U – Uncle Julio’s

a-to-z-letters-uWhen you come to visit Dallas, you have to have dinner at a locals approved Tex-Mex restaurant. There are only a few on the list, but Uncle Julio’s is one of the best.

When ever I came home from overseas to visit, after a 16 hour plane ride, I stopped to have Mexican food first. It is that good.

I love the food so much, I have write about it often.  Here is a scene from one of my novel length projects:


I’m Coming Home – All you need to fall in love is great food, margaritas and easy conversation. 
They both ordered fajitas.  Chicken for Sierra and steak for John.  The good food and margaritas made the conversation flow easy. 
“Where did you go to school after Loyola in New Orleans?” John asked.
“Florida State.” Sierra said.
“Party school.” 
“I was all partied out before I even got there,” Sierra said. 
“I couldn’t image going to school in New Orleans.”
“Then I went to Georgetown Law.”
“I don’t quite understand,” John took a bit of his fajita, paused to savior it and lost his train of thought.
“What don’t you understand?”
“Oh, yeah, this is so good.” he wiped his mouth with a napkin and appeared be contemplate his next sentence.  Sierra knew what he was going to ask.
“Ivy League law school and you work as a manager of a golf academy.” 
“Is that a question?” Sydney tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice.  
“I don’t mean anything by it, I am just curious how you got there?” 
“I run a golf Academy in a foreign country.  I generated over a million dollars in revenue. I am American who obtained a business license in China.” Sierra hoped she sounded confident.  
“You trying to impress me?” John asked. 
“Maybe. I don’t mean to sound defensive,” Sierra placed her hands in her lap,  “It just I’m not as impressed with my credentials as I probably should be.”
“Because, it’s not what I want to do anymore.” It’s the first time Sierra had said that out loud. 
“What do you want to be doing?” John asked. 
“Dream job?” 
“A writer.” Sydney said. 
“Really,” John said.  “What do you write?”
“Contemporary romance.  Romantic comedies.” 
“Let me read something?” John asked. 
“Not a chance.” Sierra said and continued to make her fajita. Placing the chicken, cheese, sour cream, beans and guacamole on the flour tortilla in the correct order. 
“Come on.” John said. “I enjoy a good romantic comedy.” 
“Do you love your job?” Sydney asked. 
“Changing the subject, I see. Yeah, I get to solve problems all day that only 1% of the world can even comprehend.” John said. 
“What do you do exactly?” Sydney said. “I know you are ‘revamping the whole social media platform’ but was does that mean?” 
“That is actually about 1/4 of what I do, but Bob likes to think he a social media pioneer.” John explained. “I create the internet presence for Zurich.”
“That’s cool.” 
“And, I am in charge of keeping it all safe.” John said. 
“You trying to impress me?” Sydney asked.
“Is it working?” 

Who has actually had Tex-Mex food?  I don’t have to tell you there is a difference between, Mexican Food, Spanish Food and Tex-Mex Food.



