Welcome to the Banned Books Blog Hop! It’s always a surprise to me to see the list of books that have been banned over the years, especially when they contain books that I’ve read and found so enlightening, like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, or so entertaining, like HARRY POTTER. To me books, especially books of fiction, are one of the best ways that we can explore issues in society and bring them to the forefront for discussion and consideration.
When I was a teen, a local high school not only banned the books, but burned them. That case went all the way to the Supreme Court. To this day I always questioned why a few thought some ideas were so radical they needed to be eradicated by burning, like in FAHRENHEIT 451.
Which I guess is why I love America. We have the First Amendment and protections against restrictions on our speech. We also have a way of resolving our differences about whether or not the speech contained in certain works merits those protections. I hope that we never reach a point where things like “fairness doctrines” stop us from being able to openly discuss issues that are of importance for our society.
Take a moment to visit the other blogs for their discussions and giveaways. For this blog and to be entered to win a $10 gift card, THE LOST T-shirt and some swag, please either tweet or share on Facebook the following:
PLZ RT #JerseyShore + Energy Gatherers + Civil War=THE LOST #Paranormal by @CaridadPineiro 4 Stars RT Book Reviewshttp://ht.ly/6iBHZ
For those who are hopping and are here for the first time, I’m a writer of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. My latest release is THE LOST and here is a little excerpt for you. If you can’t see the excerpt, you can visit this link:
One of the things that has been coming up often on the ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH blog tour are questions about how I get the inspirations for the books that I write.
Which makes me vaguely remember a quote somewhere about writers being able to talk to themselves without being labeled crazy (or at least not at first) and some very popular writer kinds of T-shirt quotes, such as:
Watch out or you’ll end up in my novel.
I kill off my enemies in my book. You’re on page 12.
Truthfully, those quotes are accurate. For example, a very nice waiter was the inspiration for the Ryder name. Roman mythology helped create Ryder’s lover, Diana. I confess to killing off at least one person who truly pissed me off in very gruesome fashion. Last, but not least, the names of friends and family have graced characters that I like, sometimes more than once.
But beyond that, where the ideas originate is difficult to say, although it is safe to say that a writer’s mind never stops observing and recording those things around them in order to use those observations in a story. Whether it’s a meal that you savor or where you eat it, a walk along a street with a different vibe, a new city that you visit… Any and all of those life experiences may germinate the kernel of an idea that takes root and grows into a story.
Take STRONGER THAN SIN for instance. You may have heard me mention on other blogs that the idea for the genetic engineering came about as a result of my science major geekdom. But my love of sports was what influenced the hero’s occupation. Rather than choosing baseball, which is more a game of physics and strategy, I needed the hero to suffer serious physical injury in a bone-crushing collision. Bazinga-he had to be a football player. Someone big and powerful cut down in the prime of his life.
Enter the heroine who I had already introduced in SINS OF THE FLESH, but who I came to love and needed her own big story. Was it coincidence that she was a doctor in book one? No because I needed someone who could offer medical assistance on the sly in that book. Was it coincidence that she was training to be an orthopedic surgeon? Not really either since I knew even then the second story was going to be about someone with a bone disease and I also had a friend with that profession who I could ask questions about treatments, etc.
My life experiences and influences eventually led to ex-football player Jesse Bradford and Dr. Liliana Carrera and their story.
Other life experiences, namely my love of history and travel, are what helped set up the evolution of the SINS series for books 3 and 4 – THE LOST and THE CLAIMED as well as the two books coming out from Carina – AZTEC GOLD and THE FIFTH KINGDOM. Although I’m a little crazed right now with trying to finish THE CLAIMED, I’m going to dig through some photos and get them scanned so you can see what inspired some of the story elements and locations that I chose for those books!
I guess what I’m trying to say in a very long way is that a writer’s inspiration comes from everything around them and in particular, from those things about which they find interesting or about which they are passionate. Why are those last two things so important? Because when a writer is interested or passionate about something, it shows in the words that they put on the page and bring the story alive for readers.
