I’ve Received the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I’m really excited about my reason for finally updating: I’ve been nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!


How awesome is that award? Fellow blogger, Goodreads pal, Twitter friend, and all-around kickass writer Sara Letourneau was kind enough to pass this award on to me last week when she was nominated. She also nominated me for a Liebster Award a while back, but I never posted about it since I already have one (still, it’s pretty awesome to have a second nomination, and I’m considering keeping a tally on my Awards & Badges page. Thanks, Sara!)

Sara’s a fantastic blogger with a lot of great insight about writing, and I recommend you check her site out immediately. Not just saying that because she’s a friend or because she nominated me; I look forward to her posts, especially those that detail her novel-writing journey! She also reblogged my last post, Should Authors Write Negative Book Reviews?, which brought a lot of readers and lively discussion to my page, so I guess I just have buckets of thanks to give.

But before this post gets too long—seriously, do I have any concept of brevity?—I should probably continue with the award acceptance. Here are the rules for accepting the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

  1. Announce your win with a post, and link to whomever presented your award.
  2. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post.
  5. Display the award certificate on your website.

All easy enough. So, onward! Here are my 7 interesting(ish?) things:

  1. I’m on a “fitness journey” of sorts. Earlier this year, I decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start obtaining the level of health and fitness I’ve always wanted. I geared up with a fitness buddy, my now-boyfriend, who really kicked me into shape and kept me motivated. There may or may not have been quite a few cursing sessions at the gym, but thankfully, he was good-humored enough to laugh it off and push me further. I now lift twice per week, run 3 times per week, and run the occasional 5k and mud run. I’ve lost 12 pounds and I’m starting to see some slight muscle gains, which is awesome! I’ve also recently become obsessed with hiking, which is my new favorite activity for fall and spring weekends.
    11800521_10207735392645445_322350134268291493_n 11137171_10208207842016384_4008289971644002938_n
  2. I adore cooking and baking (and I’m obsessed with food). “I’m a foodie” is a statement that basically anyone can apply to themselves with some level of accuracy (who doesn’t love food?), but there are no words for the happiness that cooking, baking, meal prepping, and just gazing at mouthwatering recipes on Pinterest and Instagram bring me. Nutrition is a huge part of my fitness journey, so if I didn’t enjoy it, I’d have a pretty hard time reaching my goals. Here is my Pinterest, where you can find my crazy-organized recipe boards (and, yes, a few writing boards as well)!
  3. I’m lucky enough to travel quite often. From what I can recall, I’ve been to Disney in Orlando twice, the Dominican Republic three times, Bahamas twice, and Hawaii, Bermuda, Ireland, Italy, and Greece once each. Have my sights set on London & Scotland next, but need a bit of a break from international travel for the sake of my savings account. Still, I hope to make it to the West Coast for the first time ever this upcoming year.
  4. I’m ahead of my Goodreads reading challenge goal! I’m only ahead by 3 books, and my goal is only 24, but that’s still a huge improvement for me. In college, I didn’t have much personal reading time while I worked on all my assignments, so I’d read only a handful of books per year. Then I started working full-time and just decided I didn’t have enough time to read often, which was seriously detrimental to my writing. This year was a test for me—2 books per month—not because I’m that slow of a reader, but because I need to re-learn how to prioritize things that I enjoy but often fall to the wayside. I’m hoping to surpass my goal by reading 30 books by the end of the year, and then next year, I’m bumping that number up even further!
  5. I have a cat, a bearded dragon, and a betta fish.10849875_10205828322049872_7967055442715317363_n

    I’ve always loved pets and have had 2 golden retrievers, multiple fish, 2 hamsters, a parakeet, a frog, a parrot, and an anole lizard in the past. My dream is to have a female pitt bull and a male dalmatian named Reggie and Otto (shout-out to my fellow 90s kids who get that reference!). In fact, my childhood obsession with the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians led me to name my black and white spotted kitten Pongo.

11951287_10207969557099410_4396820522804667060_nHe’s a terror, but I love him.

