Friday, August 31, 2007

Professor, students work on oral history project

I came across an interesting story in The Bakersfield Californian that I would like to share with you. It's about Anthony Nuno, a Cal State Bakersfield professor of Chicano/Hispanic-American literature, who is being honored as "A Local Hero of the Year" by Union Bank of California and KVPT, Valley Public Television.

According to the news article, Nuno's lifelong love of literature, lead to him becoming a college professor who inspired his students to work with him on an oral history project, gathering stories from the elderly in the Hispanic community. Nuño said his students uncovered a wealth of information about Hispanic experiences in Kern County from the 1930s to the 1950s, personal history they wouldn't find in a textbook.

Click here for the complete story.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Houston Book & Family Festival

The 5th Annual Edward James Olmos Houston Latino Book & Family Festival celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center Sept. 29 & 30.

Scheduled to appear are some nationally known authors and celebrities such as Jorge Ramos, Univision's national anchorman; and Teresa Rodriguez, another Univision reporter who has written a compelling book, "The Daughters of Juarez." There will also be some regional favorites such as Dagoberto Gilb who spearheaded the "Hecho en Tejas" collection and Mario Bosquez (no relation), author of "The Chalupa Rules."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Writing Advice

I saw this story online from the Florida Times-Union, Pulp romance: It's way more than Fabio, about how first time authors can break into publishing by writing mainstream women's literature.

The article offers some practical advice on the writing process and more importantly, rejection! I hope you enjoy the story.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mexican Americans and World War II

Maggie Rivas Rodriguez will visit Our Lady of the Lake University on Friday, Sept. 28; she will give a presentation in the Providence West Social Room at 7 P.M.

She’ll be here during the week of the PBS broadcasts of Ken Burns' documentary, The War.

Maggie’s book, Mexican Americans and World War II, has garnered much acclaim over the last couple years and is considered a tremendously important book in the ever-expanding literature about the Mexican American experience.

Maggie gained national prominence in 2007 by leading protests that Ken Burns’ forthcoming PBS documentary “The War” did not include any Latinos; Burns incorporates Latino stories into the 14-hour, seven-part documentary, airing in September

Friday, August 24, 2007

Artist Foundation of San Antonio Awards

From what I know about some of the projects our Society members are working on, and listening to "Cinco Minutos with You," I know we have some talented members who should take the chance to apply for a "Literary Award" being given by the Artist Foundation of San Antonio.
The following is from their website:

Artist Foundation of San Antonio Awards

In 2007, the Foundation will make its second cycle of awards to artists residing in Bexar County, Texas. Each award is for $5,000 and is made for the creation of new, original work.

The awards are designed to recognize artistic achievement, dedication to an artistic discipline and the potential for further professional development. Awards are made for a proposed project, which may already be in progress but should be completed by the end of the grant period of one year (November 15, 2008). Prior to receiving award funds, artists must sign a contract with the Foundation that specifies certain responsibilities. These responsibilities are found in the Contract and are intended to ensure that the award funds will be used in a manner that satisfies the Foundation's charitable purposes.

Applications are accepted through ONLY.No FAX, e-mail, courier, mail, or other delivery methods.E-mail if electronic submission is not possible.

Award Categories

Artists should apply to the appropriate category that best describes their work. If applying in more than one category your work should be unique to each category. The Foundation makes the final determination on eligibility.

In 2007 the Foundation will accept applications in the following award categories. The number of awards granted depends on the number of applicants, the recommendations of the selection panels and the available funds. The application period is August 15, 2007 to September 15, 2007. No applications will be accepted after the September deadline.

Literary Arts category includes poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, screenwriting and playwriting.

Visual Arts category includes painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, installation, photography, collage, static digital art, performance art.

Media Arts category includes film or video (narrative, documentary, experimental, or artistic), animation, time-based digital art.

Performing Arts category includes original musical composition, original choreography.
In 2007 additional Performing Arts Awards will be given in these categories:

George Cortes Award for Classical Singing. This special, one-time award is given to a singer who performs art songs or opera and who will carry forward the work of George Cortes, a beloved tenor in our community for many years. The Artist Foundation is grateful to Ann Ash for the creation of this award.

Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Set Design. The Artist Foundation is grateful to the Robert L.B. Tobin Theater Arts Foundation for the creation of this award.

Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Costume Design. The Artist Foundation is grateful to the Robert L.B. Tobin Theater Arts Foundation for the creation of this award.

