Share Your World 2016 – Week 29

share-your-world2I almost missed Week 29 but like the late student that I always am, I’m here!  Who knew running book promos and social media can take all of your time?

Anyway, here go the questions and answers – and of course, it’s got one of my favorite things – pizza!

What is the perfect pizza?

Ever since I had my first taste of Thai Chicken Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) years ago, I’ve been hooked!  I search high and low for it and while you can no longer get it from Trader Joe’s, I have to start learning how to make it on my own.

What is your favorite time of day?

First thing in the morning, when everyone is still asleep, more importantly, my little guy AKA Little Terror (all meant with so much love though…).  This is the time I enjoy my coffee and write out the stories that I’ve so far dreamed up while sleeping or little story details I worked out in my sleep.  After he wakes up, the day’s all about him.

Show us two of your favorites photographs? The photos can be from anytime in your life span. Explain why they are your favorite.


This is me and my  younger brother with some of our dogs.  I’m holding my childhood favorite, Cuckoo, a brown dachshund mix and one of her puppies. I think this was during sophomore high school which is equivalent to eighth grade in the US because I’m wearing an intramurals t-shirt that I think was for that grade/year.

File Jul 29, 12 31 59 PM

It’s tough to find just one other favorite but this one ranks high up there.  This is my little guy already tuckered out on his first official photo shoot.

Complete this sentence: I’m looking forward to….

…completing my current Work-in-progress that is tentatively called In Love With A Young Man, though I’m afraid that’s the title it will end up with during publication day.  The title is actually a mock title from one of my favorite book cover artists, David of and I thought it was a cool title to remind myself of what I intended to write (even writers need reminders as to what they’re supposed to write next).  I had purchased the set of four books thinking I’d write this lighthearted set of novellas about an older woman who falls for a younger man and you know, put in a lot of erotica elements in their adventures and misadventures.  Unfortunately, the characters sabotaged the lighthearted part of that plan and now it’s a full-length novel at 56K words that deals with a few serious issues.  It just might continue with Book 2 (if I actually sit down and plot it with enough words to fill Book 2); if not, it’s one book that’s going to hit about 80K words.

Which begs the question: do you like reading novels cut in parts as Book 1 and Book 2, or do you prefer just reading one whole book with a Part 1 and Part 2?


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Share Your World 2016 – Week 28

share-your-world2I hate missing SYW posts but somehow I got so busy with an author rebranding and major writing that I missed a week because these questions are for Week 28.

But I’m on time for Week 28 though, so here goes…

What is your earliest memory?

Watching a caterpillar outside in the yard while my mother and her friends played mahjong inside the house.  I was probably about four or five then.  I also remember being in a hospital as a patient and thinking it was so cool that the bed was so high I couldn’t jump down.

File Jul 23, 8 53 59 AMWhat was the last photo you took with your phone?

Can you believe it? I finally read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss for the first time??? Yep, my little guy went to the library to get his very own library card last week and came home with two books, Arthur Meets the President by Marc Brown, and The Lorax.  And I got to read it out loud to him.  Wow, but the book is deep, and so true and so profound I had to snap a picture of that last page.

It felt like a cliffhanger…

Have you ever danced in the rain?

When I was much younger and living in the monsoon belt, yes, I danced in the rain.  And given that this is all I can say about it, it must not have been as exciting as I initially thought…

What is the longest you have gone without sleep?

Probably 24 hours, when I had to work at a top secret video game event 60 miles away, and it started at 11 pm at night all the way until morning.  Why I didn’t think of sleeping before I went to work, I have no idea, but the adrenaline from being there and watching all the gamers sit and play for hours – and coffee – fuelled me through the whole gig. I don’t know about you, but I love my bed too much to go without sleep any longer than 18 hours now.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

My ongoing Wattpad novel, In Love With A Young Man, got featured on Cosmopolitan last week and while there’s not much fanfare there, I didn’t realize just how much of a big deal it was to me still, like #screaminginternally kinda big deal.  The last time my stories got any attention was this time last year when RT Book Reviews picked Collateral as one of the best romances for July.


