Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Voices Award


LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the seventeenth annual NEW VOICES AWARD. The Award will be given for a children’s picture book manuscript by a writer of color.

Established in 2000, the NEW VOICES AWARD encourages writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. Past NEW VOICES AWARD submissions we have published include The Blue Roses, winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People; Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, a Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist selection; and It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Honor. 


1  The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States, 18 years or older at the time of entry, and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.   
2   Writers who have published work in other venues and genres, including children’s magazines, young adult, and adult fiction or nonfiction, are eligible. Only unagented submissions will be accepted.   
3   Work that has been published in any format, including online and self published, is not eligible.   
4   Manuscripts previously submitted for this award or to LEE & LOW BOOKS will not be considered. 


1   Manuscripts should address the needs of children of color by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and which promote a greater understanding of one another. Themes relating to non-traditional family structures, gender identity, or disabilities may also be included.  
2  Submissions may be FICTION, NONFICTION, or POETRY for children ages 5 to 12. Stories with anthropomorphic animal characters will not be considered.  
3   Manuscripts should be no more than 1500 words in length and accompanied by a cover letter that includes the author’s name, address, phone number, email address, brief biographical note, relevant cultural and ethnic information, how the author heard about the award, and publication history, if any.  
4   Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced on 8-1/2” x 11” paper. A self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage must be included if you wish to have the manuscript returned.  
5   Up to two submissions per entrant. Each submission should be mailed separately.  
6    Submissions should be clearly addressed to:
        LEE & LOW BOOKS 
95 Madison Avenue, suite 1205 
New York, NY 10016 
7    Manuscripts may not be submitted to other publishers, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to LEE & LOW’s general submissions while under consideration for this award.
 8  LEE & LOW BOOKS is not responsible for late, lost, or incorrectly addressed or delivered submissions.

To read about dates for submission, prize and announcement of the award visit

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Juan Gabriel ¡Presente! La Palabra Reading at Avenue 50 Studio

Note: La Bloga friend Gregg Barrios composed this poem upon the sudden death of renowned entertainer, Juan Gabriel. Gregg notes, "He never wanted to crossover and sing in English. He preferred to sing and speak in the language of his raices."

Barrios is in process of composing an extended tribute to the Mexicano singer. Gregg developed a long appreciation for JuanGa over the years. Barrios is one of the few Chicano journalists who actually gained Juan Gabriel's confidence and did several interviews with him for El Heraldo de Mexico y Mas magazine.

POEMA  [a un amor que nunca llego hacer amiga]
By Gregg Barrios

Para Alberto Aguilera / Juan Gabriel QEPD

nunca estaré feliz

pero hubo un momento
cuando yo te quería
entonces todo lo sentía
cuando eras toda mi vida
que ahora termino

en algo triste y gris.

nuestro amor iba comenzar
nuestra vida, ahora perdida
para que te voy a engañar
fui el cobarde en no decírtelo
siempre me hacías muy feliz
pero en vez de gritártelo
tome el papel de un infeliz.

nunca quise ser el solitario

¿por qué no me sacudiste con cariño
para matar el ladrón melancolía

que dejo estas cenizas de amor?

fui el único que te quiso

soy el único sin tu amor

viviré mi vida triste y gris

la paloma a mi corazón no aviso
solo fue la palabra que me condeno
ya ni besos pueden despertarme

ya no pido ningún perdón

ya no tengo nada de que olvidarme
porque solo estoy, solo estoy

sin ti, mi corazón.

Avenue 50 Studio Hosts August La Palabra Reading 
Michael Sedano

The fourth Sunday of the month, except during the winter holidays, La Palabra Hosted by Karineh Mahdessian, convenes at 2 p.m. in the galleries at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles' Highland Park community.

August 28th's reading was a heartfelt occasion whose emotions and prime aesthetic motives completely fulfilled the gente who joined the circle. An Open Mic session kicks off the afternoon, followed by four featured readers, including Maya Washington, Natalie Graham,  Cynthia Alessandra Briano, Devi Laskar.

Open Mic

La Palabra Hosted by Karineh Mahdessian reliably brings unique experiences with spoken word and good people. Today, poets come from Orange County, from Northern California, from the far Westside of the LA basin. 

