Thursday, August 28, 2014

Q&A with Desiree Zamorano



Désirée Zamorano's  newest novel is about four women linked by birth, separated by secrets of sex, money and death. Look for The Amado Women from Cinco Puntos Press.
 
She  delights in the exploration of contemporary issues of injustice and inequity, via her mystery series featuring private investigator, Inez Leon. Human Cargo was Latinidad's mystery pick.
Modern Cons is a story of psychological suspense where she explores the reverberations of being raised by a con artist.
 
A Pushcart prize nominee and award-winning short story writer, Desiree is also proud of having co-authored with her sister two plays commissioned by southern California's Bilingual Foundation for the Arts. "Reina" and "Bell Gardens 90201" received Equity productions and toured for a total of eight years.
 
 
Welcome, Desiree!
 
 
1.        What inspired you to become a writer?
When I had all the sophistication of a third grader who read anything in front of her, I knew way back then that I wanted to be a writer—it just seemed like fun! As I grew older I realized that I wanted to do was to be able to captivate a reader, to hold her interest, to provide a place apart from the din of real life.
 
 
2.       How did you come up with the story of THE AMADO WOMEN?
I wanted to write about women like me who I call invisible Latinas-Latinas who are professionals or struggling to be successful. I also wanted to write about a group of women who were deeply different from each other, and the best place to find that is a family.  Like many writers, I hope to take seeds of truth and transmute them into a story with a plot and resolution.  That’s what I have attempted in The Amado Women. 
 
 
3.       Which character did you relate to the most?
All of my characters have bits and pieces of me, even the men! Fortunately the challenges the women face are very different from my own—I am unsure, or perhaps unwilling to out myself here with which character I most identify ;)
 
 
4.      How is your writing different than all the other books in this genre?
The majority of published novels, including family dramas, skew heavily white.  The obvious difference in my novel is that this is a Mexican-American family, which I hope I have cast against expectations.  In terms of the story itself I believe it is the depth of characterization and relationships that set this novel apart from others in its genre.  My stories are all about displacement: how we long to belong.  In our lives we may wonder are we in the right family?  Will they accept the shameful parts of us? Can we survive with or without each other?  I hope, gentle reader, you will recognize yourself, your struggles, your successes, in at least one of these Amado Women
 
 
5.       What is the best thing about writing?
The most wonderful thing about writing is its capacity for creative self-expression, no matter the form!  My greatest challenge in writing is shaping what I want to say into an engaging story, making it palatably entertaining without being didactic. 
 
 
6.       What is the most challenging thing about writing?
Being sure that no one sees the sweat.
 
 
7.       What is the one thing readers want to know about you?
Readers love knowing which of the secrets in this novel are my own.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.
 
 
 
8.       Do you feel your book is an inspiration to Latinas? How so?
It is up to the reader to tell me if they find this novel inspiring; I just hope I have shared a facet of ourselves in a way of changing the mental landscape of so many people who have an exceptionally limited perception of who we are, of our roles and our language abilities.
 
 
 
9.       Do you have plans for an upcoming book?
I am always at work on the next novel! I love my private investigator, Inez Leon, and am puzzling out another adventure for her.  I also have another domestic drama in the works, fingers crossed that my publisher will like it.
 
 
10.    What books are on your book shelf?
On my bookshelf: Cristina Henriquez’s The Unknown Americans, Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State, Wendy C Ortiz’s Excavation.
 
 
For more info, log onto www.desireezamorano.com
 
 
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: NO NEED TO ASK by Margo Candela

When it comes to making sure a room looks effortlessly perfect, Jillian Winters is the one to call. She loves her job as the set decorator for a hit TV show, she and her ex have come to mutually beneficial arrangement and her dream of launching her own decorating business is closer to becoming a reality.

And just when things couldn’t get any more perfect, everything goes in the opposite direction. Her ex proves to be just as untrustworthy as always, her boss makes it clear as to who will be taking credit for her work and unexpected expenses shrink her nest egg to hummingbird proportions.

When recently divorced Ethan Marshall gives her carte blanche as well has his credit card to turn his new and very empty loft into a home, she finds herself falling in love with it and the man she’s creating it for.



Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 4 stars



Review: As always, hilarious! I simply can’t get enough of Candela’s snarky, smart-ass humor.

Jillian is someone most of us can relate to—she’s broke, she gets sick of her job sometimes, and love couldn’t be further away for this strung-up divorcee. What’s even more interesting is that she’s also in this twisted love affair with her ex—a pompous, pig of a man. What’s even more twisted is that she claims this is something she’s just doing for “fun.”

Sparks rapidly fly as soon as she meets Ethan Marshall, and then, suddenly, it seems that she’s never been happier….until the ex shows up and (of course) ruins it all.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Q&A with Renata F. Barcelos plus Ebook Giveaway



Renata F. Barcelos lives in Brazil with her teenager daughter, Maria, constantly complaining about the heat and dreaming of moving somewhere snowy.

She has a Law Degree, but promises never to use it. She prefers to study and teach languages and to write. Facing a three-hour daily commute, Renata uses this time to listen to audiobook after audiobook, plot, and write. Sometimes she hurts herself walking and writing at the same time–forgetting to look where she’s going.

Her characters usually don’t respect her wishes, taking the stories to places she never imagined they could go; she loves it when that happens.

Renata is always working on a new novel, and so far has published the books Mean, My Sore Hush-a-By, Merge, and the Myself in Blue series. For more information, log onto http://renatafbarcelos.wordpress.com/


Welcome!


1.       What inspired you to become a writer?

Well, I’ve never felt like being anything else, my whole life. Ever since I learned how to write I had a notebook with me, and was writing some story there. It’s just an undeniable urge to tell stories, I suppose.

 

2.       How did you come up with the story of MYSELF IN BLUE?

When I first heard about the Japanese Internment Camps in the United States during WWII, I knew it was a part of history that should be more explored. Then the name Sunday Morning came up to me one day, and it all started to build up. I love history and Psychedelic Rock, and I actually was a hippie for a while and traveled a lot, so it was a pleasure to write this novel and use things I’ve learned and places I’ve seen.

 

3.       What attributes did you come up with when creating the character, Sunday Morning?

Sunday is a great character. She is a bad girl trying desperately to be good, but has seen and gone through so much that it’s not easy for her to become better. She is smart and independent, but has a lot of issues to deal with. I guess her best attribute is that she is ‘normal’, as in she’s not perfect, and wants to learn.

 

4.       Can you please describe the relationship between Sunday and Scott?

Sunday and Scott meet almost by accident, but this will change both their lives forever. Without spoiling readers, I can say that Scott is a great guy. He’s a decent, respectful human being, and he certainly has a lot to teach Sunday. But she will make him see life under new lights too, showing him a new reality he had never thought possible.

 

5.       How is your writing different than all the other books in this genre?

I put a lot of my soul in this novel, and I expect readers will see that and feel inspired by Sundays’s misadventures and her seek for redemption. Especially because she doesn’t believe she deserves it and Scott represents her only chance to find a way to mend things. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and that’s the message I wanted to transmit in this novel.

I don’t know what makes my writing different, except that each writer delivers their stories in their own peculiar way, leaving a bit of them in each word, in each page. All I can say is that I work like crazy to deliver the best story I can, in the finest form I find possible.

 

6.       What is the best thing about writing?

As I said, I love telling stories. I’m not capable of telling the short version of a joke, for example; I have to add descriptions, colors, and a whole scenery before getting to the punch line. So, every time someone tells me my writing moved them, there’s no way to explain how content it makes me feel.

 

7.       What is the worst thing about writing?

Editing. Man, that’s exhausting! Going back to the same thing over and over again, trying to make it as flawless as possible. By the time you and your editor(s) finish it, you want to take a long vacation. But then, of course, another story starts forming in your mind and when you realize it, you’re trapped again!

 

8.       What is the one thing readers want to know about you?

Well, maybe the most interesting fact about me is that I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), so I can’t do just one thing. I have to keep the part of my mind that wanders occupied, so the other part, the one that wants to tell stories can write them. I always write while watching TV, listening to music (with lyrics), walking, talking, etc.