I’m looking forward to going through a seamless author name/platform transition from Liz Madrid to Liz Durano while finishing up my current novel.  Rebranding can be such a pain but now that I can see what a pain it can be, I should have just gone with some crazy-sounding pseudonym instead of a real name, in this case, my maiden name. Eh, but it is what it is.

But wait! I could have just changed it to Morrighan Muse!

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Share Your World 2016 – Week 26

share-your-world2Hard to believe but I actually do these things and forget to post them. When I remember, it’s a week too late – even more – and so the posts just sit in draft mode. But I’m hoping to do it this week, which will probably be the first for 2016.

Yes, it has been so long because I took almost six months off wandering the halls of Facebook trying to be a romance author marketing her books (it was horrible, thank you for asking – I have to come to realize that I am primarily a blogger).

So, where was I? Oh, right, Share Your World, Week 26.

What’s your most memorable (good or bad) airplane flight?

It’s probably a tie between sitting in First Class on a flight to New York next to a retired violinist who worked with Isaac Stern, and years later, on another flight to New York, sitting in Coach next to a neurologist (“I’m a neurologist, not a urologist”) and talking about recent studies he was doing on the correlation of migraines and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ syndrome) among people who used to wear orthodontic braces when they were younger, and he was open to exploring the benefits of massage therapy on said migraines and TMJ syndrome.   Both of them made me wish the flight went longer than they did.

How many bones, if any, have you broken?

Knock on wood, none.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? (guest can be dead, alive, famous or someone you just know)

Neil Gaiman, the late Frank McCourt, and the very late Charlotte Brontë

Make a Currently List:

Reading: A cozy mystery ARC (advance reader copy) of Drop Dead Handsome by M.C. Scott.

Watching: Game of Thrones Season 6 finale

Listening: My 6-year old telling me a story he wrote

Eating: A cheese quesadilla

Needing: A publicist

Wanting: Chocolate

Missing: Someone who’s currently on vacation

Share Your World – Week 26


Here we go for Week 26!

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?

Definitely driver!  I’m a terrible passenger, and have many a time, driven the entire way to and back simply because I prefer to be in the driver’s seat. Now as far as my passengers go though, I don’t know how they feel about that.

If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?

It depends on the opera tickets.  Carmen, definitely go and see it, and anything with Placido Domingo though he’s more behind the scenes these days.  And even if I could sell them, I’d just grab a friend and make sure we indulge in a few glasses of wine before hand and just have a great time.

Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less. (NOTE:  does not necessarily have to be a sentence.)

The wine glass is always half full.

Which would you prefer:  a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure–intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks; or a contented bordering on happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends and family without such wide swings of fortune and mood?

I’ve had my share of the former – that wild, turbulent life filled with highs and lows of joy, sorrow, passion and adventure (though not the bungee jumping, rappelling off a side of the building kind), complete with intoxicating successes and depressing setbacks that I think I’m in the latter now, surrounded by family and friends (new ones now that I’ve moved away from the beach friends and have kids, so play dates are the in thing for me) and trying my best to have a stable environment for my 5-year old on the spectrum.

Today, it was a trip to Pretend City, where basically it is a pretend- city, with a post office, police and fire stations, a supermarket, library, park, and so much more.  The little guy had so much fun he got home, had  a tantrum (because that 1-1/2 of running around exhausted him) and is now passed out on the bed and I’m here writing – well, I should be writing my novel but I’m taking a break to share my world first.

Pretend storm drain, pretend street, pretend planting garden, pretend grass. Nothing pretend about being a mom though.


Share Your World 2015: Week #5

I’m always behind when it comes to the new year.  Despite my grand intentions, the year doesn’t really start till February when I finally wake up and realize I’ve just missed the first four weeks of the year with nothing done on my blog.  Lazy is as lazy does!  (Honestly, I was finishing up my novel…)

So I’m starting Cee’s Share  Your World in February, with Week #5.

