New Book: Ballad of a Slopsucker by Juan Alvarado Valdivia

Check out this new book from UNM press!

A young widower visits Chichén Itzá to honor his wife; family dynamics unravel at a child’s birthday party; the lead singer of a high school metal band faces his dreaded tenth reunion; a serial killer believes he’s been blessed by God to murder bicycle thieves—Alvarado Valdivia’s debut collection of short stories ranges from dark to light and is written with a storyteller’s skill and compassion. Based in Northern California and examining a variety of themes, including love, family, and masculinity, these stories offer an important new perspective on the experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States and complicate ideas of nationhood, identity, and the definition of home.


Juan Alvarado Valdivia was born to Peruvian parents and raised in Fremont, California. He is the author of ¡Cancerlandia!: A Memoir (UNM Press).

New Book: No more bingo, Comadre! by Nasario Garcia

It takes all kinds to populate Northern New Mexico, and this book has every one: from gypsies and gamblers to ranchers and criminals. Noted author Nasario García introduces us to some of these people and the challenges they face. The title character, Adelfa, flirts with the glamour of casinos and finds herself addicted to gambling. Sam “Spam” Austin, an inmate serving a long sentence for murder, is paroled, attends medical school, and becomes a doctor. The affable grandfather in “Yo Quiero Hacer un Lie ’Way,” a hard-working and honorable rancher, stuns the proprietor of a mortuary with his request to put a coffin on layaway.

This book will be available September 1, 2018.



IRIS MORALES debuts her new book Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA.  Iris is a longtime activist, educator, attorney, media producer, and published author. She is editor of a new anthology, Latinas: Struggles & Protest in the 21 Century USA. Her work focuses on social justice, human rights, and the liberation of Puerto Rico.Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA is a timely anthology of poetry and prose about the lived experiences of Latinas and efforts toward social change. The collection reflects on how Latinas perceive the gendered conditions of their lives, describes inequities faced by class, race, sexuality, and ethnicity, and recounts stories of resistance. The writings show both diversity and unity across time, generational, and geographic boundaries. Each piece is unique. Taken together they highlight contemporary Latina voices and perspectives on socio-political and cultural issues, activism, and imaginings for a more humane world.


She is also author of Through the Eyes of Rebel Women: The Young Lords 1969-1976 and the writer, producer, and co-director of the documentary film !Palante, Siempre Palante!, was a leading member of the Young Lords and co-founder of the Women’s Union.

The impressive list of contributors includes Amanda Alcantara, Gloria Amescua, Nia Andino, Tania Asili, Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Ariana Brown, Rosa Clemente, Karla Cordero, Johanna Fernández, Maria Teresa “Mariposa” Fernández, Marisa Franco, Katherine Garcia, Claudia Sofia Garriga López, Magdalena Gómez, Jessica González-Rojas, Ysabel Y. González, Nancy Lorenza Green, Elena Gutíerrez, Jennicet Gutíerrez, Leticia Hernández-Linares, Karen Jaime, Aurora Levins Morales, Stephanie Llanes, Jennifer Maritza McCauley, Florencia Milito, Lenina Nadal, Myrna Nieves, Emily Perez, Mónica Ramírez, Raquel Reichard, Carmen Rivera, Peggy Robles-Alvarado, Dominque Salas, Aida Salazar, Ruth Irupé Sanabria, Norma Liliana Valdez, Liliana Valenzuela, Vickie Vértiz, and Anjela Villarreal Ratliff.

Latino Book Review’s List for 2017 Outstanding Latino Authors

How many of these authors did you read in 2017? I’ve got some work to do! 
The year 2017 will definitely be a year to remember. Throughout the year we have witnessed major social and political shifts that have shocked us to the core. Nonetheless, it is times of hardship that will continue to prove the resilience of our community and drive us to express ourselves in the most creative ways. Without a doubt, 2017 has also been a year of important victories for Latino literature, including the court overturn of the infamous Mexican American studies ban in the state of Arizona–thanks to the efforts of people like Tony Diaz and countless other activists who fought a long battle to protect our literature. 2017 was also the year Juan Felipe Herrera finished his second term as the first Latino United States Poet Laureate, the year that novelist Cristina Rivera Garza began the first Creative Writing PhD program in Spanish in the entire nation, as well as the year that Marvel chose Gabby Rivera to write the first comic book about a queer Latina superhero. As we can appreciate–regardless of the obstacles we’ve encountered–there are plenty of remarkable achievements to celebrate when it comes to Latino literature. For these and many other reasons, Latino Book Review has chosen the following 10 writers as this year’s Outstanding Latino Authors–for their excellent work and breakthroughs in today’s literature. 


