I’m an ACFW Genesis Contest Semi-Finalist!

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Soooooo…last night I was just reading Harry Potter to my baby (’cause I’m weird like that!) and having a chill evening when I see a phone call from California. I almost didn’t pick it up, because I’ve had garbage calls from there before (“Congratulations, you’ve won a cruise to the Bahamas.” “The warranty on your car is about to expire.” etc). But, on a whim, I picked up the phone, and I’m glad I did.

“I’m calling from ACFW  to let you know you a Semi-Finalist in the Contemporary category for the Genesis Contest.”

I was floored.

This was the third I had put that particular manuscript in the contest. Maybe this year will be different, I had thought. And, alas, it was!

ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) is a worldwide organization with more than 2600 members, so this is a big deal! My story ended up in the top 7 out of 153 entrants for my category. Whoa! If you can’t tell, I’m definitely freaking out over here! So excited!

Anyhooooooo, this is about the best news I’ve heard in a while, so I figured I’d share. Don’t give up on your dreams! I started writing as soon as I could pick up a pen, and I wanted to be a writer since I was a child (I may have pictured myself on Opera Book Club as an amazing child author superstar).

I’ve been working hard at the craft for a lot of years, and things seem to be picking up in the last year or so. I thank God, because He’s the One who makes things happen.

Check out the other semi-finalists here!

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A Bit Of St. Patrick’s Day Fun: A Guest Blog Post from Rose


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A very happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all of Allison’s friends.

I am enclosing below an Irish Dream straight from the little people.

It comes from a home in the big hedge somewhere near Derryhall in County Westmeath in Ireland, where all the men have bunches of shamrocks in there cabeen* caps to keep the little people at bay.

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Fairy Lore

“You got out of bed and did not make your side of the bed,” the leprechaun woman says, as she pulls on the covers. She continues, “Leaving it all to me.” (They are speaking in thick “Irish brogues.”) She went looking for that light white blanket between the sheet and the duvet and finds it all balled up at the foot of the bed. She says, “I see that those legs of yours, with the big calf muscles, have kicked down…”

He talks over what she is saying and says, “Those same legs are years younger than yours. Yours should be in a museum.” He is standing in the half dark, half dressed, as he adjusts his green tie in the mirror, his shiny white small pants and white legs shine in the dark. He adds he is a busy leprechaun and no time for bed-making as he is doing important work.

She says, “doing nothing except making pots of gold…”

He says, “Getting no respect, I am going to down tools*.”

_______

*Cabeen caps are traditional, flat hats worn by Irish men that have a peak in the front with a fastener on it

*Down tools = Stop working (Rose states that phrase was “too Irish” for me.)

My thanks to Rose for this wee bit of Irish humor/dreamwork for St. Patrick’s Day. For more fun and insightful posts from Rose, check out her blog!

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Open Discussion: Who can write it better?


My new favorite blog!

Diversity Between the Pages

letstalkA couple of weeks ago, we started the discussion, Who should write ethnic characters? If you missed it, you can find it here. We started the discussion based off this article.

There’s a section in this article where a person states their opinion on minority writers becoming marginalized due to the rise of non-minority writers writing ethnic characters.

It’s an interesting perspective and one that speaks to centuries of hurt. After all, there was a time when minorities could not be published unless they established their own printing press.

Even today, there are authors who believe they can’t/won’t be published because of the color of the skin of their characters. So this begs the question: What is the difference in non-ethnic portrayal of ethnic characters and portrayals by ethnic ones?

Do you believe a non-minority writer can portray an ethnic character just as well as an ethnic writer…

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An Important Visualization


Today I would like to you in a guided visualization, one that I hope will help broaden your understanding and increase your empathy.

I would like you to remember a younger you, living in your hometown. If you lived several places, pick the place that felt most like home, where your family and friends lived. If that is where you live now, just picture that.

