The Bridesmaid’s Checklist TOUR

Hey, everyone!!!!

I’m so very excited because I’m going on TOUR!!!

It’s my first tour and I’m so grateful to have the support of a wonderful group of bloggers to help me place my name before the masses.

Please, take a minute to visit the different blogs that will be hosting me. I believe we have created wonderful content, there will be interviews and post that I’m sure you’d like… and well, there’s also a giveaway 馃檪

My first stops are today in Fabulous and Brunette聽and聽Straight From the Library. Thank you, guys, for this wonderful opportunity!!!

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Don’t miss any stops!!! Here are the dates and blogs where I’ll be visiting:

August 21:聽Fabulous and Brunette
August 21:聽Straight From the Library
August 28:聽Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
September 4:聽The Reading Addict
September 11:聽Hearts and Scribbles
September 11:聽Christine Young
September 18:聽Reviews by Crystal
September 18:聽Long and Short Reviews
September 25:聽T’s Stuff
October 2:聽Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
October 9:聽The Avid Reader

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Want to learn a little bit about my books while you’re visiting?

Here are the pages to the blurbs and links:

The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding

The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Marisol’s Wedding

Thanks for dropping by!!

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EskieMama and Dragon Lady Celebration

Good morning amazing people out there,

I’m super excited that today I was invited to celebrate with Melissa and Jara their first aniversary. To celebrate, they organized several spotlights and giveaways… there’s a Facebook Hop, a Facebook Party and a Big Giveaway.

Honestly, you can’t miss it!

Visit their Facebook Celebration Event Page to learn all about the celebration, fun and prizes. It all starts today.

I couldn’t miss the chance to party with EskieMama and Dragon Lady, so you’ll find my name around. But first, let me share with you the Facebook Hop links.

Facebook Hop

Celebration FB Hop

Andy Peloquin
Ani Bishop
Autumns and Author
Cajun Heat Book Blog
Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott
Clare’s Mad About Books
Dahlia Donovan
Irish Daisy Loves Romance
Dena Garson
Elizabetta Holcomb
Ember-Raine Winters
Eva Charles
Izzy Szyn
Jadyn Lucas
Janet Nissenson
Jennifer Sivec
Joanne Rock
K. Reese
K.T. Castle
K.M. Lowe
Kristen Collins
Kristine Dugger
L.V. Lewis
Lucy Belle
Lucy Farago
M. Eror
Marie Landry
MM Billiter
Megan Lowe
MK Meredith
Mustang Prairie
Natalie Rios
Once Upon An Alpha
Randi Perrin
Roisin Black
Sandra R Neeley
S.E. Redd
Sexy Sirens Book Blog
Escape Reality
Victoria Monroe
WS Carmichael
Zeia Jameson
Karen Raines
EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads

Make sure to follow the hop, there’s different prices that each stop is giving away!

Facebook Party

EskieMama &

As part of the celebration there will be a FB Party where many authors will be talking about their work, answering questions and, of course, many prizes. I posted it on my facebook page, but if you missed it, here’s the link.

Here!

You don’t want to miss this one! Here are some of the people that will participate in the Spotlight: Virginia Carey, Mary Billiter, Victoria Monroe, Dahlia Donovan, Ember-Raine Winters, LJ Shen, K.M. Lowe,聽Natalie-Nicole Bates,聽Karen Raines,聽Brittany Crowley,聽Janet Nissenson,聽David Kummer, Lucy Farago,聽Kristine Dugger,聽Megan Lowe,聽Elizabetta Holcomb,聽K. Reese, Joanne Rock, Genevieve Ryan, N.D. Jackson, Liv Moore, Lucy Belle, Bre Meli, Ani Bishop,聽Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott,聽Andy Peloquin,聽Eva Charles,聽Randi Perrin,聽Izzy Szyn,聽Zeia Jameson,聽Kristen Collins,聽Roisin,聽Jennifer Sivec,聽Scarlett Redd and many others!

Big Giveaway

Like I mentioned before, there’s a huge giveaway that many people contribuited on.

YOU HAVE TO PARTICIPATE!

To do so, click here: GIVEAWAY

EskieMama and Dragon Lady have friends lots of friends that pitched in to creat an amazing prize. One so big, that it was divided into three. Here’s how they broke it down:

GRAND Prize #1

$25.00 GC by Cajun Heat Book Blog; $10 by GC Bre Meli; $5 GC by Ani Bishop; Paperback of Mister Moneybags by Virginia Carey; Paperback of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding, 1 pin, a thermos, a bookmark & $5 GC聽by K.T. Castle (ME!); Paperback by WS Carmichael; Jewelry pouch, earrings & swag聽by Dena Garson; $5 GC聽/ ebook copy of The Wanderer聽by Dahlia Donovan; ebook of winner’s choice valued at $7.99 or less by Janet Nissenson; ebook of Savannah’s Legacy聽by Scarlett Redd; ebooks 1 & 2 of Pride and Honor Series聽by Ember-Raine Winters, any Amazon Book 7.99 & less EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads.

Grand Prize #2

$25 GC by Rockstar PR; $10 GC聽/ ebook聽by Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott; ebook & swag聽by Kristen Collins; Paperback of Burning Hearts by Author KM Lowe; a keyring and a ribbon book marker plus an ebook聽by LUCY FARAGO; ebook by L.V. Lewis; ebook The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride聽by Joanne Rock; ebook My Abigail: A Psychological Thriller聽by David Kummer; any Amazon Book聽of 5.99 & less by EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads; Two ebooks of choice by Sandra R. Neeley; The Eva Series Collection (two books) by Jennifer Sivec.

