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Showing posts from August, 2010


   TELENOVELA, Outskirts Press, January 2009 Q:   Tell us about yourself. What is your job when you are not writing? I was born in Kingsville, Texas, but was raised in my hometown of Pasadena, California. I was actually born in the same hospital as my mother, author Thelma T. Reyna. I’m a sixth-generation American of Hispanic descent. My cultural heritage includes Spanish, Irish, Scotch, Mexican and Native American roots. My ancestors include a New Yorker in General Zachary Taylor’s army who married a Mexican war bride, and a Spanish immigrant who fought for the Mexican Army on the opposing side during the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48. When I am not writing, I serve the citizens of Pasadena as a 17-year-veteran police officer of the Pasadena Police Department. For the last 3 ½ years I have been on the Homeless Outreach-Psychiatric Evaluation (HOPE) Team, a law enforcement mental health crisis team. I am also the founder and chairman of the Pasadena Mental Health Advisory Committe

FAST GIRLS & JUICY MANGOS (includes book trailer)

   Women like sex. We do, whether we say so in public or not, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. Women like sex. And, the next best thing to having sex is reading about it. But, we don’t just say we are reading about sex, we read….erotica. Erotica. The word itself is titillating and sensual. The books are even hotter. Take for example, FAST GIRLS: EROTICA FOR WOMEN , edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press, 2010). It’s a wonderful collection of short stories about women in control of their bodies and their beds. These “Fast Girls” are confident and unafraid of taking sex by the balls, pun intended. And, Latinas also like sex, like erotica. Hell, we are synonymous with sex. Think Rita Hayworth, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Mendes and Zoe Saldana.  Latinas have always been seen as sultry, sexy and sensual. That’s us. And we have the erotica collection to prove it. JUICY MANGOS: EROTICA COLLECTION , edited by Michelle Herrera Mulligan (Atria Books, 2007), cont


               " A short story cannot be poorly written and survive." -- Thelma Reyna     Q:   Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing? I was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas. I'm a 4th generation American with most of my roots in Texas, where my relatives still live. I moved with my husband and son (Vic, when he was a baby) to California after grad school. We've lived in Pasadena, CA ever since. I also have a daughter, Christine, who lives in Chicago. When I'm not writing, which is rare, I pursue other interests. I took early retirement from public school administration five years ago to do three things: (1) teach at a university, (2) start my own business in something I love, and (3) write books. I've been fortunate to do all three. I teach graduate education at California State University, Los Angeles. I also own a writing consultancy called The Writing Pros, in which I work one-on-one with adults on their professional w


     “We slipped into this country like thieves, unto the land that once was ours.” “People don’t understand miracles. They expect too much from them. Sometimes, a miracle is best when it is you that sees, and God that knows.” THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK Brando Skyhorse Free Press, 2010 THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK is not so much about the immigrant experience, as it’s about finding and holding onto the American Dream. Skyhorse’s characters are already in America. The old country has been left in the past; now, their only focus is to make a place, a home for themselves in this new land, a land that was “once theirs.” The story is told in vignettes – quick peeks into the lives of the people of Echo Park. A Madonna MTV video makes the L.A. neighborhood famous; a drive by shooting makes it infamous. The stories are interconnected and revolve around the Esperanza family, as they struggle to fit into the community and into society as a whole. There’s Hector, an illegal all his lif


I met Stephanie years ago in New York City when her first book, AROUND THE BLOC, came out.  It was the first book of my monthly Latina Book Club.  She came and spoke to our group, and blew us away.  I have never met a more charismatic person.  I wanted to follow her on her adventures right then and there, but I couldn't -- life, love, work, no dinero .  So now I join Stephanie's adventures from my armchair.  ---mcf Q:   Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? How are you getting all these grants to travel and write? I am from Corpus Christi, Texas (or, as I prefer to call it, Corpitos), but much of my life has been spent on the road. (My great-great Uncle Jake was a hobo who saw America with his legs dangling over the edge of a freight train, so wanderlust is encoded in my DNA!) My journey began in 1992, when I attended a high school journalism conference in Washington DC that featured a keynote by a rockstar foreign correspondent for CNN. He had covered the fall of


          Toni Plummer has been at Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin's Press, for six years. As Associate Editor, she acquires and edits books in various genres and for all imprints. Toni has many authors in her stable (an industry term), including several Latino authors. Though Thomas Dunne Books and St. Martin's Press do not have a Latino line per sé , Toni is looking for new Latino authors that will fit in any of their genres. (She acquires more mysteries than anything else, but also literary and commercial women’s fiction, and nonfiction.) "My mother is from Mexico, and I like reading about the Latino experience in the U.S." she explains. "I want to find new Latino voices." And so Toni spreads the word to agents and attends conferences and book festivals like the Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival, the largest in the country. Toni is delighted to see Latinos writing not just literary fiction, but also mysteries, romance, fan


