Tuesday, October 31, 2017


With a bit of sassiness, a touch of humor, and an amiga-to-amiga style, Simply Salsa encourages women to accept God’s call to dance!

What keeps women from dancing to the freedom God offers? With passion and boldness, Simply Salsa exposes the lies and misconceptions that imprison women with unfounded insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. No matter the degree of adversity or pain, Janet Eckles has discovered an alternative to gloom—through the security that is only found in God’s love.

When women in the Bible faced tribulations and trials, they sought God’s grace. Simply Salsaillustrates how that same grace offers today’s women the opportunity to:

Leave the ugly past behind and look to a fresh tomorrow
Find peace and increased faith as you wait for answers to prayer
Embrace God’s comfort to conquer sorrow and disappointment
With her own life experiences as testimony, Eckles will have you dancing!

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars


Review:Physical blindness, infidelity, the murder of my child, and the acquittal of his killer—all these tragedies piled on one another in my own personal train wreck.” (2) The experience of “her-panic” is something we’ve all been familiar with, whether you’re Hispanic or not.

Author Janet Perez Eckles speaks with such raw candor and reverence. Through life’s turmoils, which involve financial hardship and the death of a child, she somehow manages to find strength and solace in God’s grace and worship. Of course, I am not religious, but I could certainly appreciate the meaning in this story, even though there may have been too much biblical jargon throughout. There was certainly some lag here and there, and, although I couldn't really get that into it, readers will surely enjoy the chica commentaries and dialogue.

Ultimately, the story delivers a powerful message to never give up and keep dancing, which I certainly applaud.

A memoir of love, loss, and salsa!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Q&A with Janet Perez Eckles

Although physically blind, Janet Perez Eckles has been teaching thousands to see the best of life. “Because I lost my sight at 31 and endured the murder of my youngest son, along with the acquittal of the man responsible,” Janet says, “my life should’ve been a mess. But God gave me a message to showcase His power: His power at work to conquer fear and turn the deepest pain to a life rich with triumph and success.”

This triumph sparked Janet’s passion to help others overcome their own struggles. Without sight, but with insight, her inspiration fills the pages of her four books and keynote presentations. And at every local, regional, national or international event, Janet’s lively style captivates audiences as this inspiration dances into their hearts. Whether her messages are delivered in Spanish or English, they have been called “transformational.”

1.       What inspired you to write Simply Salsa: Dancing without Fear at God's Fiesta?

Not so much “what” but rather, “who” inspired me to write. It was that woman who feels defeated by the problems in life. She is close to giving up and feels overwhelmed by her broken plans and heartache.

My passion is to lift her up, help her see her potential and no matter what she’s facing, guide her to a rich, triumphant life.




2.       What was the development process like?

Lots of self-reflection to see what kind of a book I, myself would like to read.

Research illustrations to blend with my own.

Review the notes, letters and prayer request I receive to know what to address.

Choose the topics that challenge women the most

And finally, write with a blend of warmth and passion as if I were talking to my best friend.





3.       What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Making sure the illustrations sang for my readers. Questions like these would usually barge in: are the examples relevant? Is my story well illustrated? Are the insights clear? Are the steps practical for anyone to follow?

Will the content spark in my readers a desire to change?




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

A renewed perception that their situation is not impossible, insurmountable or hopeless.

And as they see the powerful way God turns trials to triumph, they would feel empowered and repeat to themselves, “I know I can live in victory too.”



5.       What inspired you to be a writer?

The reactions to my first book. I had written it as a story with the only thought of inspiring my grandchildren. But when I received comments about how my book was impacting women not only in the U.S. but also in Australia, England, and New Zealand, I thought I might have something to say.

Thus, I continued to write and after hundreds of magazine articles, 32 stories featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul titles, I wrote Simply Salsa.



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

I love the fact that, being blind, God allows me to write (I operate my computer with a screen reader). And as my readers learn about my complete blindness, they realize that what you need is not so much physical sight, but a vision to overcome the impossible.

I relish on each finished piece because part of my soul sings through the lines. It’s a great expression of what goes on in my heart.