T – Troy Aikman

a-to-z-letters-tHe boarded the plane and looked at me, the slightest hint of recognition registered on his face. He sat in the seat across the aisle. While settling in, I noticed him looking in my direction out of his peripheral vision. I can’t imagine what slight face tick he read on my face. I tried to maintain a neutral facial expression, but inside it took every ounce of control I had muster not to point and scream,  “Oh, my god, you’re Troy Aikman.”
We caught each other peeking and it got to a point where it would have been uncomfortable to look away, considering we hadn’t even begun a 5 hour plane ride.
“We have met before.” I said.
“I thought you looked familiar.” He smiled appearing relieved in my confirmation.
“We’ve meet several times, actually.” I said.
“Give me a hint.” I turned in my set to face him, but the coach class passengers were boarding the plane and to begin a conversation would have been awkward, pause every sentence to avoid talking into strangers’ hip as they walked by.
He stood up and motioned to the flight attendant.
“Is anyone sitting next to her?” he said pointing at me.
“Yes, but we can switch his seat, Mr. Aikman.”
He thanked the attendant and retrieved a black computer bag from under the seat.
I moved to the window seat and Troy settled in.  
“Think football.”
He laughed, “You’re going to have to be more specific.”
I laughed, too, realizing how ridiculous that sounded, but for some strange reason I wasn’t embarrassed.
“Ok, think Dallas Cowboys.”
“You’re not going to make this easy for me?”
“Well, what fun would that be?” I tiled my head and could feel a coy smile spreading across my lips. I reached out and touched his arm lightly. I mean, it was just lying there on the arm rest.
OMG, Am I flirting with Troy Aikman?
He might have flirted back if the flight attendant hadn’t interrupted and told me to fasten my seat belt. We were about to take off.
From where the flight attendant stood giving the safety demonstration, I could study the side of his face.   Not only was I closer to him then our three previous meetings, I had all the time I needed to settle into the fact I still had a huge crush on him.  His gold hair had darkened a bit and his nose, which was way to big for his face when he was drafted, seem to settle nicely.  He had the cutest lines next to his eyes and the curve of his lips made him appear not so serious.  It’s true what they say, men get better looking with age.  
“The House of Blues opening in the West End.” I said.
“Yeah, it was the Wednesday after the game you busted you’re chin and bit through your tongue.” I pulled my knee into the seat and turned towards him. “See, you were at the buffet table eating shrimp and I stood across the table from you and you said you hadn’t had anything solid to eat since Sunday because of the stitches in your tongue.”
I was rambling.
“I took a shrimp and ate it and I think I said something like, this is so good and you laughed at me.”
“Okay,” he said slowly, I couldn’t tell if he was trying to remember, or if he didn’t believe me. I had my facts straight, I remember that game like it was yesterday.  
“I met you again at the Troy & Emmitt golf tournament.” He nodded his head, “My mother asked you to take a photo with me because I was leaving for college the next year.” I didn’t realize at the time, but what a stupid to use in order to score a photo. He must have thought I was a freak.  
“And, the last time we meet was at the Ring of Honor party at the Stadium Club.”
“You were wearing black.”
“Yes.” I grabbed his arm, again. “Wait, everyone was wearing black. It was a black party.”
He smiled and maybe I was imagining it or it was wishful thinking on my part, but he was staring at my lips. We sat staring at each other for an uncomfortable amount of time. Thank god this time, the flight attendant appeared. 
“Can I get you a drink?” she asked Troy.
“You want something?” Troy asked me.
“Make that two.”
“What are we celebrating?” Troy asked.
 The flight attendant handed a glass to me and then to Troy. She shot the hugest grin in Troy’s directions. It made me feel good watching him ignore her and concentrate on me. 
“To second chances.” 
“Second chances,” He said.
The sound of the crystal glasses echoed between us and I took a sip. He watched me as he took a sip.
Funny, I didn’t  feel like the little fat girl on the outside look in, anymore.

For the record, Troy was very nice the few times I meet him, but I don’t know him.  My parents were in the industry and the sports world in Dallas is small.

I’ve been thinking about this story idea for awhile.  One of my favorite quotes is “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

UnknownWhat if a girl was placed back into the life she ran away from because she never measured up? Even if she was different now, would the result be different.   Or will she still be on the sidelines (pun intended) wishing she could get in the game.  Or maybe once she got in the game, it wasn’t as fun to play as she imagined it would be.  Or maybe not all the people in the game want to play with her.  I love brainstorming story ideas.

Have you ever meet your celebrity crush? How did they measure up to the image you had in your head?  


S – Dallas Stars

a-to-z-letters-sLike I said, I am such a homer when it comes to sport. I became aware of the game of hockey on my birthday in December of 1992 when I met Mike Modano at a grocery store appearance.  He was fresh off the plane from Minnesota in town for the press conference that announced the Minnesota North Stars would be moving to Dallas, Texas for the 93-94 season.  It was quite the scandal because at that time there were no southern states with a hockey franchise. The hockey purest said there was no way hockey would be successful in Texas. It was to damn hot.  They were so wrong.

In 1999, in the 3rd sudden death overtime the Stars won the Stanley Cup Finals.  The game ended at 2:00 am and I watched every second of it.  I, along with the rest of the metroplex was hooked and a Stars fan for life.



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My favorite hockey player is still Brett Hull. Are you a hockey fan? 

Photos courtesy of the DallasStars.com

R – Rail System – DART

a-to-z-letters-rIf you spend any kind of time in Dallas/Ft. Worth, you would agree, it doesn’t seem like a public transportation kind of town. It’s to spread out and people seem to like their cars, but the city government and DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) had a different vision. In 1996, after much scandal and turmoil, the largest light rail track system in the United States (85 miles long) began carrying passengers around the Metroplex. I rode it for the first time last week, but this isn’t a story about me.


