February 14, 2019

HERE IS THE LOVE! INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR THERESA VARELA




HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY !


The Latina Book Club is doing mini interviews with Latino / Latinx authors about Latin Lovers, favorite couples, and best presents to give this week.  

We are pleased to welcome International Latino Book Awards winner Theresa Varela.  
She’s a Puerto Rican author from Brooklyn, NY.

 
Photo by Patricia Dorelles 


LBC:  Welcome, Theresa.  Valentine’s Day is upon us, and nothing says romance more than a Latin Lover, or does it?  What do you think of the Latin Lover— is he a Macho Man, Eye Candy or other?  

THERESA:  The terms Latin lover, Eye Candy, and Macho Man bring forth the vision of grainy black and white cinema. A rose between a swashbuckler’s teeth or the heaving cleavage of a voluptuous barmaid evoke fantasy and passion.  Rudolph Valentino did much in his day for the construction of the female ideology that escape of the doldrums of a dull life could only be accomplished by a man who strides in on a magnificent white stallion.  We love adventure and magic in our relationships and that can be achieved with stability, groundedness, and with an inner core of trust in our partners. We’re fortunate that old fashioned expectations of traditional male and female roles no longer apply to individuals and choice in their cocreation of love.


LBC:     Describe the ideal Lover— Latino or otherwise.  

THERESA:  Most of us yearn for intimacy, for a deep, and lasting love. Our ability to love at such depths has usually already been affected profoundly by our pasts. In Coney Island Siren, the words protagonist and antagonist aptly describe Maggie and Frank as partners in an often disturbing, yet compelling bond. The couple’s psychology is complex. Both bring to their relationship early experiences that have left indelible marks on their psyches, spirits, and souls. That’s not to say that these novel characters cannot strive to be idyllic lovers. Characters are like actors in a play that portray us, in our ultimate humanness. Isn’t ideal love only identified in the eyes of the loving beholder?


LBC:    Who’s your favorite couple and why?

THERESA:  I hope it’s not cheating to say that my spouse and I are my favorite couple. We’ve lasted many chapters and quite a few episodes of life together. Our early excitement and passion have bloomed into strong commitment, embracing and championing each other’s visions, and support of one another’s disappointments when those invariably occur. My adult children love her dearly. She is my grandson’s godmother. My father, who recently crossed over, loved her as a second daughter. Over the years we’ve learned to accept each other’s differences while celebrating our love all the time, not only on Valentine’s Day, although that is a great excuse for fun.

  
LBC:  What’s the best present to give your Valentine?

THERESA:  Valentine’s gifts should be symbolic of the relationship. When I was much younger, I longed for deep crimson teddy bears that wore tee-shirts declaring the sentiment of LOVE. As I’ve matured and my awareness of love has deeply ripened even the desire for a Valentine’s present has changed. There are years that my spouse and I discuss beforehand the limits or the expansiveness of the Valentine gift. Some lovers gift each other flowers, champagne, chocolates, or sexy underthings. At this point, I prefer the trust, confidence, and reciprocal love that I’ve come to cherish in my intimate relationship. A card, a dinner, with a little handholding, and deep commitment is celebrated any day of the year.


LBC:  Describe your novel, CONEY ISLAND SIREN, in 5 words.

THERESA:  Sensual, provocative, surreal, mystical, awakening!




The Latina Book Club thanks author Theresa Varela for participating in our Valentine’s Week Special.


BIO:   Award-winning Puerto Rican author Theresa Varela was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is the recipient of International Latino Book Awards for Covering the Sun with My Hand in 2015 and Nights of Indigo Blue: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery in 2016. Dr. Varela holds a PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development, and currently works with the mentally ill homeless population in New York City. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and a member of Las Comadres Para las Americas, and is on the Advisory Board of the Latina 50 Plus program. She is co-founder of La Pluma y La Tinta, a writers’ workshop. Her blog, LatinaLibations on Writing and All Things of the Spirit, can be found at www.theresavarela.com



#HappyValentinesDay

#HappyReading

#ReadLatinoLit



February 13, 2019

HERE IS THE LOVE! INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR CHRIS CAMPANIONI




Happy Valentine’s Week! 
The Latina Book Club is doing mini interviews with Latino / Latinx authors about Latin Lovers, favorite couples, and best presents to give this week.  

