Monday, April 30, 2007

Vote for Reyna's Book

Fellow Writers,

I received the following email from Reyna Grande. Let's help her get her book noticed in Green Bay by going to the website below and voting for it. Vote early and vote often!

Dear Friends,

I just found out that Across a Hundred Mountains has been chosen by Green Bay, Wisconsin as a finalist for their "one book/one city" program. Please help my book get chosen by clicking on this link and choosing my book!!!! The dateline is May 15.

Here's the article:

Readers invited to pick next book for diversity discussion

One Book, One Community opens voting to residents

By Kelly McBride
Organizers of the One Book, One Community initiative are asking area readers to pick their next selection.

The community reading program is starting its third go-round for our area, and organizers plan to decide on the next selection before the end of the school year.

One Book, One Community seeks to facilitate dialogue around issues of diversity by choosing a book centered on such a theme, said Melissa Olm, manager of the Reader's Loft. Once a new selection is chosen, readers can choose from a number of opportunities to discuss the book.

"Having everyone engaged in a conversation around one particular book is a starting point for the bigger conversation on diversity issues," Olm said. "The attendance at the events has just been phenomenal."

After starting out with "Of Beetles and Angels" by Mawi Asgedom, program participants now are reading "Night," a Holocaust memoir by Elie Wiesel. An art exhibit opening Thursday at the Brown County Central Library will highlight some of the themes related to the book, said Sue Premo of the Volunteer Center of Brown County.

"The idea behind the exhibit was to draw attention to and reading of 'Night' by Elie Wiesel," Premo said. "And also to draw attention to some of the lessons of the book."

In the past, the books inspiring such community events have been chosen by the One Book, One Community committee, said Jaime Leick, a local freelance writer. But this time around, readers can decide among four choices by voting online now through May 15.

The options are "Freedom Writer's Diary," by Erin Gruwell; "The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child," by Francisco Jimenez; "G-Dog and the Homeboys: Fr. Greg Boyle and the Gangs of East Los Angeles," by Celeste Fremon; or "Across a Hundred Mountains," by Reyna Grande.

Whichever book voters choose, the next selection will provide a good chance to talk about diversity in a changing community, Premo said.

"Anything that gets the community engaged in intelligent conversations is going to help all of us," she said. "Anything that breaks down barriers and increases understanding of one another as human beings. We're more alike than we're different."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mondo Lucha Book Review

Thank you to everyone who has commented on today's book review in the San Antonio Express-News. In case you missed it, here is the link: Mondo Lucha

Please let me know your comments. It is only through your feedback that I can continue to grow as a writer and book reviewer. Thank you.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Poetry Reading at Bihl Haus Arts

My friend, P.C. McKinnon, has fowarded me the information below:

Poetry Reading:
Spaces and Places: Poetry of Place at Bihl Haus Arts
Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 6:30 pm

Dear Friends of Bihl Haus Arts,

Please join us on Wednesday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm for “Spaces and Places: Poetry of Place” by Jim LaVilla Havelin, a poetic response to Jenny Dev's silk batiks of 21 special San Antonio places (on view at Bihl Haus Arts through May 13).

As a poet much of Jim’s work is grounded in a sense of place, and in poetry as a way of coming to know and care about a place. He admits that he is, perhaps, living proof that a poet of place can move. In addition to the poems based on Jenny's batiks, Jim will read work from upstate New York, Staten Island, Cleveland, and from his move from the city to the countryside out in Lytle. In much the same way that Jenny has worked to create images that capture the essence of the places, while also revealing what those places evoke for her, Jim hopes to "get it right" for others who care deeply about that particular place--the Central Library, the Courtyard of the McNay, Earl Abel's--while still asserting what makes each place important to him. For Jim, the sense of place goes deeper than poems that describe, the sense of place seeps into all the words, like dye into silk.

Jim LaVilla-Havelin is the director of the Young Artist Programs of the Southwest School of Art & Craft, a position he has held since June 1997. He came to San Antonio as the founding director of the San Antonio Children’s Museum. He has taught adults, children, and inter-generational groups in museums, schools and at the university level at UTSA, University of the Incarnate Word, and Bank Street College of Education. He received his B.A. from Empire State College in American Studies, and an M.S. in Education from the Museum Leadership Program at Bank Street College. He is the author of three books, Rites of Passage (Charon Press), and What the Diamond Does Is Hold It All in and Simon's Masterpiece (White Pine Press). His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Is This Forever or What? and Between Heaven and Texas.