Grand Prize #3

$10.00 Amazon GC / swag by Shelley Springfield; $5 GC / ebooks of Holding on Forever and Falling Forever聽by Victoria Monroe; 聽$5 GC聽by Natalie-Nicole Bates, Swag by聽Mary Billiter;聽ebook by Randi Perrin; ebook Blade of the Destroyer聽by Andy Peloquin; ebooks of聽three novellas and the聽full length novel聽by Roisin; ebook by Elise Faber; ebook Waiting for the Storm聽by Marie Landry; ebook by Once Upon An Alpha, any Amazon book 3.99 or less by EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads, Paperback by Sawyer & Fin Zeia Jameson, ebook by Kristine Dugger.

I sincerely can’t tell which prize is better. So good luck to everyone!!

The giveaway will run from Monday June 12th – Friday June 16th. Winners will be drawn on Saturday June 17th.

Thank you, Melissa and Jara, to make this Spotlight and inviting us to participate!

Kind regards,

K.T.

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How to create the perfect cover

Hi, everyone!

This has been such an exciting year.

Now I’m giving other authors a hand here in the blog. It’s so exciting to learn so much about people working the same trade!

I’ll start doing author interviews soon, so if there’s anything you could think of asking an author send me an email.

One of the questions that often arise for author is about the cover.

  • Is that how you picture your character?
  • Where did you get the image from?
  • Is it accurate? because when I was reading I imagined it differently.

I’ve been asked this an other questions. So I thought you might want to know about my covers.

Purchase my books here

 Laura's Wedding 聽/ 聽Marisol's Wedding

I always work hard聽to get the best images for my covers. There’s plenty of options to do so, like downloading images from sites such as Pexels and Shuttershock (my personal favorites). But I really want to offer my readers something that’s original and excusive, I wouldn’t want them to find the same picture in another cover, so Victor (my designer) and I do a lot of work to create beautiful pristine artwork.

Laura’s Wedding

book 01In my first book, Laura’s Wedding, I needed a portrait of Laura and Edward with the background of Bora Bora, where the wedding “took place”. I had the opportunity to use a picture from a couple of beautiful models who never before used their images in a book. Those pictures are from their actual wedding, and they were kind enough to allow me to use them. For the background picture we actually used an image of Hawaii (from the models’ honeymoon, hehe), not Bora Bora but we made it work.

So you see how we used everything we had at our disposition to create the final product. I’d haven’t visited Bora Bora, so pictures from the exotic island weren’t an option at the time.

Marisol’s Wedding

BCL2 softcover 024.pngNow, from my second book, I wanted to follow the same style. A breath taking background with a stunning model that once again was looking straight at the reader. As with Laura, I found someone who was willing to allow me to use her wedding pictures to portrait Marisol. But in this case, I wanted a real picture of the actual setting of the wedding.

Marisol’s wedding, in the story, happened in Finca La Devoci贸n. A small hacienda in Atotonilco in San Miguel Allende, M茅xico.

I visited the finca last year for a wedding, so when I was writing Marisol’s book it easily came to mind while picturing settings. I even had some great pictures of the event and place, but sometimes our “great” pictures aren’t cover worthy. So I did the only thing I could think of doing, contacting the manager of La Devoci贸n and asking them for pictures.

Surprisingly they were kind enough to allow me to use their images and they gave me their blessings. Now I want you to know a little bit of who they are.

Finca La Devoci贸n

Finca La Devoci贸n is a place where they want to create a merry space for any special event. They have an natural organic architecture, with great yards, a clay-cobbled esplanades, water fountains and a millenary aqueduct.

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They offer a beautiful house with two bedrooms and four terraces, they also have twelve bedrooms (each of them with their bathroom), a lovley spa with jacuzzi, thermalwaters, and a salon with a warm kitchen, colorful aviary, water mirrors, tented gardens, parking lot and the mezcaleria “El Tinieblo”.

I invite you to visit San Miguel Allende, a place considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and drop by Atotonilco to visit its sactuary and finca. You will certainly have a wonderful adventure visiting their vineyard and looking at the amazing scenery.

Regardless if you read my book or not, San Miguel Allende and Finca La Devoci贸n are a beautiful place to visit.

Book cover design process

Design a cover for a novel is not an easy task. You need to know about your genre, your audience and many other things. It is always recommended that you hire a professional designer who has experience in this area. There are some very affordable sites that may help you out, such as fiverr聽or聽The Book Designer. If you decide to give it a try and create your own design there’s several software you could use to accomplish it. You could go as simple as Word and PowerPoint, an online program such as PicMonkey or Canva, or go pro with Photoshop.

  • Start by making some research. It is extremely important that you know your niche upside down. Look at the most important authors in your genre and study their covers. Choose your favorite and keep them in mind while designing your cover.
  • Think about the elements you want to include. Sure you’ll need an image and title, but what else do you need? What information are other authors including? What information would you like to include? Make a list of the elements that you must have in your cover, spine and backcover.
  • Make sure your designer has enough information about the book. Idealy he or she will take sometime to read the book and know what it is about. If this is not possible, you need to let the designer know about the story and its characters. You could write a small burlb and a list of important elements to consider.
  • Always have several options. When creating a cover you can’t settle for having one option and sticking with it, regardless who is creating the cover you’ll need several drafts to choose from. Ask for at least three option that you’ll then analize and consider.
  • Express your likes and dislikes. Something is not right with the cover the designer came up with? Make sure to mention it. Most writers aren’t visual, that’s why sometimes we struggle explaining what we want. Be sure to give your designer feedback about the things you liked about the options and specially to point out the things you didn’t like. That’ll help the designer narrow down your ideas.
  • Fonts say a lot. Trust your designer to choose fonts that will speak about the book and ask him to play around with them (and their sizes) using the selected image covers. You never know how a good font can improve your cover’s message.
  • Ask for feedback. I’m sure you have people around you that would love to help you through this process. Have them take a look at the final ideas and help you decide what’s the best option for your book. Keep in mind that you’ll not please everyone and that’s completedly fine.
  • Consider cover sizes and formats. You might have our book published in print and ebook. Make sure that the cover is visible and makes sense in all publishing formats.
  • You’ll need a print ready file. To be ready to use your cover, you’ll need the file to be appropriate for each platform. If you’re publishing in CreateSpace, Amazon, IngramSpark, or any other, make sure you read the guideliness for cover format so the image that the designer (or you) created is someting you can successfully upload. To have multiple image formats never hurts.
  • Want to make it extra fun? Create a contest or poll! See how people react to your cover. You coud even use their feedback to improve the final version.