We are pleased to welcome award-winning author, model, poet, editor, and teacher Chris Campanioni.





LBC:  Welcome, Chris.  Valentine’s Day is upon us, and nothing says romance more than a Latin Lover, or does it?  What do you think of the Latin Lover— is he a Macho Man, Eye Candy or other?  

CHRIS:  I feel uncomfortable about prescribing to or even reproducing that cultural stereotype; however, when I think about romance, and about my background and experience, I tend to often equate love with food--the way to your loved one's heart, then, is through their mouth, the tongue, and into the belly. 


LBC:     Describe the ideal Lover— Latino or otherwise.  

CHRIS:  Someone curious and willing; someone open and considerate--they don't hesitate to take great leaps; they constellate around uncertainty and a certain silence. Perhaps most of all, someone who excites themselves with the miracle of every day.


LBC:    Who’s your favorite couple and why?

CHRIS:  My parents--duh! Everything I've learned about love--and so much more--has been through their own love and guidance.

  
LBC:  What’s the best present to give your Valentine?

CHRIS:  A book dedicated to them, written for them.


LBC:  Describe your novel, DRIFT, in 5 words.

CHRIS:  Time, memory, exile, death, excess.

 
King Shot Press

The Latina Book Club thanks author Chris Campanioni for participating in our Valentine’s Week Special.


BIO:  Chris Campanioni was born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey, the son of immigrants from Poland and Cuba. He is the author of the novel Going Down (Aignos, 2013), named the Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards. His poem “Transport (after ‘When Ecstasy is Inconvenient’)” was a finalist for the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize.  Campanioni’s hybrid works include the internet is for real (C&R Press, forthcoming 2019), Drift (King Shot Press, 2018), and the experimental memoir Death of Art (C&R Press, 2018). Campanioni’s work can include multimedia aspects, including the piece This body’s long (& I’m still loading), an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival in 2017.  Campanioni’s honors and awards include an Academy of American Poets College Prize. His creative writing, criticism, and journalism have appeared widely in journals such as Brooklyn Rail, Gulf Coast, DIAGRAM, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The editor of PANK, Tupelo Quarterly, and At Large magazinehe earned an MA from Fordham University and is currently a Provost Fellow and MAGNET Mentor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he is pursuing a PhD. He teaches at Pace University and Baruch College. Learn more about him at www.chriscampanioni.com. 



#HappyValentinesDay

#HappyReading

#ReadLatinoLit


  



February 12, 2019

HERE IS THE LOVE! INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR PRISCILLA OLIVERAS





Happy Valentine’s Week! 
The Latina Book Club is doing mini interviews with Latino / Latinx authors about Latin Lovers, favorite couples, and best presents to give this week.  

We are pleased to welcome USA Today Bestselling Author Priscilla Oliveras.  She is a double RITA Finalist.  The RITA is the Oscar for the romance industry.  (Congrats, Congrats, Priscilla!!)   Her novel, THEIR PERFECT MELODY, is book three in her Matched to Perfection series, about three sexy, sassy Puerto Rican sisters.  And we are looking forward to her new series from Kensington in 2020.


Photo by Michael A. Eaddy



LBC:  Welcome, Priscilla.  Valentine’s Day is upon us, and nothing says romance more than a Latin Lover, or does it?  What do you think of the Latin Lover— is he a Macho Man, Eye Candy or other?  