Although the audience mostly arrives deliberately, serendipity plays a role when passersby look into the gallery and, hearing people reading, tiptoe inside. A welcome smile points the visitor to an open chair. 

Friends, familia, locals join in, and with a handful of regulars, constitute the enthusiastically warm audience. One regular, the unofficial official snack maker, Albie Preciado, had a malfunctioning oven that explains his absence today. He'd planned to bake a luscious goodie, even hinted at a gluten-free version. For the September affair, Preciado declares "I'll do my best to find something appropriately delicious to bake."

Eschewing conventional one-to-many seating, Mahdessian forms seating into a circle with central wide open space allowing performers to use the area to their heart's content. Most stand in place, a few remain in their seat. Today, only Elisabeth Adwin Edwards utilizes the entire room.

Merna Dyer Skinner's gentle dog lay patiently throughout the performance. Stella Archer, middle foto, makes her debut reading in public. Amanda Wang felt comfortable sitting and sharing an identity poem.

Joseph Rios sat at the far end of the circle, while Elisabeth Adwin Edwards stood and moved about to make eye contact with the full circle. Joe Kennedy read from a novel-in-process. Edwards' touching poem gave voice to a daughter's coming to terms with a dying mother.  Poetry heals. 

Featured Readers

Maya Washington, Natalie Graham,  Cynthia Alessandra Briano, Devi Laskar, Karineh Mahdessian
The poets today elect to read round-robin style. Natalie Graham leads off. Following Graham,  clockwise, Devi Laskar reads, then Cynthia Alessandra Briano, and coming full circle, Maya Washington reads a piece. Then the cycle begins again.

The readers begin with a tribute, reading work by other poets. Illustrating the importance of flexibility and adaptation, poets changed their planned program to read a piece that reflects the moment and complements  the previous reading. 

Boisterous applause greets news that Natalie J. Graham’s manuscript, Begin with a Failed Body, is selected for the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Natalie will receive $1,000, publication by The University of Georgia Press in fall 2017, complimentary copies of the book, and a feature reading in New York City.

Lasker reads a personal poem about a violent raid she endured at the hands of her local police. The moment is unnerving in the context of regularly disclosed police beatings and murders from coast to coast, and the complete helplessness of victims to do anything but bleed or endure. After the reading, the audience is happy to take a breath.

Cynthia Alessandra Briano stands and gestures freely. Briano's fluid eloquence adds a welcome dimension to her performance. I discover after the reading she is a speech and debate teacher. Public speaking class is among the very best ways for poets and writers to gain confidence and poise reading their own stuff. Those who can, teach.

Maya Washington, like Graham, reads from her chair. She exhibits a strong persona to go along with a strong poetic voice. The audience is satisfied with the wonderful readings, especially because all of the poets utilize a natural reading style. None adopt "the voice" that often diminishes a poet's oral and presentational effectiveness. Clearly these artists have keen awareness of their art. The natural voice technique illustrates respect for the labor each devotes to crafting literature.

Plan to be in Highland Park on September 25th to enjoy work by  Gerda Govine Ituarte, Carla Sameth, Gale Cohen and Maria Elena Fernandez.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Nuestra madre la poesía

Juan Gabriel passed away in Santa Monica, CA yesterday, August 28, 2016.  May his music and spirit continue to enlighten generations to come.  He will be tremendously missed by not only his vast audiences, but also including those of us at La Bloga.

Juan Gabriel (1950 - 2016)

Nuestra madre la poesía

Columnista invitada, Naty Blásquez

Xánath Caraza

La poesía permite a todos acurrucarse en sus brazos: maestros, estudiantes, actores, bailarines entre otros. Esa exactamente fue la diversidad que enriqueció la noche del 8 de julio, cuando nos dimos cita en el Café Sin Título de la ciudad de Xalapa, Veracruz, México para compartir una vez más un poco de poesía, más bien, un mucho.

Pablo Rodríguez se paró al frente del público para darles la bienvenida a esa fiesta de palabras y emociones, Socorro Gutiérrez abrió la noche con sus divertidas décimas, después José Luis nos conmovió con su cuento titulado “No quieren cenar con nosotros”.



