Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year 2018; No Regrets Allowed

2017 was a good year for me but there were also a few challenges. We had some minor mishaps (two floods) that did damage to our home and brought on added stress.
Then there’s the regret of all the things I wanted to do but didn’t get done. I started out telling myself I should have done more. 
More with my time, more work on my writing, more marketing, more effort at my job, more for my family, more for others, and more on improving my health and myself as a whole. Those thoughts loitered in my head like an unchecked list.
Suddenly I couldn’t sleep. I began to feel the weight of disappointment in myself even during the day. I started becoming depressed. Then I realized I had to flip my focus. I had to stop beating myself up over all the things I didn’t do and give myself credit for the things I did do, no matter how small. So I made a list of the things that I did accomplish in 2017.
I joined a new critique group.
 I joined a new online group (Julie Hedlund’s 12X12 picture book challenge) for picture book writers.  And because of that group, I wrote 12 new picture book drafts. 12!
I participated in NANO (National Novel Writing Month) and had a higher word count this year than any of the previous years I had participated.
If you want to know more about National Novel Writing Month click here. https://nanowrimo.org/
 I worked hard on my third book in The Sister Sleuths series and have a solid outline for the next book.
 I ate less sugar and was more mindful of the kinds of food I consumed.
 I lost a few pounds and have kept the majority of it off.
 I added meditation to my daily routine, and the list went on and on.
When I let myself dwell on all the things I didn’t do I felt disappointed in myself and became depressed; but when I wrote down all of the things I did finish, I found that those things no matter how small made a difference in my life and that encouraged me to keep going, keep trying.  
I hope when you read this, you’ll be inspired to make a list of all the things you did do in 2017 and let go of all of the things you didn’t. Sometimes we wallow in our regret over a few fleeting moments that occurred in a vast amount of time.  If you focus on them, you’ll never allow yourself to celebrate the good things that you’ve done. Those good things will have lasting effects. Go into the New Year feeling good, and positive and open to whatever comes your way.
I decided to start my New Year making a vision board to help me stay focused on the things I want to keep in my life and things I want to see in my life in 2018.



 It was a fun and easy exercise. If you’d like to give it a try, Here’s the one I used.  https://www.instagram.com/p/BOnxBJPDjOn/






M.A. Cortez lives with her family in Colorado. She spends her days reading, writing, and drinking lots of coffee. 
Check out her books. 

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Instagram@ Bookwormyxoxo   



Friday, December 22, 2017

LET THEM EAT FRUITCAKE


   I have a friend who loves to bake and enjoys experimenting with old recipes. One year she made a fruitcake. Fruitcake has a reputation. Many people claim that it is dense, dry, and tastes like figs (no offense fig lovers), and let’s face it, it’s not the prettiest face in the pastry case. 
   I am convinced that every Christmas someone somewhere receives the same one. It is never opened. It just gets passed from home to home like an uninvited guest. This time it turned up on my doorstep.
   Now, I knew she’d been working on this recipe for quite some time. Her great grandad was ninety and all he asked for was someone to bake granny’s famous fruitcake at Christmas. It seemed many had tried but no one could get it right. Too much of this or too little of that had left a pile of failed attempts in the garbage. But this girl was patient and wouldn’t give up on great grandma or her recipe. In a moment of weakness, I agreed to be her guinea pig.
   As soon as she dropped it off I regretted that decision. It was heavy and brown and visually not all that appealing. It resembled a brick in an aluminum pan. To her credit, she did her best to dress it up. She had decorated the top with nuts and cherries wrapped it in a festive cellophane sleeve and tied it with a pretty red bow. “I hope you like it. I want your honest opinion.” She said
   I placed it on my kitchen counter and tried to avoid going in there at all cost. Finally, the need for caffeine overtook me and I walked in. It was there, waiting for me like a lonely puppy. I considered lying to her and pretending I had tried it. “It was yummy,” I’d say. But I felt obligated to give it a taste.  I brewed myself a cup of coffee, sliced off a piece and took a bite. Then I called my friend and gave her my opinion.
   Have you ever worked really hard at something only to feel that your best efforts were fruitless? If you are a writer I can guess that you have. We come up with all these great story ideas and rush to get them down on paper only to find when we get to the end they look like a jumbled mess.
   We throw in a few nutty characters, mix in sweet moments and write down a story with a weak plot line. We feel that time is ticking and we have to get it out there. We send it out into the world too soon only to hear back that it’s not quite right yet.  We consider chucking the whole thing into the trash without another thought. But like my friend we must not lose hope, we must persevere.  It just needs more time to bake. Put that manuscript in a drawer and let it sit.
I knew my friend’s fruitcake recipe had gone through many changes over the years, and guess what? It was actually good. Really moist and sweet, loaded with pecans, pineapples, and cherries and best of all, (surprise ending) it had rum in it!

All I’m saying is, your efforts are not fruitless. Keep at that manuscript and when you think it’s ready, share it with a trusted friend. She or he will tell you the truth and you just may be pleasantly surprised. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the desk of  M.A. Cortez

Looking for something Christmassy to read? Try  http://getbook.at/GraceatChristmas 
Only .99 on Amazon



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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Once Upon A Halloween

Hi All, this is a story for Susanna Hill's Halloweensie Contest.  
The rules state that the story must be no longer than 100 words. The title does not count and it has to have the words candy corn, monster, and shadow, or any form of those words.
Enjoy the stories on her page and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Here's the link to the contest.
 https://susannahill.com/2017/10/27/the-7th-annual-halloweensie-contest-aahhhrrrooooooooo/
 and here's my entry.
                              
