Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Join Me on my Blog Tour& Giveaway for The Arts-Angels !
First stop:
Stop by and leave a comment and I’ll reply.
I will be awarding Winner’s Choice of a $25 gift card to iTunes (music) or, Capezio (dance), or Utrecht (art supplies) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Hope to see you at the stops!


Monkees, Mosquitoes, Bugaloos, Bradys…and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

I was thinking about how much the Trixie Belden series influenced me in my creating the Arts-Angels, and it got me to thinking about The Scooby-Doo Mysteries!  Remember that episode where the Mystery Machine gang met up with Josie and the Pussycats?  I enjoy imagining what it might be like if Trixie’s mystery-solving club, The Bob-Whites, met up with my main character Gina’s band, the Arts-Angels, in some kind of mystery!

But remembering Josie and the Pussycats also got me to remembering all the shows I used to love as a kid and how many of them were music or band-based.  I watched a lot of shows in syndication (since many were before my time) but getting to see them 5 days a week was a great way to become an instant fan.  I loved watching reruns of The Partridge Family, The Monkees, and the Bugaloos (which were a special obsession of mine for a while back when I had a crush on “IQ” the blond Bugaloo).

And you wanna know something?  ALL of those shows had really great music!  Remembering THAT got me to trolling YouTube to find samples of that music.  And here’s what I found!

The Partridge Family’s “I Think Love You”:

The Bugaloos’  “Senses of Our World”:

Trippy show, but I always loved the harmonies of the Bugaloos and was intrigued by their strange and magical world (and the evil Benita Bizarre who was always out to destroy them or posess them.  Hmmm.  Perhaps there is a little Benita in Willa?)

The Monkees’ “(Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow)”

Picking a Monkees’ song was extra hard because they have so many good ones!

One thing I also really liked seeing on TV, too, was when a show that was usually NOT ordinarily based on music suddenly introduced a musical element into an episode.  It was great when Marcia Brady from the Brady Bunch met Davy Jones from the Monkees, but I really loved it when the Brady Bunch kids entered a talent show to try to win a prize for their parents:

The Brady Bunch, “Sunshine Day” and “Keep on Dancing”:

And last, but not least, who could forget when the women of Gilligan’s Island created a trio they dubbed “The Honeybees” and tried to impress the Beatles-like band “The Mosquitoes” (AKA Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Irving) with their song “You Need Me”?

Mrs. Howell cracks me up!


I hope you enjoyed this little trip down Nostalgia Avenue (just down the way from Memory   Lane)!  And if any of this was new to you, I hope you enjoyed listening to some great music!


Hey, New York Times, Look Over Here!

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about how Latino kids are still having trouble finding fiction with Latino characters in them–especially MAIN characters. Latino kids have a hard time especially finding fun, commercial-type adventurous fiction with characters who remind them of themselves. You can read that here:

Well, I have something for the Latina tween in this dilemma. And today on, you can read an exclusive interview with me where I talk all about my new series: The Arts-Angels, and about my Nuyorican background. Here THAT link:

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did answering the questions!  And then go visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pick a copy for yourself or for the young Latina (or non-Latina) in your life who loves music and the arts!  Links below:

Thanks, everyone!

Girls Rockin’ the X-Factor

Okay, okay.  Carly Rose Sonneclar can do no wrong! That girl has incredible talent.  She is a star!  What a voice!  Do I think she should win?  Of course.  Listen to her amazing vocal control.  She does NOT sound 13, even though she is obviously very young:

HOWEVER…I gotta say, I’m lovin’ the whole Fifth Harmony thing.   Even though I know Simon is really pushing hard to make stars out of his attempt at an American/Female One Direction. Why?   I love that these girls are working together instead of being catty, and that they each have their own unique sound.  And I must admit, I especially like that they are beautiful girls of color!

One Direction didn’t win the X-Factor in England, and it didn’t hurt their fame or success.  The same can happen with Fifth Harmony if they are handled right.  I don’t need them to win…but I would like them to come close!

Sing it, sisters!

