Saturday, August 01, 2015

Today – Speculative fiction authors & art

Tejano David Bowles calls his work, "at the crossroads of myth and legend, genre and literature." Today he'll share some of it at Barnes & Noble Northcross in McAllen, Tex., from 2–3 pm. A reading from his YA fantasy novel, The Smoking Mirror, answering questions and signing books. He'll probably also talk about and share from his book, Border Lore: Folktales and Legends of South Texas.

Daniel José Older will be speaking, and reading from his Young Adult urban fantasy, Shadowshaper, at the Chilltown Lit Fest in Jersey City. 

Canadian-Chicana Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of Signal to Noise, has a fantasy story called “To See Pedro Infante” that appears in Lightspeed Magazine, out today.

Lastly, award-winning artist John Picacio will be in Santa Fe later this month, offering prizes of his works, and a bit of gaming. Check it out.

Es todo, hoy, at least, that I know about.
RudyG, speculative fiction author Rudy Ch. Garcia

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon Announcements

Melinda Palacio

Tonight, expect a blue moon, a second full moon in the same month. The last blue moon was three years ago and the next one won't happen until 2018. Dip your feet into water and manifest your dreams and goals. My blue moon experience came earlier this week with an email solicitation from the Academy of American Poets. I was surprised to receive a request, asking if I had any unpublished poem, and on the same day, I received an acceptance. I'm calling the news, My Oscar Moment, since the Academy of American Poets will publish one of my poems in their online poem-a-day series in September. For me, this honor only happens once in a blue moon. I would thank the blue moon herself for seeing me standing alone without a dream in my heart. However,  I am not alone and I have plenty of dreams to spare. I certainly thank everyone at La Bloga. Speaking of blue moons, in a few days, I will have dinner with La Bloga's founder, Rudy. It seems as if it's been longer than a blue moon since I've seen Rudy. I will also meet my niece's baby and maybe a few other friends, certainly, my poetry pal Maria. Unfortunately, I will miss the other two Denver blogueros, Manuel y Lydia, who are traveling to places beyond Colorado. My summer travels will also include a train writing residency on Amtrak's Sunset Limited in a few weeks. What will your blue moon bring?

I will be back in California this time next week, just in time to participate in two readings.

August 8 in Ventura:

The Water and Stone Reading Saturday, August 8 at 3pm in PDT, Art City Studios 197 Dubbers Ventura. La Bloga friend, Jessica Ceballos, will also be reading.

August 23 in Ojai:
The Ojai Art Center presents three Latino Poets: Angel Garcia, Melinda Palacio, and Emma Trelles, along with live music by Alas Latina (vocalist Claudia Simone and guitarist Don Cardinali), Sunday August 23 at 2pm, The Ojai Art Center 113 S. Montgomery Ojai-Literary Branch 805-816-4099.  Come for the poetry and music, stay for the food trucks.

In case you missed it...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New from Planeta: Las Impuras

Carlos Wynter Melo
The main character of this story goes to the bus station every day searching for meaning in life. It is there where she unexpectedly meets a woman without a memory who asks her to construct a past for her.

Inevitably, for both of them, looking into the past means remembering the loss of a father, boyfriend and friends who were victims of the repression. The United States' invasion of Panama, the resistance and deaths have left their mark on recent history under circumstances where lies play an important role in survival. Reconstructing their memories becomes the only path to redemption.

Will they find meaning in life and discover and accept their true selves? Impure is the story of two women, but it is also the story of a country that, like them, must make peace with its past.

Editorial Planeta
ISBN: 9786070727740
Trade paper
152 pp.
Price: $10.95

Carlos Oriel Wynter Melo was born in Panama in 1971. In 2007 he was recognized as one of the most important young storytellers in Latin America during the Bogotá 39 event. In 2011 he participated in the Guadalajara International Book Fair as one of the Literary Secrets of Latin America. His stories have won him the National "José María Sánchez" Award (1998), third place in the National "Ignacio Valdés" Short Story Contest (2005) and an honorable mention for the Central American "Rogelio Sinán" Award (2010). Impure is his second novel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Call Me Tree/ Llámame Árbol

Written and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Children's Book Press/Lee & Low Books

In this spare, lyrically written story, we join a child on a journey of self-discovery. Finding a way to grow from the inside out, just like a tree, the child develops as an individual comfortable in the natural world and in relationships with others. The child begins Within / The deep dark earth, like a seed, ready to grow and then dream and reach out to the world. Soon the child discovers birds and the sky and other children: Trees and trees / Just like me! Each is different too. The child embraces them all because All trees have roots/ All trees belong. Maya Christina Gonzalez once again combines her talents as an artist and a storyteller to craft a gentle, empowering story about belonging, connecting with nature, and becoming your fullest self. Young readers will be inspired to dream and reach, reach and dream . . . and to be as free and unique as trees.

