Thursday, January 28, 2010

All work and No play

Earlier this week, I began reading "Cibolero" by Kermit Lopez, who is currently on a blog tour right now (please check out the dates below.)

Now, usually, I like to get home from work around 2:30pm, eat some dinner, watch a little late afternoon TV; then just prop my feet up, lay back, and read a good book ('cause, quite frankly, there's usually nothing on TV at night anyways.)

Well, lately my boss has been asking me to work 'til 5pm (maybe even close to 6pm), and I've been getting home tired--too tired to even open up a book!

This past week alone, I've just been getting home at around 6:30pm (maybe eat a little something) and just going to bed like an hour or so later. And, let me tell ya, when my head hits that pillow, I am zonked out! I mean it, Lights Out!

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I have been neglecting my reading. Well, today, I have the day off from work, so I'm hoping to get some tonight (reading, I mean).

Don't wait up.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Cibolero" by Kermit Lopez

Before we begin, let me share something with you.

As you know, we’ve been having heavy amounts of rain this past week here in So Cal. I mean, it’s been non-stop everyday ever since Sunday.

Well, last Thursday was no exception. I woke up, got out of bed, and went out into the world, where it was (guess what?) raining. I couldn’t find my umbrella, and I got to work all drenched and muddy (not the best way to make a good impression on your boss, but there you go.)

The whole day was a drag from the start (Oh, my GGOOOD). Do any of you feel like your boss just thinks you’re a moron? Well, anyway, the whole day ended with me calling my boss a jerk (not to his face, of course – I waited ‘til I got in the car to call him that – best if he didn’t hear it.)

By the time I started driving home, the streets were flooded, and the rain just would NOT let up. So I got home, got a little more wet, and I picked up the mail. And stuffed inside that little mail box (underneath the massive pile of bills, yay) was a manila envelope.

I brought it inside, dried it off a bit, and tore it open. And inside…..was Cibolero by Kermit Lopez.

The excitement from getting a new book seared through me and made me burst. I was so happy! And it came at just the right time too, because I had just finished reading Meet Me Under the Ceiba by Silvio Sirias (excellent book, by the way), so, therefore, I had nothing else to read. And being stuck inside with nothing to read was bound to make go up the walls.

So it was perfect!

As I held that book in my hands with an infinite smile on my face, a faint ray of sunshine suddenly cut through the dark clouds and glistened brightly……even though it was still pouring out.

About the book: For years, Antonio Baca lived the wandering and restless life of a Cibolero, or buffalo hunter, following the great herds that roamed the endless Llano Estacado-the high plains of a region that would one day be New Mexico. After marrying and settling down, Baca has finally found a modicum of peace in the home he built for his growing family.
But Baca witnesses the transformation of Nuevo Mexico from an isolated colonial outpost of the Spanish empire to a province of the newly independent nation of Mexico and, finally, to a land conquered by the avaricious americanos. Following the United States's seizure of New Mexico, Antonio and his countrymen find themselves treated as foreigners and second-class citizens in their own land.
When his daughter, Elena, is kidnapped by a band of invading Texas Rangers after the American Civil War, Baca desperately tracks them across the llano of New Mexico and into Texas using his skills as a Cibolero. Terrified for his daughter's safety, he plunges into the world of the gringos, and discovers just how much the americanos have changed his homeland. But as the days pass without any sign of Elena, Baca fears for her life-and his own
So thank you, Kermit, for your wonderful timing and for your appearance on today’s blog.

1. Mr. Lopez, I read from your bio that the idea for Cibolero was inspired after researching your ancestry. How did the rest of the story come about regarding the kidnapping and all?

Cibolero was generally inspired by my family ancestry and the history of New Mexico. In particular, the story was based on the historical relationship between Hispanics and Anglos in New Mexico and Texas during the 19th and early 20th centuries. That is, Mexican American citizen were treated as foreigners and second class citizens in their own homeland. Hence, the attitude of the Texans/Anglos towards Hispanics in Texas and Mexico, which in the story, results in the kidnapping and so forth. In addition to these underlying themes, however, I wanted to create a story with "action" combined with historical interest. Hence, the novel can also be thought of as a "Western" from a Hispanic point of view.

2. I see you have another book, The Prodigy. What is that about and how is it different from Cibolero?

The Prodigy was a very different book from that of Cibolero. The Prodigy was my first attempt at a published novel and is essentially a legal thrilller, aka, John Grisham. Because in my "day job" I'm a patent attorney, The Prodigy covered themes of patents and intellectual property in the context of fiction.

3. Who are your favorite Latino authors and what books do you have on your book shelf?

My favorite Latino author is Rudolfo Anaya, particularly his novel Bless Me Ultima.

Thank you, Kermit! I can’t wait to get to the exciting conclusion of Cibolero.

