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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

National Hispanic heritage Month: Being LatinX


Today is the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a month of celebration that began in 1968. I have never really celebrated it before, though I am Mexican-American, Hispanic, LatinX, or whatever you want to call me. I jokingly say I'm slightly more tan than average. So, what does being Hispanic really mean to me?

Growing up it didn't really mean anything because I was surrounded by a lot of different ethnicities. In middle school that changed a bit when I went to school in Fifth Ward, but heritage and culture weren't things 80s kids really talked about. Then we moved north as I was entering high school, and suddenly I felt like a minority. Bottom line, I wanted to be White, but I never realized how much I denied my heritage until I became an adult.

I took Spanish in high school and my entire family is bilingual, except for me. I was even in the Spanish National Honor Society. But as a teenager, "Mexican" had a bad connotation to me. It meant less, illegal, dirty, foreign, other. I honestly didn't realize I felt that way for many years, but it's something I've been actively working to overcome as an adult.

When I chose the pen name Missy Jane it was purely for convenience. Missy has always been my nickname and Jane is my middle name. But there have been instances of people believing I'm White. The first time that happened I was so surprised, then I really looked at my pen name and though "Duh". It doesn't sound like a Hispanic name. So, now that I plan to venture into other genres of writing I've decided to have a second pen name: MJ Aragon. Aragon was my grandmother's name, and Jane is also in honor of her first name Juanita. I doubt she would've approved of most of what I write under Missy Jane, but hopefully she would have found MJ's stories entertaining.  

A few weeks ago my Missy Jane profile on Facebook was hacked and they set up two-step verification, successfully locking me out. FB has no work around apparently, or at least, they ignored my plight. So, I've now created a new FB profile under the new pen name. Feel free to send me a friend request if you'd like. 

I hope y'all are all celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with tacos, even if it is a Wednesday.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Cover Reveal: Born of the Forbidden

Happy Valentine's Day! As my special treat to my readers I'm revealing the cover for my soon to be released third installment in the Gargoyle Masters series, Born of the Forbidden. The tentative release date is March 13th, but I'll post on social media as soon as that's set in stone. Thank you to the amazing Kanaxa for another gorgeous cover!

Some desires are too strong to be denied.

Master Steinn is loyal to his brothers, his King, and his people, but his desire for another man is leading him into unchartered territory. As a Master Gargoyle he protects the realm, but did he inadvertently bring on a threat from the Varish with his taboo encounter? Despite being made of stone, the strength of his feelings for Zephyr may be more than he can fight.

BrĂ³nach’s gift of foretelling is often a curse. The jumbled images she dreams aren’t usually helpful, but this time the danger is clear. Relaying the message is the easy part, the challenge comes in ridding herself of the one gargoyle who stops her heart. Adalstan has no clue she’s desired him for years. Now she finally has his attention at the worst possible time. Will he hate her once the full foretelling is revealed?

Twelve brothers turn to stone to protect the human realm, but they can’t protect their hearts once they find the mates who call to their souls. As they battle the unexpected feelings within, a battle wages in their city, a prophecy comes to light, and the fate of the entire continent is at stake.



Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday Reflection: Who TF Can Create Right Now?


It's almost 4 pm on Sunday afternoon, January 10th, and I've only added a handful of words to my current Work in Progress all weekend. Like many people all over the world, I've been scrolling through social media looking repeatedly at images and articles from Wednesday's attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol. I can't help myself. I can't stop. I keep seeing different takes of the same events of that horrendous day and I read every one.

The information hasn't changed, nor has my opinion of the President and his part in this embarrassing and infuriating moment in US history. I've never been a Trump supporter. I've never been a Republican. From the moment Trump decided to run for the 2016 election I've said he's an idiot and an embarrassment to our country. He brought up penis size during one of the first debates, yet people still followed him. He mocked a disabled reporter on live television, and still people voted for him. I'm beyond disgusted. As if that's not bad enough, I live in Texas, firmly in Cruz's district. I absolutely can't stand him. He's just as responsible for the events that have led us to this moment. 

I'm so distracted with no end in sight. When will this BS end? I, like many Americans, am looking forward to the inauguration. But will that be the end of it? What are Republicans even now planning to do? They no longer control Congress. Is that enough to right the wrongs they've done over the past four years to the middle and lower class? To marginalized communities? To the environment? To the LGBTQ+ community? To the families of those dead or dying from Covid-19? To anyone who doesn't have the cash or stocks and bonds to garner their respect and attention? God I hope so.

For now, I'm writing this post so I can feel like I've written some words this weekend. It's the best I can do for now. I'm listening to some heavy, angry music to get that energy out. Once I'm done, I plan to switch to classical and try to write an actual story. If the words won't come, I'm going to snuggle with my cat and watch the rain.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Obligatory New Year's Post 2021


For every person on this planet, 2020 will be a year that lives in infamy. I honestly don't know a single person that didn't suffer in some way due to the pandemic, and all that it wrought. Today begins a new chapter in all our lives. Hopefully, a much more positive chapter. One we will be a little sad to see end this time next year.