What does it mean to be like a tree?
For one young child, it all begins
as a tiny seed
that is free to grow
and reach out to others
while standing strong and tall—
just like a tree in the natural world.

Maya Christina Gonzalez is a widely exhibited artist renowned for her vivid imagery of strong women and girls. She has illustrated nearly twenty children’s books, and her artwork has appeared on the cover of Contemporary Chicano/a Art. My Colors, My World was the first book Maya both wrote and illustrated. Books that Maya illustrated include Laughing TomatoesFrom the Bellybutton of the Moon, and Angels Ride Bikes. She lives and plays in San Francisco, California.

Maya Christina Gonzalez Reading Call Me Tree

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Verdolagas for Gluten-free Dining • eAnaya.

The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks
Verdolagas: Garden-fresh, Gluten-free. Con Carne de Puerco.
Michael Sedano

These verdolagas show tight buds, no yellow showing.

Verdolaga, less well-known as Purslane, is a wonderfully prolific plant that crops up where gardeners wet the surface of scarified tierra. Within a few days, tiny cotyledon leaves carpet the ground. They grow rapidly. The plants spread along the ground, creating shade mulch, but are water stealers, requiring frequent weeding.

Controlling the spread of verdolaga in the garden is relatively simple, eat it. 

That, or make sure to remove the plants before the flowers open. Flowers produce seedpods that explode, casting microscopic fertility into la tierra. The plant is the subject of an old Pedro Infante song:

Los amores más bonitos
son como la verdolaga
no más le pones tantito
y crecen como una plaga

Verdolagas are at their piquant, pliant, tender best when just budding, when yellow petals have yet to show at the tip. Even young flowers have crunchy tiny seeds that threaten a hapless diner with the uneasy sensation of biting into sand. 

Plague or plethora, Verdolaga cotyledons.

The backyard garden remains one of the few safe places to forage verdolaga. Gone are the orange groves where lush green rows of verdolagas thrived between endless rows of trees.

Orange picker families and other gente in-the-know would take grocery bags into a good grove and in a few minutes everyone in the car would have a big bag of nutritious forage and the prospect of a delicious dinner to culminate a great day.

Who knows what agribusiness sprays on the huertas and fields nowadays? I wouldn’t eat verdolagas from a commercial grove.

As it happens, growing your own backyard purselane is simple. It's probably already growing on your land. If not, it probably will.

Use a garden fork to aerate an area of the garden and rake it smooth. Water and keep moist. The seed is endemic in most yards, lying waiting to be exposed to light, air, and water. A few days wait produces the green and red carpet signalling a crop of verdolaga in-the-growing.

Controlling the spread of verdolaga in the garden is relatively simple, eat it. That, or make sure to remove the plants before the flowers open and grow seed.

Verdolaga grows in Echinopsis pot.

Harvesting verdolagas means choosing young growth and pulling up the whole plant and root system. Grab a big handful of plants where the stems grows from the ground. Pull straight up. Gently shake off the loose dirt and anything clinging to the root ball.

Put the verdolagas in the collecting bag. Don’t get dirt in the bag. 

Transfer the plants to a basin of water deep enough to cover the roots. Swish the dirt off the roots then wash the entire bundle in case someone got dirt in the bag. Don't get dirt in the bag.

Transfer the washed verdolagas to a colander or toalla to drain. Pinch off and discard the roots.

Pull the tender branches off the main stem. On longer branches, pinch off where stems branch into “y.”  Discard the main stems or save them for the chickens. 

Verdolagas Con Carne de Puerco

Prepped verdolaga.
Chopped onion and cloves of garlic and a small carrot
Cubed pork drenched in gluten-free flour and seasonings.
Yellow cheese – longhorn, cheddar
Tomato sauce

Dice an onion.
Mince two cloves garlic.
Wilt in hot oil.
Add cubed, floured pork, brown and sear. Sprinkle with spices—salt, pepper, ground chile, comino.

