Classic! Eydie Gormé & Trio Los Panchos

Eydie Gorme Los Panchos

Sharing songs (video below) from my favorite Spanish language album, straight out of my childhood – Eydie Gormé and Trio Los Panchos. The first two songs are Piel Canela and Sabor a Mí followed by Granada. This style of music takes me back to my carefree kid-life. These days, I am in a 70s show band, mostly as a back-up singer on cover songs. It’s a completely new experience for me and so much fun.
In honor of my love of music, I’ve written a children’s picture book, tentatively titled, The Music in My Heart, about a ten year old girl who wants to become a mariachi. Hope to see it published in 2018/2019.
2 years ago I published a post titled, Music for the Mexican Soul, also featuring Trio Los Panchos. I just love these guys!

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Pan Dulce – Sweeeet! Or is It?

pan dulce

I am similar to most of you in that memories of my childhood are filled with, well … food, food, food! For a typical rushed breakfast it was cinnamon toast, cereal, Pop Tarts or instant oatmeal.

But, Mexican food made for the best breakfasts and family time: chorizo con huevo, chilaquiles, papas con huevo and taquitos with machacado and pico de gallo to name a few. My Tía Bacilia made us homemade flour tortillas the size of a dinner plate, and we’d slather them in butter.

One breakfast item mentioned a few times in Evangelina Takes Flight is pan de dulce (sweet bread). Evangelina’s favorite (and my own) are maranitos, similar to gingerbread only shaped like palm-sized pigs.

Pan de dulce, in my opinion, is somewhat of a misnomer, because compared to American breakfast pastries, Mexican sweet bread is not all that sweet. Perfect with morning coffee. Don’t get me wrong though. I do enjoy a good apple fritter or Bavarian cream doughnut.

Tía Bacilia’s house in Brownsville, TX was right down the street from a panaderia (bakery). Some mornings, my brothers and I would walk there and return with a couple bags stuffed with fresh pan de dulce, enough for everyone in the house. Tía would serve it with fresh fruit such as pineapple, mango, papaya, canteloupe or watermelon.

Want to try making maranitos yourself? I’m going to give this recipe a go but have to buy the pig cookie cutter first.

Cookie cutter:







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Winner NACCS Tejas Young Adult Fiction Award

tejas foco
Evangelina Takes Flight  has been selected for the 2018 *NACCS Tejas Foco Young Adult Fiction Award. My heart is filled with gratitude. Thank you to the NACCS selection committee. I am proud and humbled by this honor.
The committee’s comments are as follows:
Noble’s compelling debut novel follows the life of a young Mexicana as she and her family escape the uncertainty and violence of the Mexican Revolution into a segregated Texas. It is through Noble’s deeply poetic writing and deft depiction of 1910’s borderlands that we see the indignities of war, racism, and discrimination; but it is Noble’s humanizing point of view through the eyes of a girl that we witness the hopes, love, and dreams inherent in any people engaging in the difficulties of a diaspora.
Evangelina Takes Flight bravely tackles the topic of how little dignity and acceptance the United States often affords immigrants escaping violence, an issue that continues to haunt us to this day.
The *National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) is the academic organization that serves academic programs, departments and research centers that focus on issues pertaining to Mexican Americans, Chicana/os, and Latina/os.
The NACCS Tejas Foco Fiction & Young Adult Fiction Awards recognize outstanding works of fiction that best represent a significant topic related to the Mexican American and/or Chicanx experience in Texas.
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That’s the thing about life …

Wow, a friend just posted this on FB, and I had to share. It’s perfectly relevant to my previous post titled Conscious Endeavor.


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Conscious Endeavor


I’m heading to Charleston, SC this week to teach a class I’ve been teaching for 21 years – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The habits are based on timeless and universal principles such as responsibility, accountability, commitment, purpose, integrity, fairness and respect. They provide concepts and tools to see things and behave differently, in ways that align with your core values and most important life priorities. If you’ve never read the book by Stephen Covey, I highly recommend it.