Do you prefer shopping or going to a park?

I love shopping, though I hate crowds.  So I love shopping on the internet, and on my phone where shopping apps are plentiful, I’ve got everything I want – whether I need it or not is a whole different issue.  But then I also love going to the park, and as long as I have my phone, I can shop if I wanted to.

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

I remember in high school when Keds were the rage. And because my mother thought they were horrendously priced,  she never bought me one.  She’d buy me the girly shoes, just not Keds.  So I bought myself the local version without the label.  And I wore that till it wore out and with the extra money, bought another pair. I even painted it different colors using markers.  Funny thing is that people usually thought they were Keds anyway from the front, since the label sits in the back of the shoe.


For the last three years, I’ve been into Toms shoes.  They’re pricey as heck (I can get three pairs of cheap ones for the price of one) but I love that for every shoe I purchase, Tom gives one away.  It may be all hype, but I love the overall premise, and their designs rock!  There’s nothing better than to slip on my Toms whenever I go out in just about anything.  I even included it 2 years ago in one of my story challenges here, with my character taking along an extra pair of Toms shoes to go with her high heels when she got tired of standing in them.

What’s the story behind a time when you got locked out?

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 8.39.28 AMI’ve gotten locked out of my house a few times and because of that, we have an extra key hidden somewhere.  But before I knew where the extra key was hidden, I got really good at slipping through our window and realizing how useless those sliding window locks are and how nothing can beat a simple stick that costs nothing.  Of course, with the stick there now, I just have to use the spare key and save myself the trouble of breaking a leg in the process of breaking into my own house.

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts? 

I’ve been described as a nut and when it comes to peanut butter, I love it nutty.  So, yes, I prefer eating foods with nuts.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

One of my stories was selected for a campaign that starts today, and last week, it was a wonderful feeling to finally let the manuscript go and leave it with Swoonreads for judging whether it’s worth publishing or not.


For the week coming up, I’m looking forward to writing 10k words for my upcoming novel.  And sticking to writing on this blog regularly again.

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Share Your World – Week 21

A week late sharing my world with you all, but here it is!  Once again, thanks to Cee for the wonderful questions!  It’s been a crazy week for me, with my teaching schedule in summer swing again and the little one with only four more days of preschool before he’s unleashed to the world for the summer (one is never prepared for that!).  I’m also at 95K words of a modern-day novel that I need to finally wind down – so my  mind as always is elsewhere but where it’s supposed to be.

Anyway, for now, it’s here, sharing my mundane world to you and hope that you join in, too!

If you could make a 15 second speech to the entire world, what would you say?

Life is what you make of it. Don’t wait to say what you want to say till it’s too late – do it now and love often, if not always.

If you could take a photograph, paint a picture or write a story of any place in the world, what and where would it be?

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been enamored of the British and Irish isles, whether it’s the bustling cities,  high cliffs along the chilly coast, or the rolling hills and valleys where one stumbles upon standing stones of the past.  I love listening to the accents rolling off people’s tongues, immerse myself in the stories of the Celtic gods and goddesses who walked the earth, and wonder just how such a world smells like.

Image from National Geographic Expeditions
Image from National Geographic Expeditions

If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single store but could remove nothing, which store would you pick?

Ikea.  They have beds and everything I need to keep myself comfortable and even a cafeteria where I can gorge on Swedish meatballs all weekend.  And when the weekend is over, I can get up and leave.  Unfortunately they don’t have any books – other than those fake ones – which would probably make my weekend stay a living hell.

If you were given a boat or yacht today, what would you name it?  (You an always sell the yacht later)

I’m not a boat person at all, yacht or whatever you can throw my way.  But should I receive a boat – though a yacht is more my thing – then it’s got to have only one name.  Mischief Managed.

