Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Las Americas Letters

St. Mary's University will be hosting "Las Americas Letter" a Series in Literature and the Arts, March 8-10. Under the direction of Gwendolyn Diaz, Ph.D., St. Mary's welcomes everyone to its campus for three days of celebration of the literature and art of the Americas.

This year, the event will feature two extraordinary artists of international renown: Native American Poet and jazz musician Joy Harjo and her band Poetic Justice, and Colombian-Caribbean author and performance artist Monica Gontovnik. Other guests include artist Consuelo Gonima, scholars Patricia Gonzales, Debora Andrist and Marian Aitches, poets Cyra Dumitru and Jenny Browne, as well as students from area high schools and colleges.

All events, except for the banquet, are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

March Guest Speaker!

I just received confirmation yesterday from Alicia Zavala Galvan that she will be our guest presenter during our monthly meeting scheduled for March 12 at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing. Alicia is a poet, artist, translator, playwright, and independent scholar. Her work in English and Spanish has been presented before popular and academic audiences in the United States, Mexico, and South America. Check out this website for more information:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Writing Workshop at Gemini Ink

Monday, February 26 2007
6:30pm - 8:30pm

Open Writing Workshop

Free! Join this peer-driven workshop facilitated by longtime Gemini Ink student and volunteer Jim Dawes. Share your writing and get feedback on works-in-progress in arelaxed and supportive atmosphere. The workshop is held on the last Monday of every month at Gemini Ink.

For more information, go to:

Friday, February 23, 2007

Writers Institute in Miami

This entry is more for our Society's membership in Miami:

Writers Institute, Miami, FL: 3/28-3/31

WHAT: Marcela Landres will present "Publishing for Latinos" lecture, provide one-on-one manuscript consultations, and participate in the Pitch-o-rama panel at the Writers Institute sponsored by the Florida Center for the Arts. The Writers Institute offers four days of intense creative writing workshops on fiction, nonfiction, poetry, travel writing and the art of revision, as well as manuscript consultations, publishing advice, readings and celebrations. In English and Spanish. Plus two workshops for teenage writers only. *Please note: the deadline for submitting manuscripts for the one-on-ones is March 1st.*

WHEN: March 28-31

WHERE: Wolfson Campus, Miami Dade College, 300 N.E., 2nd Avenue, Miami, Fl 33132

WHO: Marcela Landres is an editorial consultant who was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster and is the creator of Latinidad, which was chosen as one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers by Writer's Digest Magazine. A member of the Women's Media Group, she has acted as a judge for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and speaks frequently for organizations such as the Romance Writers of America.


QUESTIONS: Contact Lissette Mendez at 305-237-3940 or Nick Garnett at 305-237-3298

Thursday, February 22, 2007

First Friday at Gemini Ink

At the turn of the century (I've been wanting to use that phrase for a while!), I had the pleasure of reading a wonderful book, The Gates of the Alamo, by Stephen Harrigan. Now scheduled to appear 171 years after the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico on March 2, 1836, and 171 years after the siege of the Battle of the Alamo (Feb. 23 to March 6), Screenwriter, Journalist, and Novelist Stephen Harrigan will be part of the First Friday Gemini Ink Reading Series on Friday, March 2, 2007 at 513 S. Presa.

First Friday at Gemini Ink will also feature the Poet Jenny Browne, and a personal favorite of mine, Poet and essayist Marian Haddad.

If you haven't attended a First Friday at Gemini Ink reading, you're really missing out on a wonderful evening of readings and discussions by talented literary voices in a small and intimate setting. Please attend--you won't be disappointed.

For more information, please call Gemini Ink at (210) 734-9673.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Marcela Landres

Marcela Landres will appear as a guest blogger on award-winning author Caridad Pineiro's blog where she will discuss what's in, what has been, and what's on the horizon of commercial women's fiction.

When: Monday, February 26 through Friday, March 2


If you have any questions, please contact Caridad Pineiro at

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hecho en Tejas

A reporter from "Rumbo" emailed me today requesting my opinion on the "Hecho en Tejas" anthology for a story she is working on regarding the debut of the book at Trinity University on March 6. I provided her with the following observations:

“Hecho en Tejas” is an anthology that is long overdue. Our Hispanic culture is rich with authors, poets, artists and singers who deserve to be seen and heard by a multi-cultural audience that needs to be reminded about the important role our heritage has played in shaping Texas’ history.