Robert L.B. Tobin Grand Prize for Artistic Excellence. The Artist Foundation is grateful to the Robert L.B. Tobin Endowment for the creation of this award. After all of the awardees have been chosen by the judging panels, the Artist Foundation Board of Directors will select one recipient of this generous grand prize award in the amount of $7,500.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lupe's Book Cover

As I previously mentioned, it's so exciting to see our Society members succeed in their writing endeavors. Above is the approved book cover for Lupe Gonzalez's soon-to-be published novel "Too Late for Romance?" In case you missed the synopsis of the book, please go to the Wild Rose Press website at :

I asked Lupe to share her thoughts with us, and here is her response:

I'm so excited. This has been a long time in coming. I think I started my path to publication when I wrote my first story in the Fall of 1976. I hope everyone enjoys this story. It's a story I wrote for the Last Rose of Summer line for The Wild Rose Press. The line's slogan is "who said love was only for the young?"

TOO LATE FOR ROMANCE? is a women's fiction romance for the woman who has lived her life, has grown children and feels content with the way her life is. Besides, she thinks it's too late for romance -- until she meets her new gardener.

I hope when readers read this story they'll come away believing that it's never too late for romance and love. That there's always someone for everyone out there. You just have to be patient when that person doesn't show up when you're 16, or 23 or even 50. Sooner or later, everything will fall into place and you will meet the love of your life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Read a Good Book Lately?

How many books did you read last year? I just read an interesting article in Yahoo! News by ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer, who reports that one in four adults say they did not read a book last year! Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

For the full story, please go to the following website:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Too Late for Romance?

I get so excited when one of our members achieves literary success! Lupe Gonzalez, a founding member of the Society, and our newsletter and website editor has a book about to be published, "Too Late for Romance?" She doesn't have a release date yet as it is still in the editing stage, but a breif synopsis of the book is on the Wild Rose Press website. Please check it out:

Lupe has given me a sneak peak at the cover, which looks great. Maybe she will let me share it with you soon!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Visual Art Contributors Wanted

The following message is forwarded by P.C. McKinnon and Marian Haddad:

Seeking Visual Art Submissions from U.S. Contributors for Proposed Book*
Words & Images of Belonging

Foreword by Dr. Gretchen Legler, professor, University of Maine at Farmington, Creative Writing; award-winning author, including On the Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station, Antarctica (Milkweed Editions).

Afterword by Samuel Totten, professor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Director of Northwest Arkansas Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project; co-editor, Genocide in Darfur: Investigating Atrocitites in the Sudan (Routledge).

Contributions that address legacies, generations (especially that of grandparents and grandchildren), family, a sense of home and identity.

If accepted, contributors will receive a complimentary copy upon publication and a contributor's discount on additional copies.

Cynthia Brackett-Vincent is publisher/editor of the esteemed Aurorean poetry journal; poetry instructor; award-winning poet; author of The 95 Poems chapbook (2005) and contributor to Educators as Writers: Publishing for Personal and Professional Development.

View Cynthia's background

Carol Smallwood has written, co-authored, and edited 17 books for Scarecrow, Libraries Unlimited and others. An award-winning fiction writer, her work has appeared in English Journal, Iris, Poesia, The Detroit News, and several others including anthologies.

View Carol's last book

No previously published or simultaneously submitted material.

Please send work in an attachment; use 12-point Courier. Include a 55-65 word bio to appear in contributor's notes section of BELONGING if your work is accepted. (Writing credits/current position/where you're from and personal highlights are invited.) Please e-mail by August 30, 2007 with BELONGING as the subject line. It is common for compilation of an anthology to take upwards of a year, but we will be in touch with all contributors with updates on securing a publisher.

Use BELONGING as the subject line; send in JPG by e-mail. If you would like to send artwork by regular mail, send B&W or color PHOTOCOPIES ONLY (ABSOLUTELY NO ORIGINALS) to: Cynthia Brackett-Vincent, P. O. Box 187, Farmington, ME 04938 ATTN: BELONGING. If your artwork is accepted AND ONCE WE HAVE SECURED A PUBLISHER, we will request originals if necessary. If you'd like photocopies returned, include an SASE. If you would like to know your photocopies have been received, include a self-addressed stamped postcard.

Please e-mail either Cynthia at or Carol at

*Please note:

In our experience, most publishers return rights to individual contributors variously after publication. However, because we are still seeking a publisher, we cannot speak to those rights specifically at this time. Contributors will be asked to sign a release form from the publisher and therefore will be have the opportunity to agree to the details of the contract or withdraw one's work at that time.

