Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ruben Soto update

I received an email from Society founder Ruben Soto today, and he happily reports that he has received an invitation to set-up a meeting with the Program Coordinator of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College! Ruben and the group in Miami are seeking to work closely with the Florida Center by hosting events or assisting the Center in the events they host. Ruben is really pushing for the Florida Center to allow him to set-up an evening of "Cinco Minutos with You!"

Ruben, every member of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio wishes you tremendous success with this possible collaboration

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Cover-Up" Contest

Michele Martinez is inviting everyone to her website for a chance to win a personally autographed collector's edition of "Cover-Up. Michele is nice enough to let us know that the contest answers can be found in the first two chapters of Cover-Up. But, wait a minute, you might say--Cover-Up isn't scheduled to be published until March 13!!! Well, Michele has hidden a link to the first two chapters on her website! Read it at

Monday, January 29, 2007

Renaissance Guild seeking submissions

Chris Sampayo reports that the Renaissance Guild is now taking submissions for its next series of one act plays that will be presented in May. You can get more information at

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Writing Workshop--May 19

The following note is from our newsletter editor, Lupe Gonzalez:

Hi Vince,

Please post :

Super Saturday
May 19, 2007
UTSA Campus, 1604, San Antonio, TX
Registration starts 8 a.m.
Cost: $40 members/ $50 non-members

A day full of Winning Workshops for Writers
-Crime Scene Investigations
-Finer Points of Writing Erotica
-How to Plot a Legal Thriller
-Tax Hints for Authors
-Market Trends
-What It Takes to Sell

Editor Panel: Chris Keesler, Dorchester Publishing; Sulay Hernandez, Simon & Schuster; Melissa Singer, Tor/ Forge; Kristi Studt, Triskelion Publishing; Patti, Ellora's Cave; Rhonda Penders and RJ Morris, The Wild Rose Press

Agents: Scott Eagan, The Greyhaus Agency, Washington State, represents romance writers;

Pam Strickler, The Pam Strickler Group, represents women's fiction and romance writers

Featured Speaker: Kathyrn Falk, Founder & CEO of Romantic Times

Editor/ Agent Appointments (10 minute pitches, first come, first serve with paid registration fee)

Book Fair and Signing (open to the public)

Breakfast snack and Box lunch provided included with registration fee
Door prizes

For more info:


P.S. Also, if any author in the Society would like to participate in the book signing, please contact Ellen Wulf, Barnes & Noble, Fiesta Trails, Community Relations Manager at I-10 and DeZavala. You have to pay the registration fee to participate.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lost City Radio

I'm just about done with reading my advanced copy of "Lost City Radio" by Daniel Alarcon and plan on writing the review this weekend for the San Antonio Express-News. "Lost City Radio" should be hitting the bookstores next week (Feb. 1) and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Alarcon is a Whiting Award winner and a PEN / Hemingway Award finalist. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 2001, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to write an anthropological study of San Juan de Lurigancho, a district in his native Lima, Peru.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Michele Martinez

Just got an email from Michele Martinez regarding her latest book, "Cover-Up", which will be released March 13. Michele will be sending me an advanced copy to review and submit to the Express-News. I will also post a copy on our Society's website for our members.

"Cover-Up" continues the Melaine Vargas series Michele has created. The first two books in the series, "Most Wanted" (2005) and "The Finishing School" (2006) have been very well-received by the public and have been given wonderful reviews by the literary world.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Poe Tradition Continues

Yesterday, for the 58th year in a row, a secret visitor has visited Edgar Allan Poe's gravesite on the author's birthday to leave roses and cognac. Poe was born on January 19, 1809. He would have been 198-years-old yesterday.

About 10 years ago, I had the pleasure of going to Philadelphia on business where, due to time constraints, I could only visit either the steps where Rocky ran up the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or the Spring Garden Home where Poe lived from 1838-1844. Of course, I chose the Poe home! As luck would have it, I was the only person there at the time, and a curator kindly offered to give me a one-on-one tour of the home! He patiently described all the rooms in the house and background on Poe and his time in Philadelphia. Then we stopped in a small room that had a small bed and a single chair in the middle of the wood-floor room. He then told me to look around the sparse room and the bed and chair, and then he said close your eyes while I tell you about a story Poe wrote while living in this house, and perhaps wrote in this very room; he then proceeded to tell me a summary of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." It was an awesome experience. It sent chills throughout my body then, and now as I remember and type this!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Vincent Toro--February Guest Speaker

Please reserve Monday, February 12 for the monthly meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio, at Barnes and Noble (San Pedro Crossing), beginning at 7:30 p.m.

