Posted in Anaheim, General Travel Information, Travel, Travel Tips, Uncategorized, Unique Getaways, What's Up With Maria, on 18 April 2014, by , 0 Comments

Park EntranceMore than 15 Million people visit Disneyland a year and last week, I was one of them!

Disneyland, the first of all the Disney parks opened in July of 1955, and it was a disaster! The park really wasn’t ready to open, tickets were copied and too many people were let into the park. Opening day was memorable all right, the park ran out of food and the Mark Twain riverboat nearly capsized.

Today we see a much different Disneyland. The 85-acre theme park is made of eight lands which carry you through time, from the early 1900’s in New Orleans Square all the way to the future that is Tomorrowland. Be sure to visit all eight as you experience a different adventure in each. Here’s a glimpse into them:

Main Street USA – Just like the main streets of old. Take your time to stroll through the various shops and eateries. Be on the look-out for the horse drawn carriage, you don’t want to get run over. For you coffee lovers, Market House will refill your coffee throughout the day, just be sure to hang on to your original receipt.

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Posted in Anaheim, Books, Recipes, Uncategorized, What's Up With Maria, on 6 December 2012, by , 0 Comments

Looking for a holiday themed book to take with you on your holiday travels? I recommend Holiday Grind, first holiday themed book from the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle.

After a holiday event at the Village Blend coffeehouse, Manager Clare Cosi goes looking for her customer and friend who never showed up.  Alfred Glockner, one of New York’s Traveling Santa never did arrive to play Santa this year. With concern for her friend Clare attempts to track him down only to discover him gunned down in a nearby alley. Knowing there is more to the crime than a mugging gone badly; Clare sets out, on her own to find out what happened to Alfred.  Clues and leads are discovered at every turn along with running the Village Blend.

This book is truly a fun read.  Including everything one would want to know about coffee and recipes for all of the goodies mentioned in the book.

Whether you are traveling near or far this holiday season consider sharing Clare’s Mini Red and Green Holiday Biscotti (featured in Holiday Grind) with your family and friends.

Enjoy the recipe!

P.S. Here’s an additional recipe for high protein oatmeal raisin cookies.

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Posted in Anaheim, Authors, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Uncategorized, What's Up With Maria, on 31 July 2012, by , 12 Comments

The Romance Writers of America conference was AMAZING! Not only did I get to sit in on and moderate incredible panels, I got to meet some of my favorite authors, too! And the literacy fundraiser was a complete success raising over $50,000 for three Orange County charities:  ProLiteracy Worldwide, Read OC, and Literacy Volunteers – Huntington Valley.

I’m a die-hard sports fan and got to meet Jaci Burton who pens the Play-By-Play series sports romance books for football, baseball, and hockey. Her newest football book, Playing to Win, comes out September 4th.

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Posted in Anaheim, Authors, Uncategorized, Unique Getaways, What's Up With Maria, on 24 July 2012, by , 0 Comments

As I’m getting ready to head off to Anaheim for the annual Romance Writers of America conference I’m thinking, how lucky am I! Four days of fun with some of my favorite authors and introductions to many new ones. (Well, not new necessarily, but new to me.)

This is both a blessing and a curse! I already have an extensive list of titles on my to-be-read list and I’m about to add even more. My new challenge: scheduling time to read them all. This is a good thing, right?

How would you like to join me in meeting some fantastic romance writers? If you live in Southern California and have Wednesday evening (7/25) open, let’s meet up at the Anaheim Convention Center. Here you’ll have access to over 400 romance writers and you’ll be supporting literacy charities at the same time! Here’s a link to the authors attending.  You will want to print out the layout map so you know where your favorites are signing.

Come on now, don’t be shy. Have you seen (and read) the Huffington Post article Why Smart Women Read Romance Novels?

On that note, I’m off to pack. Hope to see you there!

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Posted in Anaheim, Authors, Theme Vacations, Uncategorized, on 4 July 2012, by , 0 Comments

The Romance Writers of America Annual Conference is taking place in Anaheim, CA in just three weeks! Being a newbie attendee, and not knowing what to expect, I got onto twitter and asked. I was amazed and overwhelmed by the number of responses.

Here are 10 great tips I received from veteran writers:

  1. Introduce yourself to everyone! (Dee Davis)
  2. Get a copy of the scheduled panels and workshops in advance and figure out your game plan ahead of time. (Kat Mancos)
  3. Don’t be shy about talking to people. Who knows? You might make a life-ling friend this way. (Sandra Schwab)
  4. Be friendly, have snacks in your bag, plan downtown because it gets overwhelming. Have fun! (Lauren Dane)
  5. Make sure all your shoes are well broken in before the conference. (Tanya Michaels)
  6. Newbie RWA Advice: Volunteer! You’ll make friends. And don’t try to do everything, pick and choose wisely. (Lynne Silver)
  7. Don’t overbook yourself. Best experiences happen random (and in the bar)! (Isobel Carr)
  8. Be sure to attend the First Timer Orientation…room full of first time attendees like yourself. (Romance Writers of America)
  9. Stay away from perfumes or strong scents…flares up allergies. (Denise Pattison)
  10. Extra bags come in handy for the book signings. (Sandra Schwab)

Thanks ladies for all the great advice. I’m putting them to use and look forward to meeting all of you in person at the conference!

Also, for those of you not attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference, and are in Southern California, be sure to come by the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday, July 25th from 5-8pm for the Readers for Life Literacy Autographing Signing to meet some of your favorite romance writers, get pictures and autographs and support a great charity!

If you attend, come find me and say hello!

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Posted in Anaheim, Authors, Comic Con, New Orleans, San Diego, Theme Vacations, Uncategorized, on 20 June 2012, by , 6 Comments

With hockey season over, this summer is starting off the right way, with lots of books. Yes, I’m an avid reader and this summer, not only do I have more time to read, but I get to hang out with a lot of great authors, too! Let the Summer of Authors begin.

I kicked off my Summer of Authors Monday night with Richelle Mead at her book signing for The Golden Lily here in Santa Monica, and so thankful, too, as it almost didn’t happen. While in the middle of a seven city tour, she caught a bug and her son broke his arm. Ah, the life of a working (author) mother! But I digress…

A brief recap:  Richelle opened her session by greeting her fans then reading a scene from her new book The Golden Lily, where characters Sydney and Adrian are preparing to take a self-defense class in Palm Springs. The fans were captivated, myself included. She then took the time to answer fan questions before signing books and posing for pictures. I love how personable and approachable she is!

And to know her work a bit better, Richelle Mead is known for the Georgina Kincaid Series, Dark Swan Series, Vampire Academy Series, and Bloodlines Series. For more information about her, check out her website at

The rest of June seems to be a quite month, only one more signing to see Leigh Bardugo in Redondo Beach. July will be filled with Comic-Con in San Diego and the National Romance Writers of America Conference in Anaheim. August will be fun as well as I’m attending Authors After Dark in New Orleans.

Look for additional updates throughout the summer!

Who are your favorite authors? And, what questions would you like to ask them?

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