Angela Cervantes



Angela Cervantes is an award-winning author. She is the author of Coco: The Junior Novelization(RH/Disney 2017) Her debut book, Gaby, Lost and Found(Scholastic 2013), was named Best Youth Chapter book by the International Latino Book Awards and a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of 2014. Angela is also the author of Allie, First At Last (Scholastic 2016) and the soon to be available novel, MeFrida and the Secret of the Peacock Ring (Scholastic 2018).


Gabby Rivera



Gabby Rivera is a queer Latinx writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently writing AMERICA, America Chavez’s solo series, for Marvel. America is Marvel’s first Latina lesbian superhero. Gabby is also the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Juliet Takes a Breath which was listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for women’s history month.


Juan Felipe Herrera



Juan Felipe Herrera is the 2015-2017 United States Poet Laureate. He was initiated into the Word by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movimiento and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz, and blues performance streams. His published works include Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream, Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas, and Thunderweavers / Tejedoras de Rayos.


Adam Silvera



Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me,and They Both Die at the End. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for his debut. Adam was born and raised in the Bronx, and he was a bookseller before shifting to children’s publishing. He has worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for teens, and as a book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels.


Benjamin Alire Sáenz



Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the author of winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Book Award for his books for adults. the Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award, the Pura Belpre Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.


Cristina Rivera Garza



Cristina Rivera Garza is an award-winning author, translator, and critic. Her books, originally written in Spanish, have been translated into multiple languages. She is the recipient of the Roger Caillois Award for Latin American Literature (2013), the Anna Seghers-Preis (2005), and the only two-time winner of the International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize (2001; 2009). She is currently a Distinguished Professor in Hispanic Studies, and heads the first Creative Writing PhD program in Spanish in the U.S. at the University of Houston.


Isabel Allende



Isabel Allende was born in Peru and raised in Chile. She is the author of eight novels, including, most recently, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Sandra Cisneros



Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, whose work explores the lives of the working-class.  Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and national and international book awards, including Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016.


Julia Álvarez



Julia Álvarez is a novelist, poet, and essayist. She is the author of nineteen books, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies–a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Selection. She has also received other recognitions such as the National Medal of Arts and a Latina Leader Award in Literature in from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute


Junot Díaz



Junot Díaz is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award.

New Book: Wicked Remnants

Original post found here:

Just in time for Halloween!

“Gypsy Moon”


By Manuel A. Meléndez

Book cover by Carlos Aleman

Illustrations by Henry Simon


He rose from the black bushes like a solid shadow from death. His nightmarish yellow eyes stared at me with hatred. His enlarged pointed nostril flared as mucous dripped from its depth. His muscled hairy torso expanded to proportions of unbelievable massiveness. His arms were like tree trunks that ended into sharp huge claws.

From behind me I heard Deanna scream and my own fears were increased for the safety of us. With foolishness or machismo bravado overcoming my anguish I clenched my hands into fist and prepared if not to save my life, to at least save Deanna’s.

The wolf-like creature ripped through the shrubs, his almost human hoofs inching closer to me. His putrid breath an abomination. He glared at me with a grin of hellish confinement. A grin that grew and grew and grew, until all I could see was fangs crisscrossing other sharp fangs. Heavily steel-like jaws stretched beyond comprehension. He tilted his ponderous head and he howled with blood-dripping thunder from a throat that was neither human nor animal, but more from a demon spawned in the darkest and deepest gutters of Hell.

His bellow destroyed the entire concept of what was sacred and holy in this world. His knife-like claws slashed at me, and like a mere puppet I was thrown across the open meadow. My breath escaped from my lungs and added a tension of agonizing panic. I rolled to my knees and I searched for something to support me and to give me strength. To my delirium, what I found was the fast moving legs of the freak. He grabbed me in his claws and lifted me at least eight feet from the ground. I struggled for my freedom, but the more I battled the deeper his claws cut into my back. The warmth of my blood retreated from my veins as my head spun and my consciousness began to vanish from me. I knew that I was screaming, but the sounds were only vibrations in my throat as the shrieks of the fiendish hulk belittle my cries.

Deanna, my lovely and brave Deanna was still at my side. Instead to succumb at the atrocity before her, she armed herself with a splinter of a tree and clobbered severely at the beast. He ignored her feeble attempts in rescuing me as he trashed me to the ground embedding my face into the soft dry grass. He picked me up above his Herculean shoulders and bawl at the moon. With one talon he held me high and with the other he brushed Deanna aside as if she was an annoying fly.