The anthology contains approximately one hundred selections divided into 10 time periods spanning 500 years of Texas history. While the early selections may only be familiar to scholars and our grandparents, many entries from the 1960s on up to today will stir memories and put a smile on your face.

While the anthology contains authors and artists who have achieved mainstream success (Sandra Cisneros, Gloria Anzaldua, and Greg Barrios), there are selections from up-and-coming writers who are making their mark on the literary scene (Christine Granados, Diana Lopez, and Cecilia Balli) and emerging as the new voices of Hispanic culture.

Although there is some controversy that “Hecho en Tejas” was not produced by a publishing house in Texas, and had to go to the University of New Mexico Press in order to see the light of day, let’s rejoice in the fact that the anthology has been published and is now on a bookstore shelf near you ready for purchase. Pick up a copy and start enriching your life today.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Author Planning SA Visit

Becky, our vice president, forwarded me an email from Malin Alegria Ramirez, author of Estrella's Quinceanera, noting that she is planning a visit to El Paso in April for the Border Book festival. Ramirez is also planning a visit to San Antonio in May in order to visit family and "a bunch of teachers who are excited about 'Estrella's Quinceanera."

Ramirez would like to see about having other talks scheduled while she is here. I have offered to assist her and would love to have her as a guest speaker during our May meeting if she is here during that timeframe. I will let you all know about any plans we make once I hear back from her regarding her schedule.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who has sent me an email regarding today's publication of my book review of "Lost City Radio" in the San Antonio Express-News.

In case you missed it, here's the link:

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Taos Writers' Conference

The University of New Mexico is sponsoring its Ninth Annual Taos Summer Writers' Conference July 7-13. According to conference literature, the conference is a place where emerging and working writers nourish mind, body and spirit in an atmosphere of group support and individual attention.

Space is limited to 12 participants for each weekend and week-long workshop and 6 participants for each master class. Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards are available. For more information and registration materials, go to:

Friday, February 16, 2007

Use of "n" word in college assignment

There is an interesting article in today's edition of "The Ranger," the student newspaper at San Antonio College, which is a laboratory project of the journalism classes in the Department of Journalism-Photography. The article "Student Questions Use of Assigned Literature," deals with a student's reaction to a class reading assignment which contains the use of the "n" word in a literature assignment issued in her ENGL 1302, Freshman Composition 2, class.

The literature assignment is a short story by Flannery O'Connor entitled "A Good Man is Hard to Find," in which a character uses the "n" word in describing African-Americans.

The Ranger quotes English Chair Alexander Bernal as saying "context is everything," and "If you read the story, you will see that the character who utters that word is a perfectly reprehensible person."

The student, Crystal Price, 24, wonders why stories were not assigned that used racial slurs toward ethnic groups other than her own. A possible solution she recommends: A disclaimer at the beginning of the course so that ethnic students will know in advance if there are any readings that contain derogatory slurs.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Review

Earlier this week I submitted my book review to Steve Bennett at the San Antonio Express-News on Daniel Alarcon's "Lost City Radio." The book tells a haunting tale of war in an unnamed South American country, in villages and towns that are no longer called by their given names and are instead referred to by numbers which are issued based on a variety of factors.

As you will see in my review (if it isn't edited out!), the book hit home with me when it described the radio broadcast of names of people who went (or were forced to go) to war and have subsequently ended up missing. People yearning for their missing loved ones turn to a radio program, Lost City Radio, where they send in names of the missing which are then read over the air in the hopes that someone has information on their location or status, or at least to let them know they are missed and loved.

The next book Steve would like me to review is Michele Martinez upcoming third novel "Cover-Up." I have heard wonderful things about Michele's writing, and I'm looking forward to reading her latest work.