 

9.       Do you feel your book is an inspiration to Latinas? How so?

I believe it can be, given how Sunday spent 5 years in Brazil, and learned a lot about that culture. She tells some to Scott, and readers will have the opportunity to learn how things are in Brazil. People often forget Brazil is a Latin country too since we don’t speak Spanish, but we are. There’s a lot of Latin culture here.

 

10.   Do you have plans for an upcoming book?

Yes! Actually, Myself in Blue is the first in the ‘Myself in Blue’ series. I’m working in the next 5 books of the series right now. The next one, ‘Many Kinds of Unforgettable’, will be a novella, and it’s half-written already. It should be published soon.

The next books in the series are: Wake Me Up Inside; Maybe You’re The One; Must Remember, Must Let it Go and More Than I Can take.  They can all be read as standalones, but will focus in characters from the previous books, so it might be better if you read them in order.



Romance, redemption, and psychedelic rock in 1989.
Sunday Morning is nineteen and recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She finds it fair: a deathly cancer to pay for her sins.
The fourth of five daughters, Sunday could never overcome the jealousy she felt for her sisters, especially the youngest and her Rett Syndrome with all the attention she required. She knows her resentment and rebellion as a wayward teen brought tragedy to her family, but never learned exactly the extent. Self-exiled in Brazil living a hard life of penitence for five years, she finally feels it’s possible to come back and try to mend things.





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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cover Reveal: WHEN YOU WERE MINE by Elizabeth Reyes

We are so excited to share the sexy cover for When You Were Mine by Elizabeth Reyes. We also have a great little excerpt to share as well!




Title: When You Were Mine ( A Moreno Brother's novella)
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Age Group: NA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Fall 2014
 

 

Synopsis

When her head was screaming “enough,” her hopeful heart continued to whisper “wait.” 
It's the only way Valerie Zuniga can justify her ongoing addiction to the amazing but ever, elusive Alex Moreno. Mesmerized by the profound connection neither has ever quite understood, Valerie  accepts their crazy relationship for what it is—non-exclusive. 
That is until the incredible highs no longer numb the sting of the intense lows.   
 
As tasteless and slippery as pride can be, for Alex it's always been the hardest pill to swallow.  
Faced with a final ultimatum, the choice is a no-brainer for Alex. Despite his insanely busy life he's determined to prove to Valerie, that not only is he ready to commit, it's what he's always wanted—to claim Valerie as his exclusively.  
But just as it kept him from admitting his real feelings all those years, will his obstinate pride once again step in and ruin things just when they're finally getting it right?  
 

Excerpt

 

"Why are you here?" she demanded.


"I wanna talk to you?" he asked hopefully.

"No," her response was too quick—abrupt. "I'm busy now. Try me another time."

Okay maybe he deserved that. But he knew she wasn't busy. He knew he had to convince her to hear him out. Alex was determined to say everything he came here to say to her tonight. And then he saw it. The movement behind her. His eyes zeroed in on a guy sitting at her small kitchen table looking equally as relaxed as Valerie texting something on his phone and there were two glasses of wine on the table. 

Alex took him in for another second from top to bottom as the slow boil inside him began to bubble. The guy put his phone down then reached for the bottle of wine and poured them each a little more. 

On instinct Alex put his hand on the door in case she even thought of trying to slam the door on his face. That wasn't happening now. And any hope of this night ending amicably like he'd been optimistic about was instantly squashed. He turned to Valerie whose earlier incensed eyes looked a little panicked now. "Who the fuck is that?"  



 Don't forget to add When You Were Mine on GoodReads!

 

About Elizabeth Reyes
"I write because I must. It's not a choice or a pastime, it's an unyielding calling and my passion."
~Elizabeth Reyes

USA Today Bestselling Author, Elizabeth Reyes continues to answer her calling on a daily basis. Since releasing her debut novel FOREVER MINE (MORENO BROTHERS #1) in 2010 she has since published five more in that series, FOREVER YOURS, SWEET SOFIE, ALWAYS BEEN MINE, ROMERO and MAKING YOU MINE, with more stories about the Moreno family and their friends to come. She's also published a second series, 5th Street which includes, NOAH, GIO, HECTOR, ABEL. FELIX the fifth in the series is scheduled to release November 13th 2014. Her Moreno Brother's spinoff series FATE includes FATE, & BREAKING BRANDON, there is also more of this series still to come. Her latest release and first in a brand new series is DESERT HEAT about the diverse but equally sexy Santiago Brothers living in Las Vegas.