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Share Your World – Week 20


It’s time to share my world again!  My full month of vacation of teaching is winding down and I’m feeling a bit sad about that – but at the same time, it’s nice to get to teach topics I actually enjoy teaching.   I was actually hoping to finish a novel that I started writing, but I guess it was too ambitious of me to think I could finish it in a month.  But I have 5 days more to go, so you never know!

So anyway, here we go!

If you could go back and visit any time period, what time would you travel to and why?

I’d like to travel back to the time of the industrial revolution, to see how northern England changed to become this hub of mills and other manufacturing towns.  It has to do with my reading of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South as well as her other books set in that time period, where her husband ministered to the working masses and she got to see first-hand the effects of industrialization upon the people.  I wrote about Gaskell on my everything-else blog here.

If you could have three wishes granted for you alone, what would they be?  This is a time for you to dream and have fun.

This must be a trick question – don’t mind the seriousness of the first wish though.  Or better yet, just skip to the third question.

But let’s see, if I had three wishes granted for me alone – here they are:

I wish to have been born among the race of colonizers (Spain, which colonized the Philippines and Mexico; England, which colonized India, etc.) – just so I could see how it feels to be one of that skin color.

I wish for a world where people were kinder, countries were more mindful and no one was better than the other.

I wish I were a better mother.

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

Just water, thank you very much.  I fear a world where water will be difficult to come by.  In fact, for my birthday in a few days (which Mr. M will forget for the 7th year in a row), my wish is to raise money for charity:water.  I had set up the giving page last month and unfortunately forgot to link it to anything on this blog (bad bad me!).

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So since this question came at just the right time (and reminded me of the page I had set up!), if you’ve got a few pennies to help provide safe drinking water in countries like Mozambique, Haiti, Malawi, Bangladesh and Cambodia (to name just a few), here’s the link to learn more about charity:water and how you can help.

If you watch TV what are your favorite three television shows?

HANNIBAL.  I am crazy for this show.  I am mad for Mads Mikkelsen and the writing is impeccable, so complicated at times and I like the horror aspect of it.  When this show comes, I shoo everyone out of the living room and watch it with hands covering my eyes.   I love how they have a food stylist who fashions all these interesting human-looking meals that actually look so good and blogs about it here.  Tonight is the season finale, too, so I suspect I will be suffering from withdrawals.

Hannibal - Season 2

GAME OF THRONES – I have a confession.  I’ve only watched this in bits here and there from the beginning but I am not offended by spoilers, so I got caught up really quickly in time for season 4 – which unfortunately has its finale next week.  I love George R.R. Martin’s writing and it’s interesting to see how his work is adapted for TV.  I am strangely attracted to Lord Oberyn Martell and love the scheming Petyr Baelish (may you never turn your back on this man if you value your life) and of course, Peter Dinklage’s Tryrion Lannister.


PUSHING DAISIES – Sorry, this is an oldie for me.  It’s no longer on the air but I have fond memories of Ned, the piemaker, Chuck, his once-dead-now-alive childhood crush, Emerson Cod, the private eye who knits when he’s stressed (he knits gun cosies), and Olive Snook, next-door-neighbor and waitress at the Pie Hole.  It’s also narrated by Jim Dale, US narrator for the Harry Potter series.  If you’ve never seen this show, watch it – even though it will never come back again, like another favorite show that I LOVED – HBO’s Carnivale *sob*

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Share Your World – Week 19


Ack! I’m late again!  This was supposed to be posted last week, but it seems I’m running a week late in sharing my world, but better late than never.  Thanks to Cee of Cee’s Photography for such a wonderful prompt.

Ready?  Here we go!

Do you prefer shopping or going to a park?

I’m sorry.  Is this even a question I have to think about?  Shopping, of course.  Then I can go to a park when I’m all done.

What is the highest score you’ve ever made in bowling?  Actual or virtually played.

Never played bowling.  Or if I did, I erased it from my memory banks.  Or maybe I’m just seeing the Dude inside my head…


Name the foreign countries you’ve been to.

