Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Q&A with Lars Teeney

Lars Teeney was born in Montana. After going to an art school in San Francisco, racking up insane student loans and working for years as a freelance designer for the start-up culture, he became burnt out. He abandoned the Bay Area for the Pacific North-west, where he could hike and bike to his heart’s content. He has worked for a variety of technology companies and has a keen passion for politics, history, science and art.

  1. What inspired you to write The Apostates Book Three: Lake of Fire?

I was inspired to write The Apostates series of book and Lake of Fire because of the it is an interesting time in the world, where our lives are enriched by advanced technology but superstition and baser instincts of humans are a constant threat that could reduce humanity to the values of a less enlightened age.
Many factors inspired my need to write these books. The first factors were 9/11 and the Bush era, the financial crisis of 2007-8, the Iraq and Afghan wars, the rise of the Tea Party and most recently the Trump Candidacy. Racial and economic inequality was also a big factor.
As far as literary influences go, I am a big G.R.R.Martin, Junot Diaz, Neal Stephenson, and Neil Gaiman fan. Old school “Cyber Punk” novels were a heavy influence on my books.

  1. How would you describe the relationship between Archon and Strategos?
Archon and Strategos are titles that Greta Sanchez and Evan Nubia take on. Greta is like the “president” and Evan is akin to her “general”. They have a very close relationship because they have had a child together, Amerigo Nubia. The twist is that Evan is a gay man while Greta is straight. The two of them have survived many ordeals together and have governed the Manhattan Union for five years.

  1. What kind of genre would this book fall into?
This book probably crosses several genre lines. It can be labeled as science fiction, but can fall into subgenres like cyber-punk, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian fiction.

  1. What are some of the main issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?
This series is not exactly a light read and deals with subjects like religious extremism, racism, war, fascism, terrorism, government surveillance, environmental destruction, the war on drugs and the supply/demand effect on Latin America, and retaining cultural identity in an age of mass homogenization. There is also plenty of action, romance, drama, and light-hearted scenes.

  1. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?
First I would like for them to have fun reading the book and hopefully it develops into a page-turner for the reader. Mainly, I hope that the story makes an impact on the reader and when characters fall I hope that they feel loss at the event.

  1. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
Obviously, I love world-building and creating characters the most. I don’t think there is a bad part about being a writer. The tedious part comes from being a self-published author. This fact means that the author is on the hook for all promotion of the product and that cuts into writing time. This aspect of it all I could definitely do without.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Aside from the authors I already mentioned I like the work of Margaret Atwood, Gore Vidal, Stephen King, George Orwell, William Gibson, etc.

  1. If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)
I always thought that Michelle Rodriguez could play Greta Sanchez spot on.

  1. Are you working on anything new right now?
I just finished this series, but I am always promoting it. Aside from that I am in the early stages of plotting out a fantasy stand-alone novel. I have no idea low long this will take me to publish since I have a day job.

  1. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
I think that as the sons and daughters of immigrants grow up in America and get exposed to fiction and non-fiction literature and film I think that we will see much more media produced by Latino artists and writers. That is, unless there is some cultural and political shift to fascism in this country that targets immigrants and minorities.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: PASSION STORM by Diane Escalera

A looming hurricane has nothing on the storm raging inside...

Karina Valdez loves a good adventure, but jetting off to the Bahamas with a complete stranger is taking it to the extreme. She can’t believe her meddling best friend entered her in a radio dating contest. Even more shocking? Karina won! A tropical getaway she can do. Making a love connection with a hot local bachelor, not so much. Especially when she’s not looking for a man.

Meteorologist Andrew Romano is psyched over winning the radio contest. He’s ready to settle down and get married, prove once and for all that he’s not a player. The contest will surely help his chances—he’s been matched with his perfect woman. Too bad she doesn’t want him. To make matters worse, an erratic storm has shifted direction and is whirling toward them. Andy will do whatever it takes to win over the elusive beauty and keep her safe. He can handle a hurricane. But what about the other storm waiting to be unleashed?

