I've been busy with several book-related events, which means my blogging time has been reduced. But it also means that I've come across several new books (recently published or new to me.) I haven't got to all of these yet but here's a small taste of what is going on in Colorado with new authors, stories, and genres.
Crazy Chicana in Catholic City
Juliana Aragón Fatula
Conundrum Press, 2012
Juliana Aragón Fatula's book of poetry has been around for a few years but I had never managed to read it. That changed when we met at the recent Latino@ Book Festival in Pueblo, Colorado. This "crazy chicana's" poetry will slide under your skin and stab deep into your heart. See this review by Daniel Olivas of an earlier version of the book.
In the Preface, the author says:
I moved from Denver to Southern Colorado in 1998 to be near my mother. My mother and I spent the last ten years of her life laughing, crying, and sharing stories. These stories morphed into the poetry in Crazy Chicana in Catholic City. Some of my poems arose from a need to purge myself of all of the black secrets that were consuming me. My style of confessional poetry stems from my desire to tell my story and in doing so aid others who are survivors.
From the poem, Bloody Cookies
Her first husband, the Bull,
Broke her nose so bad
They couldn’t fix it;
She looked like a retired boxer.
Daughters of Earth, Sons of Heaven
Daniel Ricardo Casias
Daniel Casias is a Pueblo attorney, hearings officer for the Colorado parole board, martial arts instructor, and a municipal court judge. He's also an old friend from law school. When I saw that he had published a book I worried that our deep, dark secrets from those Boulder years would now be revealed outside the confidential sanctuary of late night, bar stool chisme.
Not to worry, this is not that book. Here's what Dan says about his story:
Since he was a small child, Daniel Casias has been a student of history, science, science fiction, human nature, martial arts, and Eastern and Western philosophies. Using this life experience, he weaves his fictional tale of the origin of our species as if the legend, lore, and religious writings left by our ancestors were taken as literal fact.
Dan has written a great opening sentence:
When Rico came out of the alcoholic blackout, the only problem he had was that the car he was driving had left the road about one hundred feet back.
Lucia: An Oral History Spanning 1943-1966
Lucia D. Rivera Aragon, Ed.D
Writing a memoir was a popular topic in Pueblo at the Latin@ Book Festival. I encouraged the writers to tell their stories as part of preserving the true history of the United States. Lucia Rivera Aragon has already accomplished part of the preservation with the publication of her memoir.
From the jacket synopsis:
In this inspiring memoir, award-winning educator Lucia D. Rivera Aragon shares the story of her life, which includes being deported as an illegal immigrant and working her way from student to elementary school principal to college professor, all accomplished while raising a family and coming of age in the era of Civil Rights.
Here are a few lines:
I was born to the union of Juan Mendoza Rivera – ……who had been born in San Antonio, Texas but raised in Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico– ….and my mother Blasa Carrizales Rodriguez, ….. who had been born in Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico but raised in Pueblo, Colorado.
The Widow of Dartmoor
MX Publishing, 2014
Warwick "Wick" Downing is another attorney-author. He's written eleven novels, including a series of courtroom mysteries that I consider some of the finest examples of legal thriller writing. In terms of how a lawyer actually operates in the courtroom, these books are as realistic as one can find on the written page. He recently published his latest novel and celebrated with a reading/signing party at the home of friends. Wick explained his book and, at the audience's insistent urging, read a few paragraphs. The book is a "Sherlockian adventure" and sounds intriguing, to say the least.
From the book jacket:
The Widow of Dartmoor is a sequel to The Hound of the Baskervilles. Beryl Stapleton felt joy on learning that Jack, her husband, was sucked into the Grimpen Mire. Free of his evil, she opened a fashionable dress shop in London. Her enterprise was a success ... until she was caught, at two A.M., dragging the body of a murdered man into an alleyway.
And from the book:
I am Edward Greech, solicitor, getting along in life…I would tell you of the legal adventures of one whose memoirs would be far from dull. He was a barrister who called himself Jeremy Holmes. It was widely assumed that his uncle was Sherlock Holmes, the famous – some would say notorious – consulting detective.
The Portal of Light: Kabbalah, Emmanuel and the Church
From the author:
In the late summer of 2011, a leather case contained two Cuaderno-Notebooks arrived for translation. Surprisingly, the second notebook was a 7,000 word mystery play that I titled the Jornado de Exódo-Journey of Exodus, an alternate version of the Emmanuel birth as the principle story of the play. What was discovered was the concealment of a hidden journey in the play. The sacred writers of the old world, their use of theology, history, literature, philosophy, astrology and religion-spirituality are hidden in the historical remnant. Within their internal Ladino-Judaic circles was the fear of discovery, inquiry and silence to survive. To the outside world, their public faith was Christianity. Their interior world was not. Living in plain view, suppressing their ingrained culture, language and religion, they survived.
That's it for this week. Keep on reading.