Monday, February 28, 2022

International Women’s Day 2022 by Xánath Caraza

 International Women’s Day 2022 by Xánath Caraza


The Intercultural Dialogue Student Association from UMKC will celebrate International Women’s Day with three poets on March 8 at 7 p.m. CST on Zoom.  The event will begin with a multilingual introduction in Turkish, English, and Spanish by the organization’s president. Our three poets for 2022 are Denise Low, Mary Silwance and me, Xánath Caraza.  Each of the poets will be reading and presenting their original work. The event is also sponsored by the Dialogue Institute of the Southwest.  Hope to see you there. Que la poesía nos salve.


El 8 de marzo a las 7 p.m. en Zoom, el Intercultural Dialogue Student Association de UMKC celebrará el Día Internacional de la Mujer con tres poetas.  El presidente de la organización comenzará el evento de manera multilingüe en turco, inglés y español.  Las tres poetas para este 2022 son Denise Low, Mary Silwance y yo, Xánath Caraza.  Cada poeta leerá y presentará su trabajo original.  El evento será también patrocinado por el Dialogue Institute of the Southwest.  Espero que nos acompañen. Que la poesía nos salve.


Denise Low, Ph.D., is a former Poet Laureate of Kansas and winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award, among other honors. She has taught creative writing at the University of Richmond and the University of Kansas, and she founded the creative writing program at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she taught 25 years. She now teaches for Baker University’s graduate and literature programs. She resides in Healdsburg, California.


In a former life Mary Silwance was an English teacher. Now, she is an environmental educator, activist and blogger ( Mary has always written poetry and is just now venturing out of the closet as a poet. Silwance has been published in the Syracuse Cultural Workers Women’s Datebook, Konza Journal and Descansos.


Xánath Caraza is a traveler, educator, poet, short story writer, and translator.  She writes for La Bloga, Revista Literaria Monolito, and Seattle Escribe. In 2021 It Pierces the Skin received Bronze Medal for the Juan Felipe Herrera Best Book of Poetry. In 2020 Balamkú received second place for the Juan Felipe Herrera Best Book of Poetry Award. In 2019 for the International Latino Book Awards she received Second Place for Hudson for “Best Book of Poetry in Spanish” and Second Place for Metztli for Best Short Story Collection. In 2018 for the International Latino Book Awards she received First Place for Lágrima roja for “Best Book of Poetry in Spanish by One Author” and First Place for Sin preámbulos / Without Preamble for “Best Book of Bilingual Poetry”.  Her book of poetry Syllables of Wind / Sílabas de viento received the 2015 International Book Award for Poetry.

Friday, February 25, 2022


Today I indulge myself on La Bloga by posting a story I wrote many years ago. The story is otherwise unpublished; I couldn't find the right place for it. The plot, such as it is, deals with innocence, childhood, family. Thus, it's fairly low-key, not crime fiction or noir. I am surprised that I wrote it, that these really are my words. but, as I said, I wrote it years ago. I am fairly confident that other writers have a similar reaction to stuff they wrote in the distant past. It's a strange but, somehow, comforting feeling that my writing can surprise me.

When I wrote this story I was developing my writer voice. Back then, I wrote whatever popped from my imagination. I traveled through a writer's universe of surprise and adventure. I explored style, tone, place, and genre. Writing made me complete. Many years ago.


©Manuel Ramos

Florence, Colorado, 1959

"We used to work in the fields when we were kids, you know that." 

Talk of money or the family brought out the deadly serious side of Marie. She cleaned beans and threw handfuls of them into a pot of water for soaking. Marie and her sisters had gathered at their mother's house to prepare the food for Cecilia's wedding. 

"Dad dragged us around the farms for years before he settled down and bought the house. We can still do it, people do it every year. Joselito and Pancha went last year and they made two hundred in two weeks, just the two of them. Think what we could make if we all went together. It'll only be for a week, maybe two. Nicky and your Abel are old enough, they can go, maybe a few of the others. We can take Mom, she ain't got nothing to do, not with Dad gone."

