Author - Nina Cordoba

Nina's Blog Follow Nina's blog

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!

page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

10/8/2013 4:25:38 PM

Torturing Chris

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


 

 

 

(I’m not doing a big spoiler alert because what I’m talking about happens in the prologue of the book, which can be read in the sample by anyone. However, if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about Always Dreaming of You before reading it, stop reading now.)


There’s a saying among writers that you have to torture your characters.

It’s true. If they don’t go through angst, misery, and disappointment, there’s not much to write about. But Chris was the last person I wanted to torture. Before he took on a life of his own, I think he was a touch of me (a non-Latin-looking half-Latin with a passionate Latin soul), but with my dad’s easy-going optimism and the chivalrous, gentlemanly nature of my favorite guy friend from high school.

However, Chris was enjoying his life so much in the first book Not Dreaming of You—dating for fun, hanging at parties, dabbling in teaching at the university and dialect coaching for movie studios—I knew something really dramatic had to happen to change his perspective. For his love story, Always Dreaming of You, he had to have a major problem that needed solving or a big hole to fill. He’d always been confident, well-adjusted and multi-talented. A minor set-back wouldn’t faze him.

One day it hit me what had to happen, but I really didn't want to write it into the book. To make matters worse, from Not Dreaming of You, we knew the Carsons and Villanuevas were a really nice, close-knit family. What kind of monster could stand to kill any of them off?

At first I decided I was too nice a person. I couldn’t do it.

Then, I reminded myself that good comedy is typically built on tragedy or misery of some sort. Why does Eddie Murphy’s character Axel Foley have to travel to California in Beverly Hills Cop? Because his friend Mikey is murdered and he needs to solve the crime.

Tragedy.

In There’s Something About Mary, Ted (Ben Stiller) found the girl of his dreams in high school, but she moved away after their one humiliating almost-date and he can’t stop thinking about her or move on with his life without finding her again.

Misery.

So, I had to do it. I had to make the one thing happen that would turn easy-going Chris all achy and lonely. His life had to feel so wrecked that even a confident guy like him could question his motivations and decisions…could even feel needy.

And now the deed is done. I knocked off Chris’s wonderful parents, and I must live with the fact that I killed for the sake of my art.

*Auditory note: In case you can’t actually hear my voice while you’re reading this, I delivered that last sentence with intense drama and the back of my hand to my forehead a la Rebecca Lorrence in Always Dreaming of You. (Please go back and read it again with the correct inflections.)

-

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

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

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


posted by Nina 0 Comments



9/17/2013 2:03:31 PM

Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Minutes!


Ever look down at the scale and wish you could instantly drop the number by 10 pounds or so?

Well, I have a secret weight-loss system guaranteed to lower your numbers almost instantly. All you need is the ability to follow my instructions and some elementary math skills.

We want to begin this exercise with a good, clean starting number—I call it my “gross” weight—so you must prepare before you get on the scale. The following advice may seem obvious to anyone who’s been watching her weight, but I learned when I was teaching adults not to assume anything.

Here it is: Pull your big girl panties OFF along with all your other clothes. (If you’re frightened by your own naked reflection in the mirror, move the scale to a different room.)

Next, remove all jewelry, including wedding and engagement rings. If you refuse to remove them because you haven’t taken them off “since he slipped them on my finger 20 years ago, blah, blah, blah,” then I don’t think you’re committed enough to our endeavor and you should just stop reading.

For the rest of you, now that you’re stark naked, suck in a deep breath, blow it out, and step on the scale. Take note of the number, but don’t panic! That’s not your real weight. You have to do a little math before you get to your actual, lower number.

First, you must allow for your hair. Whether a sleek bob or a flowing mane, it certainly shouldn’t be counted against you weight-wise. If your hair ends above the shoulders, subtract 1 pound from your weight. If you have long hair, or what we call “Texas hair”—even above your shoulders—you’ll need to take off at least 2 pounds (allowing for all that hairspray build-up).

Speaking of hair, if you haven’t had your legs, face, and bikini area waxed in the last few days, take off another pound for body hair, including all the stuff growing under your skin that hasn’t popped out yet. It really adds up!

Are you wearing any Band-Aids or birth-control patches or do you have any keloid scars? If so, take off a half pound. These things are heavier than they look. You just don’t know it because their mass is distributed evenly over the surface they’re covering—I’m all about the science, you know.

Do you have long, polished nails? If so, subtract a half pound for the parts growing past your fingertips and the paint. Fake nails? Take off a pound. Those suckers are heavy!

