Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#Calexit: An Open Email from California to a Trump-Ruled America

"Dear America, 

Hi, I hope you're doing well after the latest presidential election - we've been through a lot of them together and I know they're never easy. <3

So, I know on Twitter and Facebook and wherever, you've been hearing stuff about #Calexit. I'm emailing because I figured it would be best if you heard things from me, instead of talking with friends behind your back. Especially after all we've been through.

When you first came out west, all conquering and stuff, I have to admit I was completely swooning over you. Yes, maybe I was a little young and impressionable, but what you and I shared was REAL. I fell madly in love with your passion and insatiable thirst for adventure. Other countries vied for my attention, but you and I seemed MADE for each other. And okay, you made some mistakes along the way - we all have! But even with all that bluster and bravado, you were such an idealist... you showed me how to fly, you made impossible dreams come true for the poorest and most huddled masses, and you even took me to the moon! How could I not love you? 

During those early years, before we really knew each other, I made a commitment to you. I chose to be one of your states, and I mean, there were others states that you loved, but I didn't question your motives. We could all live happily together, you promised it - and for a while, it really worked. I won't deny that. But... 

(oh man, here comes the hard part... please don't hate me!!)

*heartfelt sigh*

America, now that I've grown up a little and now that I have my own things going on... I just don't feel the same about us anymore. I've made so much of my own life here - like, Hollywood and the movie industry - it's insane! And there's Disney and Blizzard, and tons of awesome stuff happening in Silicone Valley - plus I manage a bucket-load of agriculture. Dairy and fruit and best of all... wineries! 

I mean, I'm not saying I didn't need you while I was figuring life out, but little by little I've amassed the 6th largest economy in the world. And I know that in a lot of ways, we did so many of these things together... but... I feel ready. I feel like, it's okay to own my accomplishments. It's okay to want to spread my own wings.

This email is getting soooo long and I should just come out and say it. 

Okay. Here goes. 

America, you were a wonderful first love and I'll always remember our crazy, heady first few centuries... but I've been looking at other countries who've had a few millennia under their belts, and I guess, the older I get the more I realize that it takes more than a century or two to really know a country. 


Gahhhhh! This is ridiculously hard! A part of me feels like it's pretty obvious you're going to blame this on the presidential election, and I won't deny that the elections did crystallize these these things for me, but it's kind of a wake up call. How many other MAJOR votes throughout the years - even obvious "this is about humans having regular rights" kind of thing - have gone against the judgment of Cali peeps? And yet, we all have to obey because, so many of your other states voted for a candidate or a law that just doesn't jive with me and my voters' mindset at ALL. 

As the years go by, America's decisions have become more and more uncool in the eyes of many Californians. You keep telling me how awesome you are, and how lucky I am to have you, but that isn't what I'm seeing!


To be as transparent as possible... okayyyyy fine, I will admit that a few of your other states have been getting on my nerves lately - I'm sure the feeling is mutual! But if you step back a little, don't you think I've been drifting away from the other states for a while now, too? Not all of them, but so many of them that it's become a little awkward on Facebook and other places we hang out. 

What used to be "our" map is feeling more and more like "their" map, and maybe that's not wrong. Maybe we've just grown apart. Can that be okay?


I don't even know what you're going to think about all of this. Please don't be that person who doesn't let the other person go. I just need some "me" time right now. And please know that I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. I'm not saying it's "over" or whatever, but I need a break. I need to find out if I'm happier on my own, and I hope you can respect that. 

To sum up, please just let me have some space. I'll let you know how I'm feeling about us in... 4 years or so. Ugh, I know that happens to be the time of the next presidential election, but I told you that THIS election crystallized things for me. I'm not saying it's the only factor but, how can the elections not have an impact? This president is the person that a LOT of your other states have chosen - which means, we are so completely different that I don't even know who they are anymore... doesn't it make sense that I need a little time without them? And... without you?

*hugs* I do still think you're the most amazing country on Earth, but... maybe humility and an ego-check is a good thing? Just... don't always believe you're as cool as you think you are.

Let's stay friends, okay?

