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Merry Christmas

gift-548286_1280Merry Christmas to you all!!

This Christmas has been a wonderful one thanks to all of you who’ve been here supporting me through this crazy book launch event. It’s been an awesome experience, one I’m sure I’ll never forget.

To all of you who’ve read The Last Superhero or are planning to do so soon, there’s a short story I wrote not so long ago while experimenting with what I call a “looser and almost lyrical kind of writing,” the same one I use in The Last Superhero. That story is a noir romance titled At the Corner of Mars and Neptune and it’ll be free today and tomorrow (12/25 – 12/26) over at Amazon.com as a token of my appreciation for all of you.

Download from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CQI093C

Have a joyful and safe holiday! Sending you all warm Caribbean hugs! ;)

The Last Superhero Launch Day!

3D-Book-PromoGrab your drink of choice because this is launch day!!

I have guests coming over tonight so I won’t be able to mingle in cyberspace for long but still wanted to leave a note about the launch because it’s been better than I expected. Setting the book for pre-order was a breeze thanks to all the cyberknowledge available to date about the process, however, it was still nerve-wracking! I’ve never been this nervous about a book launch — fact that puzzles Hubby to no end. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve done so much marketing for it or that it’s a story that’s lived with me for longer than the others and having it go public is actually a big thing for me. Whatever it is, I’m glad its turned out to be such a fun ride and to feel the enormous support given by family and friends.

So, for you, the acknowledgements of the book:

For everyone who believed in Steven from the get-go

and for those who will believe in him from now on.

For those who cheered for this story since its conception,

and for the one who stomped his foot and told me to stop.

For now I know better, for now life has taught me so much.

For now I feel I’ve finally given Steven and Giana

what they always hoped for.

THANK YOU!!

<3 <3 <3

If you still don’t have your copy you can order from Amazon, buy signed copies, or enter a giveaway!

Becoming Human Again

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while but had my doubts (or maybe I was just going in circles about it in my head). I wanted to write it once I had something positive to say instead of just whining further than I’ve done on FB and Twitter.

Then my husband woke up saying “I hate waking up and feeling like I’m a 100 years old.”

Have you heard of Chikungunya? If not, here’s some info.

We’ve been dealing with it for a month now and it’s been a relentless attack on our bodies. While everyone’s freaking out about ebola, in the Caribbean we’ve been taken down by the thousands by this mosquito transmitted virus with symptoms that include fever, rash (and subsequent itch), and most of all: arthralgia (horrible horrible joint pain and swelling).

Rash from hell. #chikungunya

A photo posted by Artistikem (@artistikem) on

My rash got pretty nasty at one point; hubby’s not so much.

I’ve dealt with arthritis my whole life, Carpal Tunnel for most of it, but this shit feels like someone’s breaking your bones. For real. The first night my husband and I spent with fever and chills and pain (we got it both at the same time, isn’t that splendid) he says I kept screaming in my sleep. He might have been confusing my extreme whining with screams thanks to his fever-induced hallucinations (he spoke incoherently for a while) but all I was asking for in my head was for whomever was trying to break my legs to go ahead and do it already so we could be done with it.

That went on for two nights but the pain in the joints, mostly hands and feet, has stayed with us. And the best part? Scientific papers I’ve read around say this thing can last for 2-3 years with coming and going symptoms. I’ve spoken to people that have been suffering from sporadic bouts of the rash (which I still get whenever I stress my body being either getting super angry or exercising) and the swelling and pain for six months.

Of around 17 people we know personally around our neighborhood, 10 have gotten it. The rest are waiting patiently to get bitten since an epidemiologist said we’ll all get it sooner or later. Everywhere you go there are people talking about it or physically unable to do stuff because of it.

I still can’t close my hands in a fist, my fingers feel numb all the time, and even when I’ve gone back to doing mild crossfit, fatigue sets in pretty quickly and I have to take longer rests than before. To think the whole island population will be going through this at some point (since there’s no vaccine or treatment other than pain killers and lots of vitamin C) and that it can last for so long scares me to no end.