This month's featured guest speakers will be Vincent Toro and his wife, Grisel. Vincent is the Theater Arts Director at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Vincent is instituting "San Antonio Second Sundays" at the Guadalupe which is designed to be a monthly open mic and Performance Series. As part of the SASS Series, the Guadalupe will have two special events: Cantos Y Cuentos, which will highlight local Latino writers of any genre (poetry, prose, plays, songs, etc.) and Artistic Playground, where a poet, a visual artist and several musicians will take part in a live improvisation creation.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Conexion Articles

Today's edition of Conexion contains two stories dealing with Hispanic authors.

The first article, written by Melissa Renteria, is on Herman Badillo and his recently published book "One Nation, One Standard." If you haven't heard the buzz on this book, it's controversial in that it asserts that Hispanics do not place a high value on education.

The second article is by Marissa Villa on Victor Villasenor's recent presentation at Fox Tech High School.

Both article give valuable insight into these two authors and their hopes for the future of Hispanics. It's interesting to see two Hispanic authors take two totally opposite points of view in an attempt to hit the same target. Unfortunately, I am not able to find a link to either article to post here; the best bet is for you to pick up a copy of the January 18th edition of Conexion--it only cost 25 cents!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Book Recommendation for SA's Artic Blast

One upside to the Artic Blast San Antonio has been experiencing is that it has allowed me to catch-up on my reading. I just finished a novel that I started yesterday--which automatically is a winner to me since it managed to grip my fascination and interest. The book is called "Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name" by Vendela Vida.

I am currently writing the review of this book for the San Antonio Express-News, but wanted the opportunity to share with the readers of this blog that if you're looking for a novel that is crisp and well-written, I highly recommend this book! If you're one of those that judges a book by its cover and its size, you will be delighted to know that at first glance, and subsequently when you pick it up and hold it in your hands, you will see that this definitely is a book you can complete over a two-day period like I did, or over the course of a lazy afternoon or iced-in evening if you're a speed reader (which I'm not!).

Friday, January 12, 2007

Villasenor Re-cap

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend last night's event featuring Victor Villasenor due to prior work commitments, and I was disappointed not to see a mention in today's paper on his appearance. I spoke with a representative of Fox Tech High School who told me that approximately 300 people were in attendance to hear this remarkable Hispanic writer talk about his books and writing career. I am trying to get with the teacher who spearheaded his appearance but may have to wait until school is back in session on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Victor Villasenor at Fox Tech H.S.

From a flier I have just received:

"Nancy York and Fox Tech's English Department welcomes author and Pulitzer Prize nominee Victor Villasenor to San Antonio for a candid and heartfelt talk on heritage, strength, familia, world peace, the power of palabras, dedication to education and personal achievement. It will be at the Fox Tech High School Auditorium, 637 N. Main Ave on Thursday, January 11 at 7 p.m. "

This event is FREE and open to the public! Don't miss this Hispanic literary legend who has given us "Rain of Gold" and "Burro Genius," which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and many other interesting and important works.

Copyright Texas--Tonight!

Don't forget to attend tonight's presentation of "Copyright Texas," where poets, journalists, novelists, and essayists from across Texas will read from their works. It will be at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel, 110 Lexington Avenue. It is free and open to the public.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with book sales and signing, and the program kicks-off at 6:30 p.m. Scheduled to appear are Joan Cheever, author of "Back from the Dead: One Woman's Search for the Men Who Walked off Death Row;" Gregory Curtis, author of "The Cave Printers: Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists;" Karen Olsson, author of "Waterloo;" John Taliaferro, author of "In a Far Country: The True Story of a Mission, a Marriage, a Murder, and the Remarkable Reindeer Rescue of 1898;" and Lawrence Wright, author of "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Monthly Meeting Re-cap

Last night, approximately 30 members of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio gathered at Barnes and Noble (San Pedro Crossing) for our monthly meeting featuring Glorybridge Productions Executive Director Mary Harder. Members from Poteet to Austin, and everywhere inbetween were treated to an interesting discussion on screenwriting and the magic that ensues when you put the written word on film!

Mary Harder brought handouts and a short video film to support the points she made in her discussion--she even brought outtakes that had everyone laughing throughout the screening! Many members have requested more information from Mary on screenwriting and have joined her organization, Independent Film Makers Association of San Antonio!

If anyone is making a serious effort at writing a screenplay to be filmed by Mary, please let me know so that I may document your journey to the rest of our membership!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Edward James Olmos at SAC

The San Antonio College Fine Arts and Cultural Events Series (FACES) is bringing Edward James Olmos to San Antonio! He will speak at SAC's McAllister Auditorium (San Pedro and W. Courtland Place) on Wednesday, January 24 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. This event is FREE and open to the public.

Olmos' presentation is entitled "We're all in the Same Gang" which will be centered on discipline and determination in overcoming all obstacles.