Just a handful.  Philippines, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the US.

Describe your own outlook on life in seven words or less.

Life is what you make of it.

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Share Your World Week 18


Here we go – sharing my world with you, week 18.  Thank you, Cee, for the wonderful questions every week!  As usual, I’m late in posting this although I had answered it a week ago – and promptly forgot to post.

Oh, by the way, I changed my theme temporarily because something wasn’t working with the other one – as much as I loved it.  The left sidebar when viewing the main page wouldn’t show up, which made it seem weird.  But it did show up when one clicked on the individual posts.  Go figure…anyway, thought I’d have this on for now, and see how it goes.

What object do you always have with you when traveling and why?

That would be my iPhone, I guess.  Although in lieu of anything electronic, it would be my Alunsina leather journal, and a pen, of course.

What subject would you like to study in depth, if given the time to do so?

The mind.  I think the body is just amazing.  We all originated from one cell that became two and so on.  Our body’s cells are always doing what it does best to keep us working in tip top shape – and then there’s the mind, which can adapt to certain circumstances (to a point), has been found to regrow its cells, and so much more.

Neuroplasticity – that’s where it’s at.

Or maybe I just wish I could bend metal with just my mind, or read other people’s minds, controlling their actions and their thoughts, who knows?  After all, X-Men does open this coming weekend!


Which would you prefer:  a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure–intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks; or a contented bordering on happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends and family without such wide swings of fortune and mood?

My life has been anything but contented bordering on happy, secure, and predictable although these days, it sure looks like it – which makes this question a tough one for me to answer because I want a balance of both.  I’ve been through the turbulent life with their extreme ups and downs and there’s something that can be said about that – never a boring moment.  So, can I have a balance of both?

What are your favorite spices?

Chinese five-spice powder is not exactly a favorite but it’s one of my favorites, and the only one I can remember off the top of my head that is a spice – or a collection of five spices.  It’s a blend of star anise, cinammon, cloves, Szichuan pepper, and fennel seeds and when brushed with sesame oil on chicken wing drumsticks (without the wing tip part), wrapped in foil packets and deep fried or broiled, is just amazing!

Grilled Chicken Wings with Chinese Rose Wine and Five Spice Powder-4
The Hungry Escavator does Chinese Five Spice chicken drumsticks right!

Share Your World – Week 17


Somehow I missed posting my answers to last week’s questions, but here they are.  Again, thanks, Cee, for these lovely questions!

What are some words that just make you smile?

Lucas, love, hug, embrace, sex (at least good sex) and orgasm, writing, books, reading, and lately, running.  And one more – breathe.

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles or turn on the flashlight? How many of each do you own?

We have flashlights all over the house, but I bet when the time comes, I won’t know where a single one is, or when I do find one, their batteries are all dead – story of my life, really.  We also have candles – the ones with the scents, and the ones without.  But wanna bet I wouldn’t know where to find the matches…

What is the longest book you ever read?

Shogun clocked at 1,152 pages and I read that in less than two weeks when I was about 16 –  although I was grounded at the time with no privileges so I only had James Clavell and Anjin-san to keep me company.   Naturally, when the TV series aired, I fell madly in love with Richard Chamberlain.

proust_marcel_a_la_recherche_du_temps_perdu_volume_i_paris_grasset_191_d5560378hOnce I’m done with À la recherche du temps perdu, or In Search of Lost Time (also Remembrance of Things Past) by Marcel Proust (translated by Moncrief), then this would be the longest book I’d have read at 3,031 pages.   It will take a while though – it’s quite deep at times and I reread passages again and again and again, which means I can’t move forward as fast as I’d like.

So you win a pet monkey at a fair, but this isn’t just any old monkey. It can do one trick for you whenever you want from getting a pop out of the fridge to washing your hair. What would be the trick?

I’d set it free.  I hate monkeys.