I want you to picture your favorite places there: your favorite restaurant, your favorite park, your home, your place of worship, your local supermarket, your school. I want you picture your family and friends. I want you to picture your time with them: the laughs you had together, the vacations you took, meals together, how you spent summers or your free time, even the fights you had and the tough times. Picture it in detail…the sound of their voices, their laughter, the way they held themselves, what they wore. Use as many senses as possible.

Once you have a vivid picture in your mind, think about how you felt back then. How much like home it feels. Perhaps you even still dream of these people and places. They are an essential part of you. You cannot remove these things from you. They feel like home, no matter if they were challenging times or not.

Now I want you to imagine that things went a bit different. I’d like you to imagine that that place that you call your hometown was going through a rough time, that there were no jobs available or the jobs there couldn’t pay the bills. Imagine that your family had to make tough choices…sell the family car(s), get rid of cable/internet/phones, live somewhere less expensive (and most likely more dangerous), never go to your favorite restaurant again, never go on vacations, never participate in your favorite hobbies due to lack of funds and transportation, leave school to work at an early age to support the family, not be able to go to your place of worship because you had to work extra overtime to put food on the table, having to decide whether to cut off water or electric or both in order to feed your family. Really think about it, what it would feel like to live, not just paycheck to paycheck, but going to bed hungry and worrying that you wouldn’t make enough to save your family. If you really want to go the extra mile, picture a huge increase in violence in the area, maybe even war, due to the extreme poverty.

Now imagine that you’ve heard of a place, where a lot of other people from your hometown were moving. A place where people lived comfortably, where they had food to eat and safe places to live, where you could send your future children to school, where you could make enough money to send back to your family so that they would have food on the table and a safe place to live. Think about how strong your desire would be to move to this place, how desperate you might feel to go there.

Imagine this place was hard to visit, not to mention move to. Imagine the system was corrupt and all the official were corrupt, that your family and friends have tried to pay the little money they had, only to be rejected a visit and not returned their “filing fees.” Think about how it would be to decide to hitch a ride with someone who knew a way to get you in. You might make that choice even if you had to scrounge all the money you could to get there, in risk of your own life, just on the offchance that you could save your family from poverty. Imagine you make it, while others around you have died in the desert that separates your hometown and that place. Imagine how scared you would still feel that you could get caught at any time but how glad you would be to be able to send money to your family. You wouldn’t be able to go home and visit your family but you could speak with them on the phone and send them money so they would be safe.

Let’s say you didn’t want to take that chance and somehow, through a modern miracle, you were able to legally get a pass to live in that better place. This way you are able to travel when you can save enough money and go back and visit your family. They are living, still poor, but safe and fed.

Either way, imagine you have been living this way for years. Imagine you have established a life in the better place. Imagine you have family and friends there, a home, a favorite restaurant/grocery store, maybe even a hobby or two. Picture it well, with all your senses. You miss your hometown but you also have a life in this new place.

Imagine that things haven’t been as easy as you expected in the new place. There is a lot of hatred towards people from your hometown and people give you looks when you walk down the street, hold their purses closer/lock their car doors as you walk past them, keep an eye on you as you shop. You’re used to it but it seems to be getting worse because a new leader has come on the scene, and he has called people from your hometown rapists, murderers, criminals, “bad people”, and has promised to build a giant wall to keep out the people from your hometown. Imagine this new leader has promised to deport people back to their hometowns, even ones that have passes, even ones that have never lived there. Imagine he has said that he will deport your son or daughter who was born in the new place. This new leader has encouraged anger and violence against your hometown and other towns outside of the region. Imagine that more than half the people you thought were friends and family and community voted for this man to be the leader of the new place. Now you don’t know who to trust anymore. It no longer feels safe here and it starts to feel less like home, but you have a family here, a life. There is nothing you can do. You are only a regular, working class person, trying to survive and keep your family safe and fed.

Imagine how this feels. Really feel it. REALLY feel it.

Because this is how immigrants are feeling right this second.