Virginia had doubts. "A few extra bucks would come in handy, Joe's not getting any overtime at the mill. But he won't let me go, you know how he is." She peeled potatoes and dropped the naked vegetables into another pot for mashing.

"Oh, shit on Joe. Tom'll talk to him and it'll be all right. God, that man acts like he can't let you out of his sight for five minutes. He's worse than that old dog that follows Mom into the toilet. Tom'll fix it for you."

And so they planned the great peach-picking odyssey. Tom convinced Joe that the separation would benefit his marriage and, not to be overlooked, there was plenty the two brothers-in-law could do to pass the time. Marie and Virginia coerced Nicky and Abel, they loaded a pickup with the grandmother, suitcases of clothes and bags of food, and off they went across the state in search of extra money for the family.

The camp was an amazing place for Nicky. There were kids in every cabin, all ages, and everybody worked, except for the babies. Nicky didn't know what happened to them during the day. The growers' trucks came for the workers before the sun rose and he didn't see the camp again until after the weighing of picked fruit and balancing of workers' accounts were finished, and by then it was dark.

The nights were warm and clear and beautiful with classic Western sunsets and a moon that lit up the camp. The people congregated in loud groups, talking, laughing and singing. They were old friends or relatives in large, extended families. Cooking smells floated around the camp. Old men played Mexican songs on guitars while packs of young men roamed the camp looking for trouble or girls. The boys were showered and wore fresh clothes, their dark skins burned from hours in the orchards. They slicked back their hair, fastened every button on their shirts and let their pants hang loosely around their hips. They mixed English and Spanish, and Nicky saw shiny metal crosses hanging from chains around their necks.

Nicky's work was basic to the harvest. The pickers called him a boxer. He dragged wooden crates to the trees ahead of the workers and he fetched boxes for the pickers who needed more. The workers were paid by the box, and Nicky saw himself as an important cog in the process. He had to stay ahead of the pace. If he was slow, or couldn't find a box when it was needed, the worker wasted time and lost money. His mother emphasized his responsibility and pointed out that he was one of the few workers paid by the hour, that's how important he was. Nicky earned every penny of his fifteen cents an hour.

Peach fuzz covered his clothes, stuck to his hair, and crept down his throat. After the first few days he didn't notice it and he quit scratching. It lay like fine, white dust on his skin.

Nicky worked hard that summer. He learned who among the workers were friendly or slow, and who needed more boxes than the others. He sweated with the pickers, laughed at their crude jokes, and relished the lunches his mother made for him. He would sit in the shade of a fruit tree picked clean and eat tortillas stuffed with beans, eggs and wieners and gulp down ice water from the cooler near his boxes. His skinny frame filled out and he took pride in the hardened muscles in his arms. He combed his hair in a ducktail. The two weeks extended into three, the crop was good, and Nicky pocketed his money for his return home.

"I'll buy a cross when we go home so I can wear it to school," he told his mother one day in the orchards.

Marie shook her head. "A crucifix, hijo, it's called a crucifix, but they won't let you wear it to school, no matter how much the girls like it."

"Oh, Mom, cripes." He rushed off to another tree.

At last, the peaches were gone, loaded on trucks for the cities, and the pickers prepared to move on. Every cabin celebrated the end of the season, the time to drive south, back home to Texas or Mexico, the chance to find work for the winter with the rest of the family.

Nicky stood near his family's shack. Chato and Jesse, teenagers, walked past him, then, when he thought they had ignored him, they looked back and Chato said, "Hey, Nicky, come on man. Let's check out the party. Last night to dance with the rucas. Need to tell your ganga how you partied with the migrantes, how we showed you how to be cool." Nicky ran to them in response to their greeting, but he caught himself and slowed his feet, his run changed to a saunter, and he tried to tone down his smile.

"Yeah, man, let's check out the party."

They walked to the camp hall, the largest cabin, used for church and meetings, and the party at the end of the season. The women carried in pots of beans, rice and mole, and three men played loud and fast on a guitar, accordion and drum.