Still with me?  Sorry if the fractions threw you, but it’s important we’re precise in our measurements in order to get your real number. I’ll wait while you go get a calculator…

Okay, ready? Next, consider what’s inside your body. At any given moment, you have food and water making its way through your digestive tract. Since this stuff is only there temporarily, it shouldn’t be counted against you. Subtract 3 pounds.

Oh, and when I was replacing the filters in my air conditioning vents the other day, it was clear there are tons of particulates floating around at any given moment. It’s safe to assume many are using you as a landing strip, so take off a half pound for dust accumulation.

And you may disagree, but I feel strongly that people should not be penalized for genetic anomalies they have no control over. Do you have a large nose? Full lips? Thick eyelids? Moles? Warts? Big ears? Big feet? Take a half pound off for each of those minor genetic differences—in the case of big feet, that’s a half a pound per foot. Personally, I subtract a quarter pound for the “beauty mark” (okay, “mole”) on my cheek.

Likewise, if you have an unusually large head, subtract 2 pounds for medium-large, or 3 pounds for super-sized. These physical abnormalities are not your fault, and you shouldn’t have to suffer for them every time you step on the scale.

Finally, do you have any reason to believe some of your internal organs are larger than normal? Has anyone told you that you must have the bladder of an elephant? Do people say you have a big heart? Ever have the feeling your brain is just a little bigger than the brains of the goofballs you work with? Subtract 1 pound for each of these conditions.

Once you’ve taken everything into account, be sure and do the math carefully. We wouldn’t want the numbers skewed in case you have to report your weight to get a driver’s license, for instance.

If you follow my instructions correctly, then, like me, you can get ready every morning feeling as if a weight has been lifted off you!

(This blog was originally written by Nina Cordoba and published on author Christie Craig's site.)

~

Nina Cordoba is the author of the award-winning romantic comedy Not Dreaming of You and sequel Always Dreaming of You and other fiction.

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.


posted by Nina 3 Comments



9/15/2013 11:33:24 AM

Not Dreaming of You Outtake-Beginning

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


 

Recently, I was cleaning out my old Word docs, when I found the original beginning to Not Dreaming of You.

Although I loved the idea of opening the story with Kiki cataloguing her teacher gifts and crying over her kids, this scene contained too much information and backstory at once, most of it dumped into their conversation. I wanted to give the reader a sense of Kiki and her history, but as I learned more about writing, I decided this had to go. I eventually removed it and replaced it with the current "dream prologue" and airport goodbye scene, then worked additional details into other parts of the story.


Not Dreaming of You-Outtake (unedited)


With tears in her eyes, Kiki sat at her desk behind a pile of gifts, ranging from a canvas tote bag with an apple on the front to a “World’s Greatest Teacher” coffee mug.

As she packed them to take home, she recorded the year and student’s name on the bottom of each present, just as she always did on the last day of school. She picked up one of the handmade cards and read it again.

Deer Miss Villanueva,Thank you for being my teacher this year. You are much niser than my teacher last year. She was at a difrint school. I licked coming to your class alot. I hope my dad works in Arjinteena agin next year, so I can see you.

I love you.

Megan Smalley 


Kiki thought about how timid the second-grader had been at the beginning of the year. Like many of the students in the private school where she taught, Megan’s father was transferred from the U.S. to Buenos Aires by his company, and the child had been overwhelmed by the move. But, when her mother came to pick her up at the end of the first day, Megan had run back and thrown her arms around her new teacher in a grateful hug.

Kiki imagined a whole summer without “her kids.” Even the excitement of going back to L.A. and spending time with Chris couldn’t stop the ache in her chest as she’d waved goodbye to them. She grabbed a tissue from the box on the corner of her desk and blew her nose into it.

“Why do you always cry when school is out?” Alejandra said, as she let the heavy blue door slam behind her. “They drive you crazy half the time, anyway,”

“I love them!” Kiki answered. “You’re not a teacher, so you don’t understand.”

“Whatever.” Her friend rolled her eyes and jingled her keys at her. “Are you ready to go?”

“Almost. . . As soon as I finish this one, we can carry everything to the trunk.” Kiki tried to get ink to adhere to the bottom of a scented candle. She dropped the pen and grabbed a Sharpie, wrinkling her nose at the smell as she uncapped it.

She’d noted Alejandra’s business suit when she came in. Since Kiki had rarely seen her friend out of blue jeans from kindergarten through college, the banker’s clothes always looked strange to her. It was hard to believe this was the same girl who drove the teachers crazy with rubber cement “boogers” and fake sneezes.

And now she wears designer clothes and has access to the vault.