Please join us for what we believe will be a magical evening, which will begin with a brief gallery talk by Jenny on her silk batiks, followed by Jim's eloquent poems of place.


Dr. Kellen Kee McIntyre, Executive Director
Bihl Haus Arts
2803 Fredericksburg Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78201
(210) 732-3502

Friday, April 27, 2007

Atlanta Journal Constitution

With Palo Alto College's "PACfest 2007" completed, and may I say, a total success thanks to the hard work by a wonderful and dedicated committee, it's time for me to catch-up on a lot of correspondence and readings. One item that quickly has captured my attention is that last week, the Atlanta Journal Constitution completed a staff reorganization and has eliminated the "Book Editor" position.

I do not personally know Teresa Weaver, the Journal Constitution's book editor, but I do know her work and the book reviews she oversees are of the highest quality and widely read by Atlanta's populace and followers of books and publishing houses.

The National Book Critics Circle has even come out in support of Ms. Weaver and the need to rally for the Journal Constitution's "Powers that Be" to reconsider their reorganization. While Ms. Weaver hasn't been fired, she now needs to apply for another position in the paper as if she were just another intern or recent journalism school graduate. Click on the link for the NBCC's blog entry regarding the elimination of the book editor position.

Please join me in sending an email to the Journal Constitution's editor, Julia Wallace ( and publisher, John Mellott (, and ask them to reconsider their decision. This country does not need another book section that is composed of wire copy from the AP or New York Times.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Malin visits Palo Alto College

We had a wonderful time today with Malin Alegria, author of "Estrella's Quinceanera" during her visit to Palo Alto College. She gave a wonderfully animated reading and presentation, which delighted everyone in attendance.

Malin was dressed in her quinceanera dress and tiara, and she had a ceramic girl in her quinceanera dress figurine. After her reading, Malin took questions from the audience and offered advice on writing and publishing.

After she signed autographs for students, faculty and staff, Malin allowed me, Becky and Martha to take her to Mi Tierra's restaurant for lunch, where we met up with Bertha. Malin kept the conversation alive with interesting discussions on a wide range of topics. After lunch, we drove by Sandra Cisneros' house and Malin posed for a photo from the sidewalk in front of the house.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Book Reviews

Just finished reading, writing and sending off another book review to the San Antonio Express-News. The review was on Jose Cancela's book, "The Power of Business En Espanol" published by Rayo.

I'm still waiting to see the book review I wrote on "Mondo Lucha," about lucha libre, also published by Rayo.

Next up is a book by Enrique de Heriz entitled "Lies."This one is published by Doubleday.

After that, I hope to tackle Malin Alegria's soon-to-be-published book (May 2007) "Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico." Her publisher, Simon and Schuster, just sent it to me yesterday.

So many books, so little time! Although I can't wait to start reviewing books by our members!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Barrera Update

Mary Lou Barrera sent me an email recently that I would like to share with you. It seems that her short story "The Ring Knows" is going to be made into a short film by Mary Harder! The movie is scheduled to be showcased with six other films on May 19 at a location yet to be determined. This is the story Mary Lou read to us a couple of weeks ago, during our "Cinco Minutos with You" event.

Mary Lou asked the director of the film if she could sit in on the shoots, and the director said "yes, as long as you don't object to small scene changes."

Congratulations, Mary Lou! Please be sure to let us know where the showcase will be held.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Marta y Margie in the News

This morning I was reading the Metro section of the San Antonio Express-News when I came across an article regarding Oscar Hijuelos' appearance as a special guest writer at "La Vida Consciente/The Conscious Life," OLLU's second annual literary fest, last night. It was a good story until I came across a paragraph that made it even better!

"Aspiring writers Marta Curcio and Margie Rodriguez, members of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio, arrived early and sat in the front row," read the paragraph written by Hector Saldana. The story goes on to mention how much Hijuelos' works means to Marta and Margie.

