Author - Nina Cordoba

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My interests are varied and I'm likely to write anything from funny to poignant to informational, so my blogs are organized by topic. Just choose your favorite topic on the left. I'd love to hear from you in the comments section or go to Contact and email me privately if you like. Thanks for coming by!

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9/24/2014 8:42:02 AM

Note from Dillon

The following is meant to be read after No More Mr. Nice Girl and is a major SPOILER. If I catch you reading it early, I'll personally come to your house and thump you on your head.--Nina

Dillon:

My wife is awesome!

I guess I expected to be the one who took care of her and, sort of, fixed things for her and Matthew. All I wanted in return was to be with her. Enjoy her sense of humor, look into her beautiful eyes, and get into bed beside her every night.

But Paige surprised me by being a fixer of grand proportions. She accomplished something I’d been trying to do for years and so much more.

I’d better start from the beginning:

Things were pretty rough for Paige at first. Her in-laws sent an eviction notice and a demand for the return of the van two days after she accepted my proposal. She and Matthew moved in temporarily with Tina and Ted. The hardest part was explaining the loss of his home to Matthew. Although I’m not usually on board with lying, I think it was the lesser of the evils in this case. Paige didn’t have the heart to tell her son his grandparents were having them thrown out of their house.

Worse, was the way Paige’s parents turned their backs on her and Matthew. I guess once they lost all control, they had no further use for them. Paige was devastated, even though she said they hadn’t been the best parents in the world.

But when my mom and Berta heard what Paige had been willing to give up for me and that Matthew had lost his grandparents, they stepped in immediately and treated them like family. Matthew quickly took to calling them Grandma Maggie and Grandma Berta and they doted on him. Still do, even though he’s in fourth grade now.

Meanwhile, we were planning a very private wedding and needed a house to move into afterward. Paige did the recon while I was at work, but she was getting pretty annoyed with the realtor. The woman knew what we were worth, and insisted on dragging Paige to grander houses than she had in mind, even though Paige was looking for something homey.

One day, she showed her a five bedroom that still managed to have the cozy quality Paige was looking for, but when she walked out to the backyard, the huge lot contained a roomy guest house as well as a pool and game “hut”  much bigger than my duplex.

This is when I learned that growing up with the scheming Haddens hadn’t been all bad for my wife. You see, by this time, Paige was pregnant. Just after the engagement, she’d reluctantly said something like, “I guess I need to get on birth control.” I said, “Why?” and she smiled and threw her arms around my neck.

So scheming, pregnant Paige knew I’d been trying to get my mom out of her housekeeping job for years, but she also knew mom needed to feel she was being useful. Next time the two of them were alone, they had a heart-to-heart chat. Paige talked about how much she wanted the new baby, but confessed she’d also really hoped to get a part-time job to bolster her self-esteem after all she’d been through.

Mom said there was nothing she’d like better than to take care of her grandbaby and seemed truly unhappy that her job would keep her from doing just that.

So, BAM! Next thing I knew, it was a done deal. Mom was going to quit her job and move into the guest house. When she seemed a bit sad that she’d be so far from her best friend in Pasadena, Paige devised a plan to fix that too.

By the time we moved in, Maggie and Berta had made plans to live in the guest house and Celia and her two kids, Maddie and Max, were taking the spacious pool house.

Celia was the hardest sell, not wanting to feel she was a charity case. I was there when Paige pointed out how long Celia’s advanced degree would take to get if she kept working full-time hours, as well as how old the kids would be by the time she got it. And that, at our place, while she was working part-time or at school, there would always be someone who loved the kids to watch over them.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d won an argument with Celia, so I was chuckling inside as I watched her resolve crumble like a cookie in Paige’s expert hands. In hindsight, I also learned no matter how smart I think I am, I’m no match for my wife when it comes to devious thinking. This is one of the dangers in getting married so fast--there's a lot you haven't figured out about your spouse yet. Lucky for me, what Paige wants is usually what’s best for the people she loves.

The beauty of it all was that everyone got what they needed while feeling they were doing something selfless for people they loved. Mom and Berta would be taking care of our kids and Celia’s whenever we were all gone.  Celia made life better for her children.

See what I mean? My wife is an evil genius minus the evil part.

On a side note, I had to amend my thinking when it came to rich people. After we moved into the new house, a sweet lady named Betsy Landrey came by with some pies she’d made herself. Paige said Betsy’s family has been wealthy for a couple hundred years, yet she hugged Paige and told her she was proud of her decision. We got the feeling maybe somewhere in Betsy’s past, she’d wished she’d made a different choice herself.