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Karina has won a free trip to the Bahamas. Nice! But there’s always a price….

“What the heck had her best friend gotten her into? She didn’t want to go on vacation with some stranger. Why couldn’t Jackie and everyone else butt out of her life? Why were they always trying to fix her up? A girl could be single and happy. She didn’t need her mother, sisters—the whole darn world badgering her to settle down, get married, have kids. She was only thirty-one, for God’s sake. They made her sound like an old maid.” (3)

“Karina liked her independence, enjoyed coming and going as she pleased. She wasn’t selfish. She just liked things the way they were: uncomplicated. What part of that couldn’t they understand?... She
planned to live life on her terms, her rules.” (3)

Most chicas will be able to relate to Karina every step of the way!

While Karina chooses to live for today, Andrew wants to plan for tomorrow and settle down with the perfect woman. Their first meeting was in a blind date—literally, they were both blindfolded. Imagine getting turned on by someone you’ve never even seen!

Even though Karina is hell-bent on staying single for the rest of her life, she goes on the trip with Andy to the island of bliss, where sparks continue to fly and Andy slowly, but surely, breaks down the armor that surrounds Karina’s heart. “He was patient. Forceful. Wild. Tame. Safe. Dangerous. …Forget the hurricane. A storm named Andy had already ripped through her tidy life.” (128)I wouldn’t mind being stuck on an island with Andy.

Well-written and full of fun characters, this book is a tidal wave of zest and passion.  

“Life shouldn’t be taken for granted.” (8)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: HIS-PANIC 2: EXIT THE BOOGIE DOWN by Eddie Cisneros

In 1991, Jerome Avenue in the Bronx belonged to Antonio Pintero and his Foo Crew. Going from peddling nickel and dime bags to pushing drugs and money across town in packed back packs made them the talk of the neighborhood. Antonio, was only fifteen. But some things in life are often short lived. Antonio slowly starts to unravel as he's faced with the pressure of his step-father's sudden shady disappearance, cops in hot pursuit and possible trust issues among his own crew. With nothing left, Antonio wants out. His world has spiraled out of control and the only answer is to ultimately..... HIS­-Time... HIS­-Life... HIS-­Story... HIS-­Panic

Reviewed by: Celia

Rating: 3 stars

Review: This book continues the story of Antonio Pintero. At 15, he pursues the life of a gangster drug dealer. But pretty soon it all becomes too much for him. This is the diary of our young hero, a documentary of his secrets, hopes, and fears.


Again, written in that raw, urban style that Cisneros knows too well, this is another powerful and soulful story. Certain areas lagged with excessive detail and some of the characters weren’t that interesting, but, for the most part, it’s an easy read.  A suitable follow-up to the first book.

Review: THE WEIGHT OF SIN by Simon Vincent

Written in a highly visual style, The Weight of Sin is the story of four people. A man and woman from totally different countries and cultures, a jilted wife who refuses to forgive and becomes an FBI agent, and a priest with a sinful past who brings faith and healing to those in need.
A disillusioned young man, Alexander Garcia begins a life of crime after his beloved father is murdered and his mother kills herself. Years later, he visits their family home, terrorizes the new occupants, and leaves his wife, disappearing into a world of conspiracy and terrorism.
Illapa (in the mold of Lisbeth Salander) a young Peruvian woman, marches through the Andes with a group of “Shining Path” guerrillas. She excels as a crack terrorist. She finds and comforts her dying father. Her story is revealed in the words of her father. He is an army colonel who fell in love with an Incan princess and kidnaps her, ultimately marrying her. Politics and realities of power force him to abandon his family in the Andes. The abandoned mother and daughter languish in despair and poverty, drawing the young girl into the peasants’ struggle for a better life. A visit to her dying grandfather and the ancient city of Machu Picchu connects her to her past answers many questions about her family and her race and who she is.
Meanwhile back in America Alexander joins a terrorist revolutionary group and becomes involved in horrific acts: bombing the Disney Castle, sinking an oil freighter in Venezuela and an assassination attempt on the President. Guilt weighs heavily on his mind as he struggles with his new life; he saves the life of the President. His life is a constant struggle to do right and still fight for a cause.
Ultimately he must flee to save his life. He faces the consequences of his brutal past, a harrowing secret is revealed and he begins a new journey of awareness, faith, and love in the mountains of South America. In this journey he is joined by Illapa, who is also forced to flee for her life.
In the highlands they find each other and redemption with the help of a Priest. Fr. Crewes’ painful and sinful past lead him to this place and time for the purpose of saving his fellow man, as he was saved.
Linda Garcia-Vitale, abandoned wife and newly-minted FBI agent, pursues her target zealously. When she finds him a totally different person, she has to make a difficult decision.
The story and the lives of the four people come into final focus in the Epilogue.