And the hardest thing is having the time to write about to many topics that rumble in my mind.



7.       Who are some of your favorite authors?

Francine Rivers, Max Lucado, Cecil Murphy, David Jeremiah, Carol Kent



8.       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.)
Mary Tyler Moore





9.       Are you working on anything right now?

Yes, I’m constantly writing blogs, my free inspirational newsletter, articles, and slideshows for Ibelieve.com and crosswalk. And also I’m working on a book about success, what does it really mean?



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

An explosion of writing in all genres. Each providing opportunities for Latinas to speak their convictions, to go higher, remove inhibitions and shout out the triumphant passion that pulsates in the Latina heart.





Friday, October 13, 2017

Q&A with Chad Vega

Chad Vega is the author of Sex, Drugs, and Corruption: Welcome to Peru.

This is the adrenaline filled story of two carpenters from California who end up taking on the Peruvian government. Faced with losing their property in the jungle to corrupt officials, they start growing medical marijuana to make ends meet. This keeps them in the fight, but it puts their lives at risk. As the court case progresses, they accidentally uncover an unprecedented amount of corruption. Join them on this dangerous journey as they frantically search for justice…  

  1. What inspired you to write Sex, Drugs, and Corruption: Welcome to Peru?
I was inspired to write this book after being in Peru for ten years. Living in the jungle and going through court cases gives you a unique glimpse into a different side of Peru. It’s completely different from what most people see, so I wanted to highlight it.
  1. What was the development process like?
After my son went to school I would make coca tea, sit in front of a laptop and let it flow naturally.
  1. What was the ultimate goal of the two carpenters?
Faced with a grim reality in America, they wanted to make their dreams come true in the Amazon jungle. They tried to escape poverty in California and create their own oasis in Peru. Max found the ideal place in the jungle and managed to purchase the land at the perfect time. Unfortunately, just because a place is beautiful doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. They accidentally stumbled upon a hotbed of corruption, but they had no choice but to keep fighting.
  1. What did they gain in the end?
On top of life experience, they learned the importance of family. Being thrown into stressful situations has a way of making people unite. Max got closer to his family, and the main character ended up finding his.
  1. What are some of the main socio-economic issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?
I touch on a lot of issues that many Peruvians face every day. The main focus is on corruption, since it affects everyone. Peru is an extremely resource rich country that has everything going for it, but it’s so poorly run that it barely works. This blatant abuse of the people was built into the system by the Spaniards, but there’s still hope.
Now that everyone has a smartphone, things are coming out that used to be routinely stifled. The ex-president and his wife were recently thrown in jail, and three other presidents including our current one is under investigation. For too long politicians have been selling out Peru’s resources with impunity, but now they are starting to go to jail.
If the biggest offenders can start being held accountable, Peru has the potential to break free from this vicious cycle. This is why I wrote the book, since it’s based on things I saw happen to other people. With education comes the possibility of social change, & I would love to see that happen in Peru.
  1. What inspired you to be a writer?
I always enjoyed writing as a teenager, but I didn’t make time for it unless someone paid me. For years I wrote articles for clients, but I didn’t write for myself until my friend published a book. This showed me that it was possible, so I decided to start writing recreationally.
  1. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?
Being able to express myself is amazing, but spending hours sitting down isn’t.
  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?
I always loved Michael Crichton & David Sedaris, but Hunter S. Thompson became my favorite author as a teen.
  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 could see Benicio del Toro playing Max, and Matthew McConaughey playing the main character.
  1. Are you working on anything right now?
Yes, I just finished writing the sequel to this book. It should be completely edited by the end of October! At the same time, I am also translating this book into Spanish. It’s pretty tedious, since I learned to speak Spanish by ear. But it’s an interesting experience, so I will happily do it so everyone in South America can read my book.
  1. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?
I think it will continue to grow. Nowadays many of the main barriers for authors have been removed. You don’t have to rely on a big publishing company hiring you to make it. Self-publishing has been streamlined, so it will open doors to people who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten noticed. This platform is open to everyone, and the time is right for Latino authors. Millions of people around the world speak Spanish, so Latinos in any country can participate and reach a large audience.