Monday, August 15, 2005


Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Mario Acevedo says that when he was four years old, his aunt asked what he wanted for Christmas. His answer: “I want a machine gun.” So even at that tender age, his expectations from life were a little different than most. Years later, he bought his first computer and decided to write a novel. Four computers later, and with six unpublished manuscripts "gathering dust under [his] bed," Acevedo says that he finally wrote "a story good enough to get the interest of an agent and a publisher."

Born in El Paso, Texas, Acevedo spent most of my childhood in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with travels to visit family in Pacoima, California, and Chihuahua, Mexico. After graduating from New Mexico State University, he was commissioned into the Army to serve in the Infantry where he finally "got to play with machine guns." Acevedo says that later he “hoodwinked” the Army into letting him fly attack helicopters. Civilian life has been filled with many jobs. Acevedo worked as an engineer in corporate America and got downsized. He earned a masters degree in Information Systems from the University of Denver and found another corporate job. He saw that job "sail across the Pacific" when he was outsourced and laid off again. Ever the optimist, Acevedo notes that he has two bright and handsome sons in college who will take care of him as he grows older.

Acevedo believes that his “forays into art” have kept him “grounded.” The highpoints include being the artist-in-residence for Arte Americas in Fresno, California, and being called from the Reserves to serve in Operation Desert Storm as a combat artist. Add to that teaching art to prisoners at the Avenal State Prison and organizing art fundraisers for various pet rescue groups.

All this time Acevedo was “scribbling” his stories, sending them out, and collecting rejection slips. What changed his luck was joining the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers which introduced him to "real authors and the advice needed to get published." Acevedo's debut novel, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, will be published by HarperCollins' Rayo imprint in March 2006. The novel concerns Felix Gomez who doesn't like what war has done to him. He went to Iraq a soldier, and came back a vampire. Now he's a private detective, hired by a trusted friend to penetrate the murderous conspiracy cloaking an outbreak of nymphomania at the U.S. Department of Energy's Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant. As Gomez unravels the mystery surrounding one of the darkest secrets of modern times, he realizes that he must resolve issues from his human past if he is to defeat government assassins and fanatical vampire hunters from Transylvania. Sexual myths, conspiracy fables, and bureaucratic paranoia are skewered in this novel about American pop culture. HarperCollins/Rayo says that The Nymphos of Rocky Flats deconstructs vampire lore and presents the bizarre world of the undead with a humorous slant and a fresh Latino twist.

Now Acevedo is busy writing his Felix the vampire detective novels. And he’s decided that he no longer wants a machine gun for Christmas.

NOTICIAS: On August 18, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., there will be a fundraiser for Espíritu de Nuestro Futuro. Librería Martínez Books & Art Gallery, CSUDH's Espíritu de Nuestro Futuro and the Chicana/o Studies Department at California State University Dominguez Hills will host Allan Wernick, a professor from Baruch College, City University New York (CUNY) and Chair of CUNY's Citizenship and Immigration Project. Mr. Wernick will provide valuable information in Spanish and English on how to obtain visas, green cards, and how to become a U.S. citizen. His discussion will be based on his book, U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Complete Guide (U.S. Immigration & Citizenship) (Emmis Books, 4th edition), and will address employer sanctions and information for refugees and asylum seekers. Mr. Wernick will be signing copies of his books (English and Spanish) and half of the proceeds will benefit an AB540 tuition based scholarship fund at California State University Dominguez Hills. Venue: Librería Martínez Books & Art Gallery Plaza Mexico, 11221 Long Beach Blvd. , Lynwood, 90262. Ages: 15 and up. Admission: Free. For more information visit: Email:

All done. Until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!

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