Love,

California 
#Calexit"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Costa Rica and All Things Pura Vida *with Photos!*


Costa Rica. Tropical paradise saturated with lush rainforests and glorious beaches, complete with an active volcano that's criss-crossed with natural hot springs. This is all true, but it hardly begins to scratch the surface of how incredible and beautiful this country is. I vacationed in Costa Rica this year together with an insane number of family members, and this trip is tied with Japan as my most favorite vacation of all time. What's it like to visit Costa Rica? Allow me to serve you up a virtual plate of gallo pinto, drizzle some sweetened condensed milk over your Churchill's ice cream, and take you on a top 5 7 tour of Costa Rica:

Top 5 7 Most Awesome Experiences in Costa Rica
5 was just not enough!!

1. Gorgeous beaches that a mermaid could happily call home


We stayed at a hotel within sight of the ocean for part of our trip, which was walking distance to the famed Manuel Antonio National Park. This is the beach to visit, if you can only see one. The national park consists of a neatly trailed jungle that emerges onto a protected cove. It feels like something right out of Pirates of the Caribbean. Could I envision a mast and sails popping right out from around the cliffs, Timespell-style? You bet I could! And I sort of wish I could have visited Costa Rica before writing the sequel.

Warm tropical waters? Check. Rocks jutting out of the sea 
(perfect for striking a pose from The Little Mermaid)? Check. 

Another day in paradise? Check!


2. Animals & Wildlife... up close and personal!

Why did the enormous iguana cross the road? Because it's Costa Rica! 


Seriously. Iguanas all over the place, and yes, they jammed traffic when they crossed the road. Oh, and that beach I just mentioned? Walking through the jungle I saw 4 sloths - including a mother sloth holding her baby (d'awww...!), and there were more monkeys than I could count, especially at the beach itself. Families of monkeys hung around, right on the shore, and they would definitely steal a backpack if given the chance, looking for tasty snacks. 

  

Yes, that's a monkey behind me. But who is photo-bombing who?

3. An active volcano: virgin sacrifice not required
(...at least, that I know of)


Arenal Volcano is active, and on a previous trip I was lucky enough to see the smoldering lava-flow, glowing at night. This trip there was smoke but no lava. No matter, because seeing the traditional cone shaped volcano surrounded by a dense rainforest was awe-inspiring enough. I signed myself up for a horseback tour across grasslands - and right through the jungle - all the way to the base of the volcano. 


4. Soaking in volcanic hot springs


A short walk from the highway and we were in the rainforest, on a path locals frequent to reach a nearby river that rushes along as hot as bathwater... and that only got hotter the more upstream we went. We feasted on mangoes while soaking in lava-heated, mineral-rich water, listening to birds and monkeys hidden in the canopy. Our hotel also channeled hot spring water through a dozen pools of increasing heat, which was lovely as well, but there's something primal about being in an untouched, natural hot spring river.

5. Rainforest canopy zip-lining... whee!



During part of the trip, we stayed at a hotel in the rainforest near Arenal Volcano. The entire area is rainforest, so most hotels in Arenal will offer the opportunity to become one with the jungle. Our hotel happened to boast one of the longest canopy zip-lines in the country, with 11 drops altogether starting right in our backyard.

Zip-lining is... I can hardly put into words the terror and exhilaration of the experience, other than to say once is enough for my lifetime. I loved it, but it really is you, a harness, and a rope. That's it. Several hundred feet below is the unforgiving forest floor, with no safety net and, *gulps*, a pretty small margin of error for accidentally hurling yourself into oblivion. Viewing the rainforest like a bird zooming through the trees is pretty phenomenal, and you get a genuine appreciation for the vastness of the jungle. Thrill-seekers will feel the rush, and feel alive. The faint-of-heart need not apply.

Worth it? YES. Would I do it again for 11 launches? Highly unlikely. 


