I am so so excited to say that I’ve accepted an offer from Sourcebooks for a new contemporary romance series – ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID. The series is about the last three unmarried friends and what happens as one by one, they possibly find the man who might provide the Happily-Ever-After.
The series was inspired by my daughter and her friends since they are all in various stages of dating, getting engaged, and getting married. I thought it might be fun to explore that moment in time and what happens as friends’ relationships change.
Another fun thing – the stories have a hometown feel even though they are set in different parts of New York City. I really love sharing the unique neighborhoods in New York so the stories will move from upscale places like Chelsea and Gramercy Park to more blue collar neighborhoods in Spanish Harlem and Brooklyn.
The stories will also show the diversity of New York City with the first story being about very wealthy old money families to the second story about an up-and-coming Latino family and finally, the third story highlights a big boisterous Italian family!
I’m having a little fun with the announcement this morning, so here’s a banner for you! Nope, this isn’t the cover! We haven’t even gotten to that stage yet! I will let you know as soon as we’ve decided on a release date for the series.
It’s the dimples. Okay, and the rocking hot bod! Mario has appeared on numerous television shows and commercials. He’s probably best known for his role as A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell. Mario has also written a fitness book, cookbook and a children’s book about himself and his baby daughter.
He’s just so totally cute and a worthy choice to heat up this very cold and miserable first day of spring.
I want to thank all of you who dropped by on Wednesday to wish Rene Colato good luck with his wonderful children’s book! It was much appreciated.
Also – many many thanks for all the b’day wishes! I had a great day that weekend as well as last weekend when we had our first ever Liberty States Fiction Writers conference. I had a wonderful time and met so many nice people.
As for the b’day wishes, I’d like to announce the winner of my b’day contest!
Sherry is the lucky winner of a $25 Godiva Gift Card, copy of FURY CALLS and a SINS OF THE FLESH lunch bag. Congratulations, Sherry. Please e-mail your postal address to cpsromance at att dot net .
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Here in the NY/NJ Metro area we are getting a glimpse of our first taste of Spring! Bulbs are coming up, crocuses are in bloom and we’re supposed to have weather in the 60s. I so can’t wait!!
Today we have with us a very special guest – Rene Colato – a writer of books for children! It’s a change of pace, I know, but nothing is more important than getting your children to read.
I was an avid reader as a child and some of my fondest memories are of walking to the library with my grandmother or eagerly waiting for the bookmobile to stop at the corner so I could pick up my latest horde of books to read. My parents also provided lots of books for us and to this day I have a box filled with my favorites that I read to my daughter as a child.
So please give a big welcome to Rene and learn a little about him and his latest release, MY SHOES AND I.
From the Author
How I Became the Teacher Full of Stories
and a Children’s Book Author
I always wanted to write a book. In high school and college, I wrote seven novels for my family and friends. All of them are on their first drafts and have potential to become novels in the future. Also in college my short stories “Blood Tears” and “White Sheep Among White Lambs” became plays. I was confident that I could write a book and be an author.
Then I became a teacher and when I opened the door of room 11 at Fernangeles Elementary School, I discovered wonderful, colorful, excellent picture books. It was an instant love and soon I was writing my books for my students.
In my classroom, I loved to tell funny, scary, sad, happy and adventurous stories.
One day, one of my students asked me, “Can you write that story and draw the pictures?”
“What a wonderful idea!” I told him.
That night, I wrote and illustrated my first picture book- “El número 1/ The Number 1.” I finished the book at 1:00 A.M. and I was thrilled. I used watercolors to illustrate the book. The story is about Big Number One visiting a Number One Island. In the island lived little number ones and they were scared of Big Number One. Years later, I published this story in the Spanish magazine for children Revista Iguana.
After “El número 1” , I wrote and illustrated more books. Soon, I had a box labeled “Mr. Colato’s Books”. I discovered that during independent and silent reading, this box was empty. All around the classroom, my students were reading my books. I was so excited and decided to write more and more books.
After presenting a new book, Elvis told me, “You are the teacher full of stories.”
“Sí, yes! He is the teacher full of stories,” all the children said at the same time.
And I became the teacher full of stories at Fernangeles Elementary. Teachers began to borrow my books. I created poems and songs for the school. One time, I even illustrated a flyer title “Wash Your Hands”.
Soon, “Mr. Colato’s box” included books such as: Fabiola, Fabiola , The Three Delicious Pies, In Search of a Baby, I Am, Dear Journal, A Year Full of Adventures, Teacher What I need to do?, A Story Full of Color, My House is a Castle and many more.