Best of luck creating your cover.

Regards,

K.T.

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Happy Valentines!

Friendship and love should be something we cherish and value every single day. But in case we’re overwhelmed with life, there’s February 14. A day where we can make it a mission to show聽the people around us how much we care about them.

If you’ve read my books (and I hope you have), you know that they deal with romance, but more than that I’d like to think that they deal with friendship. The friendship of five very different girls and how life has presented love to them in singular聽ways.

  • There’s Kassandra, who聽has a hard time accepting love,
  • There’s Laura, who battled to find the love of her life,
  • There’s Marisol, who struggles with cultural differences,
  • There’s Natalie, who married a man that’s old enough to be her parent,
  • and there’s Denise, who married her high school sweetheart.

Regardless of their differences they’re there for one another.

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The Bridesmaid’s Checklist series is a new adult contemporary romance that deals with the love stories around this group of friends. Sometimes their relationship is fun, easy and uncomplicated… some others it can be the complete opposite.

Here are some reviews聽of the story:

I adored this book.

Ms. Castle wrote a great contemporary romance (with a hint of spice/kink) …聽It鈥檚 about self-discovery for Kas and events that shaped her from her college days that still felt raw and unresolved … You鈥檝e all read about the Bridezilla or even been around the Bridezilla, right? 聽… 聽Laura is the worst one鈥VER!聽聽I can鈥檛 wait to read their stories in the future.

Harlie’s Books

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Bridezillas, ex-boyfriends, and Bora Bora. Oh, my!

Kassandra is the resident planner in her group of friends. So, of course, when another one of the ladies gets engaged, Kassie is tasked with planning the wedding along with all the other events that come with it… The journey is full of twists and bumps along the way. Secrets are exposed, some even I could not have predicted. Kassie has to learn to let go of past hurts and trust her heart. The pacing was steady and there was quite a bit of humor sprinkled throughout.

In closing… A quick read with humor and a sweet romance.

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

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The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding

The Bridesmaid’s Checklist is a fun romantic story that has a great mixture of drama, humor, and romance, that easily kept me engaged and turning the pages. Anyone can relate to the craziness surrounding wedding event planning, and how the best laid plans can unexpectedly go awry, especially when romance issues and buried secrets are added into the mix. I really enjoyed following Kassandra’s personal journey of self discovery, especially when she makes necessary changes in her life, and finds an unexpected romance in the arms of a charmer like Josh, who is determined to break down the walls that surround Kassandra’s heart.

Jersey Girl Book Reviews

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Kassandra is a smart, beautiful and loyal woman so when her friend calls to say she鈥檚 getting married there is only one thing to do, help.

There is only one problem Kassandra knows the groom a little too well …聽Josh is a lover of women and enjoys trying new things. He has had a fair share of relationships and his reputation isn鈥檛 the best… There are some hot moments between Kassandra and Josh that were well written and I was glad there was an HEA. The characters whether you love or hate them are well written and engage the reader…聽I recommend it to a lover of contemporary romance and it鈥檚 a great start to a new series.

Romance Authors that Rock On

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This was a brilliant wee book!

Sometimes being the strong, independent woman can mean that you are also the silent, lonely woman (or man!) and this book proves that point exactly. Our main character is strong and works hard to get to the point in life where she is sound and able to carry herself. However, she isn鈥檛 quite happy and is definitely feeling stranded at sea… I recommend this read, especially if you want something that has a deep side, but is very fun and easy to enjoy.

Natural Bri

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To celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day and friendship I decided to have my book FREE for February 14. Download your copy on today.

Laura’s Wedding links:
U.S.A. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IOOBO0I
U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01IOOBO0I
Canada https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01IOOBO0I
Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01IOOBO0I

Mexico https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B01IOOBO0I

But the celebration doesn’t have to last for only one day. I decided to have a giveaway for the rest of the month. Visit Rafflecopter to win a paperback copy of Laura’s Wedding or a $10 dlls Amazon giftcard (open internationally).

Click here to participate.

Thanks for celebrating Valentines with me and The Bridesmaid’s Checklist!

A gift to you…

The year聽is about to end, 2017 will start and wash away all the good, bad and ugly 2016 gave us. It was a different kind of year full, of different challenges on many different levels. I grew a lot: it was exciting, it was fullfilling and sometimes it was also painful.

There’re many things I can be prouf of myself for:

It’s certain the new year will bring new challenges and hopefully lots of satisfaction. But before the year ends I want to give you a little something that may help you start 2017聽with a smile on your face.

For a few days I programmed my very first instaFreebie giveaway. Why? Because I want you to be able to read my book and because I want to know what you think of my writing. Please feel free to contact me and tell me if you liked my book.

Follow the link and get The Bridesmaid’s Checklist: Laura’s Wedding (#BCL1) free!

InstaFreebie

Happy New Year!

-K.T.

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Marisol’s Wedding comes out TOMORROW!

