Saturday, November 28, 2009

Traveling on Black Friday

Seemed to me from what I saw that Friday was the expected, profitable Black Friday for most stores. I spent the day on the road, not shopping, but on my way to visit friends in Utah. But whenever we pulled off the freeways for gas or food or bathroom breaks, people mobbed the shopping centers and it was difficult to find parking.

Are deals really better, the day after Thanksgiving? I don't know - I'm not sure it's worth going out in all the craziness. But hopefully people got great deals and stores made lots of money.

As for me, I had a great time driving through the desert, passing through busy Las Vegas and the gorgeous landscape of Arizona. I visited the Barnes & Noble in St. George, Utah, leaving autographed copies of EVENINGS, then spent a great night with friends.

Today, I'd like to announce that I'll have a guest author, Lucha Corpi visiting on December 3th, so be sure to stop by. She will be on a blog tour and will be giving away copies of her book, DEATH AT SOLTICE to readers who comment. In fact, a grand prize of the collection of all her books will be given to the person who leaves the most comments. Below is her tour schedule and what she'll be discussing.

Death at Solstice Book Tour

Nov 30 Richard Lori Unloaded questions about writing
Dec 1 Mayra Calvani Latino Book Examiner When did she begin writing
Dec 2 Terri Mollina Behind Brown Eyes What is her inspiration
Dec 3 Julia Amante Julia Amante Author's thoughts on her previous books
Dec 4 Anna Rodriguez The Sol Within Indept and soul-searching answers
Dec 7 Misa Ramirez Chasing Heroes Author's seeking Heroes
Dec 8 Monie Reading With Monie What are her writing achievements
Dec 9 Carol Book-lover Carol Part One: How Series came to be
Dec 10 Tasha Heidenkind's Hideaway Part Two: How Series came to be
Dec 11 Nilki Benitez Musings Author writes on her theories of writing

Have fun following Lucha and don't forget to stop back on December 3rd.



Friday, November 20, 2009

Las Comadres National Book Club Interview

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful Las Comadres National Latino Book Club teleconference, along with four other talented writers. If you missed it live, it will be available to download to your mp3 player soon. I will post a link when available.

For now let me share a bit about the authors who were interviewed.

Belinda Acosta lives and writes in Austin, Texas where she is a columnist for the Austin Chronicle. Her non-fiction has appeared in Poets and Writers, Latino USA, the Radio Journal of News and Culture, AlterNet, the San Antonio Current, and Latino Magazine. She is a member of Macondo, the writers' collective launched by acclaimed writer Sandra Cisneros.

She loves knitting, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, chips & salsa, mariachi (good, make your soul leap from your body, mariachi); conjunto music (todo old school), and given the opportunity, will square dance.

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz is her first novel. Published by Grand Central Publishing.

For Lucha Corpi, art has always meant activism. As a woman, a Hispanic, an immigrant and a mother, she has always found herself breaking down barriers in both life and literature. She is a poet, novelist, and children's book author.

She has written three other mystery novels featuring Gloria Damasco: Black Widow's Wardrobe, Cactus Blood, and Eulogy for a Brown Angel.

Corpi was a tenured teacher in the Oakland Public Schools Neighborhood Centers Program for over 30 years and retired in 2005. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California-Berkley and an M.A. in World and Comparative Literature from San Francisco State University. Published by Arte Publico Press.

Anjanette Delgado is a writer and television producer living in Miami. She began her career in as a journalist, working for outlets such as NBC, CNN, Univisión and Telemundo, covering presidential coups, elections, Olympics, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, both Iraq wars (which she executive produced), and winning an Emmy in 1994 for her human-interest series, "Madres en la lejanía," about the plight of Latino mothers who leave their own children behind and come to the United States to work as undocumented nannies.

She has written for Urban Latino, TV Más and the International Documentary Association magazine, written and produced lifestyle programs and documentaries for MGM Latin America and in 2002, wrote and developed the sitcom "Great in Bed" for HBO Latin America. The Heartbreak Pill is her first novel. Published by Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group.

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project - to write a book for a class lending library.

Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word through high school, college and law school. In 1999, Caridad's first novel was released and a decade later, Caridad is the author of over twenty novels and novellas. When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista.