Reviewed by: Mara

Rating: 2 stars


Review: This book centers on two themes: Havana and the military.

Author has a soulful voice and fine craftsmanship, however, the story didn't suit my interests. I thought it was too complex and had too many characters. I think it would’ve been better if the story focused on one or two characters rather than four. Sometimes it’s better to keep it simple.

Of course, behind the four characters is the land of Cuba, which I felt was sort’ve a character in itself with the lush scenery and vivid descriptions. But, again, I just wasn’t enraptured by the tale.

I'm sure this would be good for history and political buffs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Q&A with J.O. Quantaman

I live in Vancouver at the mouth of the Fraser River on Canada’s westcoast. The city has been carved out of a temperate rainforest and is sandwiched between scenic mountains and the Pacific Ocean. I’ve worked as a photographer, sports-fishing guide, cab driver and software developer. At present I’m semiretired and an avid reader of history, scientific literature, historical fiction and science.

Imagine a vibrant community that rejects 5,000 years of human traditions. Imagine a society that affirms equal rights for both men and women. Imagine a society without politicians, without corporate secrets, without adverts, without disparity in the spendable wealth of its citizens. Such a community has defied the status quo. It has aroused fear and envy among the powerful elite. It needs extraordinary protection from those who would bring it down.

Narrative is fully indexed, color pictures, circa 2070s <> Blending of antipodes between utopia and dystopia <> Nyssa has spent years in virtual bondage to a Japanese pimp before she landed at Dog Breakfast, a co-op dedicated to urban security and espionage. She is welcomed despite her woeful past. She begins training as an operative and soon finds the physical hurdles almost beyond reach. But she can't turn back because the co-op has become "home" and if she fails she'd mess up her chances with Cook <> Kazuo has lost touch with the stone fox he met at the ski resort. He will meet her again, but in a way he doesn't expect.

What inspired you to write Loose Threads: Cool Assassins 1?

I would get pictures of scenes in my mind for a number of years.  One day I decided to write one of them down.

What genre would you place this book in?

Alternate History.  Within that context, readers will find elements of romance, espionage and social customs that are alien to those we cherish today.

Who are the characters in the story and what are their goals?

Jenna is a world-class aerial acrobat and mountain climber who suffers bouts of vertigo.

Nyssa Persson, former Tokyo call girl, comes to Dog Breakfast co-op, a security outfit.  Nyssa is determined to make a fresh start in her life.  She buries her libido and undergoes training in martial arts.  She never stops looking for a soul mate.

Kazuo is a former champion kickboxer.  Nowadays he's the security chief at Mishima dockside foundry.  As he prepares his team to capture an intruder, his mind reverts to memories of Miyuki, a young woman who has stolen his heart.

Meg and Subie are two gabby bisexuals who help Nyssa find a home at Dog Breakfast co-op.

Cook is the head honcho at DB co-op.  He leads from the front by example.