The next book on The Bridesmaid’s Checklist series is coming out on December 22. You can preorder it today for only 99 cents.

blc-preorder
UNITE STATES聽https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT0ECVP
UNITE KINDOM聽https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MT0ECVP
GERMANY聽https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01MT0ECVP
FRANCE https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B01MT0ECVP
SPAIN https://www.amazon.es/dp/B01MT0ECVP
CANADA聽https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01MT0ECVP
MEXICO聽https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01AT0ECVP
AUSTRALIA聽https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01MT0ECVP

 

Here’s what the book’s about:

bcl2-synopsis

Kassandra鈥檚 last single friend got married in the summer. But even if she鈥檚 the only unmarried girl in the pack she isn鈥檛 single anymore. Now that all her friends are married and all the wedding planning is over, she has a chance to concentrate in her relationship with Josh. Or so she thought until Marisol visits her with a major life.changing crisis. Helping her friends plan their wedding was no problem鈹dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is a whole other thing.

Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, specially when her relationship with Josh starts reaching an amount of commitment that she wasn鈥檛 expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.

Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. Now her life seems complete when Josh鈹a thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of charmer鈹leaves his womanizing days behind and can鈥檛 seem to stay away from her. Kassandra keeps wondering if their single days are really over and they鈥檙e ready for a monogamous and committed relationship.

Marisol is a married woman with the perfect life鈹A wonderful husband and a beautiful son. Life gets even better when her little boy is finally ready for school and Sol can go back to work.

Destiny is full of surprises for both girls, and sometimes the plans that you have aren鈥檛 the ones in the path before you.

Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol鈥檚 wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.

Scroll down to read an excerpt 馃檪

 

bcl2-meet-the-author

K.T. Castle loves reading, writing, and painting. She’s on a quest to find the words, forms, and colors to materialize the worlds and people of her imagination. She loves reading Paranormal, New Adult, and Contemporary Romance. She never saw herself as an incurable romantic, but lately, that’s what she finds herself musing about. Love is found everywhere, regardless of whether it comes from a nice person or an ass鈥攎undane or even vampire.

When she’s not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, profile pic 2she makes her best to be creative or relax with a good TV series and snacks. Some of her favorite characters are Jon Snow, Daenerys, Barney Stinson, Saint, Rome Archer, Rush, Gretchen McKay, and Cinderella.

 

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

Get to know her more on her social media pages.

Facebook: @KTCastle.author

https://www.facebook.com/KTCastle.author/

Google+: K.T.Castle

https://plus.google.com/b/112477461847437130851/

Twitter: @KTCastle_author

https://twitter.com/KTCastle_author

Pinterest: KTCastle_author

https://www.pinterest.com/KTCastle_author/

Website: www.ktcastle.com/

 

OTHER WORKS

Cover preeliminarGet a FREE copy of The Bridesmaid鈥檚 Checklist: Laura鈥檚 Wedding on Amazon during Marisol鈥檚 Wedding launch day.

https://amzn.com/B01IOOBO0I

 

 

 

bcl2-giveaway

There’s a聽Rafflecopter giveaway going on from the 20 of december until the 3rd of January.

You could win a $10 Amazon GC or a signed copy of BCL!
Here’s the link http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9963f4522/?
There’s also聽another giveaway on Facebook.

You could win paperback copies of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist and some other BCl goodies by suscribing to my newsletter (http://eepurl.com/b8WO99).

This will run until the 22.
Here’s that link https://www.facebook.com/KTCastle.author/photos/a.986805471361618.1073741827.127145400660967/1312261222149373/?type=3&theater

bcl2-teasers

 

banner-excerpt

I hadn鈥檛 been sick in a long time. I was usually the healthiest person in the room; I ate healthy and exercised regularly. But somehow I caught some sort of bug and felt like crap.

To my surprise, my grandma decided to visit鈥攕omething she rarely did. It was actually a very nice surprise. I called her religiously every Sunday, and she was still more demanding than any parent should be. But she loved me dearly, and I loved her back.

Neglecting her was not a situation she accepted, and with my new relationship advancing, I realized I wasn鈥檛 paying as much attention to her as I usually did. So she came to check on me. Thankfully, I鈥檇 called Josh and told him that any plans we鈥檇 made together were cancelled. I wanted to see him, but I didn鈥檛 feel well.

鈥淚 really don鈥檛 feel like eating anything,鈥 I said to my grandma. 鈥淓specially not beet soup.鈥

鈥淵ou don鈥檛 know what you鈥檙e saying, child,鈥 my grandmother said. 鈥淵ou might feel like that now, but after eating it, you鈥檒l feel much better.鈥

鈥淩eally, I鈥檓 okay. I鈥檇 rather have some tea, take a shower and go to sleep.鈥

鈥淚 know you鈥檙e an adult and know how to take care of yourself. But sometimes, even you, Kassandra, need someone to look after you.鈥 My grandma eyed me from the kitchen where she cooked. 鈥淪o keep resting on that couch. You鈥檒l have some tea, and then I鈥檒l leave you alone.鈥

Then my doorbell rang, and I had no idea who it was. I knew Josh wasn鈥檛 coming tonight, and I hoped Marisol was sorting things out with Michael. A month had passed since she鈥檇 told me about her unexpected pregnancy, and I hadn鈥檛 heard much from her since then. I wanted to check on her soon.

I was about to stand up, but my grandma said, 鈥淒on鈥檛 stand up. I鈥檒l get it.鈥

Hopefully it wouldn’t be any of my other friends with some problem for me to fix. I was in no-fixing-anything condition.

鈥淎nd who are you?鈥 I heard my grandma say from the doorway.