Add verdolagas and combine. One handful of prepared leaves per serving, and one or two for the pot. Cover and store unused verdolaga.

Add a small can or two of tomato sauce and the rinse water from the cans.

Add an amount of cubed yellow cheese - longhorn, cheddar ¼ lb.

Bring to a boil over medium flame.

Cover, low simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and prepare the tortillas and other dishes. This lets the sauce cool and thicken from the gf flour and cheese.

Verdolagas con carne de puerco  is a complete meal in itself, but tortillas de maíz and a side of refried beans have a way of rounding out a meal.

Digital Editions of Rudolfo Anaya Titles Recently Published

Open Road Media, a New York City-based publishing company, recently released the ebook editions of nine novels by La Bloga friend Rudolfo Anaya, including Alburquerque, the The Sonny Baca Novels, Serafina’s Stories, and more.

Those are stories that need reading even if the bookshelves leave little space for classics. Having an ebook reader is a way to travel with a library of well-deserved titles at the ready. The publisher writes: We are honored to bring Anaya's important work to digital audiences and new generations of readers. What's the e-equivalent of a page turner, a screen swiper?

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday, Sun Day, Day of the Sun in Kansas City & Los Ángeles

Xánath Caraza

Kansas City Latino Writers Collective members: Jose Faus, Gustavo Adolfo Aybar, Xanath Caraza y Chato Villalobos
Hoy en La Bloga un paseo por Kansas City, MO y Los Ángeles, CA.  Kansas City siempre está llena de actividades literarias, culturales y/o de activismo social.  Este pasado fin de semana no fue la excepción.  Tuvimos desde presentaciones de libros, entrevistas y una presentadora de Honduras.  También, hoy en La Bloga, noticias sobre una antología recién publicada en Los Ángeles.

Miembro fundador del Latino Writers Collective, José Faus tuvo la presentación de su libro, This Town Like That (Spartan Press, 2015) en Kansas City. ¡Enhorabuena!

This Town Like That Poems by Jose Faus
José Faus is an artist and writer. He has exhibited extensively and been involved in a series of mural projects locally and abroad. He is a 2012 Rocket Grant recipient for the community project VOX NARRO. He is a co-founder of the Latino Writers Collective and president of the board of the Writers Place. He is the 2011 winner of Poets & Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange award and one of four recipients of the Gift of Faith Award by the Regional Evangelical Council of Churches. 

This Town Like That is his first book, Faus conjures up memories and reflections in a narrative meditation on a love affair with his adopted hometown of Kansas City

Sobre This Town Like That unas palabras por Gustavo Adolfo Aybar también del Latino Writers Collective.

Gustavo Adolfo Aybar

This Town Like That by José Faus (Spartan Press 2015)

"From the first poem in this pocket-sized collection to the last, I found myself not only entertained, but intrigued; curious about “this town” and wondering how with fifteen years in this city, does Faus introduce me to new aspects of it, as well as make me wish I too knew 39th Street and Kansas City/the Midwest as well as he does. " G. A. Aybar


Desde Honduras Reyna Tejada fue invitada por Cross Border Network (CBN) a Kansas City, Judy Ancel es la Presidenta de CBN y Melissa Archer la coordinadora. Tejada vino para presentar la plática, The Hands that Sew your Clothes: Garment Workers in the Honduran Maquila en la galería Vulpes Bastille de la ciudad.  Varios miembros del Latino Writers Collective dieron la bienvenida a Reyna Tejada con una breve presentación de poesía.  A continuación unas fotos del evento.

Reyna Tejada and Judy Ancel
Chato Villalobos at Vulpes Bastille Gallery
Jose Faus
Xanath Caraza
Gustavo Adolfo Aybar
Reyna Tejada at Vulpes Bastille Gallery
Kansas City Latino Writers Collective members: J. Faus, Jan Rog, G. Aybar and Chato Villalobos
Desde Los Ángeles, California, Víctor Sotomayor, Editor, nos informa que la antología, No Se Habla Español ya está a la venta.  Aquí el enlace para su adquisición. 

