Wednesday, December 30, 2015

GOODBYE 2015, HELLO 2016

In just a few days, this year will be ended and a new year will begin.
Do you make New Year's Resolutions? If so, want to share?

I don't make resolutions, as such,  but I do set goals.
I haven't written any yet, but I'm thinking  about them.
Something about better time management.
Also more "me" time. Like to read, to exercise more, and take more walks.
To play the piano more often and not to stress, especially over things I cannot control.
These are some ideas I'm considering.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Traditions

I love the holidays! My mother used to go all out on Christmas. Some of my fond memories include tons of presents underneath the Christmas tree. No matter how tight things were, Mom always made sure to make Christmas special for all seven of us kids.
Me and Mom during a 1960s Christmas

Swedish Roll Image: Photo courtesy of
Swedish Roll Image: Photo courtesy of
One big thing I remember though had to be how Mom stressed the importance of sharing with others out in the community that were less fortunate than us. One of the things she shared was her famous Swedish Tea Roll. The preparation would usually be an all-day event with her making the dough and letting it rise before rolling it out and adding all the yummy things like walnuts, cherries, and topping with icing.
Mom cooking up a storm
Mom cooking up a storm
Our neighbors across the street would also share some homemade tamales:
Mexican hot chocolate Image:
Mexican hot chocolate Image:
One year one of my friends from Mexico City had me over to help her made a batch of homemade tamales. It’s an all-day event but so worth it at the end!
We also had Mexican hot chocolate, pan dulce, sweet bread, and conchas too. 

Not only do we celebrate with food but our church has some lovely events that we enjoying attending every year. One is a choir production called Sing Noel.
Rick Denos of Mission Viejo and Brianna Hobbins of Trabuco Canyon hold the "baby Jesus", Claire Himber, in this year's Follow the Star event held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.  Photography by Kathleen Himber.
Rick Denos of Mission Viejo and Brianna Hobbins of Trabuco Canyon hold the “baby Jesus”, Claire Himber, in this year’s Follow the Star event held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Photography by Kathleen Himber.
Another one is a live nativity scene that is held in the back of our church meeting house. It’s usually cold (well, for So. California that is!) but I just love sitting outside and having the story behind the nativity reenacted.
Here’s a little backgrounder to our holiday tradition:
What are some of your holiday traditions? CROSSED-OUT-COVER
Kim Baccellia is the author of the YA paranormal Crossed Out.

Originally posted at

Friday, December 18, 2015

Puerto Rico - Land of Enchantment!

After way too many years, I finally went back to my roots - Puerto Rico!

I'd brought up the idea last year about doing a trip there to visit family and it be three generations of us girls. (My Mom, my daughter, and me!) Since we're all getting older, I figured this might be the last chance for something like this. And I wanted my daughter to learn more about where we all came from.

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean. It's small, only 100 X 50 miles, but chock full of culture and exotic foods and more! Better yet, you don't need a passport to go there. Puerto Rico (meaning Rich Port) is a property of the US - so while it might seem foreign, it's still part of the old US of A!

We spent a little over a week there, staying with my uncle. We drove all over the place. And like usual, I took a ton of pictures! heh heh. I'll share a few with you and also links to the albums in case you want to see more. (Albums have a slideshow feature!)

View from my uncle's porch. So awesome! He lives outside the city of Caguas

This is the beach at Luquillo. The colors of the water are gorgeous!

El Morro is an old Spanish fort in San Juan. A huge fort! Lots of history here.

San Juan has a section where all the roads are as they were in the past. Built from the weights carried in the ships as ballast once they came to port to fill up with goods from the island.

El Yunque (The Forest) is a protected rain forest. You will have never seen so much GREEN! :)

Have several more albums - Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park, Camuy Caves, Guajataca, Ponce, and Other.

Hope you get a chance to visit the island someday!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Advent/Countdown Calendars

I vaguely remember Advent calendars while growing up. These were calendars counting down the days to Christmas, and each day you would open the flap for that day and see the picture inside.

When Doctor Who returned to television, the BBC started in 2006 having Advent calendars counting down to the Christmas episode of Doctor Who. The name was later changed to Adventure calendars and had a variety of wallpaper downloads, interviews, puzzles, sneak peeks, and other advance info appearing each day. The previous years can still be viewed. The countdown is slightly confused this year, as the season (2015 series) hasn't ended yet. So this year the beginning of the Adventure calendar has interviews and advance promo pictures of the season finale. It can be found at

Diane Duane has a new release in her Young Wizards series coming out in February, but she has a self-published book out now. Her Advent calendar has snippets of dialog not used in one of the seasonal short stories. It can be found at

This sounds like a great idea for advance publicity for a book launch, so I'll keep that in mind for the future. Meanwhile, I'm just going to enjoy two great countdown calendars.

And one more Advent calendar, this time for cat lovers. Georgia Dunn, the artist who created the Breaking Cat News webcomic, has an Advent calendar of the Breaking Cat News crew in various holiday garb on her Facebook page.

Have you come across any interesting means of counting down via a calendar or similar structure?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


December has arrived. This year is almost over. Where did the months go? To end on a note of fun, here's a forthcoming book that promises fun stories, sad stories, and a lot of others in between.

Of course, I love cats. I have two and Tiger, my tabby, has a story in this anthology.
If you're a dog lover, Chicken Soup for the Soul, My Very Good, Very Bad Dog is due out the same time as the cat book. Both anthologies will be released Feb. 9, 2016. I'm looking forward to reading the tales of our fur babies.
Here's my Tiger. I wonder what he'll think when I read him his story. I hope Patches isn't jealous.
Patches says she's the best Christmas gift.
Also, the publisher and I are having a giveaway at Good Reads for an unproofed print review copy of my YA Novel Under a Purple Moon, due out March 15, 2016. I'm making corrections now. There are a few. How did the editor and I miss them? Here's the link.
Happy Reading.