Thanks for dropping by today’s Kiss Me, Kill Tuesday. Don’t forget to visit the various stops on the ARE YOU STRONG ENOUGH blog tour to learn more about STRONGER THAN SIN and also, to possibly win of the giveaways.
Also take a moment to visit with my very good friend and fellow author Mary Kennedy at SOS Aloha today! Mary is chatting about Sherlock Holmes which is thoroughly appropriate since she has the wonderful Talk Radio Mysteries out on shelves. Just click here to visit!
I had the special dinner last night after getting home an hour late thanks to NJ Transit. Another of their ungodly messes. When they announced a 25% fair hike yesterday, I guess they decided to add to the pain we were all feeling by having no service out of Penn Station. But the updside to the debacle was the Charlie Brown’s dinner courtesy of the coupon. Totally worth it!
The next Fun Friday thing is a guest blog with Lisa Pietsch. Drop by there today and leave a comment at Lisa’s blog for a chance to win a STRONGER THAN SIN T-shirt and a copy of FURY CALLS! The contest ends at midnight EST today, April 16th!
Today is a departure from our usual Fun Fridays, although I hope that it will still be fun for you!
My friends at eHarlequin asked me to blog about my favorite hero from THE CALLING Vampire Novels. Now I know most of you would expect for me to say my favorite hero is Ryder, but there’s a surprise dark horse that’s come out of the pack.
So join me over at eHarlequin to find out who is the mystery Favorite Hero and get into his brain.
If you leave a comment on either this blog or the eHarlequin blog by Midnight EST Saturday, October 10th, you’ll be eligible to win a SINS OF THE FLESH T-shirt!
Click here to visit My Favorite Hero or cut and paste this link: http://community.eharlequin.com/node/125987
Today’s Wicked Wednesday is a look at the science fact and fiction in SINS OF THE FLESH. By now you may know that the “paranormal” part of my exciting new paranormal romantic suspense series is the genetic engineering that has occurred with Caterina, the heroine.
Caterina had been suffering from a brain tumor and goes to the scientists at Wardwell Laboratories in the hopes of curtailing the pain from the tumor. Told that a radical new gene therapy might not only help with the pain, but eliminate the tumor and restore her sight, Caterina willingly takes the risk. Unfortunately, the scientists also decide to use Caterina for a guinea pig and implant other genes which produce a number of side effects, the most evident of which are the changes to Caterina’s blood, skin and eyes.
Did I mention Caterina is glowing in spots as depicted on the cover? The glow is the uncontrolled proliferation of the genes implanted in Caterina which have been tagged with green fluorescent proteins (also known as GFPs). GFPs are used by scientists to track the expression of genes since they know where the GFP-tagged genes have gone when phosphorescence occurs.
Scientists have even been able to create fish, cats and mice that glow in the dark using these GFPs. Why do this? Some might say that it’s because you can, but the reality is that it also helps scientists determine if the genes they wish to use are being incorporated where they should go. With the glowing fish, scientists use them to track the effects of pollution and other problems associated with fish populations.
If you want some glowing critters of your own, you can visit www.glofish.com.
That’s the fact. As for the fiction part of it, while the first thing Mick Carrera notices about Caterina is her glowing blood after she’s been shot, it’s certainly not the last thing that grabs his attention!
Interested in more? Here’s a short video showing a cat that has been implanted with GFPs. Watch for the glow in the visible skin areas of the cat.
You can also sign up for the RT Book Reviews SINS OF THE FLESH giveaway contest for a chance to win a SINS OF THE FLESH lunch bag, t-shirt and autographed copy of the book. Just click here to enter!
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.
This Fun Friday I have a very sneaky cat for you! It’s amazing how determined she is and how careful as she approaches her objective. It makes for a good chuckle. Also remember you have until midnight EST TONIGHT to leave a message on the Nancy Thayer blog to possibly win a SINS OF THE FLESH t-shirt.