鈥淚鈥檓 Josh. How are you doing this evening?鈥

I was more concerned about Josh meeting my grandma right now than I was impressed with his usual charm. This was actually a situation I鈥檇 wanted to avoid. Not because I didn鈥檛 want my family to meet him. Not because I didn鈥檛 want him to meet them. What concerned me was that my grandmother had always expected me to introduce her to my boyfriends a month into the relationship, as part of our Russian customs.

I was actually proud of myself for holding it back this long. Now the moment had come.

鈥淢ay I ask who you are?鈥 Josh asked sweetly. I couldn鈥檛 imagine what he might be thinking鈥攁 nurse, my housekeeper, a neighbor, a friend鈥. I was sure he wouldn鈥檛 guess that she was my grandmother. The woman and I were so different. The caramel color of my skin totally contrasted to her whiter-than-white, pale tone. My golden brown curls were the complete opposite of her straight, ash-blonde hair. I was the perfect combination of my mother鈥檚 Russian ancestry and my father鈥檚 African American.

Not at all easy to see any resemblance.

鈥淚鈥檓 Kassandra鈥檚 babushka.鈥

鈥淎nd what exactly is that?鈥 Josh asked again.

鈥淢y grandmother,鈥 I explained from the living room.

鈥淥f course. You have the same eyes,鈥 Josh said matter-of-factly. It was probably the only feature the old lady and I had in common.

鈥淢ay I call you ba-boo-ska as well?鈥 Josh charmingly said.

鈥淲ho are you?鈥 grandma asked Josh.

鈥淜ass鈥檚 boyfriend. So, can I?鈥

My grandma grunted in response and walked back to the kitchen to stir her soup concoction.

Josh shrugged as he smiled at me from the entrance, placing his light jacket on the entrance organizer near the door. Then he walked to my kitchen counter and set down a white paper bag full of containers. I couldn鈥檛 tell what they were, and the bag didn鈥檛 give any indication, either. If I had to guess, I was almost sure he鈥檇 brought me takeout, but the smell of my grandma鈥檚 cooking drowned out any other smell in the apartment.

鈥淲hat鈥檚 inside the bag?鈥 she asked as if reading my mind.

Josh took the white half-liter containers out of the bag and responded, 鈥淜ass told me she wasn鈥檛 feeling well, so I brought her some chicken soup.鈥

鈥淜assandra is not having that for dinner,鈥 the old blonde stubbornly said. 鈥淣either are you.鈥

鈥淲hat鈥檚 there for dinner, ba-boo-ska?鈥 Josh asked as he approached her.

鈥淏abushka,鈥 she corrected.

鈥淏a-boo-sha,鈥 he tried once more.

鈥淏abushka,鈥 I said.

鈥淏a-boo-sh-ka.鈥

鈥淏etter,鈥 Grandma said. 鈥淲e鈥檙e having borscht.鈥

鈥淚’m not even going to try to say that word,鈥 Josh said with a big smile. 鈥淚t looks like soup.鈥

鈥淥f course it鈥檚 soup,鈥 my grandma said. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a Ukrainian soup, but we eat it also in Russia. It鈥檚 made with beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage. I usually cook it with beef, but I don鈥檛 want to upset Kassandra鈥檚 stomach.鈥

鈥淣ow I understand why it鈥檚 pink,鈥 Josh said as he walked away from babushka and closer to me. 鈥淚t鈥檚 made for the princess.鈥

鈥淜assandra is by no means a princess,鈥 my grandmother said. 鈥淪he鈥檚 a fighter.鈥 For the first time since Josh鈥檚 arrival, she smiled.

鈥淪he sure is.鈥 Josh sat by me and gave me the most tender kiss on the tip of my nose. 鈥淗ow are you feeling, little fighter?鈥

鈥淏etter,鈥 I said.

鈥淟iar,鈥 he whispered, as if he knew it was our secret to share. It amazed me how he could be so in tune with my needs and feelings.

鈥淒inner’s almost ready. I suggest you go wash before coming to eat,鈥 my grandmother said. She was a fan of everything being clean and neat. She always sent me to wash before any meal, no matter how formal or informal it was.

鈥淚鈥檒l go with you to wash up, too.鈥 Josh walked beside me, and I was thankful. I was feeling a bit dizzy, and him walking with me to the restroom made me feel safer. Besides, I was sure grandma had implied that he needed to clean up a bit too.

Josh took my clammy hand and accompanied me to the restroom near my office. I led him there instead of the one inside my bedroom鈥攖he one we always used. Even if my grandmother could imagine that I was old enough to have a boyfriend staying over with me, it was a completely different thing to see. I washed as quickly as I could, just to keep her from getting suspicious, and took advantage of the cold water to refresh myself.

Beautiful blond Josh held my waist from behind and looked at me through the reflection in the mirror. When I finally met his eyes, he smiled at me and kissed my neck. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e warm,鈥 he said. 鈥淒o you know exactly what you have?鈥

鈥淪ome kind of bug. I鈥檓 sure it’ll go away by tomorrow.鈥 It had to be that. I couldn鈥檛 think of anything else. Being lucky enough to work mostly from home, I didn鈥檛 have the disadvantage of getting sick with something a coworker brought to the office. Plus, I always believed that with healthy eating, exercising, and the right vitamins, all illnesses could be avoided.

鈥淵ou should鈥檝e gone to the doctor,鈥 he said. Concern looked cute on him.

鈥淚t鈥檚 fine. I鈥檒l be all right in the morning.鈥

鈥淚 hope so.鈥

My grandmother was waiting for us in the kitchen when we returned. Josh pulled out a stool for me at the kitchen island. Babushka had already served the borscht in the white ceramic dishes I rarely used; they were meant to be used when entertaining guests. Well, in a way I guess I did have guests, even if they were entertaining themselves.

Josh waited until my grandma sat next to me on the same side of the island, so he chose the stool across from us. The space wasn鈥檛 that big, but we had enough room to eat our soup comfortably.