Olmos has contributed not only his name, but his time and efforts as well, in raising literacy in the Hispanic community. He launched a nationwide multi-media project called: Americanos: Latino Life in the United States to celebrate Latino culture.

Of course, he is also known for winning a Golden Globe and Emmy for Miami Vice; Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his performance in "The Burning Season" and was nominated for a Tony Award for "Zoot Suit" and an Academy Award for "Stand and Deliver."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

First Friday at Gemini Ink

It was standing room only during First Friday @ Gemini Ink last night as fans of Sandra Cisneros, Christine Granados and Diana Lopez filled the reading room to listen to these three talented writers speak speak about the literary award Sandra established in honor of her father, the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award.

The evening began with Sandra speaking sentimentally about her father who passed away 10 years ago. She affectionately referred to him as the biggest obstacle to her becoming a writer, while simultaneously being her safety net by helping her out financially while she pursued her writing goals. It was her father's spirit of providing financial assistance to a struggling writer that Sandra was trying to emulate in establishing the award that is now celebrating its sixth year of existence. Sandra also told an amusing story of reading Christine's book on a plane flight to Rome, but accidently leaving the book behind when she disembarked from the plane! Sandra then went on to introduce Diana Lopez, the 2004 recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, who would be introducing Christine.

Diana spoke fondly of her friendship with Christine, and of her admiration of Christine's book, noting that the powerful stories it contained of everyday people living in El Paso, straddling in essence two worlds, was gripping in that it did not focus on geographical borders but on emotional ones.

Christine recalled that she was speechless when she received the call from Sandra Cisneros to tell her she had won the award, and the $11,000 prize that came with the honor. She was in bed reading the Bible when the call came, and she was so sure she might forget something that Sandra was saying that her journalistic instincts took over and she began taking notes...on the back of the Bible! Christine then read a story from her book entitled "Interview."

After Christine's reading, and a Gemini Ink representative thanking everyone for attending First Friday, virtually everyone remained seated, not wanting the special evening to come to an end. Soon, a chant of "otra" (another one) began arising from the audience and Christine obliged the requests by reading a portion of another story from her book called "Man of the House."

This was the first time I had ever had the opportunity to meet Sandra Cisneros and I must admit to being a bit star-struck as I tried to work up the courage to speak to her one-on-one and to politely request her to sign my copy of "Caramelo." Sandra was simply wonderful as she gave me her undivided attention and wrote a lovely inscription in my book!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Cisneros, Granados, Lopez at Gemini Ink

Believe it or not, last night I had a hard time going to sleep since I was filled with excitement for tonight's meeting at Gemini Ink. As mentioned in the previous post, tonight, as part of Gemini Ink's First Friday series, Sandra Cisneros will be speaking about a literary award she has established in her father's name--The Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award.

The meeting will also feature the 2006 award recipient, Christine Granados, who will be introduced by fiction writer Diana Lopez . Diana was the 2004 award recipient in the Established Writer category.

I have had the privilege and honor of meeting and exchanging emails with Diana and Christine, and both have been guest speakers at monthly meetings of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio. These two writers are always giving back to the community by appearing and speaking in workshops and seminars in order to promote writing and literature.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Upcoming Events

Please make sure you have already made notes on your new 2007 calendar to attend two important meetings during the opening week of 2007! First, on Friday, January 5, another former guest author at our monthly meeting--Christine Granados--2006 winnner of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award and one of the Top 10 "New" Latino Authors to Watch in 2007, as named by, will offer a free reading as part of Gemini Ink's "First Friday" literary event. Previous reports have noted that Sandra Cisneros will be in attendance!

Also, don't forget our monthly meeting scheduled for Monday, January 8 where we will be given an informative and exciting presentation on screenwriting by Glorybridge Productions Executive Director Mary Harder. This meeting will be at the Barnes and Noble (San Pedro Crossing) and begins at 7:30 p.m. Remember, Mary is looking for some great scripts to possibly develop into short videos!! You're not going to want to miss this meeting.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sylvia Mendoza Visits San Antonio

On Saturday, December 30th, I had the pleasure of meeting with Author Sylvia Mendoza prior to her book signing appearance at Barnes and Noble (San Pedro Crossing) in San Antonio, Texas. Sylvia is the author of "The Book of Latina Women: 150 Vidas of Passion, Strength & Success," an inspirational work focusing on Latinas who have made tremendous contributions to the world with their vision and outlook on life.

Sylvia is a wonderful person who gave unselfishly of her time and patience with me as we discussed her book and upcoming projects. She is genuinely concerned with women's issues, especially on how they impact girls and young women growing up in today's world. I strongly urge everyone--men and women--to pick up a copy of Sylvia's book for inspiration on how you can fulfill your own destiny!