When she's not writing (which is rare)she spends as much time as she can with her husband of over twenty years, two teen children, Great Dane, Dexter and big fat lazy cat, Tyson.

Keep up with all her upcoming books/events/signings by visiting her
website.

You can also keep up by liking her fan page on
Facebook 

Following her on
Twitter and follow her Instagram

 
 
 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: MEET ME UNDER THE CEIBA by Silvio Sirias

'
'I'm not afraid of that old man,'' Adela once told her niece. But everyone in the small town of La Curva, Nicaragua, knew that the wealthy land owner, Don Roque Ramirez, wanted Adela Rugama dead. And on Christmas Day, Adela disappeared. It was two months before her murdered body was found.

 An American professor of Nicaraguan descent spending the summer in his parents' homeland learns of Adela's murder and vows to unravel the threads of the mystery. He begins the painstaking process of interviewing the townspeople, and it quickly becomes apparent that Adela a hard-working campesina who never learned to read and write and Don Roque had one thing in common: the beautiful Ixelia Cruz. The love of Adela's life, Ixelia was one of Don Roque's many possessions until Adela lured her away.

 The interviews with Adela's family, neighbors, and former lovers shed light on the circumstances of her death and reveal the lively community left reeling by her brutal murder, including: her older sister Mariela and her four children, who spent Christmas morning with their beloved aunt, excitedly unwrapping the gifts she brought them that fateful day; her neighbor and friend, Lizbeth Hodgson, the beautiful mulata who rejected Adela's passionate advances early in their relationship; Padre Uriel, who did not welcome Adela to mass because she loved women (though he has no qualms about his lengthy affair with a married woman); her former lover Gloria, the town's midwife, who is forever destined to beg her charges to name their newborn daughters Adela.

 Through stories and gossip that expose jealousies, scandals, and misfortunes, Sirias lovingly portrays the community of La Curva, Nicaragua, in all its evil and goodness. The winner of the Chicano / Latino Literary Prize, this spellbinding novel captures the essence of a world rarely seen in American literature.




Reviewed by: Marcia
Rating: 4 stars


Review: What can I say? This book just pulls you in and devours you. It makes you feel part of the story as it's happening.

The author did a great
job in reflecting on each character's life, history, and involvement in Adela Rugama's murder. It's interesting how this book reads like a journal and a story at the same time. You feel like an observer and a participant.

This book had all that I was looking for, and I'm glad I read it

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA by Christa Jeanne

After being dumped by the last bad boy she’s ever going to date, Calliope meets her Hispanic prince charming. Peter Delgadillo is the perfect gentleman, sure, but he’s also extremely easy to look at with a flirtatious grin, naturally tanned skin that just radiates over gorgeous muscle, and the potential to be Calliope’s passionate Latin lover who whispers sweet Spanish nothings into her ear. Hmmm. If only she could convince him that she is his Caucasian love goddess. However, Peter wants to remain in the ‘just amigos’ category. Well, that is until a pipe bursts and they are forced to stay with Peter’s mother. He confesses that in order to ease his mother’s ailing heart, they need to act like a couple in love. Pretend to adore one another? Play the part of the adorable girlfriend while getting to touch, fondle, cuddle and cozy up to the man that she’s been madly in love with for years? No problemo!

However, nothing is getting past Peter’s mother, Margarita, who is not fond of the new white girl who doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the culture and doesn’t eat meat! With quite the language barrier and culture shock, Calliope struggles to keep her end of the bogus relationship bargain especially when she begins to realize that their friendship may break her heart. Oh, and then there’s Peter’s brother, Eddie, who threatens to blow the secret wide open because he knows it’s all an act. With a love triangle right out of a Spanish novella, Calliope tries to figure out what’s real and what isn’t so her heart won’t take another blow.