Nicky heard the songs his grandmother listened to back home on her ancient record player, but now he understood some of the words, he thought he knew why she cried or laughed or smiled, and Nicky wanted her to know he liked the songs, too. He saw her clapping her hands, standing with the other old women, urging on the musicians, telling the young girls it was acceptable to dance with the boys, this was the end of the season.

Nicky bumped into Abel near the food table, drinking homemade punch. Abel's lips were red.

"Hey, Abe, where's my mom? It's hot, huh?"

"Yeah, it's hot for sure. She's at the cabin. She didn't want to come. Packing for the trip home or something. She said for you to stay with Grandma. She'll come later."

"You know, I can almost understand this Mexican stuff. It's not like at home where you can't even make out one word. But I don't know, it's something about here. I can't say it." 

He shook his head and hoped he hadn't embarrassed himself. He pushed his brand-new black plastic comb through his hair, then patted the finished product to make sure everything was in place. He felt loose-jointed, giddy. Maybe he was drunk from the punch, or from listening to Chato and Jesse talk about the girls, or from the long day that finished the crop.

"Crap, Nicky, we are Mexicans. You understand Grandma and she only talks Mexican. Your mom and my mom are Mexicans, so are our dads. Don't you know nothin’, man?"

"I know that, I'm not saying that. It's just that, you know, it's different somehow, it's not the same. Oh hell, forget it."

Abel laughed and thumped Nicky on the back. "That sun got to you today, ese. Your brain's been fried, you lost it, man, out here in the boonies, picking peaches. You better hope you get it back before school starts." 

Abel almost shouted into Nicky's ear. The music roared over the crowd. Feet and legs and waving arms brushed by Nicky. He spun with the dancers, laughing and hollering, stamping his feet to the beat of the drum.

His eyes pounded with the rhythm and the sounds and the smells and he could feel his stomach rumbling. Three weeks of sun, sweat and labor caught up with the boy. He thought about the long trip home, and then back to the school where no one except Abel would know about the camp, would even understand what he had seen and heard. Something rushed up his throat and he clamped his jaws tight.

His queasiness caught him off guard. He ran through the crowd of dancing people, ignoring the shouts of family and friends. He heard someone laughing.

He streaked out of the hall, stopped at the entrance, and threw up over the side of the wooden steps. When he finished, he stumbled down the steps, sat in the dirt and thought about going back to school.

"Nicky, is that you? What are you doing? God, you're sick. Oh, poor baby." Marie picked him up and hugged him. "It must have been the sun, pobrecito. We worked you too hard, eh boy? But you did fine, boy, fine. You worked as hard as the others, harder even. The workers asked me about you, they couldn't believe you were only ten. A real man, they said. I must be proud, they said, and I told them I was, I was proud, Nicky. Now we can go home."

Nicky held onto his mother for an instant, then he pushed away and started walking back to the cabin. "Yeah, mom, we got to go early. School starts next week. You think the teachers will want to hear about how to pick peaches, about being a boxer?"

"I hope so Nicky, I hope so. But even if they don't, you can tell your father, and your sisters, and the cousins, and you can always tell me, niño, always."



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction. His latest novel is Angels in the Wind.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Chicanonautica: Zoom to Chicxulub

by Ernest Hogan


Look out, cyberspace. This Saturday, February 26, 2022, Mountain Standard Time, 4pm to 5:30pm, R. Ch. Garcia is going to be interviewed about his new novel Death Song of the Dragón Chicxulub. Here’s the official press release:

So, register now:

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this historic Chicano literary event.

Ernest Hogan is finishing up his latest novel. Meanwhile, you can read new stories by him in El Porvenir, ¡Ya!: Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl Chicano Science Fiction Anthology and SpeculativeFiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology. Chicanos and Latinxes unite–the hemisphere is ours for the taking!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Calling All Latino Authors

From Arte Público Press:

HOUSTON, TX—Generations of Hispanic children in US schools had to do without books reflecting their culture and heritage. In 2019, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 225 of the 4,029 children’s books published were written by Latinos; only 235 were about Latinos. 