A couple of moms from the school also came by with housewarming gifts and sincere good wishes. They reminded me of some of the kinder employers my mom had over the years, and I was ashamed that I’d remembered the nasty ones so much more clearly. I guess there’s a lot of anger that comes with growing up poor and feeling powerless.

Anyway, now Paige keeps a giant calendar in the kitchen where everyone writes their schedules so we can make sure the kids are watched over and taken to their activities. Mom and Berta cook us Irish stew, tamales, steak and guinness pie, and enchiladas until Paige or Celia manage to elbow them out of the way and make some smoked salmon or Italian chicken breasts so we don’t all get fat as ticks.

Since Paige only works part-time at the new children’s art museum and I have a teacher’s schedule, Mom and Berta have free time they never enjoyed before. They’ve experimented with all kinds of classes and activities, and, on vacation, we even got them to try zip-lining. Afterward, mom quietly said she was glad she did it once, but never again. Berta screamed like a horror movie victim all the way down, then wanted to go again.

As for Tonio, with all the food we have around the house, he’s here for dinner several nights per week. He was jealous at first about the living arrangements, but both his mom and Celia told him he couldn’t live with them unless he stopped dating the crazy women he tends to attract. For now, he’s chosen the crazy women.

I know this setup won’t last forever, since Celia’s finally opening up to men again and one will probably take her away from us, eventually. But, for now, I think all the kids are benefitting from the extended family we’ve put together.

Another unexpected fringe benefit has been Tina. Like Tonio, she was showing signs of annoyance at our arrangement. I guess she was worried about losing her place in Paige’s life. She insists all the kids call her Aunt Tina, takes them out for ice cream (then complains she’s gained five pounds from it), and has gotten pretty chummy with Mom and Berta.

On Thursday nights, I stay with the kids while Tina takes Paige, Mom, Berta and Celia out to some Latin dance-exercise class. They come back hopped up on endorphins, giggling like teenage girls.

I get a kick out of seeing my mom so carefree and downright silly after all those years of struggle and hard work. But the best part about Thursday nights is the time I get with my little Sadie--without a mom or aunt or grandma to steal her away. Of course, Mom claims she looks just like my baby pictures, but when I look into her sparkly blue eyes, all I see is Paige.

And as the older kids finish homework or play games, I take my little girl out to the patio and hold her tiny hand in mine. Together, we point at the stars and I tell her their names as she tries to repeat them in her lispy, two-year old version of English.

We trace the constellations in the night sky. She stares up at me with rapt attention as I tell her a story, always with a funny ending. She giggles and throws her chubby arms around my neck. My breathe catches in my chest and there’s no sweeter feeling in the world.

Then, I give her a bath and put her to bed before those wild women come home and converge on our kitchen.

Later, when the house is quiet, Paige goes upstairs to our very private master suite at the end of the hall and gets in the shower. I casually tell her I’ll be up in a while, but I’ve calculated the precise amount of time it takes her to bathe and get her hair mostly dry.

I enter the bedroom, strip and go into the master bathroom to find her in a towel, sitting at the vanity. I take the blow-dryer from her and lift her hand until she has no choice but to stand. Slowly, I reach up and untuck the towel.

Yeah, she still likes it when I undress her.

But sometimes, if we haven’t made love in a few days, I’m too impatient. I take her in my arms, lay her on the bed and cover her body with mine. When I slide my hand down her bottom to my favorite parts of her thighs, she wraps her legs around me. I fasten my lips to that special spot on her neck and we go at it, fast and furious.

But other nights, when I can control myself, I take her place in the chair and she straddles my lap. I lean in and hover very close, then tease her lips with the slightest brush from mine until she turns into a wild thing and attacks. She thrusts her sweet tongue against mine, and when I reciprocate, she sucks so hard I swell to near bursting down south.

She releases me and smiles victoriously,  drunk on power. Then I reach behind her for my old cowboy hat that she keeps next to her jewelry box. I set it on her head, look into her beautiful eyes and say, “You’ve got this, Candy Cane.”

And she proves me right every time.

~

Pssst... Hey reader, want to get a FREE Nina Cordoba ebook?

