Friday, September 30, 2011

Las Comadres y Mas plus Notes from the Road Ahead

Las Comadres, LAPCA, West Hollywood Book Fair, and More...
by Melinda Palacio

Nora Comstock
photo by Saverio Truglia

Nora Comsock of the lower Rio Grande Valley didn’t imagine she’d lead the way to share Latino Literature and pioneer a movement networking Latino authors with readers across the country. Las Comadres has grown into a vast organization thanks to Dr. Nora de Hoyos Comstock, national and international Founder, President, and CEO of Las Comadres Para las Americas. Comstock has transformed the organization from an in home gathering to an international comadrazo with several services for authors and readers.

The businesswoman, with a technical background, understood the mechanics behind social networking before the term was coined. “I was a businesswoman,” she said, “but I also wanted a connection to my community, to my culture.”

In 1984, Comstock worked in computer marketing and communications: “I read manuals and created programs. I didn’t write software.”

Fastforward to the millennium, Comstock finds herself in East Austin. She wants to create community. She used her networking skills to help with the Las Comadres Book Club by sending out emails to hundreds of people. The email turns into a yahoo group, then an evite. The evite outgrows it maximum capacity, but more and more people want to join the conversation on Latino Books. The current result is an international teleconference with an author, a moderator, and hundreds of readers. Comstock is proud that she was able to grow the network of Latina women interested in books by Latina and Latino authors.

“If I understood software, I would be rich beyond belief, but I am not a programmer. I am a developer. I could make computers do things. I understood the package.

She kept up with the technology, and with the help of many others, including her husband, Jack Bell, Las Comadres is an international Latino book club with monthly networking opportunities for Latinas and much more. The Las Comadres website also includes Comadre University, online courses in topics as diverse as how kids (10-18) can start a business to The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing to How to Hire (or Fire) an Agent. Comstock is proud that she can share her love for books and her culture.

Next week, Comstock will moderate a literature panel at the 26th National Hispanic Women’s Corporation Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday October 6 at 2:15 pm. The conference takes place over two days October 6-7 and features several professional development and leadership session. The Thursday literature panel features three Latina authors: Sandra Rodriguez Barron, author of Stay With Me, Kathy Cano-Murillo, author of Ms. Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing and of Crafty Chica fame, and Melinda Palacio, author of Ocotillo Dreams.

The next national book club reading with Las Comadres and Friends features Marisel Vera, author of If I Bring You Roses. Sign up for the next national teleconference, which will take place Monday, October 24.

This weekend in Los Angeles two literary festivals: Saturday the first Cuentos del Pueblo at LAPCA and Sunday, the 10th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair.

Sábado: La Plaza de Cultura y Artesa

October 1, Saturday in Los Angeles join LAPCA for Cuentos del Pueblo, 12 to 5 pm.

On Saturday, October 1, 2011, the first installment of Cuentos del Pueblo will be held from Noon until 5 PM. This continuing series brings unique stories, perspectives, and opinion to LA Plaza, and invites visitors themselves to become part of the story. This event is free to the public, and discounted admission to the galleries will be available.

For this installment, nine Mexican-American authors will be on hand to discuss, sell, and sign their recent books, and share the personal, unknown, and unexpected stories that connect their work to the historical center of Los Angeles.

Throughout the day, music and stories will also be provided by entertainer, singer, and songwriter Mark Guerrero, son of the late, legendary singer, Lalo Guerrero. Raffles and prizes round out the day.

Attending authors include:

Melinda Palacio, author of Ocotillo Dreams

Roberta Martinez, author of Latinos in Pasadena

Thelma Reyna, PhD, author of The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories

Olivia Cueva-Fernandez, author of Mexican Americans in Wilmington

Bert W. Colima, author of Gentleman of the Ring

Alex Moreno Areyan, author of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles

Francisco Balderrama, PhD, and Richard Santillan, PhD, authors, Mexican American Baseball in Los Angeles

Sunday, October 2, 2011 10th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair

300 Featured Authors & Artists, 12 Stages, 125 Exhibitors, 25, 000 Guests, Panels & Performances for all ages, Writing Room, Off Stage Events

La Bloga's Melinda Palacio will participate in the new Fiction Panel: Fresh Fare Fabulous Female Voices

The Fiction Pavilion is located in the Auto Court of the New West Hollywood Library

10:30 am - 11:30 am: Fresh Fare From Fabulous Females: New Voices in Fiction


Jillian Lauren (Pretty: A Novel),

Jacqueline Luckett (Searching for Tina Turner),

Kaira Rouda (Here, Home, Hope),

Moderator: Stacy Beirlein

Signings @ 11:30 am, Mystery Ink Bookstore Booth

Melinda Palacio in the media this week (thank you for the rain):

NewsTaco: Reimagining The West in the Novel Ocotillo Dreams by Yago Cura

National Book Critics Circle's Critical Mass Blog Spotlight on Ocotillo Dreams by Rigoberto González

Guerilla Reads Video from Tia Chucha’s 6th Annual Words and Music Festival May 21, 2011:

Ocotillo Dreams Tour info for the next two weeks:

photo by Valorie Smith

October 1, LAPCA, 3:45 Olvera Street

October 2, West Hollywood Book Fair, Fiction Pavilion, 10:30 am

October 6, National Hispanic Women’s Conference, Phoenix, AZ time

October 7, Mesilla Cultural Center, Mesilla, NM 5pm

October 8, Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, NM, 2-3pm

October 9, The Twig Bookstore, San Antonio, Texas, 4-6 pm


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to GuerrillaReads, Melinda! We're thrilled to have your reading on the site.


Thelma T. Reyna said...

Great article, Melinda! Wonderful accomplishments by Las Comadres, and congrats on being one of the featured authors in the upcoming festival sponsored by them. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at our author event in LA. Take care and keep up the good work!

jenlo8192 said...

Thanks for the update on Las Comadres. I used to receive their emails back in like 2005 and was always impressed by the great networking service they provided!