  1. I discovered my love for writing through anime fanfiction. I used to spend HOURS of my time on Fanfiction.net after a friend of mine got me into Yu Yu Hakusho when I was around 13-14. Reading others’ fanfiction turned into writing my own, and from there, I started branching out and writing original stories on Fanfiction.Net’s sister site, FictionPress. My first couple of stories were insanely cheesy and terribly written, but they sparked that passion and love for writing that eventually led to pursuing a career in it.
  2. My dream is to write from home on the coast, somewhere warm like California, in a house of my own. Said house needs to have a nice kitchen and, of course, an office chock full of novels, writing manuals, and other inspiration. 😉

That was a whole lot of me, so it’s time to share the love. Here are the 15 bloggers I nominate for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

  1. Faye Kirwin for her website Writerology, which is a huge asset to any writer looking to connect with their characters and make writing a habit.
  2. Taylor Eaton, who writes some of the most magical flash fiction I’ve ever read.
  3. Mazie Bishop, our contributor over at The Sprint Shack, who is insanely creative and inspiring.
  4. Ryan’s Book Review, because I’ve always been impressed with the variety and frequency of his reviews.
  5. Raychel Rose, a Goodreads buddy, who has great taste in books and just published her debut novel, Psychopomp. Congrats, Raychel!
  6. Taylor Leigh D’amico. A while back on Twitter, we discovered we’re essentially the same person: [tweet 593569033326178305 hide_thread=’false’]
  7. Katie O’Shea – she’s a Pitch Wars 2015 mentee, not to mention one of the co-founders of the awesome #WriteFit! Her occasional check-ins on Twitter keep me accountable.
  8. Ann Marjory K, other #WriteFit buddy whose tweets keep me inspired.
  9. Jessi Esparaza, Katie’s co-founder for #WriteFit who—you guessed it—also holds me accountable (seriously, thanks ladies!)
  10. Cait Reynolds—because I adore her novel Downcast, her adorable pooch Denny, and her witty humor on Facebook.
  11. Sarah Kettles, because she did so much amazing work on Summer Nights and helped get it out to the world!
  12. Marie Hogebrandt, a fellow Summer Nights author, whose imaginative site Smaty hosts her unique “Viking historical fiction and contemporary magical realism inspired by Scandinavian folklore (including the Norse gods).”
  13. Sean Burkett – he hasn’t blogged in some time, but I enjoyed reading his work and I hope this encourages him to come back to us. 😉
  14. Blaise @ The Book Boulevard . I just recently found her site when discussing book reviews, and love it! It’s not just limited to book reviews, but has other posts including writing advice, discussions, and personal updates.
  15. Speaking of bookish sites, I have to nominate The Book Geek. I doubt they display awards like this, but those amazing and talented reviewers deserve the mention anyway.

Phew… that’s a lot of linking in a very long post. I’m going to cut it off here to avoid losing anyone (if I haven’t already!), but just want to say again, THANK YOU Sara! 🙂 I’m off to alert everyone to their nomination and update my Awards & Badges page.

Until next time!



  1. Yay! This was fun to read, Cristina. I think i t’s awesome that you’ve made fitness a big priority in your life, and you’ve taken active steps to keeping it that way.

    FOOOOOOD. I also like food. Cooking, baking, and summoning my bravery once in a while to try something new – yup. 😀 I don’t do a lot of big cooking or baking except during the holidays or when I have company over (I live by myself), but it’s one of my favorite things about being independent.

    I remember Pongo! It’s been a long, long time since I last saw 101 Dalmatians, but I remember his name for sure. 😉 And beta fish are beautiful. Very solitary, too; they can be vicious if you have other fish in the tank. (I think it’s recommended NOT to have two beta fish in one tank at the same time, right?)

    1. Yup, you’re right! They’ll maul each other to death if you house them together. That also seems to be the case with Pongo and Slim (the beardie), ha! Pongo seems to think he’s a chew toy…

      And thank you! Healthier eating and regular exercise have made a huge difference in my life. Now if only I can prioritize my writing the same way. 😉

      1. 😮 I hope Slim isn’t too scared of Pongo then! How does he react to that?

        It’s a balancing act, that’s for sure. I probably place too much emphasis on the creativity part. I go for a walk during my lunch breaks, but can never seem to muster enough energy to get out of bed early on the weekends for the same exercise. :/

      2. Slim definitely gets nervous so I just keep them separated. Since he stays in a tank most of the time it’s pretty easy, although I feel bad that he’s so cooped up (I used to let him run around the house for like an hour a day before Pongo started running the place!)

        It’s definitely hard to get up in the mornings but I’ve found I’m so much better off. If I can just roll out of bed and avoid the temptation of the snooze button, the rest is easy. I also work out harder in the morning because I’m not fatigued from a full work day! Plus, starting the day with exercise gives me so much more energy and makes me feel much more positive throughout the day.

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