In case you missed the story, click on this link:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An Afternoon with Sandra Cisneros

Received emails from Bertha Jacobson (L) and Martha Curcio (R) regarding their wonderful experience yesterday at Our Lady of the Lake University's Literary Festival event "An Afternoon with Sandra Cisneros." Both described it as a possible experience and noted that Sandra Cisneros was simply delightful and genuinely interested in our Society. Martha even won an autographed copy of one of Sandra's books!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mallin Alegria to visit Palo Alto College

Everyone is cordially invited to attend “Estrella’s Quinceanera” in the Palo Alto College Performing Arts Center , room 100B, on Wednesday, April 25 at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be served after the presentation.

According to the Simon and Schuster website, Malín Alegría is the author of Estrella's Quinceañera. She is an accomplished educator, dancer, and actress who has co-written and performed in several stage plays. Ms. Alegría lives in San Francisco . Estrella’s Quinceanera was published in hardback last year by Simon and Schuster. Due to its popularity, it’s being released in paperback in May 2007. Ms. Alegria has a new book “Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico ” also set for release in May 2007 by Simon and Schuster, a rare feat for a new author!

A synopsis from Ms. Alegria’s website on “Estrella’s Quinceanera”:

“Estrella Alvarez is turning fifteen, and she’s not happy about it. For as long as she can remember, her mother has been planning an elaborate quinceañera, complete with a mariachi band, cheesy decorations, and a hideous dress. Estrella is so over it. She’d much rather have an understated party at a posh restaurant downtown--that way, she can invite her two best friends from private school, who have no idea Estrella lives in the barrio. Even though Estrella tries to keep her home life a secret from her school friends, things get even more complicated when she falls for Speedy, a cholo whom her friends--and her parents--would definitely disapprove of. Caught between her family’s wishes and the allure of her sophisticated friends, Estrella is forced to make tough choices. This funny touching book follows one girl’s struggle to figure out who she really wants to be.”

An excerpt from Ms. Alegria’s website on “Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico ”:

“You’ll never believe what’s happened to me. It feels like I’ve woken up in a total nightmare. I’m living in the country with pigs, horses, roosters and even a goat. I swear to God, no joke. I hate it here! It’s hell. There are these creepy crawlers in the bed called chinches that bite me every night and the frigid’ rooster cries in the middle of the night. There’s no hot water and the lights go out all the time!! There’s no cable, no internet and no phone!!! Can you believe it? And I have a horrible aunt who bosses me around like I’m her slave. I hate it all. I don’t know how long I’ll be here. My parents say that I’ll be home soon. The sooner the better! I’ll write more later. Love you. Miss you all. Tell everyone I’m all right. Make up something cool.

Ms. Alegria will read an excerpt from “Estrella’s Quinceanera” and speak about being a young Hispanic female author. There will be time for questions and answers, and Ms. Alegria will happily autograph “Estrella’s Quinceanera” which will soon be on sale in the PAC book store, and in the Performing Arts Center on the day of the presentation. Refreshments after the presentation will be catered by Las Cazuelas Restaurant.

This event is part of the President’s Lecture Series. It is free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Texas Poetry Chapbook Prize

From Panhandler Publishing:

Texas poet –

This year, Panhandler Publishing will be holding a poetry chapbook contest for Texas residents. All Texas poets are eligible. The reading fee is fifteen dollars. The winner will receive $150 and publication. Each of the contestants will receive a copy of the winning chapbook as well.

Send 20-24 pages of poetry with a check payable to Panhandler Publishing, for the reading fee, and a self-addressed stamped envelope for notification of results to:
Panhandler Publishing, Attn: Chapbook Prize. P.O. Box 30407, Houston, TX 77249, by the deadline of August 31, 2007. The winning chapbook goes to press at the end of the year.

The final judge of the contest submissions will be Naomi Shihab Nye, author of numerous books of poems, including You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East, Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).

Nye has received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the International Poetry Forum, as well as four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Wittner Bynner Fellow. In 1988 she received The Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, selected by W. S. Merwin. She currently lives in San Antonio.

Panhandler Publishing's mission is to bring attention to unknown or emerging poets, through public events, promotion and publication. For the past two years, Panhandler has produced a free poetry quarterly in Houston, Texas. Contributors have come from around the United States and the United Kingdom. Further information will be available at the website:

Please spread the word about our contest to anyone who might be interested. The attached pdf file may be downloaded for distribution.