鈥淏on appetite,鈥 Josh said. 鈥淭he pink soup smells wonderful.鈥

Grandma snorted again.

It was easy to misinterpret her reactions; she wasn鈥檛 one to express herself emotionally. It was a Russian trait鈥攐ne I鈥檇 definitely inherited.

My parents died in a car accident when I was five years old, and my Russian grandparents took me in. They鈥檇 immigrated from Russia after the war and settled in California because they enjoyed the sun. I鈥檇 never lived outside the U.S.A., although, on my sixteenth birthday, I was sent to stay with a relative in Omsk, Russia for a summer instead of going to Florida with all my friends.

In my short stay in my grandparents鈥 country, I learned that Russians were unpredictable. It was very difficult to know how they were going to respond to anything, and even though I鈥檇 known my grandparents very well for a long time, they still surprised me with their reactions. I learned that it was always better to be myself and be respectful. They were very passionate people, and when they cared deeply about something, there was a tendency to be fairly intense in offering a solution, advice, or comments鈥攅ven if there were better words to express the same sentiments in a much kinder way.

鈥淛osh, tell me why you haven鈥檛 visited Kassandra鈥檚 bahba and dzed?鈥 Right to the point, grandmother of mine.

Josh courteously smiled at my grandma and said, 鈥淰isited who?鈥

鈥淕randma and grandpa,鈥 I offered, trying to concentrate on my soup.

鈥淵es,鈥 Babushka said. 鈥淚 know you and Kassandra have being dating for a while, and I asked her to invite you over. She told me how busy you always are.鈥

鈥淚 have been busy.鈥 Fortunately, he didn鈥檛 rat me out, saying that I鈥檇 never passed along the invitation. He鈥檇 actually been making comments about me meeting his family or us visiting my grandparents before, but I wanted to avoid it for a little longer. Being in a relationship was a big enough step for me, and I wasn鈥檛 quite ready for it to feel that official. Meeting each other鈥檚 families seemed particularly official. And when there were cultural differences between both families, problems could arise. I had seen Marisol go through that before. It wasn鈥檛 something I wanted to experience, and I knew how people could misunderstand my old folks. 鈥淏ut I鈥檒l make sure to make some time soon to visit.鈥

鈥淕ood.鈥

We ate our soup and the conversation stopped for a short moment. I didn鈥檛 really know what to say, and in all honesty, I was sick and didn鈥檛 want to participate in any kind of meeting-the-family pleasantries.

鈥淢y little Kassandra here is a gem, and if she chose you to be part of her life, I need to make sure you鈥檙e good enough for her,鈥 my grandmother explained. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e good-looking, and Kassandra told me you have a good job, although I don鈥檛 like many people who work in the media.鈥

鈥淚鈥檓 surprised Kass talked to you about me,鈥 Josh replied, not even mentioning or responding to her negative comment.

鈥淲e talk every week, and lately, most of her conversations are about you.鈥 Apparently, Grandma was the one ratting me out today. 鈥淢y Kassie is always kind and works hard to get everything she deserves and help the people around her. Dzyedooshka and I need to make sure she鈥檚 not making a mistake.鈥

鈥淚 know exactly what you mean,鈥 Josh said, and for a moment I was afraid of how the conversation would proceed and finish. Now it was Josh鈥檚 turn to surprise me. 鈥淪he鈥檚 always helping someone out, no matter how big or small the situation might be. She pays attention to every single detail鈥攅yes like a hawk and everybody knows it.鈥

I could hear them talk in my daze, agreeing with each other over how much they each praised me. I tried to eat as much soup as I could, but I felt nothing like eating. Borscht or not. Their conversation was actually lulling me to sleep.

At some point during their conversation, I was sure that I was actually in bed sleeping and all of this was only a dream. My grandmother wasn鈥檛 here, Josh wasn鈥檛 having dinner with us, and I was alone in my apartment. I felt really, really terrible.

鈥淚鈥檓 sorry, Babushka, but I better help Kass into bed,鈥 Josh said at last. 鈥淪he looks like she鈥檚 going to fall off that stool.鈥

鈥淪ure, sure,鈥 my grandma said. 鈥淧oor child. I better stay here tonight to make sure that she rests well.鈥

Josh held me up and tried to carry me before I stopped him.

鈥淭here鈥檚 no need for that, bahba,鈥 I told her. 鈥淚鈥檒l be fine. I just need a good night鈥檚 sleep.鈥 I tried to walk on my own, only to fail. My body felt so heavy that I couldn鈥檛 move on my own.

鈥淣onsense, I鈥檓 staying here.鈥

鈥淚f you don鈥檛 mind, ma鈥檃m,鈥 Josh added, 鈥淚 would like to stay, too. If it鈥檚 fine with you.鈥

What exactly was Josh trying to do? My grandma would never let him sleep with me in the same room, not on her watch. Especially because when she spent the night, she did in my bed with me.

鈥淲here are you thinking of sleeping?鈥 Grandma asked.

鈥淥n the couch, of course,鈥 Josh smartly explained. 鈥淚 just want to be here in case you need to rush to the pharmacy, or she needs help moving鈥 With all due respect, she isn鈥檛 exactly light,鈥 he added with a charming smile.

If I鈥檇 had the energy to be mad, I would have been. But at that point, I only wanted to go to bed and get some sleep. I needed Josh to carry me.