If you sign up for my email list (used only occasionally for new book release notifications and contests) you can get the ebook of your choice. Just visit my Contact page, make sure the "Please notify me" box is checked and type the book title and file type (epub, kindle, pdf) into the "Your message" section and receive your free book. Ebooks available free:

Not Dreaming of You, Don't Make Me Make You Brownies, Mia Like Crazy

I’m currently working on my first series and I think it's going to be tons of fun. Members of my email list will get first peeks at excerpts and be notified of my next book release. You will not be spammed and your email will not be shared.

Please post a review at your retailer or Goodreads. They are crucial in allowing me to remain a full-time author.

Thanks for reading! Big kisses!

Nina



posted by Nina 0 Comments



1/23/2014 3:11:55 PM

Formatting and Technical Help for Writers (Or: Saving Your Marriage, One Glitch at a Time)

First, I must say that my husband is very supportive of my writing. He’s done many amazing things for me including building websites for both my pen names, complete with tools even a monkey could use for updating it, posting blogs, and sending book release notifications.


On the other hand, since he is my husband and a high-level software architect-slash-consultant (or something), he can get annoyed with my tech-tardation fairly easily.


Typical trouble shooting session:


Me: Oh no! I can’t get this whatchamadoodle to make the thingy for me! Help me, I’m in the middle of a book launch!(Mr. Nina comes over to help.)
Mr. Nina: Okay, let me sit down so I can fix it.
Me: You always do that, but then I don’t learn how to fix it myself.
Mr. N: (With a sigh.) Okay. You need to download the blah-blah. (No, he didn’t say “blah-blah,” but that’s how it translates in my brain. It’s sort of like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher.)
Me: The blah-blah? (My eyes flit desperately around the screen, looking for anything that says “blah-blah.”)
Mr. N: Yes, the blah-blah. (His voice says this is the most obvious thing in the world.)
Me: I don’t see a blah-blah.
Mr. N: No, you have to go to the blah-blah website and download the blah-blah.
Me: So which thingy do I click? (I see nothing that says it will take me to the blah-blah website.)
Mr. N: You can’t click anything here until you download the blah-blah! Just do what I tell you!
Me: I don’t know what you’re telling me! I don’t see a blah-blah button to click. I don’t know what to do!
Mr. N: Go to the blah-blah website! (He doesn’t say, “You moron,” but I hear it anyway.)
Me: How? How do I go there?
Mr. N: Type “Blah-blah” into Google! (He says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world, and I realize it is the most obvious thing in the world.)
Me: You’re mean to me when you help me on the computer. (Hey, when you have no defense, go on the offense.)
Mr. N: I’m sorry. (I know he means it, even though he’s still trying to control his annoyed breathing.)
Me: Okay, I’m at the other site. What do I do now?
Mr. N: Download the blah-blah.
Me: Oh crap. Here we go again.

So, in the interest of marital bliss, I now use a third party to help me with some technical issues as well as my formatting. This third party is Terry Cotton who is now in the business of making writers’ lives easier inexpensively. (She can do this because it takes her a fraction of the time it takes me to figure stuff out.)


Terry is an old friend of mine, my actual BFF, who has held a number of technical jobs over the years. I used her before, during, and after my last book launch for a variety of jobs, including emergency tech support when my husband was in work meetings. It went so well, I suggested she provide this service for other writers. My husband seems relieved we don’t have to disrupt our marital bliss and his work day. (His exact words were, “Wow, she’s like the other half of your brain!”) And I’m relieved because Terry knows how to rephrase instructions into something I can understand.


Me: Terry help! It’s not working!
Terry: You need to download the blah-blah.
Me: I don’t know how to do that!
Terry: (In a calm, reassuring voice) Type “blah-blah” into the Google search page. Click blah-blah.com. Now, do you see the red button in the upper left corner?”
Me: Yes! I see it! I see it!
Terry: Click it. You are now downloading the blah-blah.


Terry has also formatted books for me, troubleshot website/blog issues, and used Skype to share screens and train me on how to use new technology. Drop my name and she'll help you too. (Okay, she'll probably help you anyway. I just always wanted to have my name dropped.)


Her website, with pricing information is www.terrycottoninc.com. You can also interact with her on her new Facebook page at facebook.com/terry.cottoninc.


My stress level has dropped just knowing she’s there for me, and I can spend more time in fiction world, away from all that icky practical blah-blah.


posted by Nina 2 Comments



10/9/2013 10:45:07 PM

The Essence of Elle-Always Dreaming of You

Pssst... Hey reader, want to get a FREE Nina Cordoba ebook?