One morning, children’s book authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy visited my school and told me, “You have to send this wonderful books to publishers.” Then, I joined their workshops “Teachers in the Classroom” that Project M.O.R.E. was offering for LAUSD teachers. Both Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy inspired me to create more books and to begin to send manuscripts to publishers.
The journey to publication was hard but in my way, I found many learning opportunities to craft my writing with UCLA, SCBWI, Highlights Foundation, the Institute of Children’s Literature and finally I obtained a MFA in writing for Children and Young Adult at Vermont College.
In November 2004, I published my first picture book Waiting for Papá/ Esperando a Papá. The following year, I published I Am René, the Boy and Playing Lotería. In September, my book number 7th is coming out, From North to South (Children’s Book Press).
Yeah! I am still The Teacher Full of Stories and there are many books coming soon.
My goal as a writer is to produce good multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they can see themselves as heroes, and where they can dream and have hopes for the future. I want to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.
Purchasing the Book:
You can purchase this book at the Dulce Bread and Book Shop by clicking on this link:
About the Author:
René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran award winning author of I Am René, the Boy, Waiting for Papá, Playing Lotería, René Has Two Last Names and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez. His picture books have been honored by the Latino Book Award, the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People, the California Collection for Elementary Readers, the Tejas Star Book Award Selection and the New Mexico Book Award. Rene was named “Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read)” by latinostories.com. Rene is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults.
Visit Rene at these other guest blogs on his tour!
Our Lola today is anything but a show girl. She’s a smart and sexy sleuth in Misa Ramirez’s Lola Cruz Mystery series! I hope you’ll enjoy today’s guest blog with my friend and fellow author as Misa tells us a little more about the creation of her character and series.
You don’t know me, but I’m a mystery writer. I’m the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery Series. Living the Vida Lola came out last January, and Hasta la Vista, Lola!, comes out on February 2nd. I’m gearing up for the release, in full celebratory mode, and thrilled to be here dishing with Caridad!
When you aren’t a regular on a blog, it can be hard to know what to write, and how to present it to a brand new audience. Should I be funny, like in my books? Serious, because murder is serious business? Or some combination of the two, perhaps? The truth is, I’m no stand up comedian (not by a long shot), but I am funny–in my books. Like any fleshed out character, I’m a combination of things. I love a good mystery (cutting my teeth on Nancy Drew, graduating to Agatha Christie, and branching out from there), read the occasional romance (Julia Quinn makes me laugh), but stick mostly with women’s and/or literary fiction (The Help is my new favorite book).
How, then, did I come to write mysteries, and why aren’t my mysteries serious instead of sexy and sassy?
The short answer is, I like the mystery device. What better way to propel a plot forward than to have a crime to solve?
The little-bit-longer answer is that crafting a puzzle that the sleuth and readers need to piece together is challenging–and fun; watching characters you love to spend time with grow and discover themselves–and each other–is rewarding. Having humor and wit in a book is icing on the cake.
For me, then, the mystery is only half the story. Lola Cruz came about long before the framework of Living the Vida Lola. She came to me as a character who was at once sassy, smart, sexy, determined, strong, feminine, Latina, black belt in kung fu, idealistic, American, sister, daughter, friend, and so much more. When it was time to figure out how I was going to tell her story, it made perfect sense to put her into an investigative role. Elements of the mystery, I knew, could pit Lola against external conflicts, as well as internal conflicts, of which she has many. It would force her to evaluate her life, her choices, her dreams, her desires, and her future (all in a funny, light way). Balancing her drive to be a detective, her traditional Mexican family, cultural expectations, her American sensibilities, and her love life is no easy task. Add in a mystery, and it’s a wild ride!
Lola Cruz Mysteries are character driven more than anything, but the mysteries really interest me. They’re ‘ripped from the headlines’, twisted, redefined, and Lola-fied. The mysteries shape, form, and/or enlighten Lola in her personal life or with her decision-making. They are equal, then, to Lola’s own story, which spans the arc of the series (we’re only on book 2, so have a ways to go yet).
I’m always curious to find out i readers like their mysteries straight up, or with the zany, romantic elements which are in many series. How do you like yours?
I want to thank all of you who have dropped by this week to help me celebrate the launch of SINS OF THE FLESH, my first paranormal suspense single title and the first book in an exciting new series from Grand Central Publishing!
If you didn’t get a chance to drop by my radio interview yesterday, you can just click here or cut and paste this link into your browser:
Remember to leave a comment on any blog this week for a chance to win a SINS t-shirt and autographed copy of SINS OF THE FLESH by midnight EST TODAY, Friday, October 30!
