one little spell?

When you’re new to magic, one spell can be the difference between getting what you want...and ruining the lives of everyone you love.

Sixteen-year-old Madison has just embraced her magical powers. The trick now is learning how to control them. She and her boyfriend -and fellow witch- can’t even enjoy a simple kiss without getting shocked when their powers collide. Instead of mastering her new skills, though, Madison is stuck watching her kid brother and doing chores.

But being a witch does have its benefits. With a simple spell, Madison instantly conjures the help she needs around the house. Or so she thinks. Her idea of “help” invites trouble of its own as a pair of dangerous yet enticing beings enter her life. When a classmate disappears soon afterwards, Madison discovers she's the next victim of a threat she's powerless to resist...and there’s nothing it won’t kill to make her surrender.

Caught in the crossfire between two dashing but deadly creatures, Madison must figure out which one to trust and how to rid her world of the other—before one of them destroys her and everyone she cares about.

Read IRIDESCENT (Ember Bk 2) today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Candra Ember used to dream of saving the world one person at a time. She never expected to become an angelic weapon and the last hope in the battle against ultimate darkness.

Falling for a Nephilim wasn’t part of Sebastian’s plan. Distraction is something he can’t afford when his rival, Draven, wants what Sebastian has.

Lies, manipulation, and corruption are twisting the lives of the citizens in Acheron. The Arch is missing from Heaven, and a demon is intent on claiming the city. At a time they should be growing closer, grief and paranoia is driving Candra and Sebastian apart.

If the price of restoring the Watchers to Heaven is a human soul, who deserves to be saved?

Read JANUARY BLACK today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It’s a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king’s bluff.

Read MY SISTER'S REAPER today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Sixteen-year-old Zadie’s first mistake was telling the boy she liked she could bring her dead sister back to life. Her second mistake was actually doing it.

When Zadie accidentally messes with the Reaper’s Rite that should have claimed her sister Mara, things go horribly wrong. Mara isn’t the same anymore—Zadie isn’t even sure she’s completely human. To top it off, a Reaper is determined to collect Mara's soul. Now Zadie must figure out how to defeat her sister’s Reaper or let Mara die … this time for good.

Read OPPRESSION today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She's been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she's well over eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don't make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she's been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning-and she's not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Read PRETTY DARK NOTHING today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

It’s time to choose: Love or lies, faith or fear, darkness or destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Quinn hasn’t slept a full night in twenty-three days. She’s terrified of the demons that stalk her dreams, pull her into a deep dark nothingness and whisper hauntingly of her death. Exhausted, Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, and Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. If Quinn can learn to trust her heart, and Aaron can discover the secret locked away in his fragile memory, their combined power could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

Read SHADES OF ATLANTIS today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Since the death of their parents, Triona Pryor and her brother, Ben, have lived with their aunt and uncle in Camden, Maine. Now in her senior year of high school, Triona loves her family and friends, but she has always felt that she didn't quite fit Camden, or anywhere else. Enter Caleb Wallace, the devilishly handsome man who has recently moved to Triona's small town. While their attraction to each other is instantaneous, it also proves to be dangerous...and deadly. When tragedy strikes, Triona flees to London for solace and to start her life anew. It's there she discovers from an unlikely source that her family has been keeping secrets from her - secrets about not only her birthright, but her ultimate destiny as well. Armed with this knowledge, Triona finds herself thrown into a whole new world and into a battle to save the lives of everyone she loves.

Read TASTE today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble                                             At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

Read UNREAP MY HEART today: Kindle | Amazon

Only a villain can save the day.

During his thousand year banishment in the Nethers, Balthazar thought of nothing but taking over the Crossroads from Death.

On the day he puts his plans into action, Balthazar finds the Crossroads on lockdown. Death has been stabbed by Brianne’s Bitterness, a blade that slowly leaches him of his powers. In order to challenge Death for his seat and prevent utter chaos, Balthazar is forced into a mission to find the Redeemer, the only being capable of pulling out the blade from Death’s chest. The only person who can identify the Redeemer is a human girl in the Crossroads whose soul is still attached to her body.
Meeting Arianne Wilson pushes Balthazar’s patience to the limit. In a deal he makes with Death, he must protect Arianne during their journey through the Underverse using all the resources available to him. He soon realizes the one he needs to protect is himself. For as much harm as it inflicts on Balthazar's body, trekking through the Underverse with Arianne is proving more dangerous for his heart and soul.