Jose Luis

La dulzura en la poesía de Paula Busseniers no hizo vivir sus propios recuerdos, luego la fuerza en las palabras y la seguridad en la voz de Silvia Santos hicieron que disfrutáramos sus versos, esta vez sin compañía de su jarana, Dora Rivera nos mostró que además del teatro, las letras son su pasión, el torbellino de sus palabras llenó toda la sala, enseguida Xánath hizo rugir al jaguar y aletear al colibrí mostrándonos la fuerza de una mujer que ha logrado mucho en su trabajo de poeta. 




Siguieron Malena Flores, David Córdova, Pablo Rodríguez y Natividad Blásquez. Karla Hernández llenó de magia el lugar, sus delicadas manos y lo sigiloso de sus pies la convirtieron en poesía.




Todos nos sentimos abrazados por nuestra madre la poesía. No hace distinción y por eso la noche se llenó de diversidad, partimos de burlarnos de la vida y terminamos con temas fuertes, pero valientes. Que sea la poesía una excusa para hacer reuniones, que sea motivo de festejo, que sirva para reír, llorar, gozar. Que sirva para crear lazos como los de estas once personas. ¡Que sirva la poesía para vivir!


Naty Blásquez es estudiante de tercer semestre de la Licenciatura en Letras Españolas, Universidad Veracruzana en la ciudad de Xalapa, Veracruz, México.  También es poeta y promotora cultural.

Fotos por Fernanda Morales, Xánath Caraza y Xóchitl Salinas Martínez

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In Honor of Juan Gabriel: A Story of Amor Eterno

In honor of the Mexican music legend, Juan Gabriel, who died Sunday at the age of 66 in Santa Monica, California, I'm posting this story.

"Song for the Living"

It's from my Tell Your True Tale storytelling experiment by Diego Renteria, who tells of his time as a young mariachi playing in South Gate at Christmas at the home of a grieving family that is requesting "Amor Eterno."

A beautiful story ... Read it! share it!

Xicana Nebraska: "Taking With Me The Land"

Chile Rellenos:  all ingredients from my Nebraska garden or locally grown in Lincoln, Nebraska 
This La Bloga entry offers a reflection about the recognition of "place"-- the importance of taking the time to look around, mindfully existing in the space where you find yourself--demanding the books/the education you need to conocer y contemplar quien eres/quien somos.  In this entry, I'm contemplating "place" that has often been constructed as "empty" and "white"-- yet first and foremost, a space that was and is Indigenous:  Lakota and Dakota, Ponca, Omaha, Pawnee, Otoe, Winnebago, and also continues to be a space where inmigrantes reside: Nebraska.  

Nosotras:  Chicanas y Chicanos write about land:  the land we left behind, the land we desire, the land we imagine, the land that defines us, the land that created or destroyed us.  I think of Tomás Rivera's . . . y no se lo tragó la tierra ( . . . and the earth did not devour him), a novella of inmigrantes, of struggle and survival.  I also think of Arturo Islas' Rain God which attends to the theme of identity so eloquently and painfully within and outside of familia and land; and Gloria Anzaldúa who wrote, "I was the first in six generations to leave the Valley, the only one in my family to ever leave home.  But I didn't leave all the parts of me:  I kept the ground of my own being. On it, I walked away, taking with me the land, the Valley, Texas," (from Borderlands/La Frontera).  

"[T]aking with me the land" resonates within me, although I continually add the phrase, "and merging it with another land."  Here's how it goes-- aqui te va:

Some of my experiences on this Great Plains land of Nebraska have been what I consider more Mexican, mestiza, Xicana, more "raza" to me than living in Los Angeles ever was (and the opposite is true as well, but I'm more surprised with the former). For example, I never planted, never grew or harvested chile or maize, tomate or ajo until I came here to Nebraska.  In Los Angeles, our backyard had two kinds of fig trees (white and black); grapefruit, lemon, peach, quince trees, chayote, and cactus.  My memories of our Los Angeles jardin stay with me.  Yet, the wonders I have seen on this Nebraska land (lightning bugs, thunder snow, cicada melodies, the migration of thousands of sandhill cranes from Mexico no less!) only emphasize what Professor and writer, Norma Cantú told me when I first considered "migrating" to Nebraska to teach at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln:  "There is magic here, if you can see it."  