Kiki glanced down at her own long skirt and low heels. One thing she wouldn’t miss was her “teacher wardrobe,” though she’d learned it was a necessity in a school full of young children. She never knew when she might have to bend over or dash across the playground. She thought about the boxes of new high-heeled, strappie sandals in her closet and the clothes that went with them—slim cut skirts and capris and sundresses…

“Are you sure you want all these things?” Alejandra picked up a sheet of paper. “I think this one could go in the trash. It’s a picture of a monster.”

A monster? Kiki snatched it from her. “Are you crazy? It’s a drawing of me, by one of my students.” She turned it right side up and held it so her friend could see.

Alejandra tilted her head to one side. “How can you tell?”

“Look,” Kiki pointed at the bottom of the page. “It says ‘Miss Villanueva’ right here.”

“If you say so.” Alejandra shrugged. Kiki snorted at her, smoothed out the picture, and slid it into a manila envelope with her other paper treasures. Once they were in the car, Kiki noticed it was unusually quiet, considering she and her best friend were in it together. She knew she had lots to think about, but she wondered why Ali was giving her the silent treatment.

She reached over and thumped her friend on the arm. “What’s the matter, malcriada? Are you mad at me?” Alejandra blew out a loud breath.

“Why do you want to stay gone all winter? You spend too much time in The States. Just because you were born there doesn’t mean you’re required to spend half your life there.”

Kiki thought of how she wouldn’t see her parents, or her aunt and uncle, or Ali, for the next three months. A case of premature homesickness washed over her, but she tried to focus on how great it would be to spend time with her like-a-brother-to-her cousin, again.

As Alejandra pulled up to a stop sign, Kiki kissed her fingertips and touched them to her friend’s cheek. “I’ll miss you too. You know I love you, but I need the change of scenery, and I haven’t seen Chris in months.”

That wasn’t the complete truth, but she wasn’t ready to tell Ali the rest, yet. As unusual as it was for her to keep anything a secret, Kiki hadn’t been completely honest with anyone about this trip. Not her parents, not Alejandra and not even Chris. It was much more important than a visit, or even a man-hunting expedition. Kiki had called and made an appointment long distance that she had never been able to bring herself to make in Buenos Aires.

"Well, it’s not fair. It’s summer in L.A.” Ali’s voice became forlorn as she held the back of her hand to her head.  “And I’ll be here…without you…cold and alone.”

“Ha! You have Luis to keep you warm. From what I’ve seen, he’s doing a pretty good job of it—Stop! Stop!” Kiki yelled as she rolled down her window.The car screeched to a halt. “What?” Alejandra asked.

“Manuelito's back!”  Kiki watched as her favorite teenager ambled over to the car. “Tía Kiki!” He said, as she reached through the window to put her hands on his cheeks.

“You’re all grown up.”

“He’s only been gone for two weeks, Kiki,” Alejandra said.


Kiki ignored her. “How was your trip to France?  Parlais vu Frances?”“Oui. . .Well, a little,” Manuelito said.

“Manuel! Vamanos!” Kiki turned and saw several other teenagers motioning toward Manuelito.

“Go ahead. We’ll talk later. . .Oh, come to dinner tonight because I’m leaving for The States in a couple of days and my parents will want to see you before they go to Egypt.”

“Okay, I’ll be there,” he called as he walked away.

Alejandra drove on, as Kiki watched the kids in the rearview mirror. Manuelito put his arm around a sweet-faced teenage girl.

“Oh, my God. He’s got a little girlfriend!” Kiki said. “Turn around. I want to meet her. They’re so cute!”

Alejandra sighed and kept driving. “You still act more like a mother to him than his own mother ever did.  Where was she all those times she left him with you?”

“I don’t know, but wherever it was, her husband didn’t like it.”

They turned into Kiki’s parents’ driveway, just a few blocks from the school. Although Buenos Aires was known more for French architecture than Spanish, Kiki always experienced a sense of well-being when she saw the large, Spanish-style house spread out in front of her. It was just as it had always been, in warm yellow with three welcoming archways across the front. And, the feeling was almost the same at her aunt and uncle’s home, a quarter of a mile away.

But, as comforting as her surroundings were, she couldn’t hang around and wait for something to happen. There were aspects of her future too important to leave to chance any longer, and, besides, she’d been having a feeling there was something in store for her back in California.

“Kristina?” When Ali used her real name, instead of the nickname Chris had given her when he was a baby, Kiki knew her friend was serious. “You’ve been worrying again, haven’t you?”