One of the best things about doing book reviews is getting an opportunity to read a book that isn't on sale yet in the book stores. It's like a little secret between you and the author!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

SAC Book Fair

The following information is from my colleague at San Antonio College:

Dear Colleagues,Anyone who has published a book and would like to promote it is invited to do so, at no cost, at the upcoming 12th Annual San Antonio College Book Fair on Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. To request a table to share in one of the Author Tents, please send a reply email to me. (His email address is

Authors should bring their own books and/or promotional materials, and we will supply the tables, chairs and tents. Each author must share a 6 foot table with another author, and we ask that you indicate if you are coming with a spouse or friend so we will have enough chairs on hand. We take reservations via email on a first-come, first-served basis until we run out of room. Volunteers can assist you with loading & unloading.

As most of you know, the Book Fair is a free outdoor book festival in the area near the Gym, Planetarium, Gonzales Hall, andChemistry-Geology Building. It features authors, book stores, publishers, literacy organizations, live music, food, clowns, face painters, book costume characters, and children's activities. In previous years, as many as 3,000 people have attended throughout the day, depending on the weather. Of course, whether you are an author or not, we hope you will plan toattend the Book Fair.

John Hammond
Public Relations
San Antonio College

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Monday's Meeting

I want to thank everyone who attended last night's meeting at Barnes and Noble (San Pedro Crossing) featuring Vincent Toro, Theater Director for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and his wife, Grisel.

While it was one of the smallest crowds ever for a meeting (speculation ran the gauntlet of people doing last minute Valentines Day shopping; the flu outbreak; and the rodeo), the dozen people in attendance were treated to very fine poetic performances/readings by our guests. Afterward, Vincent spoke about several projects that are underway, or soon will be, at the Guadalupe, for which he is seeking writers to assist by reading their works during San Antonio Second Sunday.

SASS is a new monthly open mic and Performance Series hosted by Grisel and Toro on the Second Sunday of every month at 7 p.m. at Teatro Space, 1304 Guadalupe Street. For more information, please call 210.271.3151. If you just want to attend and listen to area writers, there is a $5 recommended donation.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Congratulations Carlos!

Please join me in congratulating Carlos Ponce-Melendez on the publication of "A sour poem" in today's edition of the San Antonio Express-News. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to see our members published!! I hope this serves as inspirtation to everyone to write, but more importantly, to submit your works for publication.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Congratulations, Lupe!

I received a wonderful email from our newsletter editor, Lupe Gonzalez. She reports that her book is complete and is now with the editor at the Wild Rose Press!!! Congratulations, Lupe!!

She feels like she has just returned from another world and is looking forward to catching up on her reading. And of course, waiting for word regarding revisions!

Please join me in congratulating Lupe on her accomplishment.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hecho en Tejas--Feb. 10

From a Texas State University--San Marcos release:

The Southwestern Writers Collection (SWWC) at Texas State University-San Marcos is pleased to announce the publication of the latest volume in its book series, Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature, a historic benchmark that establishes the canon of Mexican American literature in Texas. The celebratory book launch at the SWWC on Saturday, February 10, will include discussions, readings, and performances from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and an exhibit focused on the Mexican American experience in Texas and the anthologized authors.

Books will be for sale at the SWWC's February 10 event, and can be purchased through major booksellers or the University of New Mexico Press at (7" x 10", 544 pages, 30 color plates, numerous halftones, $29.95, hardcover)

Sandra Cisneros and Dagoberto Gilb joined by special guestsThe Southwestern Writers

Collection celebrates the new book with an exciting day full of discussions, readings, book signings, and performances-lunch included. Special guests Sandra Cisneros and Dagoberto Gilb will be joined by Conjunto Aztlán, Tony Díaz, Christine Granados, Rolando Hinojosa, Santiago Jiménez, Jr., Sheryl Luna, Arturo Madrid, Macarena del Rocio Hernández, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, raúlrsalinas, and Carmen Tafolla.The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to please RSVP to, or call (512) 245-2313. The SWWC is located on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library at Texas State University-San Marcos. Access directions online at Books will be for sale at the event courtesy of Texas State University Bookstore. (7" x 10", 544 pages, 30 color plates, numerous halftones, $29.95, hardcover)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dos Gatos Press update

Here's an edited note passed on to me by P.C. McKinnon that he received from the editors of Dos Gatos Press:

Hello Poets!
First of all, David and I want to thank you for making the 2006 calendar season a great one! We almost sold out of the "Texas PoetryCalendar 2007"; in fact, we have but a handful of calendars left, which we continue to sell through the website at retail price (so if you still want one, hurry).