Editor Victor Sotomayor


Para terminar quiero agradecer a la Dra. Villalobos de la University of Nevada at Reno por la entrevista sobre mi quehacer literario, la cual será publicada próximamente.  Muchas gracias, viva la poesía y la literatura.
Dra. Villalobos de la University of Nevada at Reno

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kikiricaja Unlocks Your Imaginación: Guest Post by David López

I remember long summers and days after school as a kid when I would run outside to play. For me, playing was an exploration outside of my backyard walls through my own imagination. It was an adventure into the bushes only to enter into the selva, the gripping of a broom that suddenly transformed into a sword, or a hammock that was really a pirate ship on which I escaped countless attempts to throw me overboard and be eaten by vicious tiburones. I was invincible and there was no limit to what I could do…because I believed. The older I get, I realize that that creativity and imagination I had has essentially gone dormant and I have become more practical and my inner child locked up. But when you experience a moment so special that your imagination unlocks and you shrink down to that child-size you one more time, don’t let it get away. Grab it y déjate llevar.

    Kikiricaja logo

Such is the epiphany one gets with the play Kikiricaja: Una historia de payasos, written by Miguel Ángel Garrido Ramón and produced by Tijuana’s alternative company Inmigrantes Teatro. Recently, Kikiricaja completed its run as part of South Coast Repertory’s Studio SCR Series in Orange County, being the first all-Spanish production to be presented at the award-winning theater. Here is where I was fortunate enough to fall in love with this story, its characters and had a beautiful return to my niñez.

Directed by Raymundo Garduño, Kikiricaja is the story of friendship between two clowns, Bartolomeus y Comino, who live in boxes, but do not subject themselves to the restrictions or the definition of a box. As you are introduced to Bartolomeus, played by the talented Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, and Comino, portrayed by Ariadnalí de la Peña, you are immediately reminded of the comedic legends that have shaped the world through their disguises and payasadas. Greats like Cantinflas, Roberto Gómez Bolaños “Chespirito”, Lucille Ball, Cepillín, Charlie Chaplin, María Elena Velasco “La India María” have all paved the way, but herein is a cast of modern-day clowns that are classic in archetype but contemporary in how they touch your heart.
Foto courtesy of Inmigrantes Teatro, credit Alejandro Montalvo

The two payasos share a love-hate relationship, always in direct competition with one another, trying to outdo and undo what the other has accomplished. Their boxes are their homes where they keep their most prized possessions, the objects that are part of them. To the common eye these cajas are just rundown crates, but with the help of their imagination, these boxes become larger-than-life interpretations of identity and how Bartolomeus and Comino truly see themselves as more.

Kikiricaja takes you into the world of a circus and through the ebb and flow of a ship imagined by the play’s characters. Humor mixes with pathos through the masterful interpretations that Rodríguez and de la Peña leave on the stage. Their physicality and ease in transforming themselves is what makes Kikiricaja a play that astounds even in the subtleties. It is reminiscent of childhood yet surpasses any expectation of clowning because the language resonates with Spanish speakers and the sounds of the accordion and drum are characters of their own in this production.
Foto courtesy of Inmigrantes Teatro, credit Alejandro Montalvo
Loyalty and friendship is challenged when in enters El Músico. Played by Andrés Franco, El Músico is the symbol of the tests of greed and envy that too commonly come between us as a society. He represents the decisions we make to lower others in the effort to get ahead. Franco delivers another hilarious role as El Músico making Kikiricaja a trifecta for storytelling with corazón and imagination.

This historia de payasos takes turns that tug at the heartstrings, but ultimately teach that no matter who you are, you must always think outside the cockadoodle-box and never be afraid to believe.

On July 31st, Kikiricaja will celebrate its 150th performance at Cecut, Tijuana, Baja California. Inmigrantes Teatro and Kikiricaja will continue traveling with the production in the next few months to locations like Portland, Mexico City and Argentina, mentioned Garduño, but they would love to continue presenting the play wherever there is an audience and ultimately would love to present the work in Europe.
Performing arts manifested in works like Kikiricaja are vital in the continued dialogue about cross-border, cross-cultural, cross-generational storytelling. So the next time you’ve forgotten what it was like to laugh honestly, close your eyes, open your mind and let your imagination soar. You’ll experience something truly fantastomático!
Foto courtesy of Inmigrantes Teatro, credit Alejandro Montalvo

For more information on Kikiricaja, visit:
Or if you’d like to bring Kikiricaja to your theater space, contact

David López is a writer and award-winning librarian from Santa Ana, CA. His work has appeared in the Orange County Register, Connotation Press, Brooklyn & Boyle, and his poetry will appear in a forthcoming anthology by Kórima Press.