Thank you, and keep writing.

Board of Directors

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday's Meeting

A wonderful time was had by all at last night's meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio. It was our quarterly meeting entitled "Cinco Minutos with You" where members of our Society read up to 5-minutes of their works in progress. More than 25 people were in attendance to hear Diane Gonzalez Bertrand, Andres Cshia, Teri Flores, Belza Ramos, Martha Curcio, Janie Alonso, Jose Caraballo, Jackie Mendez, Mary Lou Barrera, and Daniel Winfield read some wonderful prose.

A special "thank you" to Barnes and Noble for supplying our members with a free coupon to a drink at Starbucks!

And a very special "THANK YOU" to Martha and the Society for the beautiful flowers I was able to take home yesterday. Of course, once I walked into the house, my 5-year-old daughter claimed them as hers!

The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center proudly presents:

SASS! (San Antonio Second Sundays)
A reading series and open mic

April 15th at 7PM
This months SASS will be ironically held on the 3rd Sunday of the month due to Easter.

Featuring Robert T. Garcia
Poet and fiction writer from San Antonio
Member of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio

Hosted by GRITO
(Grisel and Toro)

@ The Guadalupe Theater
1301 Guadalupe Street
San Antonio, TX 78207
(210) 271-3151

$5 suggested donation

Monday, April 09, 2007

Tonight's Meeting/Author to visit S.A.

Please don't forget to attend tonight's meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio meeting at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Tonight's meeting is entitled "Cinco Minutos with You," an event where a dozen members will read up to 5-minutes of their works to our members.

Malin Alegria to visit San Antonio

Malin Alegria, author of "Estrella's Quinceanera" and the soon-to-be-published "Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico" will be touring San Antonio the week of April 23rd. I have arranged for Malin to speak at Palo Alto College on Wednesday, April 25 at 11 a.m. in the Performing Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public. There will be a small reception and book-signing after her presentation.

After she is done at the college, I would like to take Malin to a late lunch downtown and would like to invite everyone who would like to join us--dutch, of course! I'm thinking "Mi Tierra's" but no solid plans have been made yet. Please email me if you would like to join us. I'm thinking we should be at the restaurant a little after 1 p.m.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The following is from Cynthia Massey:

Writer Friends of the San Antonio Public Library is sponsoring a reading Tuesday, May 8, at 7:00 P.M. Featured authors will be Diane Fanning, Deborah Douglas, and Joan Cheever (see end of this email for more about these authors and their featured books). If you are a member of the Writer Friends of the SAPL, and would like for your books to be available for sale, please notify:

Sasha Kodet
Community Relations Manager
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
San Pedro Crossing
321 NW Loop 410, #104
San Antonio, TX 78216
tel: (210) 342-2386fax: (210)342-9426

ASAP to let her know if you'd like your book(s) to be included in the event. Ten percent of the sales price for each book sold will go to the San Antonio Public Library Foundation. If you would like to participate and you are not a Writer Friend, send $15 for an annual SAPLF membership to:

Friends of the San Antonio Public Library
P.O. Box 831174,
SA, TX 78283-1174

and indicate that you are a WRITER FRIEND. Your contribution is tax deductible.

Please plan to attend this event, and forward email to all interested parties.

Diane Fanning is the Edgar award nominated author of several true crime books for St. Martin’s Press. She will discuss her newly released book Under the Knife, which is about a beautiful, successful woman named Maria Cruz who went to “Doctor” Faiello for a relatively simple cosmetic procedure…and succumbed to a fatal complication while under his care. Faiello buried her corpse beneath a concrete slab at his Newark, New Jersey home—and went on the run. It was only after Cruz’s body was found that the true callousness of Faiello’s brutal crime would be dissected.

Retired pathologist, author, and breast cancer survivor, Deborah Douglas, M.D., walked 600 miles in 10 Breast Cancer 3-Day events to interview cancer survivors and co-survivors. The collected stories not only emphasize the complexity of diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship, but—due in large part to the emotional honesty of the contributors—challenge the popular mantras that a positive attitude is the only healthy way to cope with the disease and that cancer is an unequivocal gift.