Our sales strategy this year was to get the calendar into more independent stores and fewer chains--and we are very happy with the results. Independent bookstores like the Twig in San Antonio, the Blue Willow in Houston, and BookPeople in Austin performed very well, and gift shops like the Paper Bear in San Marcos, River House inWimberley, and the D'Arte Center in Harlingen exceeded our expectations with their sales. If you live in an area that has an independent bookstore, a Texas-oriented gift shop, or a happening artcenter, please continue to let us know about them. David will start contacting places soon about carrying the "Texas Poetry Calendar 2008" calendar, and you know your communities better than we do.

Also, looking ahead, don't forget that the deadline for submissions for the 2008 calendar is March 20, not much more than a month away, and that the judge for this year is Kathleen Peirce. I would like to emphasize that you pay attention to the bios that you send, as I really do use them, not only for the "contributors" section of the calendar, but also for introductions at readings and publicity fornewspapers. With the 2008 calendar being the tenth one, we're hoping for more publicity of this nature this year.

Also, let me remind you that we continue to promote you through ourwebsite's "Poems of the Month," randomly selected poems from the present calendar. We also maintain links to your own websites on ours, so if you have a website and we don't have a link to it, please let me know and I'll take care of it. Dos Gatos Press exists to promote Texas poets and poetry!

Finally, speaking of Texas poets, we have just secured our judge for the "Texas Poetry Calendar 2009," none other than Benjamin Alire Saenz of El Paso. Yes, we are always looking ahead. We welcome your ideas and suggestions for the future!
Scott Wiggerman
David Meischen
Dos Gatos Press
1310 Crestwood Road
Austin, TX 78722

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Anyone Can Be a Member!

Ruben Soto reports that on Saturday, he attended a South Florida Writers meeting at Books and Books where there were about 20 people in attendance and he was the only Hispanic in the group! He introduced himself and told them he was representing the Miami writers' group and the reason behind the creation of their unique group.

At the meeting he met another writer who was there for the first time and she lives in Plantation, Fl. She is in her 30's and is writing a woman's fiction novel. She started in November when she participated in the "Write a Novel in One Month" event. She told Ruben she has a Hispanic friend who is struggling with her writing and would tell her about the Miami group. Ruben also pointed out to her that she would feel very welcome in the Miami group since the majority of their current members are in her age range and writing novels in English. That was an eye-opener for her since she figured the majority were writing in Spanish!

Bringing this home to us, if you know of any writers of any nationality, please invite them to our meetings! As most readers of this blog know, you don't have to have a Hispanic surname, or read and write in Spanish to be a member of this wonderful organization!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Book Review

In case you didn't get a chance to see it in yesterday's Express-News, here is a link to my review of Vandela Vida's "Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name."

Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Alex Espinoza at OLLU

Pablo Miguel Martinez, a Visiting Professor of English at Our Lady of the Lake University, would like everyone to hear Alex Espinoza read from his debut novel, "Still Water Saints" which was just published by Random House a couple of days ago.

The reading will be in the University's Library Community Room on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 4:30 P.M. Admission is FREE! For more information, please contact Anne P. Gomez at (210) 434-6711, ext. 2846

Friday, February 02, 2007

Olvidate del Alamo

Olvidate de Alamo
Fact and Fantasy
Feb. 23 through March 6

2803 Fredericksburg Road
(inside the gates of Primrose Senior Apartments)

Opening Reception: Friday, Feb. 23 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Poetry Readings by:
Jesse Jacinto Cardona, Ramon Juan Vasquez, Andrea Greimel and Josie DeLeon

Closing Reception: Tuesday, March 6 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

To submit art work, contact Ramon Vasquez y Sanchez at

To add your name to the Poet's roster, please email Ramon at the email address above. Please leave a comment if Ramon selects you to particpate so that I may post on the blog!