If you sign up for my email list (used only occasionally for new book release notifications and contests) you can get the ebook of your choice. Just visit my Contact page, make sure the "Please notify me" box is checked and type the book title and file type (epub, kindle, pdf) into the "Your message" section and receive your free book. Ebooks available free:

Not Dreaming of You, Don't Make Me Make You Brownies, Mia Like Crazy, No More Mr. Nice Girl

I’m currently working on my first series and I think it's going to be tons of fun. Members of my email list will get first peeks at excerpts and be notified of my next book release. You will not be spammed and your email will not be shared.

Please post a review at your retailer or Goodreads. They are crucial in allowing me to remain a full-time author.

Thanks for reading! Big kisses!

Nina


 

In case you haven’t noticed from reading my books, I’m an armchair psychologist. In fact, psychology was my first major in college until I realized I’d either be sitting listening to people’s depressing problems all day or working in a psych ward. So, I switched back to journalism, which I’d sort of “majored” in during high school.

Anyhoo, while the media has been focused on wayward child stars, for decades, I’ve been intrigued by the psychology involved in the unusual situation of being a mega-star’s child.I’m not sure where it started, but over the years, I heard a few celebrities, like Rosie O’Donnell, mention how angry their children got over the paparazzi harassing them every time they tried to have an outing with their famous parent.Years ago, I remember Princess Diana imploring the paparazzi to please leave her kids alone and let them have a family vacation.

Michael Jackson handled the issue of fame by hiding his kids under blankets and masks when they were together. It made the family look even more bizarre, but it allowed the kids to spend time in public with nannies unharassed.

I ran across a documentary about the children of celebrities while channel surfing one day. Sally Taylor, the daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon was one of the children of celebrities interviewed. She said as an adult she deals with trust issues stemming from a childhood in which people were always befriending her just to get near her famous parents. She also mentioned the fear her parents endured over the possibility of their children being kidnapped or harmed because of their fame.

When I was creating Elle in Always Dreaming of You, I considered these situations and asked myself, “How does a celeb’s kid build a positive self-image in an environment that’s all about the celebrity?”

When my daughter was young and I’d take her on errands, everyone’s attention went to her. No matter how many times my shy three year old ignored  the lady who ran the dry cleaners, she always scrambled around for candy when we walked in, desperate to interact with my cute little girl. It’s typical in our society for people to notice and dote on children. They’re cute, especially when they’re someone else’s.

But in writing the character of Elle Lorrence, I asked myself what I would feel as a child if, wherever I went with my mother, people tried to knock me out of the way or trample me to get to her. Would I feel invisible?

This is why Elle tried to ditch the beautiful name she was born with—Liliana Brigitte Lorrence—and replace it with only the letter “L,” which her mother insisted on spelling “Elle.” She doesn’t see how she could possibly be qualified for a 3-syllable name. Her mother is all that has mattered in her world for as long as she can remember.

And what would one of these star’s kids have to achieve in order to feel like they counted in some way? When your mom or dad (or both) are worshipped by people all over the world, will you ever feel like you’ve done enough?

Some celebrity’s kids handle this by seeking the same type of fame the parent had, but most fall short. Some manage to achieve equal or greater stardom, like Michael Douglas or Kate Hudson.What about the others? How strange is real life when you’ve grown up in a world with a completely different set of rules, standards, and priorities? What would you need to learn if kept sequestered behind iron gates for all of your young life?

And how difficult would it be to make others understand you have your own issues when most people would assume you have a dream life?

My final question was actually the hardest to grapple with as an author. A main character needs to be relatable or sympathetic in some way. Many people believe money will solve all their problems, so I was afraid making Elle Lorrence relatable might be too much of a challenge.However, as women, many of us have struggled with mother relationships. Or have yearned for a life we weren’t sure we could create. Or have fallen in love with someone we thought we could never have.

In the end, I think it was Elle’s journal entries that convinced me she could pull off being the heroine of this book. Even though I know, on some level, that I wrote them, when I read them, I still feel like I was channeling her. It was one of those times as an author when I asked myself if I created the characters or if they created themselves.

The Always Dreaming of You Book Page of this site contains a description, excerpt, and buy buttons to major retailers.

To sign up for book release notifications, go to the Contact Page. (Your email will never be sold, shared or otherwise prostituted.)

Friend her at https://www.facebook.com/nina.cordoba.

Follow her at https://twitter.com/ninacordoba.

~


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