Shepp is Nyssa's somewhat reluctant partner and mentor.  A former Kenyan smuggler, he is DB's weapons instructor and resident hunk.

Maybe the most important character is the city of Tsawwassen.  Not just an architectural wonder, the city fosters social lifeways unlike any in existence today.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I've devoted 15 years to editing and learning the craft from scratch.  Yet the toughest part is cracking the eBook market.  "Loose Threads" is but one title among 4-million others.  Authors must be prepared to jump through dozens of hoops before anyone will notice.

What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I hope readers will sense there is more to life than meets the eye.  In this age of cell phones and ear plugs, we've lost a much faster means of communication.  Superluminal messages can only happen among folks who know and trusts each other.  It seems to be a dying art.

What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

I dislike the advertising.  Indie authors must shout twice as loud to get their two cents on the board.  The trouble and effort I've put into "Loose Threads" won't come back for decades.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite Indie author is Carmen Amato.  She has created a Mexican detective, Emilia Cruz who is tougher and more courageous than your usual crime fighter.  Among established sci-fi authors, I like anything written by Greg Bear and Connie Willis.  As a history buff, I'm a fan of Colleen McCullough, especially her award-winning series that features the Roman republic.

If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main character? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

I haven't a clue.  I don't have a TV and haven't gone to the cinema for 20 years.  None of the vintage movies features strong female leads with oriental features.

Are you working on anything right now?

I'm working on the sequel "Hot Wheels" which has a 2nd-gen Mexican immigrant to SoCal, Tomas Redfoot who delivers gourmet foods to enclaves east of San Bernardino.

And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

English has gotten a huge head start as the digital language of choice.  I doubt it will be dislodged.  But I see more and more Latino words becoming naturalized in English.  In the future there will be as many Latino additions as there are French.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: INTERCEPTED by J.Q. Anderson

Meet Jake and Natalia.
Jake was once a water polo Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Now he is an Escort. The lucky few women he selects as clients pay small fortunes for a weekend with Jake.
Natalia just graduated from culinary school in Buenos Aires. She works the ski season in Aspen. She needs the money.
The moment they meet a sudden attraction grips them.
It can’t be: She’s engaged. He’s a hooker.
A story about passion, deception and what lies hidden in the darkest corners of love.

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: This is the love story of Natalia and Jake. Natalia is a hotel clerk and Jake is a hotel guest. The two obviously should not mix business with pleasure. But then….what if you did?

Told in the POV of the two main characters, the story takes the reader on an awkward ride through the icy slopes of a slippery and endearing love. In the beginning, each grapples with its own drama as well as the underlying and intense attraction. It’s like we’re reading their diaries, diaries filled with hopes, fears, and dreams.

It takes a while before you can really get into the story, but you’ll feel the instant connection between the two characters.  A good portion of the book mainly consists of the two pining for each other. That’s probably because she is engaged and he is a…..well, a hooker. So there’s another complication.

Story is well-written for the most part. I especially enjoyed the candid thoughts of the two as it relayed to the growing attraction (Natalia was shy and reserved while Jake was more direct and confident – well, he would have to be for his “occupation”) Certain areas lagged a bit too much with superfluous scenes as well as endless assortments of looks, touches, and flirting. After a while, this gets a little weary. Of course, I was pleased with the unexpected twists and turns that came about.

Overall, this was a sweet and interesting romance. A one-of-a-kind.  It’s Pretty Woman in reverse.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Q&A with J.Q. Anderson

J. Q. Anderson is a debut author who loves stories of all kinds, cooking food from her home town, Argentina, and hanging out with friends and family. When she is not working, she is writing relentlessly, or hanging out with her husband and three kids.

Writing is a multi faceted passion. You are in love with making stuff that wasn't there before. You think, you create, you obsess, and then you obsess a little more. Before the words even get to the page they have been roaming in all corners of your mind, trying to shape themselves.