PRISCILLA:  Honestly, I tend to shy away from the idea of the “Latin Lover” because often it becomes more of a caricature. For me, the ideal Latino is a guy who speaks my language in many ways. Meaning, sure, our Spanglish conversations run the gamut from fun and games to serious and neither one of us is confused by the mix of words, but he also understands my commitment to familia and has just a touch of machismo evidenced by his dedication and desire to protect his loved ones without egoism involved. He knows how to make me feel special, cherished, and respected. Ooooh, and he can definitely hang with me on the dance floor. ;-) 


LBC:     Describe the ideal Lover— Latino or otherwise.  

PRISCILLA:  Wait, I think I jumped ahead in my response to question #1 and started answering this one, too. Like I said, my ideal lover understands and values the importance of knowing how to make me feel special, cherished, and respected. In and out of the bedroom. Of course, I’d expect the same from myself when it comes to how I treat him.


LBC:    Who’s your favorite couple and why?

PRISCILLA:  Real life couple? Michelle and Barack Obama, I love seeing them together. How they beautifully they interact with each other. To me, they epitomize how two individuals can achieve personal and professional success while maintaining a healthy, loving relationship and raising a family together, even while being under such an intense spotlight. They’re like a living romance novel: Conflict and bad things happen in life (in the story), but with the right partner beside you, you get through it and find your HEA or HFN. J


LBC:  What’s the best present to give your Valentine?

PRISCILLA:  Something that they’d like, which doesn’t necessarily mean something I’d want to receive. Gift giving involves thinking about the other person. Trying to please them. So, I look at it from their perspective, maybe even consider their love language, and see if I can figure out something they’d love to receive.


LBC:  Describe your novel, THE PERFECT MELODY, in 5 words.

PRISCILLA:  Rather than toot my own horn, I figured I’d share some of the descriptors used by reviewers when describing my novels: emotion-packed, culturally-rich, moving, welcoming, compelling.  (The Latina Book Club would like to add lovely.)


Zebra Books


The Latina Book Club thanks author Priscilla Oliveras for participating in our Valentine’s Week Special.

BIO:  Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, amongst others. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a devotee of the written word, Priscilla also considers herself a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at www.prisoliveras.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras or on Twitter and Instagram via @prisoliveras.



#HappyValentinesDay 

#HappyReading 

#ReadLatinoLit


February 11, 2019

HERE IS THE LOVE! INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JASMINNE MENDEZ




Happy Valentine’s Week!  
The Latina Book Club is doing mini interviews with Latino / Latinx authors about Latin Lovers, favorite couples, and best presents to give this week.   


We start with author Jasminne Mendez.  Her book, NIGHT-BLOOMING JASMIN(N)E: PERSONAL ESSAYS & POEMS, was released by Arte Publico Press last Spring, but it’s worth reading in every season.




LBC:  Welcome, Jasminne.  Valentine’s Day is upon us, and nothing says romance more than a Latin Lover, or does it?  What do you think of the Latin Lover— is he a Macho Man, Eye Candy or other?  

Jasminne:  I think the "Latin Lover" is kind of a myth and a stereotype. I think that Latin men have been shown on TV and the media as a passionate "lover" who can woo any woman and often has several lovers himself. I think that Latin men CAN be this but they can also be so much more or not this at all and still be wonderful, caring partners. While I think the stereotypical Latin lover can be sexy and nice eye candy, I'm not sure he'd make a great partner and that to me is more important than sex appeal. 


LBC:     Describe the ideal Lover— Latino or otherwise.  

JASMINNE:  The ideal lover to me is someone who is kind, gentle, compassionate and true. He should listen and respond to your needs both in the bedroom and outside of it. He knows how to romance you the way you want to be romanced. He knows your likes and dislikes, what brings you pleasure and joy. He's attentive and finds you beautiful with or without your clothes on. :) (Basically my husband Lupe is my ideal and I'm super lucky to have him.)


LBC:    Who’s your favorite couple and why?

JASMINNE:  My favorite couple is probably Chrissy Tiegan and John Legend. Because they remind me a lot of me and my husband. They keep it real with each other and are each other's biggest cheerleaders. They support one another and have a good sense of humor when things don't go as planned. I love that they "play fight" on Twitter like me and Lupe do. It's nice to see a couple who doesn't take themselves too seriously. 