Maize from my garden: Lincoln, Nebraska

red maize from my backyard garden (Lincoln, Nebraska)
I've lived on the edge of the sea (California) and now here.  Nebraska writer, Willa Cather, describes the Nebraska land in her novel My Antonia like this:  "As I looked about me, I felt that the grass was the country, as the water is the sea.  The red of the grass made all the great prairie the color of wine-stains, or of certain seaweeds when they are washed up.  And there was so much motion in it; the whole country seemed, somehow to be running." (click here for the Willa Cather Archive)

The Plains of Nebraska
I read My Antonia in California long before I ever thought about moving here.  I was in San Francisco, at a friend's house.  It was raining. I was sitting next to the window reading and intermittently watching the rain create uneven trails down the pane of glass.  While reading one of Cather's descriptions much like the one I quoted above, I remember looking up and saying, "I must go there."  I never meant to say, "I must live there."  Pero aqui estoy--and I find myself constantly surprised at the connections, the familiarity of "place."  

The prairie is like a tide pool.  From far away, a tide pool looks like rocks and water--that is all.  One could call it "empty."  But if you immerse yourself within the tide pool, if you bend down, if you use your fingers to reach in toward the greens, reds, and orange colors, you will discover sea stars, mussels, sea anemones, sea palms, urchins, sponges, surf grass.  The anemone reminds you (when it grabs at your finger and holds on) of the powerful life forces within.  John Steinbeck wrote:  "It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again."  Where from a distance, the tide pool may look like rock and water (nothingness to some), it is teeming. The earth and sky are teeming if you seek to observe with passion.  

In Nebraska, winter snowstorms encourage hidden communities.  Shoveling snow, one may think that nothing, absolutely nothing is underneath all that snow.  Yet, like the tide pool, here you have what's called the subnivian zone where it can be 50 degrees warmer than where the person above is shoveling snow.  If we were small enough (like a mouse, vole, grouse, or bunny) we could go down to that zone and be quite comfortable.  

The Subnivian Zone
This subnivian zone and its inhabitants remind me of California's drywood termites in East L.A.  One day my uncle Frank gave me a memorable gift.  He had called me into the garage to give me a bottle, its mouth wide enough to have probably been a peanut butter container.  At first I only saw pieces of small spindly wood through the glass.  It took a bit of time, but finally I could see the almost see-through segmented bodies (two of them) of termites, with fine shiny wings.  I sat there, transfixed, watching their mandibles have at the wood.  

The subnivian zone in Nebraska, the California termites remind me also of Mexico and the flying cockroaches en Torreon, Coahuila with my tia Panchita--swatting them on a hot August night, which then reminds me of the time that my cousin Angelina and I found opals imbedded in rocks when we were playing in a cave outside Guadalajara (perhaps near Tonalá). On that particular day, not only did we find opals, after walking out of the cave, we observed a truck down the road (filled to the brim with mangos) suddenly jackknife and turn over on its side.  Thousands of red orange (some greenish) mangoes covered the side of the road.  The truck driver, who didn't seem hurt--only quite upset--pleaded with us to take as many as we could.  And we did--creating pouches with our shirts, grabbing at any pockmarked plastic bags we could find, filling them up, laughing and intermittently stopping just to look at this red orange road this "mango spilling" had created.  So many discoveries just by being open to mindful observations.

The Bison Trail in Lincoln, Nebraska
During the spring, summer, and fall, I ride my bike and take a route that sends me out of Lincoln. I ride past fields of family farms, of bike and foot paths, of streams and trails where, at times, herons or hawks have flown so close I can hear their whoosh of wings.  I can almost feel the soft downy of feathers in the sound.  One morning, I saw what looked like a surreal drapery of black curtains ahead of me on the bike path, only to realize that a flock of turkeys were hurrying down the road and taking to flight in a mighty awkward effort.  I never knew turkeys could take to flight at all-- and here they were raising their black wings, lifting their heavy bellies up a few feet, then back down in such an interestingly odd, almost helpless way.  This happened near the home of a Mexican family from Sonora who have a number of chickens and a rooster that often calls as I bike past their place.

I mention this Mexican family's "Sonoran" home in Nebraska because it is exactly during this part of my ride where I swear I'm in Mexico--en Guadalajara or en Torreón, Coahuila hearing the tunas vendor going down the street, pushing his tunas cart, shaking the bells attached to the side, and calling, "tunas, tunas."  

