March 8, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH THELMA T. REYNA, AUTHOR OF READING TEA LEAVES AFTER TRUMP (EXCERPT)



The Latina Book Club doesn’t talk politics, but Trump is like the elephant in the room.  How could you not?  
Our friend and Altadena, CA’s, Poet Laureate THELMA T. REYNA has just published 
a poetry collection about Trump and the future of our country.  
We are happy to have been granted an interview and an excerpt to share with our readers. 
Happy Reading and, as always, Read Latino Lit.


NOTE TO OUR CALIFORNIA READERS!
Tuesday, March 13, at VRoman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, CA, from 7-8pm, Thelma and three other local distinguished guest poets will read from her new book.  All welcome. Visit www.vromansbookstore.com to make reservations.





INTERVIEW WITH THELMA T. REYNA

LATINA BOOK CLUB: In this book, you give voice to people’s fears of what is happening to this country with Trump in the White House— to immigrants, to the Dreamers, to all people of color.  How hard was it to put yourself into others’ shoes? Which stories were the hardest to tell?

THELMA REYNA:  Great questions, Maria. This is my seventh book, but my fourth book of poetry. For quite a while now, I’ve enjoyed writing “persona poems,” or poems in which the speaker or narrator of the poem is a very specific person, not me. So the entire poem is in the voice, with the emotions and perspectives, of that individual, and we’re seeing a particular issue, problem, situation through   the eyes and heart of that person. It’s kind of like “walk a mile in my moccasins,” as the old Native American proverb says. Thus it wasn’t difficult to write in all these voices, but some of them tugged at my heart more than others, even made me cry as I wrote the lines. It’s hard not to feel the pain and heartbreak that we’re expressing on behalf of those specific, vulnerable individuals.


LBC:  Racism has always been around but now it’s literally in our face.  By combining fact & fiction you hold up a mirror to this country’s face.

THELMA:  This is perhaps the most horrific damage that Trump has done to our nation: bring racism roaring out of the shadows and into an emboldened source of hate and danger. Trump embraces the White supremacists (who, by the way, were very instrumental in his victory) because he himself is a racist. The documented evidence of the harm these Neo-Nazis, alt-right, KKK, and White Nationalists have done is clear: murders they’ve committed as hate crimes have risen tremendously, about triple what they were before Trump. Voter suppression continues to rise in the right-wing states, assaults and killings of LGBQT people have soared. Muslims, Jews, Mexicans, Blacks are endangered more than ever. These are facts backed by statistics. Several poems in my book, such as “Charlottesville,” deal with this travesty. Thankfully, though, the majority of Americans don’t accept this racism and are fighting back strongly. I believe firmly that non-racists will win this struggle for, as they say, “America’s soul.”


LBC: How did you come up with title, with such a gorgeous cover? We love that the woman covers her eyes, yet we can see her.

THELMA:  And we can still see her weeping! To me the symbolism was that nothing can cover up our nation’s fear, distress, anxiety over the chaos that Trump has thrust upon us. We can try to hide it but we can’t. The world can see it.

As I followed the campaigns, then read daily about what President Trump was doing and saying in his first year of the presidency, all the dysfunction he demonstrated daily, his twittering and irrationality, I felt that nobody could ever predict what this unfit man would do next. A tea leaf reader had as much of a chance at being correct as the political experts, scholars, historians, journalists did! Thus, the title.


LBC: What IS in the tea leaves for the people? How do we support and nurture hope in the face of such tyranny? Can America really be great again?

THELMA:  The final poem in my book, the title poem, describes how more than 100 cups of tea leaves have been read by the speaker in her quest to understand, yet: “not knowing is all we’ll know after Trump.” I think that was an appropriate end to this book, but in my heart, I believe strongly that all the good people of America will ultimately prevail. Just witness the increase recently in protest marches and demonstrations against Trump and all he represents, including against his complicit, emasculated GOP. The majority of the people oppose his agenda. Now we must continue speaking out—in all forms, whether onstage at the Oscars, at rallies, or in books like mine. But our loudest outbursts will be at the polls this November and in 2020. We must vote them out, or we’ll lose the war for our nation.#

                       


Golden Foothills Press

EXCERPT POEM FROM HER NEW BOOK:

A DREAMER ASKS
by Thelma T. Reyna

I know no other land but this, learned to toddle on American soil, and
rise for no other anthem but yours.
My mother wrapped me in an old, frayed towel, a round bundle in her
brown arms, and never set me down till she arrived.
From the start, she pushed English on my baby mind like she pushed
Gerber in my mouth.
Her checks from cleaning buildings light-to-night were small but
targeted like lasers on school.
Day care, pre-K, books on a rickety shelf in my room next to hers,
scuffed wood floors, little heaters plugged into the wall.