Local singer Glenn Monroig said on TV: this is a crash course on getting old. I’ll add it’s a crash course on feeling fucked up and unable to continue with even the most basic daily stuff.

As a writer I’ve always been afraid of losing the ability to use my hands. It reminds me of that scene in the movie Modigliani after he’s beaten up and keeps asking about his hands and I must say that after a long writing session it feels like someone’s stepped on them several times but I’m pushing through and almost done with that sci-fi fantasy manuscript I was supposed to send to my editor that same week this shit started. :P

So that’s it for me. If you live in the island please try not to get bitten by this evil mosquito. If you don’t live in the island then now you know there are thousands of Caribbeans suffering from this chickenshit that you’ve probably haven’t even heard about.

Why you must read Astrid ‘Artistikem’ Cruz’s The Caregiver @ Indie Author Land

I was lazily reading my Twitter timeline when I stumbled upon a tweet from Indie Author Land about their author interviews and thought, why not give it a try?

It was super easy to fill the interview form (it’s not one of those super long ones I tend to avoid because they overwhelm me midway) and I love what they did with it. And the best part? It was FREE!

Check out the interview here: www.indieauthorland.com/archives/7299

And go give them some love!

Their website: www.indieauthorland.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/indieauthorland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorLand

The day I became the protagonist of my own book

These have been some very weird days for me. Since the 6th my life has taken a turn I never foresaw. My sister suffered a stroke that day and died on the 14th. It’s been really hard for me and my parents (we were their only two daughters). Add to that another friend in the hospital and a close friend of my husband dying on the 21st and you get the picture.

However, what’s been even weirder is how all of a sudden I found myself inside my protagonist’s skin. The Beast (Book 3 of The Caregiver Series) will come out this month and the situation with my sister felt as if taken from the first chapters of that book. I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but it all begins in a hospital during Christmas time. Exactly like it was for me and my family. The long corridors, the uncertainty, even the Christmas tree I, like Scarlett, wanted to rip off the wall.

There’s a point in the story where Armand, sensing Scarlett’s distress, brings her a pint of chocolate ice cream. My husband hasn’t read the manuscript, so he had no idea about it when he came home during my sister’s hospital ordeal with a pint of chocolate ice cream in an effort to cheer me up. It was a shock, to say the least, but I like to think it prepared me for what it was to come. It was a confirmation that I was, indeed, living my own writing.

I like to think it gave me the courage to tell my sister to let go if she had to while she was under an induced coma, that everything would be all right, that there was nothing she should worry about.

They say one should write about stuff one knows. When I wrote those first chapters of Book 3 I hadn’t been through anything like it. Now that I have and have reread them, I can’t help but feel the sudden chills running through my system because I recognize myself in those words, in those paragraphs, and in those conflicted feelings.

Now I feel closer to Scarlett than ever before and that can only mean that writing Book 4 will be even a wilder roller coaster than Book 3 was. And that’s a lot to say.

The Caregiver Series new covers and unveiling of Book 3’s.

The Caregiver Series new covers and unveiling of Book 3's.

What started as a standalone short story grew into a series. Now that the release of Book 3, THE BEAST, is only months away and book 4 is in the brainstorming phase, I believe the series needed a design overhaul and here’s the result.

Check out the covers of THE CAREGIVER and TORN live at the Kindle Store by clicking on the picture.

Book 2 is coming!

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We all know Scarlett’s choice will be her trusty rifle, or maybe her knife, or her Glock 17… Thing is, whatever you have in hand, hold on to it because Book 2 is on its way! A forced trip to the Caribbean will make Scarlett face the demons of her past while trying to keep her present and future together. Lots of action, new characters, and the dis-pleasure of meeting some downright mofo villains, oh, and don’t forget the famous grandfather, Adrian Lang. Revelations, explanations, confrontations. You don’t want to miss this.

I’ll start posting chapters soon, so keep your eyes peeled!