Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye bye 2009!

Now it´s easier! Just use: to find the video trailer for my memoir, Fast Break South.

There will be fireworks over San Miguel at midnight to ring in the New Year. We have a lot of business in our spa! Yeah! All the tension and desperation I carried around in my shoulders during 2009, due to business being down and our ability to pay bills curtailed, is gone. For this week at least. I hope this bodes well for 2010. My psychic 15-year old daughter says the coming year will be better.

Going to write about the Teen Writers Workshop in Feburary for my Writer´s Corner column for now!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

YouTube Video

It's up! My book trailer video on YouTube! Thanks to Santiago of Zonagrafica. I popped by to see how it was going yesterday and ended up working on it with him for about 4 hours. Take a look.
Just go to YouTube and search Fast Break South. Hope you like it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Coming Soon!

Santiago of Zonagrafico is going to put up my book trailer video this afternoon. Look for it on YouTube by the end of the day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Steve Finamore is the coach of Mens Basketball at Jackson Community College in Michigan. His basketball blog is and today it features an interview with me! The coach and I talked about growing up with basketball. It´s thrilling to see my book and my dad´s on the same page! Check it out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blog Solidarity

Exciting happenings from bloglandia. My friend Jo Moran, whose first novel, The Wives of Henry Oades will be released in February, asked me to send along a photo of me reading her book from San Miguel, so she could add it to her fabulous website, Check out the site and you´ll see all about her book, a historical novel based on a man who takes a post in New Zealand and moves there with his family, only to have his wife and children kidnapped by some Maori tribal members. That´s me in the photo reading the part about the Maori abducting the family. I´m in front of the Parroquia de San Miguel, the centerpiece of my town, San Miguel de Allende.
After a long search, Henry concludes his family is dead and he sails to California where he marries a young widow. Read the book to find out what happens when Margaret, the missing wife, shows up on their doorstep.
I met Jo online about five years ago when were we both searching for agents. We´ve read each other´s manuscripts through several versions each, and have been wonderful friends ever since.
Then, on Twitter, I met a guy who coaches basketball at Jackson Community College in, I think, Michigan. He writes a great blog on coaching and playing sports at His name is Steve Finamore and he´s a fan of coaches in general, and of my dad, Jack, who used to coach in the NBA. After dialoguing a bit, he asked if he could write a letter to my dad (of course!) and interview me about growing up with basketball. I´m answering his questions one by one, and expect they´ll show up on his blog soon. His blog has lots of observations about basketball on all levels, and reffing and broadcasting. Check it out!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Introducing Alexandra Roman

I am happy to be a stop on the blog tour of Alexandra Roman today! She is a Puerto Rican-born writer whose novel is El Valle de la Inspiracion. It´s about a girl who goes. with an Egyptogolist friend, searching for The Valley of Inspiration. Her goal is to recover her own inspiration, which became lost to her after her father´s death. The novel is a history, mystery and fantasy, exploring the mythological world of ancient Egypt. It was published by Lulu and can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

As a writer, Alexandra enjoys penning fiction, fantasy and poems. Alexandra´s blog is

I was excited to meet Alexandra (electronically) because she is from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where my youngest brother was born! We lived in Puerto Rico several summers when I was a kid, as my father coached in the island´s basketball league, Baloncesto Superior. There is a story I wrote about that time, and about my brother´s birth, in a tropical hospital staffed with nuns, over on Alexandra´s blog today. It´s called Basketball and Banana Leaves. Check it out!

Here are some questions I asked Alexandra:

S. I don´t know if bilingual people understand what a gift it is to be truly bilingual. My kids, for example, take it for granted. Are you completely comfortable writing in English and Spanish? Which do you prefer?

A. Yes, in my household we speak both languages. My daughter prefers English and she sounds more American than Puerto Rican. When I´m writing a story, it all depends on how it comes to me. Stories talk to a writer and when you are bilingual, it speaks to you in the way it wants to be told. I translate them so they can be enjoyed by those that don´t understand both languages. I don´t have a preference, but for this novel I did. It needed to be written first in Spanish. I´m working with a translator now so it can be told in English too.

S. The Carribean Islands possess a whole culture that fascinates me: part island, with influences from the Europeans and Africans who stopped by in ships. Do you feel connected to the American literary scene?

A. Yeah, it´s part of the cirriculum in English classes, not so much the classics, but we do get to read Edgar Allen Poe, whom I like, and Emily Dickenson. I have read many others in high school and college, but most of the fiction I read, I´ve found on my own. We are connected to the American literary scene in many ways. Right now there is a big demand for everything Twilight, from that American author, Stephenie Meyer. Many of the movies Puerto Ricans enjoy are based on American novels, and most tend to go to the bookstore and buy those novels. Whether we like it or not, the American influence is there, and will be when we go to the bookstores.

S. I myself am trying to connect to the American literary mainstream from Mexico, and am having my memoir turned down by agent after agent. The reason I hear most often is that the only memoirs that are selling right now are those by nationally prominent people. Can you talk about your experiences trying to publish in the US?

A. It´s difficult because America is a big country and the publishing houses have hundreds of manuscripts delivered to them daily. With this economy trying to pull itself out of a depression, the publishing houses will go with the authors who will make them money. I tried with short stories first and it was very difficult even to place work in magazines. Most of them don´t want new or emerging authors in their magazines, and agents are reacting the same way. It has happened to me lots of times. The key is to never give up, and to keep believing in your work. You will find somebody who will back it up.

S. How has your beautiful island of Puerto Rico influenced your writing? Who do you see as your audience? What are you writing next?

A. Nature is my true inspiration. Sometimes, on weekends, I go for drives with my family to the island shores or to the mountains. It is just what I need to recharge the creative batteries. Puerto Rico has lots of magnificent places to visit and admire. From these breathtaking spots, I draw the strength I need to create.

I know my target audience is Young Adult. It is who I go for. They are not easy to target! The Young Adult reader is very picky in his choices and you have to grab his attention with your writing. Mostly, they enjoy fiction, as I do. So far so good! I have worked with a youth group for over fifteen years now. I share my work with them and they give good feedback. Believe me, when they don´t like something, they let you know! That´s why I say they´re picky.

My mind is set on three things right now. One is a continuation of El Valle de la Inspiracion. But that is a long-term plan. For now, I´m thinking of writing a novel based on the women in my life. At the same time, I´m working on a story I´ve been struggling with for three years. It´s fiction. For now it is called, Los Maestros de AldGar. I´m trying to use the taino language. It´s complicated. It´s a work in progress. It´s on hold right now while I promote El Valle de la Inspiracion.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fast Break South on Amazon

So I reloaded Fast Break South onto Amazon with a new cover. I love the new look. It´s bright and the Mexican flags suggest a celebration of the life I´ve found here. Plus there´s a quote from my wonderful and generous friend, the memoirist Beverly Donofrio. Thank you to Sandra and Mary the designer who helped me get it up there.
Now, I have to get that video trailer about the book finished. Yoohoo, Santiago at Zonagrafica!

I´ve made a couple of sales that I know friends. It´s still exciting. My daughter with the psychic gifts said to me out of the blue about three days ago, "Mom, don´t bother with publishers. Nobody´s interested right now. Just do the book yourself." Interesting, as I hadn´t detailed to her much at all about getting my memoir up on Amazon as a Kindle book. The last agent rejection said publishers are only interested in celebrity memoirs right now. That should take you right to the book on Amazon. Or you can search Fast Break South or Susan McKinney de Ortega.