Marian Haddad,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Songwriting Session

Last night Becky Gomez and her daughter, Gil Dominguez and I attended a songwriting workshop put together by fellow SLHW member Ray Torres and musician extraordinaire Jon C. Esquivel. Ray gave an engaging presentation on songwriting, especially on how it relates to the classics recorded in Mexico. Also attending the meeting and contributing to the songwriting discussion was Marvin Palacios, a vocalist, guitarist, composer and copyright & licensing consultant, and former member of the duet, Rene & Rene.

Once the songwriting class was over, we were treated to beautiful music on the piano by Mr. Esquivel, who is a trained classical pianist, violinist and composer. He was also accompanied by Lucha Nieto, a very talented mariachi singer and performer. Another wonderful Spanish singer also accompanied Mr. Esquivel on the piano, but please forgive me, her name escapes me at the moment.

Mr. Esquivel graciously opened up his home to us for the meeting, and along with his wife, Carmelina, and daughter, Bertie, made us feel like special guests. I was also very honored to receive two CDs from Mr. Esquivel at the end of the evening: The Jon Esquivel Sextet's "Watch What Happens" and "A Musical Tribute to My Beautiful Family." I am currently listening to "Watch What Happens" and it's simply beautiful.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Society Celebrates 3rd Anniversary!

I would like to thank everyone who came out last night to the monthly meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio for our "Cinco Minutos with You" event and our 3rd Anniversary Celebration! We had a wonderful time listening to stories written by our members and then cutting the cake and engaging in fellowship afterward.

At the high point of the evening, we had approximately 35 people in attendance! I would like to thank Becky, Juan Manuel Perez, Robert Garcia, Belza Ramos, Enrique Carstens, Mary Lou Barrera, Daniel Farias, Leticia Duarte and Martha for sharing their stories with us. I would also like to thank Jo An Santiago and Michelle McClelen, representatives of American Sunrise, a non-profit (Henry) Cisneros Communities Venture--they gave us a small presentation on an opportunity entitled "Public Allies" that I will write more about later, but in the meantime, please visit the link.

It was nice to see some old friends at the meeting: Diana Lopez, author of "Sofia's Saints" was there, as was Daniel Farias, who attended the very first meeting of the Society 37 months ago. I also met Alonso M. Perales, author of "La lechuza; cuentos de mi barrio," a book originally published in 1972 and is being re-printed by Arte Publico Press by the end of the year.

Monday, August 13, 2007


I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at the monthly meeting which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing!

Scheduled to read is our Vice-President, Becky; Andre Cshias; Robert Garcia; Mary Lou Barrera; Fleur Tamon; Enrique Carstens; Martha Curcio; Belza Ramos; Leticia Duarte; Juan Manuel Perez; and Daniel Farias.

In yesterday's "Books" section of the Express-News, there was an article on first-time San Antonio author Corinne Chacon and her first novel "The Mystics of Reyesville." What makes this unique is that Chacon's book was not published by a major or minor publishing house. Her book was self-published through iUniverse. Those of us who have been in the Society for a while know that Ruben Soto, the Society's founder, published his first book through iUniverse too. What is interesting to me is that the Express-News reviewed the book--remarkable in that I don't recall seeing any reviews on books that have been self-published in the newspaper before. Maybe this is the paper's "wake-up" call that all "good" books aren't necessarily published in the traditional sense and that there are nuggets of gold in the self-publishing world. We shall see.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cinco Minutos with You

Just a reminder that on Monday, August 13, we will have the quarterly “Cinco Minutos with You” reading extravaganza! It will be at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing, and will begin at 7:30 p.m. I spoke with our wonderful friend at Barnes and Noble—Sasha—who has given me permission to bring a cake to belatedly celebrate our Society’s third anniversary. Sasha is even going to spring for coffee!!!

I have had a last minute cancellation and have room for one more reader—ANY BRAVE LAST MINUTE VOLUNTEERS?

I also wanted to remind everyone that there is still room to attend a presentation on the basics of songwriting presented by Juan C. Esquivel. The purpose would be to offer SLHW members another avenue in which some of them might be inspired to collaborate with and write song lyrics to existing or new melodies by some of the MAHSPACA members. It will be on Wednesday, August 15 at 7 p.m. Contact me for location.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Julia Alvarez Presentation

Last night was definitely a highlight in my literary life as I was able to meet and speak for a few moments with Julia Alvarez, author of personal favorites "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents," and "How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay," during promotion of her recently published book "Once Upon a Quinceanera" at the Central Library.