                                          
                                Once Upon a Halloween
                                   by Mary Ann Cortez

Once upon a midnight dreary, on a doorstep weak and weary
I’d gathered from each home I’d seen, candy-corn for Halloween.
One creepy home had vile dwellers. Monsters, ghosts, and casting spellers
The hags inside with noses hooked beckoned me with fingers crooked.
I ran fast, the monsters followed, to a tree -‘twas bent and hallowed.
“Come with us- be our friend. We don’t die until the end.  
At sunrise when disappear-we won’t return until next year.
My ghoulish friends were fun but weird. We partied till the sun appeared
Then shadows dark and things unseen, departed till next Halloween.




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Happy Everybody Reads Y.A. Sunday- The Sister Sleuths And The Wailing Darkness

Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday. Today I sharing  an excerpt from Sister Sleuths and The Wailing Darkness.



Blurb: Strange things began to take place when a wailing woman shows up around the same time as the new girl Darcy Sullivan. Samantha deduces that the woman is a banshee and her prediction is that one of their own will die.



Excerpt: A small knot of worry spins itself into a heavy ball at the center of my chest and makes my blood run cold. This can’t be happening. Not again. The last time my sister saw a ghost, we nearly ended up dead.

 http://getbook.at/SisterSleuthsandTheWailingDarkness



Watch the trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BC6VrrdWWyQ




About the Author: M. A. Cortez loves to solve mysteries. She watched a movie about a banshee once when she was very young and always wanted to write a story about one. And now she has.





Check out her other works

 http://mybook.to/DoubleExposure

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Everybody Reads YA / Moon Dance

Happy Everybody Reads YA Sunday.
 Today I'm sharing an excerpt from my book Moon Dance. I love a good summer story, and though this is a short one, its sure to make you feel like you've spent time at the beach.


Blurb: Luna has one wish for her birthday. She wants to spend it forgetting her ex and celebrating with her family. When her plans fall through she and her cousin Nina decide to cruise along the coast. Once again, her plans go awry. Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and Luna feels every minute drag by before the sun gives way to the moon and she realizes her wish has been unfolding all day long.


Excerpt:
A truck with tinted windows merges to the shoulder of the road in front of us and parks.  A barrage of warning signals goes off in my brain. “Is your location turned on?” I ask quickly. “Always. How else is anyone going to know I am where I say I am?” Maybe from your fifty-million photos on Instagram. The truck door opens. We straighten up, ready to run or fight or whatever.






                                                             viewBook.at/Moondance





M.A. Cortez lives in Colorful Colorado. When she's not writing she spends her time reading, crafting, sewing and hanging out with her family.

Check out my other books



You can follow me on




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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Everybody Reads YA~ Sister Sleuths and The Shadowman

Happy Everybody reads YA Sunday! 
I'm so excited to share an excerpt and the new cover of my book The Sister Sleuths and the Shadowman.

 Sandy and Samantha may be twins, but sharing the same birthday is where their similarities end. It seems the girls will never find common ground until they stumble upon another set of siblings hiding secrets, lies, and shadows of the past. 
 A big gray cloud covers the sun and most of the blue sky. There is an icy bite in the air. “Snow’s coming,” Sam says. She knows things like that. Maybe she is just more attuned to nature than I am. I never really pay much attention unless she mentions it.  We walk briskly through the neighborhood, and in about five minutes we are standing by the side entrance of the house. “Let’s go to the front door,” 

                                          http://getbook.at/SisterSleuthsandTheShadowman
About the author,




M.A. Cortez loves creepy old houses, sister stories, and mysteries. That's why she just had to write The Sister Sleuths and The Shadowman.

Check out her other works
http://getbook.at/SisterSleuthsandTheWailingDarkness
http://mybook.to/DoubleExposure

Follow me:


Instagram@ Bookwormyxoxo  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Be A Dreamer



I used to consider myself a realist. Not in the beginning, in the beginning, I was a dreamer. Then, my life took a different course. Before I knew it I was a busy wife and mother and my dreams had been buried so deep I'd forgotten what they were.
After a time the nest became empty and I went in search for that one thing that I had been passionate about before. Before diapers, and bottles and the never-ending cooking and cleaning that comes along with raising a family.
It didn't take me long to remember the thing that I had loved was books.
Oh, how I treasured the stories I had read as a child. My books took me on adventures. They made me laugh and cry and see myself in the characters that lived among their pages.
Once I started reading again, (now that I finally had the time.) I remembered that I had once loved writing too.  As a child, I wrote poems almost as soon as learned to put words on a page.

I was a quiet kid. My thoughts were deep. I was frequently referred to by teachers and adults as a daydreamer. In those days, teachers didn't have much patience for a kid with her head in the clouds. So as I grew older it seemed the natural thing to do was put aside those dreams and get on with the business at hand. Which I did.
But when I finally reconnected with that dream inside of me, my life opened up. I wrote stories, long stories, short stories, poems, and finally my first novel. 
My dream didn’t just happen. It took, and still takes, a lot of hard work and dedication. I’m not always up for the challenge. But the important thing is, I keep coming back to it. I won’t bury my dreams, not ever again. And neither should you. Be a dreamer, be a doer, and a thinker. And encourage those things in the children in your life.

Want to reconnect with your dream? Ask yourself these 3 questions.

1. Aside from normal daily activities, what do I enjoy most?
Think about what makes you feel joyful and connected.

2.What was my passion as a child?
Remember when you had no worries or fears? Nothing seemed impossible. Get back to that place in your head.

3. If I only had one day left to do something for myself, what would it be?
Our lives are full of responsibilities. Imagine that everything you are responsible for has been taken care of, now you can spend the day doing something you've always wanted to do. No limits.
                            Now go follow that dream.