It’s the morning of my 15th birthday. My friends and I have the whole day plan. We finally talked our parents into letting us ride the train downtown and have a picnic in Klyde Warren Park. We are so excited. It must be how kids in New York feel being about to ride the subway where ever they want to go. I know my mom had to wait until she turned 16 for this type of freedom.  
We are waiting on the platform. All six of us. My mother dropped us off and I had to beg her not to wait until the train left.  We boarded the train and waited for it to leave. Before I sat down, I realized I left my bag on the platform. I jumped off the train to get it and the doors closed behind me. My friends were all screaming and laughing as they realized I standing on the platform, but there is nothing I we could do.  The train pulled away without me.  
I start to panic, but my best friend called and reminded me I could just catch the next train.  Even though I didn’t get a chance to ride with my friend, I was excited to ride the train by myself.  How grown up?  
As the next train pulled up, I picked up my bag and boarded. 
At the next stop, a cute boy boarded the train. This day is getting better. He sat in the seat in front of me. I could study him all the way downtown. I am so loving this train. His wet curly hair fell over his eyes.  He kept pushing his hair out of his face. His fingers were long and strong and they weren’t dirty. All the boys my age had dirty finger nails.  
He pushed his hair out of eyes and caught me looking.  I smiled and put my earphones on and continued to look out the window. 
He smiled back and spoke. I had to remove my earphones to hear him. 
He asked me where I was going. I told him about my birthday picnic. I asked him where he was going. 
He told me he was heading to downtown. Then, he joining a group of teenagers to go to West, TX to help with the clean up.  He explained to me how his grandparents lived in West before they died a couple of years ago. He had to spend every summer there working in his dad’s farm and he hated it.  Once he heard about the explosion, he felt guilty and wanted to help. 
I told him his grandparents would be proud of him. He invited me to come with him and told me the bus would bring everyone back around 7:oo pm.  Perfect, I just had to be on the train by 8:00 pm to get home in time.  
When we got to the final platform, I told my friend, change of plans. We are going to West, Texas.  
It was nice to do something good for someone else and I meet a cute boy, too. It was the best birthday ever. 
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West, TX is about 80 miles from my home. My thoughts and prays go out to the victims, the survivors, the police and fireman, volunteers and everyone else effected by the bombing in Boston and the explosion in West, TX, which is about everyone in the world.  

Q – Quotes

a-to-z-letters-qAnother quick pause in my A to Z Challenge theme to bring you another cool blog tour.  This guest post includes another of my obsessions, quote.

Let me introduce you to Rebecca Berto.

Favorite quotes for writers and readers

We social media addicts are suckers for a good quote. From our favorite books. One of those inspirational pictures on Facebook. The right quote can make your day, and being the social media junkie I am, I have my favorite ones from books and writing in this guest post to get you going.

As the author of Drowning in You, I have many favorite quotes and snippets, but these are others I’ve collected and I hope they resonate with you, too.

I know. You’re welcome. Here you go:

“First drafts are like falling in love; you think everything is great. Second drafts are like marriage; you see all the faults.”

— Rebecca Berto

I came across these from Tweeters and still I cry, “YES!” when re-reading:

“Overly describing a passing character is like hiring a decorator for a hotel room you’ll only be staying the weekend.”

— @PureText

“Female PoV characters notice more facial expressions, male PoVs typically notice posture more.”

— ‏@RayneHall

And then there are my favorites from awesome authors that make me LOL:

“i have never regretted staying home with a book. i have often regretted having conversations with people.”

— @TaherehMafi

“I’m listening to that Mariah Carey song ‘Always Be My Baby’ because I need to unlock my inner-high school angst to write this book.”

— @MirandaKennealy

And, my bookish addicts, these are some from my favorite books:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“He’s like a drug for you, Bella.”

— Stephenie Meyer, Eclipse

“The moment my lips touch yours, it will be your first kiss. Because if you’ve never felt anything when someone’s kissed you, then no one’s ever really kissed you. Not the way I plan on kissing you.”

— Colleen Hoover, Hopeless

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

— John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


DrowninginYouOn book quotes, I truly love those that are about love, but also the struggles in life. Drowning in You is the type of book that will take you on a journey of love and pain. I hope you can find a favorite quote from the novel as I have, too!