                                                                 5th ANNUAL Mark your calendars....Sunday, September 12, 2010. It's the 5th Annual Brooklyn Book Festival.  The Festival is sponsored by Brooklyn Tourism and the Brooklyn Literary Council.  Our friend Marcela Landres is a member of the Council and editor of Latinidad, a newsletter for Latino authors. The Festival will have 200 authors, 175 bookstores, hundreds of vendors and delicious food in one of New York's most beautiful boroughs....Brooklyn.   Join us! Here's their press release.... This is the fifth anniversary of the renowned Brooklyn Book Festival , a free, literary celebration that showcases more than 200 national and international authors in readings and panel discussions as well as 175 booksellers, publishers, presses and organizations in an outdoor literary marketplace. The festival is a premier literary event in New York City, with more than 30,000 attendees from around the world.


       “The reviewer’s duty is to the reader first." From THE SLIPPERY ART OF BOOK REVIEWING    THE SLIPPERY ART OF BOOK REVIEWING By Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards Twilight Times Books I have been a book reviewer for 15+ years. I have reviewed books for Publisher’s Weekly , the Author’s Guild, Dorchester Publishing and Somos Padres/We are Parents (a now defunct local Queens bilingual newspaper). I still review for Romantic Times and now The Latina Book Club. When I started reviewing, all I had was a love of reading, a need to share my opinion of books and a hot pen. There were no reference guides like THE SLIPPERY ART OF BOOK REVIEWING. Often, the editor would just hand me an old review and ask me to duplicate the format. After a few years, a couple of the publications settled on a preferred style and I got a notice asking me to change to the new format. I learned by trial and error. Book reviewers today can be better prepared if they study THE SLIPPERY ART OF


        “You can’t get anywhere unless you can engage the reader with a compelling character in a recognizable situation.” --- Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa Q:   Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? About your "day job"? I was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and raised in New York City, mostly the Bronx. But I go back to the island often as my roots are firmly planted there, although my daily reality is still in the Bronx. Luckily for me, I am a full time fiction writer now. But before I retired in 2004, I was a NYC English teacher and Young Adult librarian. Q:   Tell us about the book. How did you get the idea for DAUGHTERS OF THE STONE? Why a saga? Where did the stone come from? Did your story begin with a character or a theme? The novel is based on the oral storytelling traditions of rural Puerto Rican women. I wanted to pay homage to the women who have held our families together and show the larger picture of the journey of one Puerto Rican family from capt


         Website: E-mail: Facebook: Owner:  Aurora Anaya-Cerda Phone: 646-413-5251 Q:    What is the history of the Casa Azul? How and when did you get the idea? I have always been surrounded by books, as a child I practically LIVED at the local library and also had a mini library at home – in college I worked at an independent bookstore, so the idea of owning my own bookstore seemed like the natural next step. I contemplated the idea after college, but did other things before making the decision to open La Casa Azul Bookstore. When I moved to East Harlem from East Los Angeles I decided to make the dream a reality. I enrolled in a business course and immersed myself in the book industry world; soon I was so motivated and determined to open the bookstore that there was no going back. I launched La Casa Azul Bookstore as an online store in the Spring of 2008

BOOK REVIEW: VIGIL by Cecilia Samartin

             “Beyond the convent walls there was the madness of a violent world, but there was also dancing, and there were parties where women dressed lavishly while elegant men escorted them through this dangerous labyrinth...and there was the erotic pleasure of physical love…. I wondered about this sometimes even as I prayed.” --Ana   VIGIL by Cecilia Samartin Washington Square Press "The Sound of Music” is one of my favorite musicals. Julie Andrews will always be Maria – that young, innocent novata , novice, who leaves the convent to become a nanny and ends up married to the “master of the house.” My favorite Samartin book is still BROKEN PARADISE, but VIGIL is another emotional success. VIGIL’s Ana is like Maria. She is a Carmelite novice, who is sent to work as a nanny for six months and ends up staying forever. But there the similarities end. VIGIL is not a romance. It’s more a story about the bonds of family and the healing power of love. The story is writt


         "When I’m writing a book, I work off of an outline and set word count goals for myself so I always know where I’m supposed to be." --Margo Candela             Q:   Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What is it like to grow up in "Hollywood"? What is your "day job"? I was born and raised in Northeast Los Angeles and come from a family of seven, not including the two dogs we grew up with. We first lived in Lincoln Heights, where I remember watching Richard Dreyfuss shoot scenes for a movie on the corner. In the 80s, we moved to Cypress Park, where they filmed "Secretary" and "Chasing Amy", a block down, just to name two of the projects that took over the neighborhood. Even with such exposure, the idea of Hollywood was not a constant in our lives. My parents expected us to finish high school and get jobs. I was lucky and stubborn enough to continue onto Glendale Community College, where I joined the campus paper and t