I could hear bahba鈥檚 loud laugh at Josh鈥檚 comment. 鈥淪he certainly isn鈥檛 light. She鈥檚 a woman after all, and I鈥檓 an old lady, so I appreciate your offer. Help me put her in bed, and then I鈥檒l come back to fix the kitchen and make some tea.鈥

鈥淒on鈥檛 worry about the kitchen, I鈥檒l clean it up. Though tea sounds wonderful.鈥

That was probably when my grandmother decided she approved of Josh. 鈥淭hen I鈥檒l fix you a cup before I go to sleep.鈥

e枚f

鈥淜ass, what鈥檚 going on?鈥 I heard Josh鈥檚 drowsy voice from somewhere behind me.

I couldn鈥檛 even turn around to give him a decent answer before I started hurling again.

鈥淪hit, Kass.鈥 He was next to me in a second, holding me from behind and making sure to get my hair out of the way.

Pink vomit covered the inside of my white porcelain toilet, and all I could think about was how much this would upset my grandmother.

I鈥檇 woken up what felt like ages ago. My stomach was completely upset, and I knew vomiting was inevitable. Unfortunately for me, my babushka was sleeping tranquilly next to me. I didn鈥檛 have it in my heart to wake her up鈥攏ot just to tell her how sick I felt. Not with the noises I knew would be coming from my bathroom. I鈥檇 eventually wake her up, only for her to find me turning my stomach inside-out. I decided I had to leave my room and go to the guest restroom on the farthest side of my living room.

During my very long walk there, I accomplished the herculean feat of not throwing up on my wooden floor or creamy carpet. I didn鈥檛 even notice Josh sleeping on the couch; he could鈥檝e helped me get there sooner. Then again, my intentions while almost crawling my way across my apartment were to not disturb my grandma鈥檚 sleep, which in a way included not disturbing anyone else鈥檚.

鈥淎re you done?鈥 Josh asked as soon as he saw that my heaving stopped for a few minutes.

鈥淚 hope so.鈥

鈥淪tay here,鈥 he said. As if I could move anywhere else. He returned quickly, accompanied by a warm, humid cloth and a glass of fresh water.

I couldn鈥檛 express my gratitude enough.

Josh sat on the floor next to me. 鈥淲hy didn鈥檛 you let me know you were this sick?鈥 he asked.

I could understand his confusion. If he was ill, I would expect him to tell me so I could help take care of him. It would have made a lot more sense if I鈥檇 used my own bathroom. 鈥淚 didn鈥檛 want bahba to know I was sick,鈥 I confessed. 鈥淎nd I totally forgot that you spent the night.鈥

He grunted his disapproval and demanded, 鈥淎re you ready to go back to bed?鈥

鈥淣ot really.鈥 That only made him grunt again. 鈥淚鈥檇 rather go with you to the couch, if that鈥檚 okay.鈥

鈥淭otally fine.鈥 While his words were a bit cold and cutting, his touch felt warm and caring. Josh carried me back to the couch with him. I rested in his lap for a little while and relaxed back to sleep.

What felt like seconds later, I felt movement underneath me. I opened my eyes and stirred a bit before I heard Josh鈥檚 soft whisper. 鈥淚 think your grandma woke up. I just want to put my pants back on.鈥

I mumbled an okay and sat up straight. If my grandmother was coming out of my bedroom any minute, I needed to look as healthy and awake as possible.

A few moments later, Josh had managed to clean up the living room鈥攁nd possibly the restroom鈥攑lace some tea in the pot, and get ready for the day. I imagined he and my grandma had to leave sometime soon. I guessed I could fend for myself. I was almost sure the worst was over.

鈥淕ood morning,鈥 Babushka said as she came out of my bedroom looking well-rested.

鈥淕ood morning,鈥 Josh and I answered almost simultaneously.

鈥淕lad to see you鈥檙e doing better, Kassandra.鈥 After all that vomiting, I鈥檇 probably lost some weight, too. 鈥淚t was good to stay with you and help you recover.鈥

鈥淲ould you like some tea, Babushka?鈥 Josh asked the old lady.

She approached the teapot and said, 鈥淚t鈥檚 only chamomile tea, but I guess it鈥檒l do. Do you need me to fix some breakfast before I go?鈥

鈥淚 took the liberty of boiling some eggs for Kassandra as soon as she鈥檚 ready for them.鈥 Eggs were probably the last thing I wanted to eat at the moment. 鈥淎 friend of mine will be here any minute with sour bread from the bakery in case either one of you want some.鈥 Bread sounded more appealing鈥攐r saltines. I thought I had some in one of my cabinets.

鈥淓ggs for me. Kassandra, do you want some?鈥 my grandmother asked.

鈥淭ea is fine, thank you.鈥

鈥淕ood. If you get hungry, Josh has managed to prepare a half-decent breakfast,鈥 she said. 鈥淚 guess that since you鈥檙e sick, there isn鈥檛 much else that might be good for you.鈥 Grandma fixed her egg with some mayonnaise and paprika. Their interaction was a nice distraction from how horrible I felt. Somehow, I鈥檇 managed to convince my grandmother I was doing much better, and she concentrated her attention on my boyfriend. Her gaze constantly followed his movements, probably contemplating the ease with which he moved around my place. Josh鈥檚 eyes constantly returned to me, searching my face, his composure oddly rigid. But it wasn鈥檛 because he felt uncomfortable under my grandma鈥檚 eye; he kept looking at me, as if he wanted to ask some question鈥攖hat was, when babushka wasn鈥檛 talking to him.

鈥淛osh, can I cook something for you?鈥 she asked.

鈥淚鈥檓 doing fine with my coffee, Babushka. Thank you.鈥

It didn鈥檛 take her long to finish her light breakfast and comment, 鈥淚t seems there鈥檚 nothing much for me to do. I better call a cab so I can get back to your dzed.鈥

鈥淚 would offer to take you, but I鈥檇 rather stay with Kass for the rest of the morning,鈥 Josh said. 鈥淏ut I鈥檓 sure my friend Mindy will be happy to take you home. She鈥檚 the one bringing us the bread.鈥

鈥淥h, nonsense. I wouldn鈥檛 want to impose,鈥 the stubborn old lady answered.