And don’t forget that the SINFUL THINGS contest continues to run until November 30. For a chance to win a $50 gift certificate, just tweet/retweet/post to your Facebook profile as follows by midnight EST November 30th:
On Twitter please Tweet/Retweet (please be sure to include the bit.ly link):
Celebrate the Release of Caridad Pineiro’s SINS OF THE FLESH! RT for a chance 2 win a $50 Gift Certificate. http://bit.ly/2AZWlC
On Facebook please post to your profile (please be sure to include the bit.ly link):
Celebrate the Release of Caridad Pineiro’s SINS OF THE FLESH! Post this link to your profile for a chance to win a $50 Gift Certificate. http://bit.ly/2AZWlC
I hope you all have a grand and marvelous weekend!
As the immigration crisis reaches the boiling point, once-peaceful Latino protests explode into rioting. Cities across the nation are in flames. Anglo vigilantes bent on revenge launch drive-by shootings in the barrios, wantonly killing young and old. Exploiting the turmoil, a congressional demagogue succeeds in passing legislation that transforms the nation’s teeming inner-city barrios into walled-off Quarantine Zones. In this chaotic landscape, Manolo Suarez is struggling to provide for his family. Under the spell of a beautiful Latina radical, the former U.S. Army Ranger eventually finds himself questioning his loyalty to his wife—and his country.
Please welcome Raul Ramos y Sanchez, the author of AMERICA LIBRE. Raul has been gracious enough to vist with us and answer some questions. Please also check out the excerpt from AMERICA LIBRE as well as the video trailer.
A chat with Raul:
My sources tell me AMERICA LIBRE started out with a different name. Tell us about that and the timeline of getting your first novel published.
You’re like James Lipton with these inside sources! Yes, AMERICA LIBRE began life as MANO A MANO. Thankfully my agent talked me out of that title. Like most authors, my path to publication was not easy – or quick. I finished the manuscript in the summer of 2004. AMERICA LIBRE was released by Grand Central Publishing July 29, 2009. That five year span is an indication of how difficult it can be just to find a publisher—and a lot of work remains. Getting published has been a very gratifying experience. Still, I see it as only the first leg of a longer race. I have a lot of work remaining to make sure AMERICA LIBRE is a marketplace success.
How many rejections did you receive?
Wheh! I lost count. What I remember most about my first attempts to find an agent or a publisher was that it seemed the stack of rejection letters was approaching the thickness of my manuscript. Amazingly, after months of mailing query letters without any luck, I went to a writers conference and got offers of representation from three agents in a single weekend. Even after finding an agent, though, a lot of hurdles remained.
What kept you writing?
I’ve always felt the height of a barrier is an indication of the reward on the other side. I knew going in, getting published would not be easy. Nothing worth attaining ever is. But I had an example that helped sustain my perseverance. My mother arrived in the Bronx from Cuba in 1957 with a few words of English, a seven-year-old son, and enough cash to get us through a couple of months. Few people would have bet on her chances of one day starting her own business, much less raising three children who would go to college and become successful entrepreneurs. My mother never gave up. She worked relentlessly to give her children a better life despite many setbacks and disappointments. Her example showed me that the willingness to overcome adversity is what divides those who reach their dreams from those who will always wonder what might have been.
Have you ever thought about doing a film about AMERICA LIBRE and if so, what did you do about it?
One the first reviews of my manuscript came from a professor who told me he could “see” the story even as he read it. Maybe it’s my background as a visual artist, but from the very beginning readers have commented that AMERICA LIBRE seems an ideal story for a film. I never did this consciously, but looking back, the novel has a lot of cinematic qualities: strong characters, romance, lots of action. We’ve already had an option offer from a small indy studio in Los Angeles, which my agent advised against, and a nibble from a major studio. (I should mention these experiences inspired me to post a poll on my author’s site asking visitors to vote on the star they’d like to see in the major roles. For anyone who’d like to vote, go to www.RaulRamos.com and scroll down a bit in the lower left side of the page.) In any case, I would love to see AMERICA LIBRE as a film. I’m hopeful the right deal will come along.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank you, Caridad, for inviting me as a guest on your blog. Hanging out with a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author is a rare privilege. I value your very generous support and wish you continued success with your wonderful work.
Thank you so much Raul for visiting. In chatting with you, I’ve learned what a positive role model you are for people everywhere. I’ve always believed that with hard work and determination you can overcome adversity and you are a true example of that belief in action. I wish you all the best with your writing career!
The origins of any political revolution parallel the beginnings of life on our planet. The amino acids and proteins lie inert in a volatile primordial brew until a random lightning strike suddenly brings them to life.