Can the villain remain a villain when love gets in the way? 

Read UPRISING (Children of the Gods #2)  today: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Elyse has done everything she can to protect her friends from The Council's reach. As long as they believe she's dead, she has time to rest and train for war. And war is inevitable.

When Kara arrives with the news that Anna and Chloe have been captured, Elyse is faced with the realization that no one is safe until The Council is stopped and Christoph is destroyed. She doesn't need a prophecy to tell her to lead an army. Christoph has done the one thing that ensures she'll fight to the death. He's threatened the people she loves.

It will take more than the words of an oracle to help them fight against the most powerful Descendant alive. To break The Council's oppression and rise up against a plot so many years in the making, Elyse will need to get dangerously close to her enemy. So close, in fact, she may not survive.

More great deals!

Read ASCENDANT today: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I’m sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I’m not the girl I should have been.

When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother’s childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother—clues to her family’s strange past and her mother’s disappearance. Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother’s old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts—and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.

Read PHANTOM TOUCH today: Kindle | Barnes & Noble

Bridget White just wants to be an average girl, but the car accident that killed her sister took away everything normal in Bridget’s life. Now she spends her days talking to unhappy ghosts and helping them move on to the afterlife. But dealing with death on a daily basis is too much for one girl to handle, so when she finds a way to get rid of her supernatural sight, she jumps at the chance.

There’s just one more job standing between her and normal. When a missing local girl turns up as a freshly murdered ghost, Bridget realizes she’s the only one who can find the killer. Worse still, he’s not done killing. Now Bridget may have to sacrifice her only chance at being normal to stop him from taking another innocent life.

Read SPEAK OF THE DEVIL today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

High school junior Lily Tyler dies along with her two best friends in a car accident, but miraculously she comes back to life several minutes later. Unable to deal with her loss and her survivor’s guilt, she moves to her dad’s. While there trying to heal from this tragedy and come to terms with the event, she meets some people at her new school who are all too eager to help her. Struggling to fight her feelings for two of these strange new acquaintances, Luc and Mo, she finds out their true identities.

Lily must move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, and find a way to stop a divine war with the fallen angels, all while trying to pass the eleventh grade.

Read SON OF A MERMAID today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Shea MacNamara’s life just got complicated.

After a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, the fifteen-year-old orphan is whisked away to Cape Cod. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he’s trying hard to deal with feelings of abandonment… and the emotions stirred by a girl he meets along the shore.

Kae belongs to an undersea world hidden from drylanders. The daughter of royal servants, she knows the planned marriage of her Princess to the foreign King should put an end to the war between the clans. But two things stand in the way of lasting peace: the ambitions of the foreign King’s regent, and rumors of the Princess’s bastard child.

Sparks fly when she meets Shea, but could the cute drylander really be the Son of a Mermaid?

Read STALKED BY DEATH (Bk2) today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jodi knows that any slip-ups made by the Ophi--a special group of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac--will fall on her shoulders... and that Hades is just waiting for them to screw up so he can wipe out the Ophi line.

Unfortunately, Jodi has only convinced one Ophi to join her school: A hot guy named Chase who jeopardizes her relationship with Alex. Jodi loves Alex, but Chase can enhance her powers with just a touch—making her stronger than any Ophi has ever been.

Her mixed emotions send her powers surging out of control, and the dead start rising without her conscious summoning—exactly what Hades doesn't want! If she chooses Alex over Chase, she may lose the battle to Hades, leading the Ophi race to extinction. If she chooses Chase, she might be able to stop Hades for good… but lose everything else.

Jodi needs to figure things out fast--because death is stalking her at every turn.

Read TOUCH OF DEATH today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.

Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

Keep them coming, pre-order today:

Pre-order BURN OUT today: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A futuristic blend of Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans's Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure.

Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.

When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.

Pre-order WANTED:  DEAD OR IN LOVE: Amazon

Impulsive high school senior Monroe Baker is on probation for a recent crime, but strives to stay out of trouble by working as a flapper at her father’s Roaring 20’s dinner show theater. When she cuts herself on one of the spent bullets from her father’s gangster memorabilia collection, she unwittingly awakens Bonnie Parker’s spirit, who begins speaking to Monroe from inside her head. 