In 2020 there were a few changes in my family. Daughter #3 decided to end her college career for now but stayed in Denton. Daughter #2 moved back home. Our son was officially renamed in the eyes of the state of Texas and we're still getting everyone else officially on board. My husband and I were able to work from home for a few weeks, but for the most part still had to go out in public every workday. We were lucky to keep our jobs and have not forgotten it for a second.

My son's box turtle disappeared, and I had to say goodbye to my beloved cat Cheetoh on the same day my son's tortoise died. At nearly the end of the year daughter #1's girlfriend's cat died of cancer. It was a rough year on us for pets.

In my writing life there were some positives. I finally finished book three of my Gargoyle Masters series. It's being edited and I already have the new book cover ready to go. I'm hoping for a March release date. I won NaNoWriMo for, I think, only the second time of my life, though I've been attempting it for many years. My long neglected blog saw a lot of activity from me in September because of a 30 Day Challenge hosted by Angela James that kicked my writing butt back into gear. Overall, it was the most productive I've been in a long time. 

So, what about this year? Here are twenty-one things (in no particular order) that I'm looking forward to in this new year:

1. Empty Nesting. I love my children with a sometimes fanatical intensity that drives them nuts, but I've been taking care of them for nearly twenty-seven years. In the Fall we will be taking my son to Tulane University and beginning our Empty Nest days. Daughter #2 might still be living with us, but she'll be 24 by then and no longer needs me to the degree she did as a child. I'm looking forward to having a little bit more time for myself.

2. New Orleans. On that note, with our son in New Orleans for school we'll have a lot more opportunity to visit one of my favorite places to visit. We've promised him to remember to swing by and say hi while we're in town, lol.

3. In person book events. I might be overly optimistic, but I have at least four in-person events planned for 2021. 

4. The first is All the Books in March in Houston. Hopefully, it will be safe enough to still have this event at that time. If not, the next is in May. Fingers crossed.

5. The May event is The Lone Star Book Festival.

6. Comicpalooza is expected to also make a return in Houston in May.

7. At some point Copperfield Books will reschedule it's Annual Author Fair.

8. In October, Authors in the Alamo City is expected to still take place.

9. Publishing new books. As stated above I will definitely be releasing the third Gargoyle Masters book this year. 

10. I also plan to rerelease at least two of my contemporary erotics that were previously published by Ellora's Cave. I also have a completely new contemporary erotic romance I'm working to have out soon. It's book three in my Erotic Arts series that began with Erotic Images.

11. Reading new books. With the new year comes new books from my favorite authors. One of the ones I'm most looking forward to is Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs. It's book 6 in her Alpha and Omega series which I highly recommend if you enjoy urban fantasy. Even if you're not sure, Patricia Briggs is one of the best story tellers I've ever come across. Well worth the read no matter which series you try.

12. I'm also looking forward to Nalini Singh's newest Psy-Changeling book Last Guard. Though waiting until July is going to be painful.

13. Christine Feehan is releasing a new book in each of three of her series that are on my auto-buy list, and I honestly don't know which I'm looking forward to the most: Reckless Road, Lightning Game, or Shadow Storm.

14. Seeing family again. I'm really hoping by October it's safe to visit my mom. Since she lives in San Antonio I'm hoping to see her when I attend Authors in the Alamo City. Even if I have to put on a hazmat suit, I want to see my mom in person.

15.Travel. It might still be a while before it's safe to really travel and have a vacation somewhere, but we already know we're heading to Louisiana in August because of my son. He is also having top surgery this year which will necessitate a trip to Austin where daughter #1 lives. Then there will be those in-person book events. One is in Seguin, TX, which I've driven through more times than I can count. However, I don't think I've ever actually stopped there. It will be nice to road trip again.

16. New cat? When our son leaves for college he will be taking one of the cats with him. Claire really only loves him and barely tolerates the rest of us, so she gets to go to Tulane too. That means Jessie will be all alone in our house during the workday. So, we will most likely look into getting her a companion shortly after Claire leaves for college.

17. Eating out. Though we've continued to order food from area restaurants in order to support them, we haven't eaten in a restaurant in a while. There was one breakfast we attempted in an outdoor courtyard a month or so ago where we were attacked by bees. I told my husband it was a sign that we should've continued to get our food to go. I'm looking forward to being able to sit in a restaurant again. Hopefully it will happen this year.

18. Movies, and other indoor entertainments. Will we be able to safely watch a movie in a theater in 2021? I hope so. I'm honestly more concerned with going to a musical performance or play. No matter what it is, I truly hope it's safe to support the arts in person this year.

19. Camping. Before our rainy camping trip in December it had been many years since we'd loaded up the tent and headed into the woods. We all missed it. Being that it's one of the safe things we can do during a pandemic, I'm looking forward to more camping in 2021.

20. Photography. I've been taking photos since middle school when my father bought me a Canon AE-1. It's a hobby I haven't indulged in much the past couple of years. However, I plan to take my DSLR with me a lot more in 2021. There are so many great photographs I've missed because the phone is not always a great substitute.

21. Everything. 2020 was such a dumpster fire that there's just nowhere to go but up at this point. If you follow my social media you know where I stand politically. I can't wait for Biden and Harris to take office. I'm almost giddy with relief at the thought of the changing political climate in the US that is coming. I know things aren't going to improve overnight, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.