For more information on Caridad, please visit or Published by Grand Central Publishing.

The talented interviewer was Himilce Novas who has a distinguished career

in journalism in New York City and is the author of seven acclaimed books, both fiction and nonfictio

n. She is an expert in Latino history, culture, and literature and has

taught English and Latino literature as visiting author at Wellesley College, the University of California, Santa Barbara, Clark College, Tulane University, and other

colleges and universities. She lectures across the country on a variety of artistic and academic subjects, and on human rights, and is a frequent guest on radio programs. She was Fiction Editor for The Multicultural Review since 2005. She lives in Arizona and California. She is currently working on her poetry collection.

As a human rights activist, Novas was a founding member of the National Organization for Women. She continues to work on behalf of women and those in the GBLT community and was featured in the book Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975. She is a member of Veteran Feminists of America.
Her Web site:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Argentine Spanish

I found the greatest website and just had to share (and I will down at the bottom). One of the things it's taken my entire lifetime to accept is that Argentine Spanish - the one I learned at home from my mother and father is often not understood here in California.

Part of the reason is that Argentines speak in slang. A lot! And another reason is that they speak Castillian Spanish which I learned has it's own unique vocabulary and a heavy useage of the vosotros. In fact, I would often get asked by other Argentines if I spoke Castillian when I was young - not Spanish.

Luckily, about 80% of Spanish is similar in all Latin American countries. The basics, at least, tend to be the same. So, I can understand and speak with my other Latin American brothers and sisters, however there is enough difference for us all to get confused at times.

I remember when I visited Argentina as a 17 year old. And my grandmother told me we were going to ride a collectivo. A what I thought. A collective? Come to find out a collectivo is a bus. Argentines out there probably think I'm a complete idiot for admitting this, but I had never heard that term before.

Same with a choripan that my cousin asked me if I wanted at a soccer game. Again, no idea what he was refering too. A choripan is a delicious Italian sausage sandwich, sort of like a hot dog, but much, much better.

The great thing I found . . . is a dictionary for Argetine Spanish, called Wally's Dictionary of Argentine Colloquialism and Culture. Now that I'm writing books with Argenitine characters, I'm very excited that someone was wonderful enough to put this out on the web. I had a great time reading through some of these and remembering my father using so many of these.

"Que quilombo hicieron esos chicos."
What a mess those kids made.

I remember that one from my dad : )

(photo credit: Flickr: Kristjan Gudmundsson)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Post-Feminist Chick by Anjanette Delgado

Today, I'm very happy to introduce you to author and Emmy award winning TV producer, Anjanette Delgado who lives in Miami.

She began her career in as a journalist, working for outlets such as NBC, CNN, Univisión and Telemundo, covering presidential coups, elections, Olympics, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, both Iraq wars; which she executive produced, and winning an Emmy in 1994 for her human-interest series “Madres en la lejanía,” about the plight of Latino mothers who leave their own children behind and come to the United States to work as undocumented nannies.

She has written for Urban Latino, TV Más and the International Documentary Association magazine, written and produced lifestyle programs and documentaries for MGM Latin America and in 2002, wrote and developed the sitcom “Great in Bed” for HBO Latin America.

THE HEARTBREAK PILL is her first novel. And today she is sharing her thoughts on the writing of this novel.

The Post-Feminist Chick

By Anjanette Delgado

Okay. So I’ve done it. I’ve written a novel and gotten it published by a major publishing house. And now, some of my more “literary” friends are attacking me for it.

You see, in a world where people still wonder if “we’re ready to elect a woman candidate,” and where most of the people who engage the question readily admit that it’s their notion that “excess emotion is dangerous,” that first brought up the question in the first place, I have written a book about a Latina scientist who may have discovered the formula for a pill against heartbreak, after excruciating betrayal left her unable to function. And so people who haven’t even read “The Heartbreak Pill” now derisively call it chick-lit, which must mean I’m anti-feminist, a traitor to the cause, not to mention wholly unliterary.

That criticism is actually normal in a world where we’ve come to equate chick-lit with brain-dead and in which feminine heartbreak is a superficial, or even worse, a superfluous topic.

