It was two weeks ago that I shared an amazing celebration for the launch of my novel, Nights of Indigo Blue, at La Casa Azul Bookstore in New York City. Having so many family and friends, new and old, gather for the party was thrilling for me. Aurora Anaya-Cerda, the owner of our beloved bookstore and her staff, could probably open another business on teaching professionalism with genuine warmth. I could not have asked for a better night!
I send hugs and thanks to Maria Aponte-Gonzalez, Bobby Gonzalez, Manuel Williams, and Anwar Uhuru who are amazing performers. Their poetry and performances reminds me of the talent that Spirit gifts us with and how we as artists and authors share with others bringing smiles and tears to our eyes. I’d especially like to thank Albert TainoImage Areizaga for his wonderful photo shots! I also want to thank my daughter, Mara Cordova, who trekked uptown on the train with me hauling food and other things we couldn’t do without. The Pope hadn’t gotten my message that I planned to drive so the streets were pretty much on lock down. And for those of you who don’t know, my spouse, Patricia Dornelles, is the very fabulous photographer who captured the book cover at Prospect Park lake at dawn about a year ago! Thank you!
Each person who was there is special to me in very different ways. Thank you all for making the celebration one I will hold treasured in my heart forever. There are so many pictures that I don’t have of so many people who came out to show love and support. I wish I had them all! If any one else has photos of that evening, send them this way please!
What a great night!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Cozy mysteries are the ones that I grew up reading. They are the ones that were dependable. I knew that the protagonist would usually be a woman. She would be a general busybody and I’d either love her and want to be like her or she’d irritate me. Either way I wanted to read more. Suffice it to say that either way, I was glad that there was usually another few “mysteries” in the queue that I couldn’t wait to crack open. Cozies are like crossword puzzles. They tax my brain but not so much that I get a headache. They are relaxing, engaging, and have enough twists and turns in the plot to keep me reading.
More familiar cozies, due to television and movies , were Murder She Wrote, the Ladies Number One Detective Agency that is stationed in Botswana, and of course, the Agatha Christie series. Some of my first best friend amateur sleuths were Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames. These mysteries are usually of the gentle type, there is love and romance and usually no profanity or anything of the hardcore nature. This allows for more of an audience to enjoy including YA and Middle School readers. Yes, I was that kid that read Agatha Christie novels in the fifth grade. Who doesn’t love a fun and quick read? Believe me, as a writer I can definitely delve into intrigue, espionage, and complexities that make the hair stand up on the back of arms- but not all the time.
A few years ago, a character introduced herself to me. Her name was Daisy Muñiz and she had all the stuff of an amateur detective. She has been living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, thanks to her besties Jose and Rubio, and she has somewhat of a troubled past that she is working through one day a time to change. I was glad she came to me to write her tales of mystery because I never really had the experience of truly enjoying the antics of a Latina sleuth in the cozy mysteries I’ve read. She’s young, but not so young that she doesn’t have some skeletons in her closet. Daisy would give you the shirt off her back but hopefully she’s paid up her credit card bill and the shirt is hers to give away. Her other best friend, Letty, who knows her since high school will tell you that while Daisy does put her foot in her mouth sometimes, she has a heart of gold. Detective David Rodriguez is just getting to know about that heart of hers.
Daisy’s first mystery, Nights of Indigo Blue, will be released by Aignos Publishing Inc. at the end of September of 2015. I plan to have book launch for her in NYC at La Casa Azul Bookstore on September 25, 2015. I can’t wait for you to meet Daisy- she’s a bit awkward, affectionate, and awesome! See you there!
I’m finding it really hard to sit down to blog after the release of my book “Covering the Sun with My Hand.” The last couple of months have been whirlwind. I’ve had all sorts of plans to post pics and describe the enormous joy I felt around my book launch at La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem in late June. Instead, a story I began and set aside while completing revisions on my debut novel has just about consumed me. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. I’m talking about it. In fact, I attended a training at my day job and was handed a packet of information that would have taken me hours to research. The training evoked a memory of something I’d quite forgotten that has to be placed in the novel. Yes, I’m immersed in it.
But… I do want to share some of the pictures taken of the evening I began preparing for when I first put pen to paper for a story called “The Eviction.” The story that went no where and was hidden in my drawer until one of the characters woke me up and said, “The story is about me and my family.” A friend who read my book said she was sad to separate from Julia Acevedo, the protagonist, after a few days of hanging out with her. She tried not to finish the book too quickly. She empathized with me and commiserated about my separating from Julia after about three years. Julia is my BFF and now I have my new protagonist, Maggie Fuentes, of Coney Island Siren. Did I actually just do that? Write my new main character’s name and title of the novel? Yes, I did. It will be awhile but I can’t help but introduce my new friend.
Here is a pic of the book release. I’ll do a run down on details and post more pics soon…as soon as Maggie stops talking in my ear.
Here are some of my favorite writers- Maria Aponte, Karina Guardiola-Lopez, Manny Melendez, and Raquel Penzo. My friend Rachel Griffin is peeking out there too. Thanks to Karina for this picture!
My novel is published. Now what? My book launch for Covering the Sun with My Hand will be at La Casa Azul Bookstore in East Harlem, NYC. I’m counting down the days. June 28th from 6-8pm! Wait, what? East Harlem? An acquaintance was quite intrigued about the prospect of attending the book launch until she heard the name of the neighborhood where it will be located.
This woman is a reader and would be writer. She emphatically advised me that I should have a signing at my community bookstore. I agree. Good idea. Great idea. More books, more signings, more marketing potential. Then I realized she had no intention of leaving the neighborhood by taking a train ride uptown. Community means different things to different people.
I’m a member of many different communities. La Casa Azul Bookstore happens to be a mainstay in terms of my literary community. I’ve done readings in Bed-Stuy, Washington Heights, the Lower East Side, and Spanish Harlem. These are the areas where my fellow readers and writers hang out, read, listen, and partake of the richness of Latino Art and Literature. It’s where I can speak in English, Spanish, or Spanglish and everyone gets it. They get the idea of old culture mores that may have moved mountains but made it difficult for me to stay out after 9pm during my female adolescence.
The store’s owner is Aurora Anaya-Cerda and she has, amongst many other honors, been recognized as a Champion of Change by The White House as an entrepreneur who is pioneering the use of crowdfunding. The Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country who are “Winning the Future” with projects and initiatives that move their communities forward.
If you are interested in celebrating the colorful diversity of literature, come on up to La Casa Azul Bookstore. You’ll be glad you did!
You can also pick up my book at