鈥淩eally, babushka, please. It will make Kass and me feel better,鈥 Josh explained, 鈥淏esides, Mindy loves driving and today she鈥檚 driving my car. You would be doing her a favor.鈥

鈥淲ell, if it鈥檚 a favor for this girl, then I accept.鈥

Josh stepped into the hall outside my apartment, probably to call Mindy and inform her of the new task she鈥檇 been given. Not so long ago, I鈥檇 been really jealous of this Mindy character. She was one of the most beautiful twiggy blonds I鈥檇 ever met, and during Laura鈥檚 wedding preparations, I鈥檇 noticed that she was always hanging around Josh. He later explained that she was actually his PA. I felt a little embarrassed after learning about their relationship, although I still kept my eyes open in case she decided to make a move on her boss.

My grandmother approached me. I hadn鈥檛 moved from the couch since Josh had helped me there. 鈥淗e鈥檚 a good man,鈥 she said. 鈥淵our Dzyedooshka should meet him. Soon.鈥 She patted my leg and kissed my cheek. 鈥淏ring Josh home soon.鈥

鈥淢indy鈥檚 downstairs waiting for you, Babushka,鈥 Josh announced. 鈥淟et me walk you to the car.鈥

We said our farewells and my grandma made me promise that I would call her that night to let her know how I was doing. I would agree to anything in that moment just to get her to leave. I could feel the dizziness and nausea coming back at me. I could do with Josh leaving, too. I was alarmingly embarrassed given he had witnessed me vomit over and over again in the night.

As soon as they left, I rushed to the bathroom inside my bedroom. Kneeling before the porcelain toilet, I heaved and heaved, leaving only water and tea. I wondered then what I could have done to deserve something like that. Where and how could I have gotten this sick?

Josh was soon with me again, hovering over me and making sure I was all right. I insisted he go home, but he wouldn鈥檛 listen. He stayed with me all day, taking care of me as if I was a baby. He fed me when I decided I was going to try and eat something. Saltines and sour bread with some butter was the only thing I could keep down. He helped me shower and put me to bed, too. Our day was spent between trips to the restroom, showering, and sleeping. We didn鈥檛 talk much. Josh had been extremely sweet by staying and taking care of me. Thankfully, my stomach鈥檚 antics had stopped at some point around noon.

Later that night, I remembered I鈥檇 promised to call my grandmother, and I shamelessly told her I felt much better. When we were finally in bed, Josh hugged me tenderly from behind. He kissed my bare shoulder and told me as I was falling asleep, 鈥淚 may have managed to knock you up.鈥

That comment was enough to keep me awake for most of the night.

BCL’s second story coming out soon!

Hello, everyone,

I’m very happy to announce that the second story of The Bridesmaid’s Checklist will be coming out in a month.

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A year ago I was participating in #NaNoWriMo and this is the story that I wrote. Now it was revisited, edited, rewrited, revised, 聽and it’s finally ready for the world to enjoy 馃槈

This is the cover I drew last year for the contest. As you can imagine the cover聽changed to follow the lines that Laura’s Wedding marked for the series. I’ll have a cover release event on December 6, where I’ll be giving some books and trinkets away. Follow me son social media to hear all about it.

bcl2-4As a little spoilerI want you to have some information about this聽“cover” that I created. The picture was taken by me when I attended a wedding at Finca La Devoci贸n, which is the actual setting of Marisol’s Wedding. I really hope you recognize some of the place in the descriptions I wrote in the book. The characters were drawn by me also, and that’s how I picture them. I’ve been asked before if the models on my covers are exactly how I picture my characters to be. I must say that I’ve been lucky to find beautiful people to feature the cover, and I could easily picture them as Laura and Marisol. Someday I’ll share with you all the images that I use to inspire me while I’m describing my characters. I also want to mention that the dress that you see in this drawing is exactly how Marisol’s dress was confectioned. One day I’ll ask the owner of the dress for permission to publish some of her pictures. What I can tell you right now is that Finca La Devoci贸n gave me permission to use their images for my book and you’ll get to see the actual place that in a way inspired this wedding.

Here’s the synopsis of the book:

Kassandra鈥檚 last single friend got married in the summer. But even if she鈥檚 the only unmarried girl in the pack she isn鈥檛 single anymore. Now that all her friends are married and all the wedding planning is over, she has a chance to concentrate in her relationship with Josh. Or so she thought until Marisol visits her with a major life.changing crisis. Helping her friends plan their wedding was no problem鈹dealing with an unexpected pregnancy is a whole other thing.

Kassandra is unable to decide the best way to help Marisol, specially when her relationship with Josh reaches a level of commitment she wasn鈥檛 expecting. Both girls will have to remember the past in order to move their relationships forward.

Kassandra is a single, independent woman who prides herself on her own success. Now her life seems complete when Josh鈹a thoughtful, handsome, and the worst kind of charmer鈹leaves his womanizing days behind and can鈥檛 seem to stay away from her. Kassandra keeps wondering if their single days are really over and they鈥檙e ready for a monogamous and committed relationship.

Marisol is a married woman with the perfect life鈹A wonderful husband and a beautiful son. Life gets even better when her little boy is finally ready for school and Sol can go to go back to work.

Destiny is full of surprises for both girls, and sometimes the plans that you have aren鈥檛 the ones in the path before you.

Join Kassandra and Marisol as they remember how they planned Sol鈥檚 wedding while they solve together the difficulties in the present.

If you’re interested in reading the first chapter, it’s published somewhere in my page.

You’ll be hearing from me soon!

Later,

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