But chick-lit is simply literature written by, and aimed at, women. Like all literature, good examples reflect the issues, struggles and aspirations of contemporary female society. Yes, it’s true there seem to be many books about talented assistants in glamorous professions who can’t get ahead because their mean bosses keep them from the wonderful jobs they were meant to have, and who are simultaneously dealing with men unwilling to engage in committed relationships, who in the end figure out how to produce the life they dream of.

It’s called aspiration. And it does reflect our times, though I’m only arguing for those well-written, from the heart, books that feel true to those writing them. Not for the blatant copies of the copy of the copy. Those are another phenomenon, if not enough there for another story.

And if aspiring isn’t part of being a contemporary woman in the world, it should be. It’s part of being a woman in America, and it’s certainly a big part of being a Latina woman in America. This verse from my poem, “Women in the Land of Having” might more effectively drive home both points.

Alicia is just a Woman Who Loves

Too Much, doesn’t know The Rules and hasn’t figured out What Men Want.

She watches Sex and the City on DVD,

twelve for the price of one,

nothing more to buy ever,

hopes to become a butterfly,

be Codependent No More; change

her life for $12.99

in paperback.

And so, on that note, I say let’s bring back the real meaning of chick-lit, the one that gives it a place in the world of global post-feminism.

The difference? Well, I think New York Times Book review columnist Laura Miller made the point squarely when she said about “Fear of Flying” that it was “about a flawed but endearing young woman trying to sort out her life in a world that suddenly allowed women a lot more leeway” and differentiated it by its humor and frankness. These days, it is about having figured out that the corner office, in and of itself, wasn’t all that, or maybe that being a woman didn’t mean having children because everyone had them… or that we weren’t all meant to “have it all.” That is chick-lit: a book that can be a friend with whom to look inside and figure ourselves out, and with which, regardless of what we find, we can laugh about afterwards.

Somehow, I’m feeling an irresistible urge to reread, Pride and Justice. And I’m going to indulge it, whether Loreal says “I’m worth it” or not.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Your Favorite Scene

When writing a book you basically create one scene at a time, and each new scene builds on the scenes that came before. What each scene has to do is contribute to the plot of the story and move it forward. At the very least it should offer insight into one of the characters. If it doesn't do one of these things, hopefully it will be cut before the book is printed.

So all scenes are important, but not all scenes stick in your mind long after the book is over. For me this is true of books I read and books I write. It's even true of movies. There have been a few movies where I wanted to rewind and see a particular scene again.

In EVENINGS there are many scenes that I loved writing. I loved writing the scene where Victor finally tells off busy body Mrs. Apolonia for criticizing his daughter. Before that, one of the most important scenes for the development of Victoria's inner growth was when she quit working for her father, because this moved her closer to independence. This scene had to be just right, so I worked and reworked it, and it became another of my favorite scenes. Many of the scenes with Eric and his father were also challenging to write, but I loved those because they showed the battle that often goes on between men and their fathers. They love each other, but at the same time there is a sort of competition - a need for the younger man to be viewed as a man, and the need of the older man to still maintain his authority and power even as he feels it slipping away.

I'd like to know as readers, what was your favorite scene? Share your thoughts. On November 16th, I'll draw someone's name for a copy of EVENINGS.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Winner of Evenings at the Argentine Club Halloween Drawing

Thanks to all who began following my blog by Halloween night. The winner of my drawing is Debby. Debby, I tried to send you a message through blogger, but it doesn't seem to want to let me contact you. So email me at with your mailing address, and I'll send you a copy of Evenings at the Argentine Club right away!

This contest was announced on my newsletter. If you're not getting my newsletter, it's super easy to sign up. Visit and you can subscribe right on the first page.

Changing the subject to something completely unrelated -- update on my daughter's closet. I wanted to be able to post my awesome job for you all to see what a great builder I can be (after all, I took wood shop in Jr. high and high school while most girls took . . . who knows what) but the kit not only came with half the instructions not printed, but with the wrong kinds of shelves. They took ten days to get me the right shelves, and now I find that the hanging bars are too damned long. So, two weeks later, I'm still trying to get this closet finished. Maybe next week I'll finally be able to post a completed job.

Have a great weekend!!