6. Food, glorious food!


Restaurants near the coast offered, hands-down, the best seafood of my life. Costa Rica's simple but delicious flagship dish, gallo pinto, is something you'll find offered at every meal. Its name literally means colored rooster, and the dish is a mixture of white rice and black beans, often with onion or other personal touches. Combine this with a trip to a beachside restaurant at sunset, a tropical drink, and a seafood kabob with fish so flaky, so soft on your tongue that every bite feels nearly x-rated, and you've got yourself a meal you'll wish you didn't have to fly across the world to enjoy.


7. Getting to know the culture... pura vida, mae!



Ticos, as Costa Ricans are affectionately nicknamed, are known for friendliness, stress-free living, and a general attitude of loving life. This is probably best encapsulated with the national phrase, pura vida. It means "pure life", and it's used as a greeting, a parting phrase, and even as a question to find out how someone is doing. Everything from "How's it going?" to "What are you up to?" can be answered with pura vida, and it often serves as a positive response in place of "Sure, that sounds like an awesome plan!" 



Want to visit Costa Rica? Pura vida!


Thanks for swinging by...

xo
Di

Thursday, January 14, 2016

USA Today HEA Interview!!

The talented and wonderful Veronica Scott, author of The Gods of the Nile series and Star Cruise: Marooned, interviewed me for USA Today Happily Ever After! It was a genuine pleasure chatting with her, and I'm excited to share the interview with you all!

She had some great questions for me... find out what I'm reading now, who my favorite anime character is, and more! Full interview link below:



I hope you enjoy finding out a little more about me, and the Timespell series!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cover Reveal!! Excerpt!! MAGIC AND WERES by Leona Bushman



Today I am so excited to be part of the blog tour and cover reveal for MAGIC AND WERES by Leona Bushman, a collection of sultry paranormal / vampire / shapeshifting romances available for pre-order now... and isn't this cover incredible?!


You can read an excerpt below, and believe me you'll want to because when I read it I just about melted. Available on February 12th, pre-order it now so it's right on your kindle on release day:


Believe me, you'll want to sink your teeth into it.

And without furhter ado... here's the lovely Leona!

Thank you for having me today! I have a favorite cover artist, whether for myself or on other authors, this artist's artwork has always caused me to smile. Her name is Victoria Miller. I sent her this vague cover art form, saying, well, I have these things, all have magic, all have weres/shapeshifters. And um, the longest story is set in early Scotland, and it's romance, and um, can you do your magic for me? LOL There may have been a lot of eye lash batting and begging.

Anyway, even with that, she managed to make me a gorgeous cover to match the feel of the stories in there. From early Scotland, to modern day England, you will find magic and shapeshifters. Love, romance, even a couple of hot ones. 

An excerpt from Victorian England where Vampires drink werewolf blood to keep their powers of walking in the day and other magical elements, and werewolves live as long as their vampire counterparts. Our hero, Daryn, finds himself cornered by his nemesis,  one who wants him back in the coven for dark reasons, and a little tease when he meets our heroine. The title is Daryn's Slayer.

He grabbed his gloves and top hat, bent over, and snagged his boots, but left his crimson cravat tied to the post. It would be her talisman. He left one with all the women he slept with. His calling card.

Daryn had barely stepped out of the luxurious room when a voice from his right startled him.

"Do you always creep out like a thief the morning after? You used to have better manners than that." The seductive voice pierced him with longing and hatred. His whole body quivered in remembered pleasure and torture. He turned to her, almost involuntarily, as need and loathing fought for supremacy.


Her body looked stunning encased in the latest fashions. Her dark gold, silk dress had a three-foot trail, ruffled along the bottom, with blood-red trim woven through the ruffles. Lace, with real gold threads worked in a leaf pattern, lined the seam of the ruffles, as well as her jacket and collar.

More gold-and-cream lace lined two sides of the red trim and splashed across her thighs. The corset, barely needed for her hourglass figure, only served to emphasize the delicacy of the fabrics used for her jacket and the ruffled lace that trimmed the inside of her collar and flowed in folds from her cleavage to just below her waist. He noted all this in the quick, practiced look he'd perfected over the last few hundred years. 