To fill that gap, Arte Público Press is accepting children’s book manuscripts to be considered for two awards: the SALINAS DE ALBA AWARD FOR LATINO CHILDREN’S LITERATURE and THE REYES-OLIVAS AWARD FOR BEST FIRST BOOK OF LATINO CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE. Both seek to stimulate the work begun by Arte Público Press and its imprint, Piñata Books, which is dedicated to the publication of children’s and young adult literature that realistically portrays themes, characters and customs unique to US Hispanic culture. In addition to the publication of the book and royalties from sales, the winning authors will receive a $5,000 prize. Submissions for both awards are accepted year-round. The winners will be announced shortly before the publication of the book. Entries—in English, Spanish or bilingual formats—should be submitted in a PDF file here. 

Specifically for children’s picture books, The SALINAS DE ALBA AWARD is named in honor of Hermila Lidia Salinas de Alba (1921-2017), a mother, grandmother and primary schoolteacher who loved children and reading. Born and raised in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Hermila was educated at the Escuela Normal in Saltillo, Coahuila, and taught at a primary school in Piedras Negras. She married Samuel Alba in 1943 and together they raised ten children. In addition to various business ventures in Piedras Negras, they pursued migrant farm work in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho before settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. She stressed the importance of education and left a legacy of love and lifelong learning for numerous descendants.

The REYES-OLIVAS AWARD, created to inspire first-time authors of books for children or teens, is funded by and named after retired University of Houston professors, Drs. Augustina Reyes and Michael A. Olivas. Dr. Reyes, Professor Emerita in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in the College of Education, is an expert in urban educational leadership in environments with diverse populations and has worked to expose immigrant and migrant children to Arte Público’s books. Dr. Olivas, the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair of Law (Emeritus) at the University of Houston Law Center and chair of the press’ advisory board for a decade, published two scholarly books with Arte Público and is the author or co-author of sixteen books.

For more information, contact:

Verónica Romero

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Looking Back to Look Forward: Greatest Show On Colorado Blvd.

O, mi, cron, To Me You Were So Crummy
Michael Sedano

By the time Tuesday, March 3 rolls around, inshallah Omicron will lie behind us and ójala unmasked people won't be today's Typhoid Marys. By 1900 hours, that's 7:00, to you Delta Omicron survivors, one had best be in one's reserved seat, vaccinated and boosted and prove it, to be there when the curtain goes up on another one of those oh my gosh it's so good to be back to casí normal again events (fanfare!):

Héctor Tobar interviews Reyna Grande on March 3, 2022 at 7 p.m. at Vroman's in Pasadena

Booksellers the world over lament the mail order juggernaut that makes money for the world's richest man who laughs all the way to his private bank with your book money. Booksellers are now bereft of the market share they lost so fast. Money and books started flowing through macroeconomics, the paper distribution system of the information environment. Books got commodified, boxed, shipped, and paid for in advance. Instead of the back seats of customer cars, books arrived at the front door. 

Readers traded immediacy for convenience, at a few dollars off. Booksellers didn't adapt to such rapid change. And didn't want to compete on price alone.

Legend has it there was a massacre of brick & mortar booksellers. Pickwick. Borders. Crown. Mom&Pop. It was a classic sales training exercise: All other things being equal, why would you buy from me? The booksellers failed because the industry failed them. Things weren't equal, publishers made favorable deals with the competition, things got tough in the independent market.

The economics are daunting. Some business owners give in and quit. When a business keeps people employed, but inventory costs increase while sales dip, the profit margin shrinks. 

What can a business owner do with an 11% margin between cost and sales price, when it shrinks to 8%? Money costs 5%. That's only 3% "margin."

Belt-tightening and staff shrinkage help. Customers won't tolerate price increases. The business owner mortages their house, the big mansion on the hill with a pool and horses.

As that margin tightens, the lower prospects start getting comparative to bank rates. A business owner thinks of the money she's making running the business compared to making "about the same" by putting it into bonds, or even a bank saving account, and kicking back without all the daily hassles of running a bookstore. 