Julia gave a wonderful slide show presentation on some of the research she conducted for her latest book, which drew admiration, laughter and a couple of tears (okay, those were mine as I imagined my 5-year-old daughter having her quinceanera 9 years from now!) from the approximately 80 people who attended the free presentation. She also gave us insight into a program by the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho created in 1998. The "Stay in School Quinceanera Program," addresses teen pregnancy, self-esteem issues and the importance of getting a diploma. With sessions that last for months, the program also teaches participating Latinas how to waltz and make crowns out of wax flowers. Of course, the shock factor is that this a program in Idaho!

Some friends I saw at the presentation were award-winning author Diane Gonzales Bertrand, whose book "Sweet Fifteen" reports the Express-News was one of many Julia used for her research; and Belza Ramos from the Mujeres writer’s group from the OLLU Center for Women in Church and Society.

I am especially pleased that she signed for me the first paperback edition of "How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents" that I took to the presentation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Julia Alvarez

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Julia Alvarez will be making two appearances in San Antonio today:

3:30 p.m.: She will appear at the H.E.B. Plus Store, 6818 S. Zarzamora St.

6 p.m.: She will speak, take questions and sign books in the Central Library, 600 Soledad St. She will present a slide show of photos she took of quinceanera celebrations.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sarah Cortez, September's Guest Speaker

I hope all of you are making plans to attend August's meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio meeting on the 13th at Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing, beginning at 7:30 p.m. It will feature our quarterly "Cinco Minutos with You" program where a dozen selected members will read to us for 5-minutes from their current works in progress. I would also like to use the opportunity to belatedly celebrate our Society's 3rd birthday!

Sarah Cortez, pictured above, will be our guest speaker for the September 10th meeting of the Society! Sarah is a poet, educator, and law enforcement officer. She is the author of a poetry collection, "How to Undress a Cop," (Arte Público Press, 2000), which won the PEN Texas Literary Award in Poetry, and the recently published "Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives," (Arte Público Press, 2007). She lives and works in Houston, Texas. I hope everyone can make plans to attend!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sarah Cortez

Yesterday I received an email from Sarah Cortez, of Houston. She is a teacher of creative writing at the University of Houston and recently put published an anthology that has memoir essays written by 36 high school and college-aged Latinos across the U.S. entitled "Windows into My World: Latino Youth Write Their Lives." This book project grew out of an undergraduate course which she conceptualized and taught, entitled "Memoir and Mexican American Identity."

I have invited Sarah to speak to our Society during an upcoming meeting and she is checking her calendar for availability. Thank you to Society member and award-winning author Diane Gonzales Bertrand for putting her in touch with me.

Let's hope Sarah can make it to San Antonio soon to speak to us!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

5th Annual Noche de Macondo

The 5th Annual Noche de Macondo

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
Friday, August 3, 2007 • 8pm

Check out Macondo Writers' Bios!

Sandra Cisneros is the author of several books, including The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, Loose Woman and Caramelo. She is also the founder of the Macondo Workshop and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation.

Joy Harjo is a member of the Mvskoke (Creek) Tribe. Author of such books as: Woman who Fell from the Sky: Poems, A Map to the Next World: Poems and Tales, In Mad Love and War, and How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001. In addition to her writing, Harjo has produced two musical recordings and performs internationally. She is a Joseph Russo endowed professor at the University of New Mexico.

Tammy Gomez In September of 2007, Tammy Gomez will present the world premiere of “She: Bike/Spoke/Love”, a multimedia spoken word bicycle play—with the support of a NALAC (National Association for Latino Arts & Culture) Artist Production grant as well as a grant from the Puffin Foundation. She has been writing 365 poems (one a day) in 2007; to read them, go to

Monica Palacios is the creator of several one-person shows including: “Greetings From A Queer Señorita” and “Latin Lezbo Comic.” Monica is the winner of numerous awards and has been published in many anthologies, including Hairspray and Other Quinceanera Stories (forthcoming June 2007 HarperCollins). Palacios is a lecturer at Loyola Marymount University, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara.

Yael Flusberg's memoir essays, poetry and reviews have been published in various anthologies and journals. She recently completed her first poetry collection, Stones Left on Graves. Yael makes her home in Washington , DC and is a co-founder of Sol & Soul, a nonprofit which nurtures and promotes emerging and seasoned artists of conscience.

Liz Gonzalez's poetry, fiction and memoirs have been published widely in many journals, periodicals, and in the anthologies Women on the Edge: Writing from Los Angeles and So Luminous the Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets. She teaches writing at Long Beach City College and creative writing at community centers, youth programs, and the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Carlos Cumpian is a San Antonio native who has helped develop MARCH Abrazo Press in Chicago during the past twenty-five years. Cumpian's poetry books are: Coyote Sun, Latino Rainbow, and Armadillo Charm. He recently completed ten years as a high school teacher and finished his first play, “Behind the Buckskin Curtain: Buffalo Bill's Border World.”

