Tag Archives: Celebrating Words Festival

GuerrillaReads No. 49: L.M. Quinn

L.M. Quinn‘s short story, The Red Lipstick, appears in the Latino young adult mystery anthology You Don’t Have a Clue. Kirkus Reviews said of the book,

Along with scary tales of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping, less violent crimes solved by young detectives include stolen auto parts, santitos (religious figurines) and costume jewelry—along with an encounter with possible ghosts and a vision of the enraged Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui rising up over Venice Beach.

Quinn did a guerrilla reading from The Red Lipstick at the Tia Chucha’s 6th Annual Celebrating Words Festival.


GuerrillaReads No. 45: René Colato Laínez

René Colato Laínez is a writer and teacher. In this guerrilla reading he reads from his most recent work, the award-winning bilingual children’s book, From North to South / Del norte al sur. Among the honors it has received are the 2011 International Latino Book Award for Best Bilingual Children’s Picture Book and 2011 California Book Award Finalist.

Illustrations in North to South are by another guerrilla reader, Joe Cepeda.

In an interview with Paper Tigers, Colato talked about the challenge of becoming a professional writer and the importance of persistence and hard work:

It was definitely rocky and challenging, but all the rejection letters that I received did help me to craft my stories and make them better. I did not give up: I went to Vermont College and got a masters in “Writing for Children and Young Adults.” I might not have had any of my books published if it weren’t for those letters, in a way.

To see more of his books and learn more about the author, visit his website.

GuerrillaReads No. 44: Melinda Palacio

Guerrilla reader Melinda Palacio writes award-winning poetry and prose, and she’s done journalism too. She says that her poetry training actually helps her as a novelist. In a recent interview, she said,

I went from writing journalism, reporting type of work, to getting deeper and deeper into language…  Poetry has influenced how I write longer pieces, and each word does matter.

Here, Palacio reads from her new novel, Ocotillo Dreams.

More info on Palacio’s website.


GuerrillaReads No. 43: Susan Orosco

Susan Orosco is a Certified Master Hypnotist who specializes in Latino Mind Reprogramming. As she explains,

I know it is frustrating to have big dreams and not know how to begin to accomplish them. You are taught since childhood to pursue traditional methods of success; like hard work, save, and invest. This is good advice but how do you get that kind of opportunity? How do you get money left over at the end of the month to save or invest? It seems all you can do is work hard! You find yourself in an endless cycle. You spin your wheels; dream some more and watch as everybody else is getting ahead.

In her book, Latino Power, Orosco offers seven ways Latinos can build a new mindset to help achieve your goals.

As Orosco says, “To find your purpose, you will always need your passion; and your passion will always need your persistence.”

More about Orosco on her website.

GuerrillaReads No. 42: Chema Guijarro

Guerrilla reader Chema Guijarro grew up between Calexico, CA, and Mexicali, B.C., his fiction focuses on the border region, the immigrant and emigrant experience and Latin-American culture. In this video, he reads from his short story As the Flames Rose, which appears in the anthology You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens.

To find more of his work, check out Guijarro’s blog and Twitter feed.

GuerrillaReads No. 39: Joe Cepeda

Joe Cepeda is the award-winning illustrator of more than twenty children’s books. His work has received an American Library Association 2002 Pura Belpre’ Honor Award and the Recognition of Merit Award for 2000 from the George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books.

In a recent interview, Cepeda talking about movement and action in children’s book illustrations:

Making a picture book is making a small movie. You need action scenes, as well as moments to introduce a character, close up shots, contemplative scenes, chase scenes, sad pictures.. etc. There’s some level of “action” in every image. Because a character is standing in the middle of an empty room, doesn’t mean there is no action there. Perhaps tilting the characters head to look over his shoulder offers a sense of fear, anxiety… tension. A clenched fists alludes to anger. There’s always action.

In this video, Cepeda does a guerrilla reading from a book he both wrote and illustrated, The Swing. You can see more of his work on his website.

GuerrillaReads No. 38: Reyna Grande

Today’s guerrilla reader, Reyna Grande, reads from her award-winning novel, Across a Hundred Mountains. This book won the 2010 Latino Books Into Movies Award, a 2007 American Book Award, and the 2006 El Premio Aztlan Literary Award. It was chosen by Eastern Connecticut as its 2007 “One Book/One Region” selection and in 2010 the city of Watsonville, CA selected it for its “On the Same Page” community reads program.

In an interview with ¡LatinoLA!, Grande said this about her work:

I write about things that I care about, that matter to me. The immigrant experience is one of them. Right now I am working on a memoir in which I write about my childhood in Mexico, living in poverty, being raised by my grandmother because my parents were here in the U.S. working. I write about what it was like to come here as an illegal immigrant, and the difficulties of trying to close the gap created by eight years of separation between me and my father. So to answer the question, yes, I do plan to continue writing about immigration and families, among other things. I am always looking for new ideas and topics. One has to grow as a writer, and one way to do that is to take chances and try new things.

Find more on Grande’s website, Facebook and Twitter.