In other news…

I was at my chiropractor the other day and briefly spoke with the other chiropractor who shares the same office.  I’ve known him forever.  He began telling me about his two talented kids who are of  tween and teen age and I discovered that his son got accepted into LaGuardia High School for Music and the Arts–BUT he’s a musician who got in for Art, instead music, like he wanted, even though he’s quite talented musically! Sound familiar?  This is JUST LIKE what happens to, GINA SANTIAGO, the main character of DRAWN TO YOU!   I also learned that the chiropractor’s daughter is a DRUMMER who would like to get into LaGuardia when her time comes.  Don’t they sound like a cool brother and sister?  Maybe THEY should start their own band together….  I autographed a book for her.  May she rock her destiny!

Wanna rock your Kindle?  Track 1 is now an e-book! (Available on Amazon and other digital book sellers.  See below!)   Nook version should be out soon, too!

Coming up this December: A LOT more posts from me: including upcoming interviews with some of your favorite authors!  Look out for interviews with the author of that epic UNFAIRY TALE series, Anna Staniszewski;  Anjali Banerjee, author of MAYA RUNNING, LOOKING FOR BAPU and SEAGLASS SUMMER, and Helene Boudreau of REAL MERMAIDS fame!

Keep coming by!

Where’s Waldo? Meets the Arts-Angels!

The lovely Nandini Bajpai has accumulated a collection of book covers featuring models and or illustrations of young people of color.  I am proud to see that The Arts-Angels Track 1: DRAWN TO YOU is among them.  Can you find it?  Have fun looking through all da pwetty covahs!

First Fifty!

I have no sent out 50 free copies to young readers who have agreed to read DRAWN TO YOU and give me feedback.  These are strong, vibrant, smart young girls who love to read and getting involved in things that are important to them!  I will always be grateful to them for their assistance.

If you check out my website:, you will see that some of the girls have already responded.  I even received a collage from one reader!  Keep the artwork coming!  And if you want to send a video or a link to one where you are acting, singing, or dancing, it may end up posted on the website as well…  🙂

In the meantime, some people have been asking me questions about DRAWN TO YOU, like, what does Craig Hall look like, really?

Craig Hall, for those of you who don’t know, is the heartthrob of the band.  He is supposed to be stunningly good looking.  He has wavy, blondish-gold hair and incredibly blue eyes.  But in the end, I want the reader to picture him however they imagine a really handsome guy to look like.

To some people, that might be Justin Bieber, others, Johnny Depp.

When I was in junior high, two pop stars I thought were really, really good looking were Morten Harket from a-ha:

and John Taylor from Duran-Duran:

(Maybe some of you noticed that another character from DRAWN TO YOU, ballerina Sage, has the same last name as Morten!  That was a little homage to my JHS days….)

But if you’re a reader and want Craig to look like all the best bits of the Boys from One Direction,  I’m totally okay with that, too! 

Sometimes I picture Craig as looking like a young version of model Gabriel Aubry.  Gabriel has the name of an Archangel, after all, and Gabriel IS Craig’s real first name (which you would know if you read the book).  Plus, there was this Macy’s commercial which shows in a nutshell the kind of reaction Craig gets around school.  Check it out:

it’s too funny!

I wish my First Fifty Happy Reading!

The Arts-Angels Have Arrived!

Today is the book birthday of book one in the Arts-Angels series: DRAWN TO YOU.  Since this series centers around music, I call each book a “track” instead. 🙂  I guess you can say the book “drops” today!

Here is a desription:

When Gina Santiago, a thirteen-year-old “Nuyorican” with rock star dreams, is accepted into the New York Academy of Arts and Talents for art instead of music, she’s crushed. To make matters worse, the student body is divided into “schollies” (students on scholarship, like her) and “dollies” (rich kids with “dollars”).

But Gina discovers that there is one thing that brings schollies and dollies–and dancers, singers, actors, and musicians–together: music! Maybe she can make her dreams come true after all…

You can order a copy online on Amazon or Barnes and Noble:

In other news, this is a very “angelic” day in other ways!  It’s “Michelmas” or the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel (as well as St. Gabriel and Raphael–also Archangels)!

And oddly enough, tonight’s episode of Doctor Who also features angels: The Weeping Angels.  Unlike St. Michael, these are bad–very bad angels.  And they will mark the departure of the Doctor’s trusty companions, Rory and Amy.  😦   But I can’t wait to see it!

Angels galore today!