But I learned and rose, rising higher as her pride in me broke
through walls and ascended clouds.
I write, I write and write, poems and stories about her, and dad,
and how he died when I turned ten.
I grow poetic now because it’s what I know: beauty in this world,
humanity she made me see,
brilliance of the human mind, freedoms of barriers smashed, things she
saw for me to make her risk her life.
I write essays for my college class, thick reports on politics and how this
nation was built on dreams,
how wave after wave of heroes and mortal gods bloomed
because of their visions of greater things.

I want to change this world as they did, to wield my American-ness for
nurturance of hope and growth,
and I’ve been the best, the best son, and student, the best neighbor
and friend, eyes wide and seeking truth.
So I ask you now, and every day, alongside others who traveled
in arms through desert suns and cactus nights,
other babies now grown, other toddlers pulled through thorns
and dirt many years ago, now grown,
grade-school children made to carry water in jugs, to sleep
without blankets in their dusty treks,
I ask you now why these children should be punished for their
parents’ deeds,
how children without another land can be condemned to
leave their roots, now deep and strong, and let their spirits die.#



AUTHOR BIO:  Thelma T. Reyna’s books have won 10 national literary honors. She has written a short story collection, two poetry chapbooks, and two full-length poetry books. As Poet Laureate in Altadena, CA, 2014-2016, she edited the Altadena Poetry Review Anthology: 2015, and 2016.  Reyna’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, textbooks, blogs, newspapers, and other media for over 25 years.  She is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Nominee, and her new book, Reading Tea Leaves After Trump was released in January 2018. Visit her websites to learn more.

Social Media:

Websites:


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March 6, 2018

DEBUT! STEEL BY J. L. LORA (excerpt)



The Latina Book Club congratulates author J. L. Lora on the debut of Book 3 – STEEL – of her Trinity Series.   
Below is an excerpt of the book, along with a summary and author bio.  Happy reading.


STEEL
by J. L. Lora

Book Summary:

Only the Devil you know has the power to really hurt you.
Strong, daring, and loyal to a fault, Amelia Solis is the soul of The Trinity. Yet, this leader of New York’s top cartel has become a pawn in the game of revenge. All to hurt Leandro, the man she wants more than life but cannot be with. 

The enemy’s always watching, biding his time
Leandro Masseur, Lieutenant in the McLean crime family, earned his position through loyalty, shrewd business, and ruthlessness. His enemies never see the bullet until it’s ready to lodge between their eyes. When a dead woman is found in Amelia’s bed, his world is flipped off its axis. 

Their Devil knows what buttons to push.
Four women will die before a killer finishes a macabre target list, with Amelia as his crown piece. Leandro and Amelia must dodge the barrage of bullets and bombs to keep her safe. Tragedy has left them scarred and broken. But love won’t be denied, won’t wait, and Leandro won’t stop fighting for a chance. The only woman he’s ever loved has been marked for death. Leandro won’t let that happen.



STEEL
EXCERPT


The pounding on the door wakes me and I look around the room, wondering how the hell I got here. I'm in our old apartment, sleeping in the room I once shared with my sister, Nelly, before we all got rich and got our own places. Back then, all we had to worry about was Calum's tired ass trying to get us.

I'm still wearing the pink bridesmaid's dress, a color that only Gia could force on me. Nelly's pillow's in my hand and, as I do every morning, I dwell on the thought that she's gone. But my chest is not as tight and the tears don’t come today.

Since my sister died, I have two states of waking up: pissed off and agitated. If I dream of her, I wake up shaken, scared, sad. She's still dead, because I overprotected and under-protected her in equal amounts. The guilt is a reminder, firming up my resolve because when I wake pissed off…I've dreamt of things I shouldn't.

Better said, someone I shouldn't. Doing things I really shouldn't. Not that I haven't done him, which is why I'm really messed up in the head these days.

Someone pounds on the door again and I jump off the bed. "Hold on. I'm coming."

I fling the door open, ready to skin my bodyguards. Instead, I find my friend Jamie. The strain on his surfer-cop face makes him look like he's got a sweaty tummy ache. He throws his arms around me, his hug so tight he squeezes the breath out of my lungs. It hurts and I pound on his bicep. "Let up."

He pulls back. His lips are ashen, and his eyes dart over my face like marbles, as if he's going down a mental checklist of all my features. What the hell is going on?