"Tunas" in western Nebraska:  Scotts Bluff donde tambien viven muchas Latinas y Latinos
In some ways, I am doing what Anzaldúa describes as "taking with me the land."  Another explanation is what geographer Doreen Massey calls, "different experiences of time-space compression."  She writes:  "Instead then, of thinking of places as areas with boundaries around, they can be imagined as articulated moments in networks of social relations and understandings, but where a large proportion of those relations, experiences and understandings are constructed on a far larger scale than what we happen to define for that moment as the place itself, whether that be a street, or a region or even a continent.  And this in turn allows a sense of place which is extroverted, which includes a consciousness of its links with the wider world, which integrates in a positive way the global and local."  Given what Massey says, this "Mexican Nebraska" description (my description) functions as a way to disrupt fixed constructions of place.  

Once, during a reception (hosted by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department)  for fiction writers and poets from out of town, the conversation turned to living in Nebraska.  One of the writers turned to me and asked how I could live in such a barren geographic region.  "There is nothing here on the Plains," he said with an authoritative tone.  I agreed that there was nothing--for him.  He wasn't looking.  "Nothing" registered for him because he had always been told, he explained, that there is nothing here.  He reminded me of the main character Clithero in the 1799 novel, Edgar Huntly: or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker by Charles Brockden Brown, a gothic novel illustrating what has been described as the white man's fear and desire to control nature, to maintain rationality and harness the imagination because of the horrors an active conscience can conjure or encounter.  Clithero seeks not to cross the line between what is defined as "civilization" and what is considered "wild."  He is constantly fearful of nothingness, of what is beyond what he knows. And I too was fearful when I arrived here in Lincoln--thinking as well there was "nothing" because of the overwhelming stereotypes this country has constructed regarding all of its regions. For example, Nebraska is part of the region often considered as "the fly over zone."  

Near the Bison Trail, Lincoln, Nebraska
Yet, from the moment I arrived in Lincoln, so many connections to what I knew registered for me.  The Nebraska State Capitol architect (Bertram Goodhue) is the same architect who designed The Los Angeles Public Library.  As soon as I saw the building, the facade, the type of calligraphy font carved into the stone, it felt familiar. I remember thinking, "I recognize this place."  The land outside of Lincoln (Nine Mile Prairie, for example), the tall grasses that Cather described-- red and sea-like in its movements (big and little Bluestem grasses, switch grass, etc.) are present south on the Gulf of Mexico (as well as in Latin America:  the Gran Chaco of Bolivia y Argentina). 

The Los Angeles Public Library
The Nebraska State Capitol
However, I also question the use of "taking with me the land" even though it is in the title of this blog entry.  I often hear myself say, "My Mexican Nebraska," "My Los Angeles," "My Califas."  Nothing . . . nothing is ever mine.  Nothing is ever ours, and in thinking this way, I may be more appreciative, more respectful to see "land" and "people" as they are without assuming how "a people" or  "a place" should be, without fear, without judgement.  I like thinking of the term, "constant migrancy:" from the tide pools to the subnivian zone and everything in between.  "Mestizas," "Xicanas," are everywhere-- and we carry with us our books, our history, our experiences, our complex perspectives which illustrate our deeply rich and complex raza.

When I moved here, I was afraid some of my Califas friends would be right when they told me, "You'll lose your Xicana roots."  Pues what has happened es que I've planted Xicana roots here "taking with me the land de alla."  When I was little (five or six years old), I remember my parents constantly instructing me: "If someone asks who you are, you tell them you are an American."  They would tell me this with worry imbedded within the inflection of each word.  They were recent immigrants.  Perhaps my mother worried they would somehow take me away or take all of us.  This worry is still alive and real today in Nebraska and many other states (Texas, Arizona, etc.).  My parents wanted me to say I was American not knowing I would make the term "American" a life-long pursuit of study.  And throughout my life, I've read how the Puritans, and later nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century writers have defined the term "American."  Waves of immigrant writing throughout the years have described personal journeys regarding identity, a multitude of legislators have forced their opinion on what "American" is in order to have license to deport, license to ban individuals, multicultural teaching, license to ban diverse literary perspectives, license to ban Ethnic Studies curricula, license to take away books or change what has been written by raza to promote a definition of "American" that is narrow and excludes certain voices.  