José Antonio Marcha, 1978
Translated by J. M. Herrera
The trouble had started two weeks earlier. Enraged at the fatal police shooting of a young Latina bystander during a drug bust, a late-night mob descended on a Texas Department of Public Safety complex and torched the empty buildings. By morning, a local newscast of the barrio’s law-and-order meltdown mushroomed into a major story, drawing the national media to San Antonio. Since then, the presence of network cameras had incited the south side’s bored and jobless teenagers into nightly rioting.
Seizing the national spotlight, the governor of Texas vowed looters would be shot on sight. Octavio Perez, a radical community leader, angrily announced that force would be met with force. He called on Mexican-Americans to arm themselves and resist if necessary.
Disdaining Perez’s warning, Edward Cole, a twenty-six-year-old National Guard Lieutenant, chose a provocative location for his downtown command post: the Alamo.
“This won’t be the first time this place has been surrounded by a shitload of angry Mexicans,” Cole told his platoon of weekend warriors outside the shutdown tourist site. A high school gym teacher for most of the year, Lieutenant Cole had been called up to lead a Texas National Guard detachment. Their orders were to keep San Antonio’s south side rioting from spreading downtown.
Now Cole was fielding yet another call over the radio.
“Lieutenant, we got some beaners tearing the hell out of a liquor store two blocks south of my position,” the sentry reported.
“I’d say fifty to a hundred.”
“Sit tight, Corporal. The cavalry is coming to the rescue,” Cole said, trying his best to sound cool and confident. From a two-day training session on crowd control, he’d learned that a rapid show of strength was essential in dispersing a mob. But the colonel who had briefed Cole for the mission had been very clear about the governor’s statement.
“Your men are authorized to fire their weapons only in self-defense,” the colonel had ordered. “And even then, it had damn well better be as a last resort, Lieutenant. The governor wants to deter violence, not provoke it.”
Lieutenant Cole had never seen combat. But he was sure he could deal with a small crowd of unruly Mexicans. After all, he had eight men armed with M-16A automatic rifles under his command. Cole put on his helmet, smoothed out his crisply ironed ascot, and ordered his men into the three reconditioned Humvees at his disposal.
“Let’s move out,” he said over the lead Humvee’s radio. With the convoy underway, Cole turned to his driver. “Step on it, Baker. We don’t want to let this thing get out of hand.” As the driver accelerated, the young lieutenant envisioned his dramatic entrance . . .
Bullhorn in hand, he’d emerge from the vehicle surrounded by a squad of armed troopers, the awed crowd quickly scattering as he ordered them to disperse . . .
Drifting back from his daydream, Cole noticed they were closing fast on the crowd outside the liquor store. Too fast.
“Stop, Baker! Stop!” Cole yelled.
The startled driver slammed on the brakes, triggering a chain collision with the vehicles trailing close behind. Shaken but unhurt, Cole looked through the window at the laughing faces outside. Instead of arriving like the 7th Cavalry, they’d wound up looking like the Keystone Kops.
Then a liquor bottle struck Cole’s Humvee. Like the opening drop of a summer downpour, it was soon followed by the deafening sound of glass bottles shattering against metal.
“Let’s open up on these bastards, Lieutenant! They’re gonna kill us!” the driver shouted.
Cole shook his head, realizing his plan had been a mistake. “Negative, Baker! We’re pulling out.”
But before the lieutenant could grab the radio transmitter to relay his order, the driver’s window shattered.
“I’m hit! I’m hit! Oh, my God. I’m hit!” the driver shrieked, clutching his head. A cascade of blood flowed down Baker’s nose and cheeks. He’d only suffered a gash on the forehead from the broken glass, but all the same, it was as shocking as a mortal wound. Never one to stomach the sight of blood, Baker passed out, slumping into his seat.
Cole couldn’t allow himself to panic; with no window and no driver he was far too vulnerable. Mind racing, he stared outside and soon noticed a group of shadowy figures crouching along the roof of the liquor store. Were they carrying weapons?
“Listen up, people. I think we might have snipers on the roof! I repeat, snipers on the roof!” Cole yelled into the radio. “Let’s lock and load! Have your weapons ready to return fire!”
On the verge of panic, the part-time soldiers fumbled nervously with their rifles as the drunken mob closed on the convoy, pounding against the vehicles.
The window on Cole’s side caved in with a terrifying crash. The rattled young lieutenant was certain he now faced a life or death decision—and he was determined to save his men. With the radio still in hand, Lieutenant Edward Cole gave an order he would forever regret.
“We’re under attack. Open fire!”
When it was over, twenty-three people lay dead on the black pavement beneath the neon sign of the Rio Grande Carryout.
Take a moment to watch the exciting trailer for AMERICA LIBRE. Also, everyone who leaves a comment by midnight EST on Friday will be eligible to win a copy of Raul’s novel.