"Jesus, Mel. I'm so happy to see you. You fucking scared me. Carissa is bugging the hell out." He drags himself to the rack where we keep the alcohol and grabs a bottle of rum so old I can't remember when we bought it. Jamie removes the cap and tilts the one eighth of a bottle into his mouth and drains it.

My hands are trembling, my knees sending me a firm warning. They're about to fold. I can't wait anymore. "What are you talking about? Why is Carissa flipping out? I fell asleep here, waiting for Byanca. She made me get on a plane last night, saying she needed my help, then stood me up for some dude."

Jamie slams the bottle on the rack and moves closer to me. His lips do the cop pucker-and-purse. "Who was she meeting? At what time was that? Why didn't you call her?"

I feel a slight pull on the back of my neck, like someone's yanking my hair at the root. "I don't know. I took the red eye after the wedding and when I got here, she wasn't around. She sent me a text saying she’d met some hot piece and would be here right after she took care of business…why?"

His shoulders sag, fall along with his gaze. He doesn't need to say it, I know. I know, because I've gotten bad news before. A lot. I've seen the footsteps of death in other people's eyes. #

This book is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, etc.



Author Bio:  J. L. Lora is a Dominican-American author. Her stories explore the dark side of good characters, people living in the gray areas of life while playing the cards life has dealt them. She loves strong heroines and their equally powerful Men. She currently lives in Maryland, pursuing her dream of writing compelling, sexy, can’t-put-down stories about empowered, badass alpha heroines and take-your-breath-away alpha heroes.  Visit J. L. Lora at:

Website: www.JLLora.com


READ LATINO LIT



February 18, 2018

CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S WEEK! TO LOVE A SCANDALOUS DUKE BY LIANA DE LA ROSA



The Latina Book Club has been celebrating Valentine’s and Galentine’s Days all week long.
Each day we featured a new Latina romance author for your reading pleasure.
We’ve come to the end of our celebration. We know that there are other numerous Latina romance authors out there and we are on a mission to discover them all.
Meanwhile, we wish you much joy in the New Year and remind you to always Read Latino Lit and Read Romance.



DID YOU KNOW?!
Romance Readers are loyal. 61% of them are reading the same amount of romance novels as they were a year ago.  In fact, 23% of romance readers are reading more!



MEET LIANA DE LA ROSA


Liana De La Rosa writes historical romance with a touch of spice.  Her stories are set in the Georgian and late Regency periods. She is a longtime fan of the romance genre, and can remember sneaking Harlequins into her bedroom to read on the sly. After her second child was born, her husband challenged her to write her own romance, and she’s been pulling all-nighters, slugging wine and perfecting her craft ever since!

When not writing witty heroes and saucy heroines, she is cheering her alma mater, the University of Arizona, and wrangling an increasing brood of small children with her patient husband.  Liana is also a wannabe domestic goddess and fashionista. Visit her at www.lianainbloom.com.




ONCE UPON A SCANDAL


Her debut novel, TO LOVE A SCANDALOUS DUKE, was published this past September by Entangled: Select Historical to critical acclaim.  It’s a well-written romance mystery about the Duke of Darington and his childhood friend, Lady Alethea Swinton. Declan Sinclair returns to England to discover his brother has been murdered and he is now the new Duke. Alethea agrees to help him. As family secrets are laid bare and long held mysteries revealed, the two find themselves falling in love.  But can their love survive the greatest scandal of all or will Declan choose vengeance over love?



TO RESIST A SCANDALOUS ROGUE, Book 2 in the series, is about Alethea’s twin brother, Finlay Swinton, Viscount Firthwell.  Finlay is determined to make a name for himself free of his father’s treacherous shadow. He prepares to stand for a contested Parliament seat, when he encounters the lovely young woman who ensnared his attention the year before and has haunted his memory since.  Widowed, penniless and desperate Charlotte Taylor has returned to England searching for stability. She takes a position teaching at a foundling home and relaxes into a predictable life, until she meets the man from her past who ignited her passions.  

  

The Latina Book Club wishes you a Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day and many hours of joyful reading.

Read Latino Lit !

Read Romance !



February 17, 2018

CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S WEEK! ACTING ON IMPULSE BY MIA SOSA



The Latina Book Club is celebrating Valentine’s and Galentine’s Days all week long.
Each day we will feature a new Latina romance author for your reading pleasure.
Enjoy and remember to Read Latino Lit and Read Romance.


DID YOU KNOW?!
64% of Romance Readers read more than one romance a month. 