“Yes,” she sighed. “I can’t help it. When I looked at my class today, I thought, ‘This is all I’ll ever be able to do—borrow other people’s children and give them back at the end of the school year.’ Since I turned 26, I started thinking how close it is to 30, and--”

Alejandra put the car in ‘park’ and turned toward her. “You’re still young.” She reached over and squeezed Kiki’s chin between her thumb and forefinger. “And muy bonita, with your humungous, brown Kiki eyes,” she teased.“You know that’s not what I’m worried about.”

“Just because it was hard for your mother and your tía —And it’s not a curse, like Cassandra’s crazy mother used to say.”

“I know, but it feels like one,” Kiki replied. “Chris and I were considered miracle babies. You know our mothers would have had more, if they could. And, they were both married by twenty-one.  I feel like I’ve waited too long already. . .It takes time Ali. A year or two to find him, six months of engagement—And around 30, a woman’s fertility falls drastically from—”

“You’ve been spending too much time on the internet. This is becoming an obsession.”

“Yes. It is,” Kiki admitted. She’d thought knowing the statistics would make her feel more relaxed, but her research was having the opposite effect. But obsessed or not, she knew what was important to her and even her best friend couldn’t change her mind about it.

Alejandra was quiet. Kiki knew Ali hated it when life got too serious. She opened her door, so Kiki followed suit and met her at the back of the car. As Ali lifted the trunk lid, she smiled mischievously.

“You know, if you would drop this celibacy rule you have now, you could save time by going to bed with lots of cute guys. It would be more fun than planning a wedding, and you’d still end up with a pretty baby.” She flipped an eyebrow as she reached into the trunk.Leave it to Ali to find the sexiest solution to any situation.

Kiki chuckled, then shook her head at the ridiculous notion. “I don’t want to be a single parent. The ideal husband and father to my children is out there somewhere, and it would be a lot easier to find him if I used some criteria to sort through all the—”Alejandra dropped the box and grabbed Kiki by her upper arms. “You don’t still have that stupid list, do you?”

“Of course I still have it. And if I’d used it, instead of wasting all this time going out with whatever men I was attracted to, I might be married by now.”

“You’re panicking. Besides, any man worth having will laugh at your list.” Alejandra was thoughtful for a moment. “Is it making you sad that Luis and I are engaged?”

Yes. . . But I love you, and I want this for you. Kiki’s chest ached as she looked into her friend’s hazel-brown eyes. She remembered when they were seven and she’d used a magic marker to play connect the dots with the sprinkling of freckles across Ali’s nose. She couldn’t let her oldest and dearest friend feel guilty about being happy.

“Ali, there’s no one in the world who’s happier for you than I am. Luis is the one for you. Remember? I told you the first day we met him.”

“Yes, you did. And, I know how you love to be right about everything.” They grabbed the bags and boxes from the trunk and headed to the house.

“It’s not that I love to be right,” Kiki said somberly. “I just am—when it comes to matters of the heart, anyway—It’s like, a gift.” She lifted one of the gift bags a student had given her to illustrate her point.

Ali chuckled. “Along with your ‘psychic’ abilities?” “You believed in them until you let Chris talk you out of it.”“And he thinks he talked you out of it—fat chance. You know, if you use that list, they’re going to be calling you ‘Crazy Kiki.’”

“But maybe they’ll be calling me ‘Crazy Kiki With a Husband and Babies.’” She opened the front door, and they were accosted by a barking, twirling, fur-covered maniac. Although the box she held blocked her view, Kiki could feel him brushing against her calves. “You’re going to take good care of my Boby while I’m gone, since my parents will be traveling, right?” she asked.

“Of course I’ll take care of Boby.” Alejandra dropped her box and picked up the bizarre little dog from the floor. He had hair like a Yorkie, but with a squished face and an under-bite. “You’re lucky you found Kiki,” she said as she held Boby at eye level. “Because, most people would have let you keep on walking. You’re the strangest-looking dog I’ve ever seen.”

Kiki reached over and covered Boby’s ears. “Don’t say things like that to him. You never know what animals can understand,” she whispered. The two of them stared at each other for a moment, then burst out laughing. The tears started flowing again. “I’m going to miss you two,” Kiki said, as she threw her arms around Alejandra, squeezing poor Boby between them.
- - -
So far, each of my published stories--including Always Dreaming of You, now on presale--has gotten a brand new beginning after the book was written. I’ve learned a lot since I first started these novels, though. I think the next book, No More Mr. Nice Girl, will keep the beginning I originally wrote. That will be quite an achievement for me.

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.


posted by Nina 0 Comments



page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15