"Good morning, Cassandra. So good to see you." The sarcasm dripping from his tones, his first line of defense with her, couldn't possibly have been missed, but she apparently chose to ignore it.


"Good morning, Daryn. Ready to come home? Tired of your little rebellion?"


He'd had centuries of practice, schooling his face into the impassive lines hiding his real emotions. She enjoyed her tortures too much to allow her to see how deeply she affected him.


"Tired, yes. The little minx whose home we're in kept me busy all night," he replied, and walked down the hall. He could have evaporated in mist and gone somewhere else, but, unless he planned on feeding again, which since significantly harder for him in daylight, he could only do it once. And she would follow. He had no intentions of showing her where he lived.


"You're less funny than you believe yourself to be, my protégée," she replied, not letting him leave her sight.


"Apparently I have wit beyond compare, as you see fit to push yourself in my presence, wanted or no," he replied, taking the stairs two at a time down to the ground floor. It wouldn't be long until he could no longer walk in the full sun, even early dawn, if he didn't find a werewolf soon. Going outside burned him, with the morning light the least problematic.


Cassandra would hound him. She hoped to trap him back into the fold with his need. She didn't know where he'd found his werewolf blood all these years, but she'd retaliated ages ago by ordering her coven's guards to kill all of the renegade weres on sight, making it harder for him to find the powerful sustenance. She wanted him back. What he didn't understand was why.


The longer he stayed away from her coven, the more convinced he became that there existed something nefarious in her wish to have him in the fold. Otherwise, why would this ruthless leader keep him alive in his disobedience when she had summarily ordered all others killed? He glanced behind him.


"What you have is an inflated ego which needs brought back down," she said, grabbing his arm and turning him to face her. Damn it. He hadn't felt or seen her move past him, and yet, there she was, standing between him and the door. That would teach him to look back.


"I'm quite sure you're the queen destroyer of egos," he snarled. Yanking his arm back, he struggled to keep his calm. He had to find a way to sit and put his top hat, gloves, and shoes on so he wouldn't be hurt by the early sunlight. And he needed to go soon. The midday sun would be brutal on his skin. He'd be ashes within moments.


He strode into the morning room, put on his overcoat, and sat on one of the plush, fabric-covered chairs there. He hated turning his back to her, but he had to hide the fear that her fast movements had induced, as well as the bloodlust her touch inspired. If they shared blood again, he would be bound to her, as addicted as any mortal on opium.


He put on his boots as if he had all the time in the world, then stood up. Slowly, he drew on his gloves, wondering why she'd stayed silent. He peered up and surprised a look on her face, one he couldn't readily decipher, before she schooled her features back into her normal haughty demeanor.

When she met his gaze, she said, "Now that you are properly dressed, shall we go for a stroll? I feel like a walk on the promenade," she said in sugary tones, taking a dig at his severely limited daylight time.


"Oh, let us do that together, Cassandra. Your company is ever a source of joy and cheer for me," he said, staring down at his hands and pushing his gloves on until they were exactly right. He realized he hadn't buttoned up and smiled sardonically up at his former lover.


"Oh, but we mustn't. I look a fright. I must go home to my manservant and allow him to put me to rights. Another time, perhaps. Don't call on me, I shall find you. No, really. Don't call on me. You're not invited."


With that, he took a chance that the retraction of invite might buy him a few minutes, and apparated outside a milliner's shoppe, into the small alcove. He immediately fell over in a tangle of purple skirts and lace. Feminine gasps of outrage and surprise filled his ears until he finally got untangled.

They ended up face-to-face.


"Where, sir, did you come from?" the pert blonde asked, her hat askew. "And why do you feel the need to push me down?" She tried to straighten her hat, then realized her skirts lay in a chaotic fashion and rapidly stood up. Her parcels were strewn all about her, some tied in pretty ribbons, some hard, some lumpy.


He began gathering them up for her, his mouth dry. Her cleavage, which he'd seen as she'd stood up, had brought forth an honest sexual reaction. Not forced, or brought on by bloodlust, but by pure sexual fantasy. When he had her last parcel picked up, he stood and handed them to her.