And this is how I, the wife of an immigrant and the mother of the child of an immigrant, am feeling right as I finish this blog post.

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Win a Free Copy of “A bit of Christmas”


Christmas is coming around the corner. It’s time to stock up. Why not buy a lovely set of Christmas short stories in the book “A bit of Christmas”? Only $10 for a signed copy. Even better, hop over to my Facebook Author page and win a chance at a free copy by commenting on my contest post.

“A bit of Christmas” was released last year, and my story, “Just Another Navidad” appears along with five other enjoyable short stories. If you’re not on Facebook, just comment below if you’d like a copy and we’ll figure something out. 🙂

I’m happy to mail the book to anyone who’d like a copy. It’s always good to start shopping early and beat the crowds!

Allison K. Garciaabitofxmas

Random Thoughts/Amazing Discoveries


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This has been a week for random realizations, thoughts, and “amazing discoveries” which if you know me or have seen me blog about my “amazing discoveries” before know that they are so amazing because it’s freakin’ amazing that I never realized them before! 🙂

  1. I am following a slightly non-specific recipe for baba ganouj. It says to bake eggplants in an oven with the skin on but doesn’t say for how long or what temperature, so I pick a neutral temp (375) and just leave them in there. Right after I check on them and think, they’re looking done. I close the oven door again and *POP* Apparently if you leave eggplant in the oven too long, they explode. Very very messily…Ever try to get baked on eggplant off an oven wall? I have! It doesn’t work great!
  2. My husband was watching “I Love Lucy” and suddenly there’s a scene with Ricky at the club where he’s talking to a bandmate or something. And, guess what…all that stuff isn’t random silly sounds as I thought as a child. He’s speaking Spanish! hahahah. I suppose this is the first time I’ve seen the show since being bilingual. As a kid it just sounded like blabber, like he was just stringing silly sounds together. But, hey, what do you know? Those silly sounds are the sounds of the foreign language known as Spanish. Amazing discovery: Ricky Ricardo speaks Spanish!
  3. I’m going for a walk with my son and on the side of the road in our neighborhood is a dead bird, just looking like it died of natural causes. I pause and think about how a baby squirrel fell out of tree in our yard and died the day before. I have a moment where I consider an epidemic whose first signs are small animals dying but then I think…there are a lot of squirrels and birds in the world…why don’t I see more of them dead? Like where do they go? What happens to all their tiny bodies? I mean, seriously, people…where are all the dead animals? There are thousands of birds and tiny rodents and other creatures in neighborhoods everywhere. What happens to them when they die? Do other animals eat them right away? Because I never seem to see dead animals. Do they hide somewhere before they die? This idea is totally freaking me out, so if someone is a scientist in this realm…please fill me in. Like, where are all the dead animals? Because right now I’m also considering a Truman Show scenario where someone didn’t do his job on the set cleaning up a dead bird…

*Mike drop*

Purple Pesto Pasta



I’ve made pesto twice this summer and I really enjoy experimenting with it. You can take the basic pesto ingredients (olive oil, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese) and mix in whatever extra you think might be yummy. I’ve added in almonds, spinach, and most recently beets! This is a great, super quick meal for when you run out of spaghetti sauce and want something easy. 

Well, I had some beets I cooked the other day and I thought…hmmmm…I wonder if I could add this to pasta and get a good flavor. Answer: yes!


It is healthier and baby and I loved it! (Hubby was a bit thrown by the purple color). Anyway, I am posting the recipe below. Enjoy!

Also if you make any pesto experiments, comment below! I’d love to try out some new stuff!


PURPLE PESTO PASTA

1 package of pasta of your choosing

2 cooked beets

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Handful of fresh basil

A few sprigs of fresh parsley

1 tbsp fresh oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

While pasta is cooking, gather ingredients together and blend in a food processor until a thick paste.

Drain pasta and mix in pesto while still hot. Enjoy!