Employees worry about losing their job, business owners worry about losing the house. That big mansion with the porte cochere and the history.

Vroman's teetered and asked for help when the GOPlague had us at our lowest. Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley's bookbuyers rallied to their brick&mortar local business. Vroman's keeps its two stores open because people are buying what Vroman's sells. There's a lot of marketing and customer service making a difference, but as always, people are making the only difference that counts.

Great ancillary programming has always placed Vroman's in a special position among the region's substantial cultural endeavors.  The bookseller stocks a wide range of current titles with adequate shelf space, features indoor and outdoor readings sites, a handprints in cement walk of fame with annual ceremony, offers quality curios, and free unmonitored parking. With the local big box, Vroman's anchors this end of Colorado Boulevard.

Sadly, Vroman's stands unique among Pasadena stores. Despite lacking competition, Vroman's acts with responsibility to its public. Luis J. Rodriguez has his prints in stone out front, and numerous raza writers have read at Vroman's. I can list ten people off the top of my head whom I'd love to put on that outdoor stage! Ten, because I have only two hands.

I would love to see more big stores in my town moving literature and packing 'em in for readings. Give Vroman's a run for our money. Going into business locally is a matter of getting a bunch of money, stocking a big store, and have fifty years history. Maybe 100 years.

Vroman's has the formula for a wonderful reading: Present a great interviewer and a great writer with a hot new title. Get a SRO audience to pack the house. The ambience alone sells books, the platica sells reading generally and makes gente want to seek out these authors. And I get some good fotos out of the whole pachanga.

I sure hope I can get out at night on March 3 to take fotos like I did back in 2018, when Alex Espinoza and Reyna Grande got together at Vroman's. Lots of things have changed since then, que no?

Some of those things, let's hope they're changinge back, that we're getting back to normal. A ver.

From La Bloga-Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Reyna Grande In Conversation With Alex Espinoza
Michael Sedano

Friday night's (2018) is an audience of readers, gente who have come on Friday night to the independent bookseller, Vroman's, in Pasadena CA (link) because reading matters to them. They want to hear Reyna Grande, whose stories to them mattered.

Reyna Grande has five books: two novels, three memoirs (one, the YA Distance Between Us), and translations. She's the kind of writer a passerby would want to sit and hear, and the activity in the busy Vroman's event space attracts numerous random shoppers. But there's SRO. And still they visit, and still they stand. She's that kind of speaker.

The on-purpose audience has read Grande's books. These people need to read stories like Grande's and they have. Readers like these have a story like the author's, that inspires, encourages them. Author-Person gaps disappear when Grande relates, as she did in a recent radio interview with Norma Martinez (link). of being invited to elementary schools and meeting, not with the kids, but their mothers, who had to abandon their children, as Grande's mother did her children.

Memoirs tell the readers' own stories, too, though thankfully not exactly. Their abuelas were unlikely to be the species of mean that takes away ice cream from children and places it to melt in the sun, to make a point. 

Forgiving that is perspective, Grande admits. Writing freezes that personality into that image. A dozen years after, senescence laid waste to that vicious entity. Nothing remains to hate.

As a mom, that little kid licking her lips over melted nieve, is a push-over. Discipline is not mom's strong suit. Con razón.

Grande's familia are here. The author introduces her brother, who's standing off to the side all proud of his big sister, his kids smiling at tía on that stool right-center stage. 

Left-center sits Alex Espinoza, amiably engaging. What a double delight for these readers, eavesdropping on the conversation.

Espinoza, author of Stillwater Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León plays the muse eliciting nuggets and gems from the storyteller’s repertoire of memories, along with inside information and writing advice. 

Vroman's doesn't share videos of events. I hope someone had their video running start to finish because this was an interesting evening both for the insights into Grande's novels and the writing of memoir as opposed to writing autobiography.

If I kept a commonplace book, the colloquy would have filled several pages of frantically scribbled gems, turns of phrases, inspired moments. I keep a camera.