MEET MIA SOSA

A former D.C. First Ammendment and media lawyer, Mia traded in her suits for lounge wear (aka sweatpants!). She strives to write fun and flirty stories about imperfect characters finding their perfect match. Her Suits Undone series, which launched her romance writing career, were all about mixing business with pleasure. Oh la la! 

Mia began reading romances in middle school. She remembers hiding them behind the covers of her Menudo magazines. Neither college nor law school deterred her from reading romances. In fact, for years, she thought the phrase “talk softly and carry a big stick” was dating advice.  LOL. 

Today Mia is an award-wining romance author, and her books have received praise and recognition from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal, The Washington Post, Book Riot, Bustle and more.  Visit her at www.miasosa.com


LOVE ON CUE   

Grab the popcorn….The Love On Cue series promises to be fun and flirty.

Avon Impulse


ACTING ON IMPULSE is the romance of a fitness trainer and a Hollywood heartthrob. Tori Alvarez escapes to Aruba after a very public breakup with a media-hungry politician. She vows to keep her vacation a man-free zone, but she can resist flirting with the cute guy seated next to her on the plane. Tori agrees to help him buff up never realizing Carter Stone is Hollywood’s Leading Man. She wants nothing to do with another man in the limelight, but Carter wants her very much in his life.  

PRETENDING HE’S MINE, Book 2 of the series, will be out this April. It’s about a Hollywood agent and his best friend’s free-spirit little sister. They agree to fake a relationship at her brother’s wedding, but it will take more than a little willpower on both sides to remember it’s all pretend.  Or is it?



The Latina Book Club wishes you a Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day and many hours of joyful reading.

Read Latino Lit !

Read Romance !




February 16, 2018

CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S WEEK! ONE SUMMER NIGHT BY CARIDAD PINEIRO



The Latina Book Club is celebrating Valentine’s and Galentine’s Days all week long.
Each day we will feature a new Latina romance author for your reading pleasure.
Enjoy and remember to Read Latino Lit and Read Romance.



DID YOU KNOW?!
Romance buyers also read mystery, general fiction, cooking/food books, young adult, and erotic fiction.





MEET CARIDAD PINEIRO.

Caridad was born in Havana, Cuba, and settled in the New York Metropolitan area. She attended Villanova University and got her juris doctor from St. John’s University.  She is the first female partner at an intellectual property firm in mid-Manhattan. That’s her day job. 

Caridad is also a multi-published and award-winning author whose love of the written word developed when her fifth grade teacher assigned a project – to write a book that would be placed in the school library. She has been hooked on writing ever since.

In 1999, she was published by Kensington’s Encanto line, the first bilingual Latino romance novels. In 2006, Caridad helped Silhouette launch its successful Nocturne paranormal line with her The Calling Vampire series. She also writes suspense, military, erotic and women’s fiction. In fact, we love her Chica books.  The latest, SOUTH BEACH CHICAS CATCH THEIR MAN, is a fun read about four single girls + four sexy men = trouble for one confirmed bachelorette who just wants to hand with her amigas!

Caridad has been named a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. She is also a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers.  When not lawyering or writing, Caridad teaches writing workshops.  Learn more about this talented writer at www.caridad.com.


AT THE SHORE
  
What happens at the shore, stays at the shore.

Caridad has a new contemporary romance series from Sourcebooks Casablanca – At The Shore – about three Jersey Girls, BFFFs, who are successful women but single.  But Fate has a surprise for them as they are – one by one – dragged to the altar for their own Happily-Ever-After.

In ONE SUMMER NIGHT, Maggie Sinclair is trying hard to save her family’s business, including mortgaging the family beach house on the Jersey shore. She has one option left--- Owen Pierce.  The Sinclair and Pierce families have been neighbors and enemies for almost 30 years. Maggie hesitates so it’s up to Owen to convince her that he’s more than just trouble with a capital T.


WHAT HAPPENS IN SUMMER, Book 2 of the series, will be out this June.  Connie Reyes is on the fast track to becoming lawyer.  Then she meets and spends one hot summer night with the oh so tempting Jonathan Pierce.  Can the consequences of their passion derail her dreams or can they find a way to balance their different personalities and build a family together?


A SEA KISS CHRISTMAS (tentative title), Book 3 of the series, will be out late Fall.  Emma is a wedding planner so she knows how quickly marriages sour. She puts up a brave front at her friends’ weddings, but she doesn’t believe in Happily-Ever-After. Carlo de Costa has been in love with Emma forever and can’t understand why she can’t see it. He refuses to give up on her until Emma can see for herself that she holds the key to his heart.


The Latina Book Club wishes you a Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day and many hours of joyful reading.

Read Latino Lit !

Read Romance !