Daisy Hernandez is a Cubana Colombiana queer by way of New Jersey now residing on a tiny island outside San Francisco. Daisy has co-edited the anthology Colonize This!, is putting together a collection of personal essays, and also writes short stories. She writes, “La renta, comida y libros are all paid by my fabulous job at ColorLines, a newsmagazine on race and politics.” (

Angie Chau was born in Vietnam and has since lived on three continents and an island. Her work has appeared in the Indiana Review, Santa Clara Review, Slant and the anthology Cheers to Muses: Contemporary Works by Asian American Women. One story received a nomination to Best New American Voices. She now lives in Berkeley.T.

Jackie Cuevas was raised by a single Tejana mother who taught her how to be a fierce, uncompromising chingona. Jackie is a queer writer, teacher, and activist-scholar. She runs a small publishing company called Evelyn Street Press. She is working on her Ph.D. in English and on a collection of short stories called “Selena Don’t Live Here Anymore: Tex-Mex Stories.”

Alex Espinoza earned his MFA at the University of California, Irvine, and served as editor of the literary journal, Faultline. His first novel, Still Water Saints, (Random House, 2007) was simultaneously released in Spanish. Alex is currently at work on his next novel, and will be joining the faculty of California State University Fresno as an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing.

Steven Cordova was born and raised in San Antonio and lives in Brooklyn. His first book of poems, Long Distance, is forthcoming from Bilingual Press. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Calalloo, The Cortland Review, Northwest Review, and The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. His chapbook, Slow Dissolve, was published by Momotombo Press in 2003.

Lucha Corpi was born in Jaltipan, Veracruz, Mexico, and has resided in California since 1964, when at the age of nineteen she moved to Berkeley as a student wife. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. in World and Comparative Literature from San Francisco State University. She was a teacher in the Neighborhood Centers Adult School in Oakland from 1973 to 2005. Corpi writes her poetry in Spanish and is the author of three collections of poetry, Palabras de Mediodia (Noon Words) and Variaciones sobre una Tempestad (Variations on a Storm), with English translations by Catherine Rodriguez-Nieto. She is also the author of five novels and a bilingual children’s book, Ahi, donde bailan las luciemagas. Forthcoming in 2008 are The Triple Banana Split Boy/Diente dulce, and Death at Solstice. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and citations, among them an NEA poetry fellowship and a 2002 Texas Blue Bonnet selection for her children’s book.

Larry Mitchell is a self-taught guitarist and producer. He started playing guitar at age 9, after his mom threw his drumset out the window. Mitchell has toured with rock singers Billy Squier and Ric Ocasek and with folk/pop singer songwriter Tracy Chapman. In 1995, he produced the Rust Charles Band, his first outside production, which started him on the path of producing various singer songwriters in rock, acoustic folk, pop and R&B. He has won several awards in California and most recently in the New Mexico Music Awards.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Meet Julia Alvarez

News Release from the San Antonio Public Library:

What: Meet the Author! Julia Alvarez, Once Upon a Quinceañera
Where: Central Library Auditorium, 600 Soledad
When: 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 8

Award-winning author Julia Alvarez will read from and sign copies of her new book Once Upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the U.S.A. in the Central Library Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8. On her web site, Ms. Alvarez said of her new work, “It seemed to me that quinceañeras, those elaborate and ritualized parties thrown for young Latinas when they turn fifteen, are a perfect lens through which to view what is happening to us as a Latino community in this country. Writing the book also gave me the opportunity to review my own troubled coming of age and to understand why that passage was so difficult for me and many other young Latinas and women of my generation.”

Ms. Alvarez was born in New York City of Dominican parents. Her parents returned to the Dominican Republic when she was three months old and she lived there until the age of ten, when her father was forced to flee the country as a result of his involvement in the underground movement opposing the government of dictator Rafael Trujillo. Three sisters who were instrumental in the founding of that movement were later murdered by members of the Trujillo regime, and the incident became the basis of Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies. Other books by Julia Alvarez include How the García Girls Lost their Accent; Saving the World; A Cafecito Story; The Woman I Kept to Myself, a collection of poems; and numerous children’s books. Ms. Alvarez received the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Book Award for works which present a multicultural viewpoint for her authorship of How the García Girls Lost their Accent. She is writer-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont.

One hour of free parking is available in the Central Library parking garage with a validated ticket. For more information, the public may call 207-2500.