One white girl, one fake boyfriend who should be The One, one ice cold Margarita who’s determined to drive her out and the one guy who knows it’s all a sham. It’ll be a wonder if this white girl will survive in la casa…




Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 4 stars




Review: Calliope doesn’t practice good sense when it comes to men. Then, out of the blue, she meets Peter Delgadillo, “the Latino God of all that is man candy goodness.” (12)

The two start off as friends, but Calli has other things in mind—dirty, sinful things. Pathetic love puppy! “For as many times as Peter had introduced me as his friend, it finally sunk in that we were not going to be walking down the aisle at any time and that his delicious body and kind heart would never be mine.” (21) Gee, ya think?

Then Calli gets her wish to be Peter’s girlfriend…Well, she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for his mother, who was quite a pickle. Can a white girl see eye-to-eye with an old Mexican suegra?

“When it was just him and I, he was the soft and sweet Peter I fell in love with years ago, but when it came to his mother, I suddenly turned to chop liver.” (107) Suddenly, Calli starts to see a whole other side to Peter, one that always sides with his saint of a mother. It’s kind of like they’re married already. If a woman hated me that much, hell no would I stay at her house.

“Once that woman knows something, the whole planet does too.” (205) Yep, heard that! That’s exactly my abuela. Margarita was like any old Mexican mother. She was mean and critical in that hilarious fashion.

The story was similar to the movie While You Were Sleeping—a girl thinking she could fool everyone into believing she was engaged to the boy, but she ain’t fooling the brother, who, ironically, may be the one for her. I liked Eddie because he called Calli on her B.S.

The best part was when Calliope spells it out for Eddie. She wants to be adored daily, she expects flowers on her birthday, she won’t cook animals, she won’t take out the trash, she’s opinionated big-mouth, and she gets cranky when she’s on her period. “Take it or leave it.” (221) Gotta love her honesty!

Full of that in-your-face sarcastic humor, this book practically speaks to the reader in diary form, which exuded Calliope’s personality force, but, at times, she tended to babble on and often got off tangent. Overall, the writing was okay (wasn’t too impressed), but the author does make up for it with the variety of oddball characters.

Calli’s life in la casa was like watching an I Love Lucy episode with her hare-brain schemes and wacky antics. It is a wild ride of culture shock. A fun and enjoyable read!

 


Monday, June 23, 2014

Q&A with Author Christa Jeanne

Christa Jeanne lives and writes in the Los Angeles area, which means at any given moment she is likely to be stuck in traffic somewhere.  When she isn’t writing her next romantic comedy, she is either busy getting clobbered at Candyland by her daughter, educating anyone who will listen about how her son with autism is going to change the world one day, or lovingly doting on her handsome, charming, intelligent and perfect husband (who totally fed her that line).  Christa is the ringleader of her circus at home and as soon as the kids go to bed, she can be found at her computer rocking out to a playlist that matches the mood of the current book she’s hammering out.  She loves writing about the funnier side of love since falling in love can be pretty hilarious sometimes.
Her latest book is the romantic comedy, WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA. Visit www.christajeannebooks.com to learn more.
 
 
 
Welcome, Christa!
 
 

1.       How did you come up with the story of WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA?
 
 
 
White Girl in La Casa is based on some very funny and eye opening experiences I've gone through since I met my husband.  I am indeed a white girl and I'm married to a hispanic hunk ;)  The Hispanic, and specifically Mexican, culture is so family-oriented and when I met all of my husband's family, I have to admit, it took me a while to get used to it and to remember everyone's name.  I'm an only child with a very small immediate family so being welcomed into a huge familia was wonderful, but it did lend itself to some moments that were lost in translation.  I've always had the writing bug and admittedly, there were some times when dating my husband that I thought to myself, this is better than fiction, I have to write about this!
 

 
2.       What character features were you seeking for Calliope? How did you come up with her name?
 
 
I love not so common names.  Maybe because my name is Christa and is also somewhat uncommon.  I'm not sure how I decided on Calliope, but I thought it was different and would be very hard for my poor Margarita to pronounce, so again adding to the humor is always my motto!  She had to be vegan.  I knew that from the beginning because not only is it sometimes difficult to be the odd man (or woman) out in some situations, but my Mexican mami Margarita who will cook every part of the cow had to square off against someone completely opposite, which would mean Calliope had to be a vegan.  I'm all about making situations awkward for my poor characters.