Author Bio:
Kermit Lopez wrote “Cibolero” after researching his family ancestry, which spans four hundred years of New Mexico history. He received electrical engineering and law degrees from the University of New Mexico and lives with his wife and son in Albuquerque. Mr. Lopez is also the author of the novel The Prodigy.
ISBN: 978-0-595-43567-8

Blog Tour Schedule:

Mon Jan 25th: Sandra's Book Club
Tues Jan 26th: Musings
Wed Jan 27th: Latino
Book Examiner
Thurs Jan 28th: Mama
Frid Jan 29th: Latino Musings on Literature & More
Mon Feb 1st: Heidenkind's
Tues Feb 2nd: Efrain's Corner
Wed Feb 3rd: BronzeWord Latino Authors
Thurs Feb 4th: TBA
Fri Feb 5th: Regular
To be eligible for a chance, post a comment and/or a question on this blog and all other blogs on this tour.
Please fill out the contest entry form for shipping information at

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blog Tour for "Cibolero"

I am hosting a new author here on Sandra's Book Club, and it all starts right here on Monday, January 25.

Here is the schedule:

Mon Jan 25th: Sandra's Book Club
Tues Jan 26th: Musings
Wed Jan 27th: Latino Book Examiner
Thurs Jan 28th: Mama XXI
Frid Jan 29th: Latino Musings on Literature & More
Mon Feb 1st: Heidenkind's Hideaway
Tues Feb 2nd: Efrain's Corner
Wed Feb 3rd: BronzeWord Latino Authors
Thurs Feb 4th: TBA
Fri Feb 5th: Regular Rumination

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lots of Rain and No Book

Hey, everyone!

Hosting Silvio Sirias yesterday was an honor. Thanks to everyone who posted comments and questions. Mr. Sirias had some interesting and challenging questions, but he answered them rather well.

I just finished reading the last pages of "Meet Me under the Ceiba," and I am now sorry to say that I have no new book to read.

It's been pouring the last couple of days here in Southern California, and it hasn't been able to stop since Sunday night. So, basically, I am stuck in here without being able to go out for a jog and without a book to read. So, basically, I am BORED!

My plan, however, is to go down to Libreria Martinez this weekend (hopefully, it will be dry by then) and stock up on some new books. I would order through Amazon, but, let's face it, I can't wait that long.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Meet Me Under the Ceiba" by Silvio Sirias

As a blog host, I now have the fun task of reading books by newly discovered writers, and I consider having read Meet Me Under the Ceiba by Silvio Sirias both an honor and a treat.

If you have been following this online book tour, then you know what this story is all about. But for those of you who are just joining us, here is a quick recap of the story.

"An American professor of Nicaraguan descent spending the summer in his parents’ homeland learns of Adela’s murder and vows to unravel the threads of the mystery. The suspense builds as he patiently interviews the townspeople and extracts their intriguing and often outlandish accounts of Adela’s life and death in this backwater town. It quickly becomes apparent that Adela—a hard-working campesina who never learned to read and write—and Don Roque had one thing in common: the beautiful Ixelia Cruz. The love of Adela’s life, Ixelia was one of Don Roque’s many possessions until Adela lured her away.
The interviews with Adela’s family, neighbors, and former lovers shed light on the circumstances of her death and reveal the lively community left reeling by her brutal murder, including: Adela’s older sister Mariela and her five children, who spent Christmas morning with Adela, excitedly unwrapping the gifts their beloved aunt brought them that fateful day; her neighbor and friend, Lizbeth Hodgson, the beautiful mulata who early in their relationship rejected Adela’s passionate advances; Padre Uriel, who did not welcome Adela to mass because she loved women; Adela’s former lover Gloria, the town’s midwife, who is forever destined to beg her charges to name their newborn daughters Adela.
Through stories and gossip that expose jealousies, scandals, and misfortunes, Sirias lovingly portrays the community of La Curva, Nicaragua, in all its beauty and ugliness. The winner of the Chicano / Latino Literary Prize, this spellbinding novel captures the essence of a world rarely seen in American literature. "

What I liked most about this book was how it reads as both a journal and a story at the same time. Sirias makes you feel like you are a part of the characters' lives and histories, and you feel like you were right there--in the middle of that love triangle, just standing there witnessing the greed, anger, jealousy, and lust. It just pulls you in and devours you completely. I can honestly say that I could not put this book down.

I would now like to take the opportunity to welcome Silvio Sirias today.

Sandra: Welcome! First of all, your story concept reminded me a great deal of "The Salvation of La Purisima" by T.M. Spooner. It was about an anglo who traveled to Mexico and discovers a mysterious death that has plagued a village for so long, and he is the only one who can help heal the town. How did you come up with the idea for "Meet Me Under the Ceiba" and, more importantly, how did you come up with the title?*

Silvio: In February of the year 2000, about six months after my wife and I moved to Nicaragua from North Carolina, the papers in Nicaragua started carrying a news item that centered on the disappearance of a woman, named Aura Rosa Pav√≥n, who lived in the small town of La Curva, in the province of Masaya. As details of the mystery began to filter out—the result of the sister’s desperate search to locate her—I began to surmise that the disappearance had to do with Aura Rosa’s involvement in a love-triangle.