Attorney Joan M. Cheever is an award-winning legal affairs journalist and a former managing editor of The National Law Journal. Back From The Dead is the story of 589 former death row inmates who, through a lottery of fate, were given a second chance at life in 1972 when the death penalty was abolished; it returned to the United States four years later. In the book, Cheever describes her own journey and reveals these tales of second chances: of tragedy and failure, racism and injustice, and redemption and rehabilitation.

Cynthia MasseyPresident,
Writer Friends of the SAPL

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Msg from Regina Sanchez y Chavez

This message is from Regina Sanchez y Chavez:

Songwriter, Gabriela Frank has written music for Chanticleer using poet Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.'s poetry from his latest book, Jalapeno Blues. The songs will be introduced at the following event:

Minnesota Public Radio presents Chanticleer in concert at The Fitzgerald Theater on Wednesday, May 23, 7:30p.m..Praised by the New York Times for its "precise, pure, and deeply felt singing," and by the Los Angeles Times for its "luxurious perfection," Chanticleer vocal ensemble were honored with a 2003 and 2004 GRAMMY® awards.

Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music. With its seamless blend of twelve male voices, ranging from countertenor to bass, the ensemble has earned international renown as “an orchestra of voices.” Based in San Francisco, Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music.
Bihl House Arts will be hosting a memorial event in honor of Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. on June 15 in San Antonio, Texas. Details to follow.

Regina and Bihl House Arts are collaborating on the creation of a Poetry Retreat House which will be named in honor of Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.
Kenneth Trevino will be presenting a play incorporating Jalapeno Blues which will presented in May.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Monday's Meeting

Prolific writer and famed children’s book author DIANE GONZALEZ BERTRAND will kick-off Monday’s (April 9) meeting of “Cinco Minutos with You” at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing at 7:30 p.m.! Diane is the author of numerous children’s books, such as “The Ruiz Street Kids,” “Trino’s time,” and the soon to be released “Ricardo’s Race/La carrera de Ricardo.” Come meet and see one of San Antonio ’s literary treasures!

We also have a full slate of Society members who will be reading their 5-minute works to us—to include some who have never read publicly before! Please join me on Monday to give these writers encouragement in their writing craft, and to foster the spirit of fellowship and unity among Hispanic and Latino writers—published and unpublished—that our Society is based on. Remember, our meetings are free and open to the public. Invite your family and friends to a wonderful evening.

Today I met with P.C. McKinnon who graciously got for our Society a proclamation by the Mayor of San Antonio—Phil Hardberger—proclaiming April as National Poetry Month. Pete, in conjunction with the City of San Antonio , and other poets in the area, is putting together a series of events throughout the month promoting poetry.

My next book to review for the San Antonio Express-News is "Lies" by Spanish writer Enrique de Heriz.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Society Update

Please place on your calendars the Monthly Meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio on your calendar. It will be on Monday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing. This meeting will feature a dozen of our members reading from their works in a feature we call “Cinco Minutos with You.”

If you have attended these “Cinco Minutos” meetings in the past, you will agree that we have been treated to some wonderful works that have gone on to be printed in publications for everyone else to read. We still have room for one or two more people who may like to share their works! If you’re interested, please let me know soon before all the spots are gone. Each reader will receive a PACfest Fiesta Medal in celebration of Fiesta!

I really hope everyone can attend this meeting; I miss seeing everyone and hearing about their works-in-progress.

Thank you to everyone who has offered me words of encouragement regarding my book reviews for the San Antonio Express-News. My latest one on Michele Martinez’s suspense novel “Cover-Up” was selected by as its “Book Review of the Month.” Here is the link:

I am in contact with California author Malin Alegria, author of “Estrella’s Quinceanera” published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in March 2006, and the soon-to-be published “Sofi Mendoza’s Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico”, which should hit bookstores in May 2007 by the same publisher.

Here is Malin’s website:

She is planning a visit to San Antonio the week of April 23rd and I am trying to put together an audience for her, and perhaps set-up a luncheon with her. If you’re interested in the luncheon, please let me know and I’ll keep you in on the loop regarding planning.


Don’t forget this is National Poetry Month!