I would have never dared to write a word had it not been for the people that love and suck in those stories. Find out more at http://www.jqanderson.com/

Meet Jake and Natalia.
Jake was once a water polo Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Now he is an Escort. The lucky few women he selects as clients pay small fortunes for a weekend with Jake.
Natalia just graduated from culinary school in Buenos Aires. She works the ski season in Aspen. She needs the money.
The moment they meet a sudden attraction grips them.
It can’t be: She’s engaged. He’s a hooker.
A story about passion, deception and what lies hidden in the darkest corners of love.

  1. What inspired you to write Intercepted?

I was working on another novel, much longer, and the editing was taking me a while. I think the creative part of my brain needed a break and to work on something new. So I put that novel aside for a while and wrote Intercepted. It was fun and just poured out of me!



  1. What was your development process like?

I didn’t plot it at first, just started writing. Then as I got into it I drew a main storyline to stay on track. I wanted to see where the story went, so I built the characters and let them dictate some of the plot as well.


  1. What was the drive that drew two characters, like Jake and Natalia?

I wanted to represent what it is like to be in a relationship today. It is difficult to connect with other human beings because people in general are not emotionally available. Jake being an Escort and detached from his own feelings is an extreme example of that disconnection, but I thought it showed it well. Natalia is a typical example of a woman that has to fight for what she wants and is faced with multiple obstacles, internal and external.


  1. What did each character aspire to achieve?

I think it was the need for something deeper. Jake avoided interacting with people on a deep level because it connected him to painful memories of his past. Natalia was driven by the need to have control over her life, including her relationship with her fiancée, so she didn’t give in to feelings that could make her lose that feeling of security.


  1. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I want them to have fun reading the story. This novel was meant to be fun and light, but with characters you can connect with on a deeper level. Natalia wasn’t afraid to dive into another culture and make it her own, without forgetting who she is and where she came from. I wanted to show what that is like as well.


  1. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

I LOVE that there are no restrictions as far as what kinds of stories I can write. My next story can always be whatever I want it to be without any limitations whatsoever. I write the stories that I want to read, and hope others will like them as well, but it is a very personal journey. Real life is full of obligations, restrictions and yellow tape blocking the way. The world of books opens the door to wherever you want to go, and that is truly amazing.

The hardest thing is when I realize a turn I took with the story isn’t working and I have to do it all over again, but I have to say, those are the times when I grow the most as a writer.


  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Gosh, I have so many. Two of my absolute favorites are Carlos Ruiz Zafón (El Juego del Ángel), and Jorge Fernandez Díaz (El Puñal), for fiction that takes you to another world. I also like contemporary romance ones, many from the U.S. like Colleen Hoover or Stephenie Meyer. I love different authors according to each genre. My likes are very diverse. I read one or the other depending on what I enjoy, but also what I think I need to learn. Reading is a great way to grow as an author.


  1. If your book would be turned into a movie, who would you imagine playing the part of the main characters? (Actor can be ANYONE, living or dead.)

I am not going to pretend I didn’t think of that! I would love Natalia to be played by professional ballerina Julie Doherty and I’d like Jake to be someone unknown but super hot!


  1. Are you working on anything right now?

Yes! Always! I went back to my original novel, Kings of Midnight, and will be done editing soon. I want to publish it by spring. That is the first of a two-book saga. The second book is also almost finished. After that, I have a very different fiction novel in the works about trafficking. It is darker, but I hope it will be a compelling story that will show the readers what trafficked women endure and how many of them there are everywhere.


  1. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
I believe Latinos are smart, educated and cosmopolitan people. Their knowledge and awareness of the world goes way beyond what is around them. In that respect, they are different from other readers and expect more. They also have to interact with different cultures and leave their mark. Latinos feel deeper and make their decisions based on their personal values and not some trend. I think that also reflects what is inside of the books we read. They have to be relevant to our lives and we have to feel that deeper connection. But we also like having fun!