 

3.       There is a culture shock as soon as Calliope meets Peter’s mother. Did you have any personal experience with culture shock? Please describe.
 
 
Personal experience with culture shock...hmmm...uh yes!  Absolutely!  I don't want to give anything away but there's a certain scene with a bowl of posole soup that actually happened to me.  I played it off a little better than my character, Calliope, but it practically gave me a heart attack none the less.  My mother-in-law is nothing like Margarita, thank goodness, but it took her and I awhile to understand each other.  I understand a lot of Spanish now but I'm horrible at speaking it so we have this weird communication where she speaks in Spanish and I speak in English but somehow it works. 
 

4.       Can you please compare and contrast the relationships Calliope has with Peter and Eddie?
 
Calliope has always been friends with Peter and I think deep down, she knew they were always just friends.  It really changes when Peter comes home to his mother.  It's a very blind-siding situation when Peter becomes this instant mama's boy and leaves Calliope on her own, especially since Margarita speaks a different language.  Peter is one of those guys that has his own demons and puts on quite the facade to get everyone to love him, Calliope included.  Eddie on the other hand doesn't put up with any BS.  At all.  And he somewhat kick starts Calliope finally having to admit to herself her true feelings about Peter and about the kind of love she deserves.  Eddie is Calliope's truth.
 
 

5.       What are your thoughts concerning those who still possess “old school” values and prejudices like Margarita?
My thoughts on "old school" values…hmmm…well, I think they have their own value in any culture really.  When you peel away all the layers of complication in any relationship, I feel like the "old school" values will shine through.  And that's definitely the case with Margarita.  She is the typical old school, hard working Mexican mother that loves her sons and loves her family and sometimes that's all you need.  Take away all the stress and artificial nonsense of our technology driven texting, messaging, facebooking, tweeting lives and you end up having to look at each other and be honest with each other.  Plus, you have to love and respect an old school Mexican mami's cooking, it is second to none.  
 
 

6.       Do you think Calliope learned anything from living in La Casa, and, if so, what?
I think Calliope learned a little something about love and being honest with herself.  Plus, she learned how to make a mean tamale!
 
 

7.       What is your writing process like?
I write copious notes before I begin any new project.  I know the funny scenes that I want to include and I build around those and outline the entire thing.  I make changes along the way here or there but I sometimes laugh at all my notes.  They tend to look like the scribblings of the serial killer from Seven or something.  I have a good time writing and since I work a full time day job and then have two kids and a husband to come home to with happy but hungry faces, I usually don't get to write until after my kids got to bed at night.  
 
 

8.       What do you like about being a writer? What do you dislike?
I started writing in college for fun and have stuck to that motto. I just have a lot of fun with it and don't take anything to seriously, obviously since I write comedies.  I wrote my first novel My Midlife & Married Romance Novel Life and it got the writing bug in me.  I couldn't stop because it's my avenue to be creative and share my stories with all those that are willing to enjoy them.  The part I don't like is the marketing.  I'll be honest, it's a tough sell to get readers and I've heard so many of my friends tell me that they don't read for fun, they don't have time…so sad really.  I've always been a bookworm, I thank my dad for that since he always was buying me really cool books to read when I was a kid…oh wait, he still does that.  And I love it.  
 
 

9.       Do you feel your book is an inspiration to our Latina readers? How so?

Well, I really don't write to inspire anything but a smile and a laugh.  I read a ton and sometimes I'm in the mood for something deep and tragic and tear jerking and then sometimes, I want something to make me laugh. I would love for Latina women to read my book and just enjoy it, laugh at it, identify with it on some level since I love comments that I've gotten from my Latina friends and family like, "oh, that is so my mom."  I love that, I love making people laugh with a funny love story.  Sometimes life is just too serious, we need stuff to make us laugh, so I hope to inspire some smiles.
 
 

10.   What are you working on now?
Right now, I'm working on the first book of a new series.  For now, until I change my mind ten thousand times, it's called The Dating Disasters Anonymous Club and the first book is titled Hazel Mae and the 5 Losers Who Loved Her.  I'm hoping to have it ready to go late this year.

Up Next: A review of WHITE GIRL IN LA CASA