Later that evening, Monroe shows the slugs to Jack, a boy she meets at a party. He unknowingly becomes infected by Clyde, who soon commits a crime using Jack’s body. The teens learn that they have less than twenty-four hours to ditch the criminals or they’ll share their bodies with the deadly outlaws indefinitely. 

Pre-order TIL DEATH: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Sixteen-year old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person. Beyond the peircing blue eyes and tossled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met, so why would he act like he hates her?

When Dillan and Selena are forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan might not actually hate her after all.

Nutella Temptations

Looking for something easy and a 100% yummy to bake for the New Year? Well, you've come to the right place. My love for baking isn't a secret. When I find a new recipe, I want to share it.

For the holidays, I stumbled upon Peanut Butter Temptations. My versions turned out pretty good, but I wondered what would happen if I swapped out the peanut butter for something like Nutella. The results are scrumptious!

Here's the recipe:


1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt


1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)

2. Mix brown sugar, white sugar, and butter.

3. Stir in Nutella, egg, and vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. Add flour mixture to Nutella mixture until dough forms.

6. Scoop into cupcake tins. (make sure to line tins with cupcake paper first)

7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

8. Take out of oven and add a dollop of Nutella on top.

9. Let sit to cool then serve.

That's it. You'll be baking for 30mins. tops, including cleaning up. In and out and you have something yummy to share with your family for the New Year.

If you have any questions about the recipe, just ask in the comments section. ;-)

Happy New Year, lovelies!

New Year Giveaway

Let's start 2014 right with a Facebook Exclusive Giveaway! 

The Five By Five Podcast

Tune in on Thursday, December 26, 7:30 to 8:00 PM Manila Time (GMT +8). As our YouTube channel isn’t live-stream capable yet, we’ll be airing our first few eps on another channel, but we’ll post the link to this episode here just before we go live.
  1. Geeking out – Mina talks about the new television show “Reign” and Tania geeks out about an anime with creatures that are zombies but not exactly zombies.
  2. Awesome new thing to try out this week
  3. Author interviewKate Evangelista, author of young adult novels TasteReaping Me Softly, and Savor.
  4. We answer your Twitter questions (use hashtag #5x5podcast).
  5. Arrow moment – How do we feel about Barry Allen/The Flash, are Oliver’s abs threatened?
Ask your questions for @KateEvangelista@TaniaArpa or @minavesguerra ahead of time by tweeting us and  adding the hashtag #5x5podcast. You just might win a signed copy of Taste from Kate!
Taste - Kate Evangelista
  • Your Tweet must include the hashtag #5x5podcast.
  • Make sure your tweet doesn’t begin with a “@”. If you’d like to tag Kate or the hosts, put @kateevangelista (or @minavesguerra or @taniaarpa) in the middle or end of your tweet. However, just including the hashtag #5x5podcast will suffice.
  • No spoilers for Savor!
  • No spam! Only podcast- and topic-related comments and questions, please. And only questions for Kate will be eligible for the prize (but we’d love to hear from you about the podcast topics or anything else geeky).
  • You may be from anywhere to join, but we can only ship the prize to an address in the Philippines.
  • Your question must be tweeted before or during Kate’s live interview, questions tweeted after that are no longer eligible for the prize.

Happy Holidays, My Lovelies!

Gift Giving

The holidays are upon us and I find myself thinking of gifts. I’ve always been someone who loves this time of year. I don’t mind the hectic pace, the monumental traffic, and the calories lining up to be devoured. My mom always teases me that if I weren’t in our family we wouldn’t be celebrating much of anything. What she means by this is that the beautiful Christmas tree wouldn’t be up, Christmas goodies wouldn’t get baked, and gifts wouldn’t be bought. Basically, when it comes to this time of the year, I’m the glue that keeps this family together. Hell, if I don’t wrap the gifts myself no one would have anything to open come the 25th. *laughs*

I got my love of giving gifts from my mother. The depth of her generosity never fails to continuously surprise me. Even I have my limits when it comes to whom to give gifts to, but my mom just keeps on giving, no matter who wronged her. She reminds me to give without expectations of anything in return. She also teaches me to be humble. Sometimes I forget, and I’m glad she’s there to remind me.