Vroman's is a tough place to book, so I've heard. Grande arrives amid a major tour for A Dream Called Home. The full house, and afterward the long line of people at the cash register bearing multiple copies of the $26.00 hardcover A Dream Called Home, confirms the bookseller's confidence in Reyna Grande's work. Grande reads from a paperback.

Grande says she's returning to writing novels with the completion of her second memoir. Vroman's marketing people will remember that when Reyna's agent comes calling. I hope Vroman's booking tipas remember, too, those lines of buyers. Raza doesn't buy books, so Vroman's doesn't book 'em, Dano. 

I heard that, at any rate, the last time I inquired why so few brown faces had a table up front in that busy room.

YA author Daniel Acosta held the dais a few weeks ago, and in 2017, Luis J. Rodriguez embedded his handprints into the Vroman's Walk of Fame in the big time ceremony. So there's evidence Vroman's is growing. A ver, as my grampa used to declare.

The author shared the most important element of a writer's life. Reflecting on her local start at Pasadena City College--not her first plan--and looking back at critical acclaim and community one-read adoptions, she observes how writing the books, that's the easier part.

Marketing. This tour for this book, for example. And all those adoptions. After getting published, getting out the word is what defines a title's, and the next one's, life.

Tonight, Grande's home. Her familia over there, these admiring faces, the local big time. Her conversation with the Cal State LA English Full Professor, another community college kid, sounds like home. A couple of grizzled writers sitting around the lumbre while we listen, they toss leña into the sparks raising sparks of their own with stories, accounts, memories, dreams.

Alex Espinoza told me before the event started he had a plan, where he'd lead the conversation. He figured the script wouldn't last long and he knew he'd pick up on something, and she'd pick up on something, and together they'd wend their way to the big pile of books that need signing.

And that was the last Q&A. Some tributes, "thank you for writing that!"--a couple of professors and teachers said that--only one rambling huh? participant. Alex Espinoza looks out knowing his audience shares his satisfaction.

The Gluten-free Chicano Bakes Parmesan Crusted Cod

Eating fish with frequency is one way to eat yourself to stable health.  Keeping an eye on sustainable fishing practices contributes to global health, too.

The Gluten-free Chicano is cooking for a light eater who will consume more food when the food has a bit of flair. Like chicken, I make schnitzel or piccata style. La Chickenada gets no left-overs tonight. Non-standard chicken salads benefit from texture and sweet from added fresh and dried fruit and nuts; savory from sharp cheese, olives, chips.

For Sunday Dinner just the two of us, I wanted fork-tender flaky fish,  crispy bits of papa with a creamy surprise of sour cream, and the sweet luxury of tomatoes and black aguacate. The ever-forgetful Gluten-free Chicano forgot to pick a calabaza to make steamed fresh squash.

400º oven
Greased baking dish

Ingredients / carbohydrate count per lookup (link) 
Frozen cod, partially defrosted 0g
1 Egg, medium .34g
2 Tbs soft bacon grease 0g
Parmesan cheese ~½ cup 2g
Gluten-free flour ~½ cup 50g (King Arthur all-purpose gf flour)
¾ cup Frozen hash brown potatoes 18g
Olive oil 0g
1 small black-skinned Avocado 17g
Tomato 1g per slice
Carbohydrate count: ~89 g. Divide by 2-4 servings.

Pacific Cod in bulk frozen packages offers value and lots of fish meals. Baked or broiled as an entrée, braised, chilled, and flaked for a salad, chunked into a caldo de pescado, fish is good for your heart and health. 

Regrettably, Kroeger hasn’t caught up to the Responsibly Fished Certification movement, but Pacific Cod is a “recommended” food on the Seafoodwatch website (link).

Defrost the fish, towel dry with gentle pressure. This makes a better crust. Broiling at the end crisps and toasts, but do so watchfully.
For crispy coating, add gluten-free panko crumbs or broil for 3 minutes at end.
Egg froth: add mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, anchovy paste, mustard.
Super egg froth: molcahete or Cuisinart several toasted chile pods and soak for an hour in egg froth. Slather a thick coat of crushed chiles all over defrosted, drained, fish. Bake hot. The chile cracks off. It adds flavor but not chiloso.
More aguacate.