Raza continues to bring books to students whose classrooms lack a rich variety of literature, las palabras de tantas culturas, de tantas voces from where we live,  from where we came, from where we walk "taking with us our land." 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Everything You Wanted to Know about Reyna Grande's New Book

Melinda Palacio

Reyna Grande's Los Angeles Book launch benefits HOLA

In two weeks, Reyna Grande will launch the publication of the young adult version of her memoir, The DistanceBetween Us. This book is already gaining critical acclaim, a starred review from Booklist, as well as acclaim by the Junior Library Guild. Join this event in Los Angeles on September 10, 2016 at noon. All the proceeds from this event will benefit HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles) and fund programs for underserved youth. Space at the Heart of Los Angeles' Gallery & Art Studio is limited, RSVP to Anna Martin, Also, if you can't make this limited-seating book launch, Reyna has over 25 events scheduled for this Fall. Check out her website, for an event near you. Reyna took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about this new book for La Bloga.

La Bloga:
How does the adult edition to your memoir differ?

Reyna Grande:
The young adult version is 35,000 words shorter than the original.  I took out content that is not appropriate for middle grade readers,  like my crazy uncle who used to masturbate before me and my sisters or the chapter where I lose my virginity.  However,  even though I was adapting the book for young readers I didn't want to sugar coat the story or dumb it down.  I think young readers are very smart and perceptive and they don't need to be protected from the realities that exist in the world. The issues that I write in the book are issues that affect them too,  some more than others of course. Also even though I write about the immigrant experience,  I also write about something that is universal,  something young readers can relate to -- the longing for a home,  a family,  a place to belong.

La Bloga:
Are you happy with the changes?

I'm happy with the changes I made to the book.  I had never had to worry about a word count until now,  and it was great to be forced to look at my manuscript line by line and make each word count.  This version is tighter than the other one.  Because I did such a good job paring the chapters down,  I was able to add new scenes that are not in the original.

La Bloga:
You are working on a sequel to your memoir. Will there eventually be two versions as well?

The new memoir I'm working on will not be for young readers,  at least I don't think it will be.  I'm exploring issues that I experienced as an adult,  like jobs and bills, my crazy love life, the challenges of motherhood,  the pursuit of my writing dream--in short, my struggles with being a grown up. Hopefully youth will be interested but my target audience is college age and up.

La Bloga:
The sequel covers more recent events in your life. What are some of the challenges writing about more recent events of your life or is it easier? Is non-fiction easier for you to write?

The sequel is easier to write because I remember more of what happened to me as an adult.  When I wrote the Distance Between Us I relied on the memories of my older brother and sister and my parents,  other relatives.  This time I can get through a first draft with my own memories.  On my second draft I will interview my relatives just to add details I might have forgotten.  I'm also excited to say that the first draft of my new memoir is in much better shape than the Distance Between Us was!  Now I know how to write memoir.  That said,  I do worry that this book can't compare in terms of the intensity and emotional level of the Distance Between Us. This is a more quiet book. The subject matter and the themes are different as well. The Distance Between Us has really resonated with so many people,  young and old.  The new memoir might be more limited in terms of appeal. When I told my mother-in-law about this new book her first question to me was,  "Do you have enough to say in this book?"  That was the wrong thing to ask me because now I live in fear that the answer is no!  However,  isn't that the fear for every book a writer writes?  I'm just going to keep on writing and hopefully the book will be what it needs to be.

La Bloga:
What future books do you have in mind or are you working on?


For the past few years I've been working on a novel that is set during the Mexican- American war.  That novel has really kicked my butt because it's a 'first' book for me--first historical fiction,  first book written from a male perspective,  first book about a culture not my own (Irish!).  I'm two hundred pages into it and by the looks of it, the book will be closer to 450 pages. I'm horrible with research so the writing has been slow because as much as I want to write,  I can't write anything unless I do the research first.  This is going to be a long term project but I will certainly get it done.  It means so much to me! The Mexican- American war has been practically erased from American textbooks and consciousness.  I want to bring it back.