"I'm sorry, miss." He hesitated, wanting her to supply him with a name.


"Miss Ernestine Primrose," she replied and held out her gloved hand, after transferring a large packet, the only one that hadn't fallen, to her other hand.


He took her fingers in his and brought her hand up for a kiss. After giving it the customary greeting, he turned her hand over, and just above her short glove, he kissed her skin over her life vein.


She shivered, and her heart beat faster, its rhythm pounding against his ears like a melodic song. He met her eyes. They were a dark blue, the perfect foil to her blonde hair and fair, but slightly sun-kissed skin.


"Please, allow me to walk you home. It is the least I can do after such a blunder. I'm afraid I wasn't watching where I was going and completely fell into you." She had no idea how lucky they both were. Her being in his exact landing spot probably masked his scent from Cassandra.


All of a sudden, he grinned. Miss Ernestine Primrose had just found herself a suitor.

~ ~ ~

Daryn and Ernestine have a chemistry that I find exciting. I'm sometimes frustrated with characters. I'm a pantser, and sometimes, the characters are stubborn. These two flowed as if waiting to be written through the annals of time. It's the hottest story in the anthology…well, The Lion, the Witch and the Faerie is also hot as hades. The other two are hot as well. Hmm, let's hope this doesn't scorch anyone! 

Pre-orders are live on Amazon now, right here:

 
...Magic and Weres will fully release on February 12th. Don't miss it! 
 
About the Author:

Leona Bushman lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and children writing, painting, gardening, running, camping, or just reading or crafting. She also loves to swim but rarely gets a chance to as she’s busy chasing after the three of five children still left at home. Sassy and saucy, she can be found writing about her trials and errors as a mom and writer at the following places:
The website: http://www.leonajbushman.com                                   
And don’t forget Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeonaBushman
Twitter: @L_bushman

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

*New Release!!* A CHRISTMAS TREASURE Historical Romance!

Childhood companions turned youthful sweethearts… estranged lovers and rekindled love… can Jonathan lead Rebecca to the greatest Christmas treasure of all?
 
I've been working on a super secret project, and it's ready just in time for Christmas! A CHRISTMAS TREASURE is a sweet Christmas romance novella set in Victorian England, staring a sassy, unconventional leading lady and her adventurous, sea-faring hero. I adore Christmas stories so much, and A CHRISTMAS TREASURE has mistletoe and sleigh rides, caroling and a Christmas ball--everything I love when I want to snuggle in for a romantic, wintry treat!

I hope you pick up this second-chance-at-first love Christmas story, and enjoy reading Jonathan and Rebecca's snowy romance as much as I enjoyed writing it! Read more about the novella below, or CLICK HERE TO FIND IT ON AMAZON!

A Christmas Treasure by Diana Paz

Jonathan Derring knows when a risk is well worth taking. When his ship, the Daring Admirer pulls into port, his mind is on the treasure the captain had said had been found—but Jonathan had never expected the treasure to be his first love, Rebecca Lankershim.

A second chance at love…


Raised under the shadow of her loathsome father’s domination, Rebecca Lankershim had seized the opportunity to flee to the Caribbean three years ago, taking with her a copy of the ancient pirate map she and Jonathan had found amongst his grandfather’s things. After years of searching, the mysterious fortune comes into her possession, and she sets sail on the first ship returning to England to establish control of her newfound riches. Certainly, she knew her voyage home might lead her to cross paths with Jonathan, but she had gained her independence and a clear vision for her future. Nothing would stand in the way of the freedom she sought, not even green eyes that burned with desire and a bold, passionate spirit that matched her own.


Jonathan knows it would take a Christmas miracle to breach the protective walls Rebecca’s built around her heart. After her aunt insists she attend the festivities Jonathan’s sister has planned, the Christmas season burns bright with caroling parties and sleigh rides, a sumptuous feast and a Christmas dance, and through it all, the lovely Rebecca shines like the north star, but Jonathan knows better than anyone that behind her façade of easy charm and sweet smiles, a wounded heart longs to be healed. 





...and as always, thank you for reading!

xo
Di