The Coating
Grab a small handful of flour and pour several shakes of dried parmesan cheese into a flat vessel. Equal flour to cheese. You can fry this, too, for exceptional flavor.

Mix the flour and cheese completely, add coarsely ground black pepper. Distribute evenly in the flat bottom.

Whip the heck out of a medium egg. Add a big tablespoon of soft bacon grease. If you don't collect your bacon fat, use olive oil. See the "modifications" for options..

Dip the fish in the egg froth. Place the wet fish on the dry flour-cheese mix. Have a dish towel handy to keep your fingers clean.

Turn the fish systematically, coat the edges then the other side. The egg wets the powdered egg-oil and will crust in the oven. This is a soft blanket not a crispy coat. Fry the fish for a great crispy treat.

Scrape the egg-flour left in the vessel and place add atop the fish. 

Use a flat spatula to slip the coated fish portions into a greased baking pan. Bake uncovered 15 minutes.


Hollywood Inglés From UNAM

Lots of new housing with more space
Lots of doors slamming in our face
I'll get a terrace apartment
Better get rid of your accent

$160 registration fee gets enrollment to the entirely online course (link).

UNAM is definitely in the distance learning business. There's another course in test preparation for much-needed certified teachers.

That UNAM, but its LA clone.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Join us February 23 for the virtual book launch of the latest book from Daniel A. Olivas, “How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories”






TIME: 6:00 P.M.

This is a virtual event and will take place on Crowdcast
Register for FREE ahead of time to save your spot and get an email reminder!


During the pandemic and in the wake of his father's death, Daniel A. Olivas set upon the task of reviewing almost 25 years' worth of his short stories that had been published in various collections or as parts of novels. Our strange times seemed to call for this type of introspection and examination. He found that many of his narratives fell within the world of magic, fairy tales, fables, and dystopian futures. This review also revealed that many of his fictions confronted—either directly or obliquely—questions of morality, justice, and self-determination while being deeply steeped in Chicano and Mexican culture. Olivas decided to choose his favorite tales from the many scores of stories that populated his published works. He added to the mix two recent stories—one dystopian, the other magical--both of which confront the last administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.

The result is How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories (University of Nevada Press). Though his books have been taught in colleges and high schools across the country for over two decades, this collection brings together some of his most unforgettable strange tales that will be enjoyed, again, by his fans, and anew for readers who have not, as yet, experienced Olivas's distinct—and very Chicano—fiction. A literary critic once called Olivas a "literary marvel." These stories, collectively, offer ample support for this declaration.

Praise for How to Date a Flying Mexican

Featured by Poets & Writers magazine as a new and newsworthy book.

“Prompted by tragedy—the death of his father and the pandemic—Olivas revisits decades of writing to produce this collection of new and previously published stories. Olivas’s work is surreal, dystopian, critical, and introspective, ultimately moving into contemporary political rhetoric.”
Alta Journal

“Throughout all of his stories, there are strong Chicano characters, who embody tales that range from the laugh-out-loud funny to the heartbreaking. A timely retrospective from an important voice in Latinx literature.”

Wendy J. Fox, BuzzFeed 

“Daniel Olivas loves to tell stories and his writing reflects that joy. Every story is told with a wink and a smile, encouraging you to follow along for the ride. His humor not only brings levity to matters of life, death, and human treachery, but it is also a stylistic choice that Olivas has mastered. These stories aren’t so much about the interiority of its characters, but about the mythical, magical mundanity of our lives—Olivas’s style perfectly expresses this contradiction.”  
Maceo Montoya, associate professor of Chicano/a Studies, University of California, Davis, and author of Preparatory Notes for Future Masterpieces

“From gritty realism to mythic and sci-fi speculative, Olivas dishes up an exquisite feast of short fictions filled to the brim with small and outsized everyday struggles—and failures. Through it all, we feel the mischievous wink and wry smile twinkle of an author whose . . . skills clear new space for us to breathe again in the richness of Latinx ways of life.”
Frederick Luis Aldama, award winning author and Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at University of Texas, Austin 