I’d like to share some of the key concepts in The 7 Habits with you because of the profound impact they’ve had on me and many of the students who’ve taken my class. Rather than overwhelm you with too much information, I’ll share key points from one Habit at a time.

BTW, concepts in HABIT 1 show up in Evangelina Takes Flight in the form of the life lessons Abuelito shares with Evangelina and the choices she makes at the end of the story.

HABIT 1, BE PROACTIVE, is the habit of personal responsibility. It’s the 1st Habit because it’s the foundation for all the other Habits. It’s based on the principles of choice and responsibility. In essence, Habit 1 says:

You are free to choose your actions and are responsible for the results you get.

You have a choice in everything you do – how you react to circumstances and people and what actions (large and small) you take. Many of us fall into finger pointing mode … at someone or something, when things don’t go our way.

“It’s how I was raised.”

“My career is stalled, because my manager won’t support me.”

“I scream at my kids, because they push my buttons.”

“With work and all my kids’ activities, I’m stressed and have no time for myself.”

What choices could one make to have a positive impact on the situations above? Yes, there are certain things a person cannot change or influence, but there are always things a person CAN influence. How could a person with the problems described above be part of their own solution?

Your life is a diary of the choices you’ve made. Do they reflect your values and most deeply held desires? How does your diary read? Is your story turning out to be everything you always dreamed?

I LOVE good quotes – ones that inspire and/or make you think deeply. Here are a few HABIT 1 quotes:

We do not suddenly become what we cooperate in becoming.” William J Bennett

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” Henry David Thoreau

“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice, it is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Stephen R Covey

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi




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2017 Author Highlights, Challenges & New Adventures

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Happy New Year to you and yours!

It’s been one heck of a year for this rookie author. Evangelina Takes Flight was published May 31. Ever since, it’s been a whirlwind of learning, excitement, new friends, family connections and hope for what’s to come.

In addition to the book launch events in Mill Creek, WA, Laredo, TX and Houston, TX, I attended 2 book festivals where I met fellow authors Sarah Rafael García, Francisco Stork, Guadalupe McCall, David Bowles, Tillie Walden, Natalia Sylvester, Alexandra Díaz, Olga Campos Benz and Cory Putman Oakes, among others.

I also met some wonderful youth readers of Evangelina Takes Flight – the ultimate inspiration and reminder of why I started this journey over 7 years ago.

Also in 2017, I started shopping around for an agent for my women’s fiction, Call Girl. Here’s a brief description:

Motherhood and work/life imbalance hit Julia Navarro-Nilsson like a smack upside the head with a fully loaded diaper bag.

Frazzled, depressed and short on money, she returns to work as a call center manager at the daily newspaper expecting a well-deserved promotion and better pay. Instead, she finds herself juggling mommy-guilt, daycare drop-off and pick-up, an electric breast pump machine the size of Rhode Island, angry customers, oddball employees and an incompetent, skirt-chasing boss.

After being denied the promotion under suspicious circumstances, she unwittingly uncovers pieces of a salacious corporate scandal that could, if exposed, ruin her career or take it to new heights.

I thought finding an agent for this book would be smoother and quicker than with my first book, but here I am, still working it! As I said in a previous post, authorship is not for the impatient, easily offended or quick to quit.

Call Girl tackles serious subjects with wit and honesty. I’m confident it’s only a matter of time before I find the right representation.

In the meantime, I’ve written a picture book for young readers, tentatively titled, The Music in My Heart. It’s being reviewed by my publisher now. The concept? A young girl in the mid-1970s refuses to listen to those who say a girl can’t become a mariachi.

I LOVE traditional Mexican music, and this story is so up my alley! It truly does reflect the music in my heart. Fingers crossed it’ll come to be in 2018.

In gratitude to those who’ve supported me this year,


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Holiday Traditions Around the World (Caroling with a Dead Horse Anyone?)

Night of the Radishes

Found this article and thought it was too fun not to share. My favorite? It’s a tie between “Night of the Radishes” and “Caroling with a Dead Horse.”

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