When it comes to gift giving, I have one hard and fast rule: know who you’re giving to. Gifts show what you think of the person. I say, why give something at all when it’s half-assed or without any thought put into it? The smile on someone’s face when they open your present is so worth the time you spent standing in line to pay for it.

Let’s say your friend likes the color green and food. Grab a basket, go to the snack isle of your local grocery store, and fill that basket with every green colored snack you can find. If the packaging is green, grab that too. Then wrap the basket in cellophane, add a green bow, and voilà, you have the perfect gift for someone who loves green and food.  I knew someone who loved beer. So grabbing another basket, I filled it with different kinds of beer, whether bottled or canned. I went from light to dark, ten kinds in all. He couldn’t stop smiling when I gave it to him. This goes for someone who likes coffee also. Don’t just spring for a Starbucks gift card. Actually go to the store and buy several kinds of coffee, arrange them in a pretty box, and tie a ribbon around it.

If you have time, handmade presents are the best too. I know someone who knits wonderful scarves. I like giving baked goods I made personally. You can never go wrong with cookies or brownies. If you don’t have time to make everything from scratch, good ol’ Betty Crocker has tons of mixes you can choose from. Just as long as you made it yourself, it doesn’t matter if it came from a box.

They say it’s the thought that counts. These days we’re all so busy that we don’t have time anymore to put thought into buying someone we care for a proper gift. I feel sad when this happens because Christmas if the best time to give. To let someone know through a small token that you thought of him or her. Gifts don’t have to be expensive. They just have to mean something. 

The Romance Reviews: Savor

Got the most awesome email today! It let me know The Romance Reviews for Savor just came in and I personally consider it an early Christmas present. Here is the official review by VRValicento:

 What do you do if you are a photographer getting ready to graduate from college and you need a subject for your final project? You ask the number one rock band in the country to be that subject, of course.

Dakota is a photography student, and while covering a local club opening for her college paper, she becomes inspired by the performing band, Vicious, especially its hot bass player called Luka. After the band agrees to be her subject (and she signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement), Dakota moves into their mansion, Lunar Manor, for the month of December. 

After I saw the name of their home, I started thinking that this was a paranormal romance, but it is not. This is the story of Dakota and Luka, their attraction, their flirting, and their interesting romance. There are some very hot scenes between these two and you can see where this relationship is going from the beginning, but there are misunderstandings and secrets being kept along the way. 

While this is the story about Dakota and Luka, you also get to know about the secondary characters and members of Vicious. These are very interesting people. I like all the different personalities in this story. All these characters made me want more stories, just so I could see them get their own books. 

Do you remember how I said that this is not a paranormal story? It might be after all. I discovered that at the end. There is a lot going on at the end of this story, so I am not exactly sure what I read was paranormal or not. All I know is that there is going to be a second book. I cannot wait to read it. I want to know what happens next to Dakota, especially what her mother did. I want to know more about Luka, Vicious, and everyone else. 

I have read a couple of books by this author, and I have found a new favorite author. I need to go buy the rest of her books because I enjoy them so much.

Here's the link to the review on the Romance Reviews site:


VRValicento gives Savor 4 Stars. Add it to your Christmas List today then tell all your friends and I will love you forever.

Genre: NA Romance
ISBN: 1939173655
E-ISBN: 9781939173652
Length: 324 pages
Publication Date: December 5, 2013
Cover art by: Liliana Sanches
Published by: Crescent Moon Press

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Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you’ve got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn’t be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above.

Christmas Sale

About January Black

Sixteen-year-old genius Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously lacking a sense of humor. After his school's headmaster expels him for a small act of mischief, Matty's future looks grim until King Hadrian comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master's diploma.

More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is simple.

What was January Black?

It's a ship. Everyone knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty's journey becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He's been set up to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge lost…or call the king's bluff.

January Black is the silver medalist in the 2013 Readers' Favorite Book Awards, Young Adult - Coming of Age category.

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Wendy S. Russo got her start writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she's majored in journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana State University as an IT analyst. She's a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights. She can be found online in the following places:

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