“This kinetic new collection of stories is exuberant and poignant, filled with the homegrown details of Latinx life as well as a kind of cheerful, saucy magic.”
Yxta Maya Murray, law professor, Loyola Law School and author of The World Doesn’t Work that Way, but It Could: Stories

“Olivas has the voice of both an ancient and modern storyteller. He is very deft and sure with language. The stories make a significant contribute to the Latinx community and beyond.”
David Kranes, professor emeritus of English, University of Utah, and author of Keno Runner, Abracadabra, and Performance Art: Stories


If you can’t make the Vroman’s Bookstore event, visit my events page for other opportunities including a virtual event at Skylight Books on February 26 where I will be in conversation with writer and educator, Lorinda Toledo. You may register for this Skylight Books event here.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Two Blogueros, Two Online Events: Covid Solutions on Marketing Your Book


Image of green banner with details for event on Wednesday, Feburary 23, 6pm  Daniel Olivas, in conversation with Professor Alvaro Huerta, discusses How to Date a Flying Mexican

This is a virtual event and will take place on Crowdcast
Register for FREE ahead of time to save your spot and get an email reminder! Scroll down to purchase your copy of the book from Vroman's.


During the pandemic and in the wake of his father's death, Daniel A. Olivas set upon the task of reviewing almost 25 years' worth of his short stories that had been published in various collections or as parts of novels. Our strange times seemed to call for this type of introspection and examination. He found that many of his narratives fell within the world of magic, fairy tales, fables, and dystopian futures. This review also revealed that many of his fictions confronted--either directly or obliquely--questions of morality, justice, and self-determination while being deeply steeped in Chicano and Mexican culture. Olivas decided to choose his favorite tales from the many scores of stories that populated his published works. He added to the mix two recent stories--one dystopian, the other magical--both of which confront the last administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. The result is How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories. Though his books have been taught in colleges and high schools across the country for over two decades, this collection brings together some of his most unforgettable strange tales that will be enjoyed, again, by his fans, and anew for readers who have not, as yet, experienced Olivas's distinct--and very Chicano--fiction. A literary critic once called Olivas a "literary marvel." These stories, collectively, offer ample support for this declaration. (University of Nevada Press)

Live Streaming On Crowdcast Free with Registration with clickable link!

Event date: 
Wednesday, February 23, 2022 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Pre-Order Now Badge
How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781647790363 
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now 
Published: University of Nevada Press - February 22nd, 2022 
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 Interview with author R. Ch. Garcia 

"the stories behind the story" – a zoom session on  his new novel Death Song of the Dragón Chicxulub 4:00–5:30pm, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 

Here's your chance to learn about the mythology, history and  people that inspired the new Chicano fantasy-sci-fi Death Song  of the Dragón Chicxulub. 

     Sign up to hear veteran interviewer Annette Leal Mattern*  assist Garcia in sharing literary background of the novel, like: 

Where did you get the ideas for your characters? And do your  characters deliver any vital lessons? 

Are any of the fantasy scenes about real places or true events?  Why does the pace of the two parts of the novel vary so much? 

What aspects of Chicano/mexicano/ 

indio culture do you hope readers take  

away from the book? 

[You can also submit questions in  

advance or on Chat during the Zoom.] 

Those attending can also: 

• Win a copy of the novel. 

• Win a copy of the new Chicano SciFi  

anthology, Porvenir Ya! featuring a short story by Garcia et al. • Plus, give your input/opinion on the novel to enter an online  drawing for special Dragón T-shirts. [see pic] 

Zoom limited to 25 registrants. LMK if you want to be added to the wait list. * Annette Leal Mattern is a professional PR/Brand Strategist, Published Author, and  Language Nerd. "My contract with the viewer is to guide you in learning whatever will  make the reading of the book a better experience." 

Sign up on Eventbrite: annette-leal-mattern-the-stories-behind-the-story-tickets-266169729827