LBC:  What’s the best present to give your Valentine?

JASMINNE:  I used to be all about giving people "things" but as I've gotten older I think the best presents involve experiences. Giving the gift of something you and the other person can do together to create memories is what I think is really special. Get tickets to a favorite band/singer, go see a play, ballet, or symphony, go to a festival or weekend event that you wouldn't normally go to, or take a weekend trip to a bed and breakfast in the country. Taking the time to plan something that will give you time together and create memories is the best gift in my opinion. 


LBC:  Describe your novel, NIGHT-BLOOMING JASMIN(N)E in 5 words.

JASMINNE:  Survival. Strength. Family. Love. Identity. ♥

Arte Publico Press


The Latina Book Club thanks author Jasminne Mendez for participating in our Valentine’s Week Special. 


BIO:  Jasminne Mendez is a Latino Book Awards -First Place Award Winning Author, poet, educator and performer. After selecting her work for the 2018 Cogzine Poetry Prize, Major Jackson described her as a poet who "possesses a sense of the poem as sacrament and language hammered into song."  And of her newest book Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays & Poetry, Willie Perdomo says: "Jasminne Mendez is a gift...this book is a beautiful achievement, a lasting testament to a spirit that emerged bruised, scarred but alive and ready to sing."  She is a writing community organizer and InkWell podcast host with Tintero Projects, and she works tirelessly to amplify the voices of Afro-Latinx poets and writers on her Plátano Poetry Cafe blog. Visit her at www.jasminnemendez.com and follow her @jasminnemendez.



#HappyValentinesDay 

#HappyReading 

#ReadLatinoLit



February 8, 2019

FEBRUARY BOOKS ROUNDUP


       
  
I write to find out what I’m thinking.
I write to find out who I am.
I write to understand things.
            ---Julia Alvarez


We read to understand things as well.  Every month, The Latina Book Club will do a Books Roundup to highlight books by Latino Authors or books with Latino themes.  We will include as many books and genres as we can.  We invite all readers to check out the books listed below, and share them with other readers.

This month, we recognize and congratulate Debut Authors Aida Salazar and Thelor Kay Mejia on their new releases.  We look forward to reading more from them.

If we have missed books, we apologize.  We would be happy to expand the list; just send us your book release information.  Email us at latinabookclub@aol.com.

Happy Reading!   And as always, #ReadLatinoLit !



FEBRUARY RELEASES



DEBUT AUTHOR

THE MOON WITHIN
By Aida Salazar
Arthur A. Levine Books
Children’s Books
**A lovely coming-of-age story told in poems about a young girl who’s experiencing lots of firsts.




DEBUT AUTHOR

WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE
By Tehlor Kay Mejia
Katherine Tegen Books
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adults, LGBT
**A daring fantasy about a society wife-in-training who is recruited by rebel spies and falls hard for her biggest rival.



  
CRASHING INTO HER: LOVE ON CUE

Mia Sosa
Avon Impulse
Romance
**Set in L.A. Perpetual bachelor meets firecracker of a woman who rocks his world.



LETY OUT LOUD
By Angela Cervantes
Scholastic Press
Children’s Books
Spanish edition – LETY ALZA SU VOZ – releases in June 2019!
**A sweet middle grade tale of two kids learning the value of teamwork.



LOVE SUGAR MAGIC:  A SPRINKLE OF SPIRITS
By Anna Meriano
Walden Pond Press
Children’s Books
**Young Leonora torn between being a good bruja or a good friend.



SOARING EARTH
By Margarita Engle
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Children’s Books – Teens
**A touching memoir of a young Margarita Engle straddling two worlds -- Cuba and Los Angeles.





#READLATINOLIT



Attention Authors!  
Email The Latina Book Club your book release information to be added to the 
monthly Books RoundUp.  Email us at latinabookclub@aol.com.