The day her body was discovered, three suspects were apprehended; subsequently they were put on trial, and found guilty. And, Sandra, as the picture became clearer regarding what had taken place, the story became sublimely “novelesque” in my mind. There, right before me, was a writers’s dream: a narrative that contained many of the elements that constitute marvelous fiction—love, lust, greed, exploitation, hope, fear, compassion and, to top these off, homophobia. Although at the time I was committed to completing my first novel, BERNARDO AND THE VIRGIN, I knew that as soon as I had finished this task I’d be moving on to tell Aura Rosa’s story. And eight years later, here we are.

The title was inspired by a phrase in a note that lured Aura Rosa Pavon to her death. In it, someone posing as her former lover wrote: “Meet me under the chilamate.” That note and that phrase stuck to me throughout the research stage and I knew they would figure prominently in the narrative. Now, the chilamate is a tree that grows in abundance in Nicaragua. While it’s a striking tree, I hardly found inspiration in it. The ceiba, on the other hand, has a rich religious lore that goes back centuries, particularly with the Yoruban people of Western Africa and the Mayans of Central America. This lore has been mined by other writers of the Caribbean region, so it was an easy decision to substitute “chilamate” for “ceiba.” And, in the end, my writer’s intuition had been correct as the pivotal scene in the novel revolves around the phrase, hence the title.

Sandra: I see you were named one of the top ten Latino Writers to watch for 2010. How does that make you feel?*

Silvio: As a published novelist yourself, Sandra, you’re well aware of the long, lonely hours—and, in my case, decades—spent trying to master the craft. On top of this, it takes months, if not years, to complete a novel. To be named one of the Top Ten New Latino Writers to Watch (and Read) in 2010 is, to me, one of the most gratifying moments I’ve experience in my career. The honor means that every second I’ve spent suffering to get the right turn of the phrase, to make a scene call out, to try to get the story to grab a reader’s heart has well been worth the sacrifices.

Sandra: Thank you for joining us and good luck with your book!

About the Author:
SILVIO SIRIAS is the author of a novel, Bernardo and the Virgin (Northwestern University Press, 2007), and he has written and edited several books on Latino/a literature, including Julia Alvarez: A Critical Companion (Greenwood Press, 2001) and Conversations with Rudolfo Anaya (University Press of Mississippi, 1998). He received his doctorate in Spanish from the University of Arizona and worked as a professor of Spanish and U.S. Latino/a literature for several years before returning to live in Nicaragua in 1999. He currently lives in Panama.

• Paperback: 256 pages
• Publisher: Arte Publico Pr (September 30, 2009)
• Language: English
• ISBN-13: 978-1558855922

Link to author's website:

Blog Tour associated with Latino Book Tours

Silvio Sirias Blog Tour Dates:
Monday 11th: Book Lover Carol
Tuesday Jan 12th: Brown Girl Speaks
Wed Jan 13th: Regular Ruminations
Thursday Jan 14th: The Tranquilo Traveler
Friday Jan 15th: Pisti Totol
Monday 18th: Mama XXI
Tuesday 19th: Farm Lane Books
Wed 20th: Sandra's Book Club
Thurs. 21st: Latino Books Examiner
Friday 22nd: Una in a Million

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Blog Tour for "Meet Me Under the Ceiba"

Here is the blog tour for "Meet Me Under the Ceiba" by Silvio Sirias.

I will be hosting on Jan 20.

Monday 11th: Book Lover Carol

Tuesday Jan 12th: Brown Girl Speaks
Wed Jan 13th: Regular Ruminations

Thursday Jan 14th: The Tranquilo Traveler

Friday Jan 15th: Pisti Totol

Monday 18th: Mama XXI

Tuesday 19th: Farm Lane Books

Wed 20th: Sandra's Book Club
Thurs. 21st: Latino Books Examiner

Friday 22nd: Una in a Million

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Blog Tour for "Sins of the Flesh"

Caridad Piniero will be on a blog tour next week for "Sins of the Flesh"

Here is the schedule:

Jan 11: Jo Ann BronzeWord Latino Authors
Jan 12: Lara Julia Amante
Jan 13: Mayra Latino Books Examiner
Jan 14: Kate Babbling About Books and More
Jan 15: Tasha Heidenkind
Jan 18: Nilki Musings
Jan 19: Erin Pagan Spirits
Jan 20: Alice Bergers Book Reviews
Jan 21: Blodeuedd Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Jan 22: Misa Chasing Heroes


Those who leave a comment are eligible for an autographed copy of Sins of the Flesh and a T-shirt.


Leave a comment with your email addy!

Extra Entries:

+4 for asking Caridad a question
+3 for being a follower
+2 for becoming a follower
+1 link on your sidebar or twitter (please leave a link)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I have a new blog

Hey, everyone

I got tired of the old blog, so I started this new one.

Hope you like it better.