I dug my fingers inside his eyes and the mad hurting scream that protruded from his foul-smelling mouth gave me an assertiveness to take this demon back to his savage land. He roared with bloodthirsty fury as he seized me by the neck and he flung me to the ground sending a numbness pain through my spine. He leaped upon me like a lover in heat as his fangs severed my neck in half. I felt the tendons on my neck pulling away from the bones and the blood splattering like a fountain out of control. I wanted to scream, but the scream only rose from my belly and stopped in my chest. As I entered a cold darkness that sooth my pains, faintly I heard the sound of gunshots and something amazingly heavy buried me to the blood soaked ground.

And there I died and there I was reborn under the Gypsy Moon.###

© Manuel A. Meléndez.  All rights reserved by author. Permission was granted to reprint excerpt and illustration.

WICKED REMNANTS SUMMARY:  Award winning author Manuel A. Meléndez dares you to walk with him on the dark side and enter into the macabre world of WICKED REMNANTS.  It is a collection of 16 bone-chilling stories that will take you to the place your nightmares begin.  From an old Gypsy curse to a serial killer at large to a whining tree possessed by old secrets to a diabolical enigmatic vampire.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Manuel A. Meléndez is a Puerto Rican author born in Puerto Rico and raised in East Harlem, N.Y. He is the author of two mystery/supernatural novels, WHEN ANGELS FALL, and BATTLE FOR A SOUL, five poetry books, OBSERVATIONS THROUGH POETRY, VOICES FROM MY SOUL, THE BEAUTY AFTER THE STORM, MEDITATING WITH POETRY, and SEARCHING FOR MYSELF. Two collection of Christmas short stories, NEW YORK CHRISTMAS TALES, VOL. I and II, and IN THE SHADOWS OF NEW YORK: TWO NOVELETTES. The novel WHEN ANGELS FALL, was voted by The as the Best Novel of 2013, while BATTLE FOR A SOUL was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2015 International Latino Awards for Mystery Novels. His short story A KILLER AMONG US was published by Akashi Books in SAN JUAN NOIR anthology. For more information please visit his website.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:  Henry Simon was born in Barcelona, Spain. He began his art studies on illustration, painting and comic books in 1995. He began his professional career in 2000 as a cartoonist and illustrator in various newspapers and books. From 2001 to 2004 he worked as a comic book artist and writer for different publishers in Spain and USA. From 2004 to 2010 he moved to Japan where he was one of the animators for I.G. Studios and was a Mangaka’s assistance for Kpdansha Publisher. He returned back home to Barcelona in 2011 and began his career as a comic book artist and illustrator, working for publishers in USA, Europe, Canada and Japan. Please visit his website   to follow his amazing work.

Book Review of Achy Obejas’s The Tower of the Antilles

It’s impossible to keep up with all the good literature coming out these days and Obejas is among the very best…

Original post by Michael Sedano found here:

Review: Achy Obejas. The Tower of the Antilles. Akashic Books, 2017.ISBN: 9781617755392
e-ISBN: 9781617755538

I’d move Achy Obejas’ book of short fiction, The Tower of the Antilles, to the top of my want-to-read list, if I hadn’t just read this intriguing gem of a collection from Akashic Press. Obejas’ deft hand and free-wheeling imagination craft ten stories to be read, then read again out of delight, perplexity, surprise, admiration.

As the title suggests, and Obejas’ prior works attest, Cuba occupies a central place in the stories and hearts of their characters. This is, after all, immigrant literature of the Cuban diaspora, with a generous sampling of eroticism.

Obejas’ characters don’t have a political axe to grind. Inured to hardship, leaving is a constant motive for people who are staying. The ones there find contentment in the way things are. Owing to the author’s U.S. origin, a majority of the characters are over here already. Some go back to visit, to connect with familia, uncover old resentments, party then hook up with a stranger.

Some of Obejas’ more singularly imaginative characters include a nightclub sex worker, a fellow whose imagination takes wing in a pile of flotsam, a book collector whose damaged roomie pilfers first editions. More quotidian characters populate accounts like an immigrant living in Chicago with her Cuban ex-lover, a traveler who returns to Cuba and gets hit hard by culture shock and Mayra’s laughing eyes, a brain tumor death sentence sends a woman to the Maldives to spend her final hours lying in bioluminescent water.

Readers will laugh at phonetic humor in “The Sound Catalog,” a character’s confusion over the expression, “Whenever you hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings.” To the Cuban ex-lover’s ear, the words come out, “Whenever you hear a bell ring, anger turns on a swing.” This, and “Superman,” are the comic relief stories in a collection that leans toward the dark.

Interestingly, “The Sound Catalog” is one of the rare stories where characters have names. Most characters are “the man,” “the woman,” “we,” “I.” Absenting names is a way of giving these experiences an interchangeability, what happened to one person in a story could belong to a character a few stories later, or parallel any immigrant’s exigencies. Kimberly, the title character of the second story, is horribly unique.

There’s a signal example of parallelism in the piles of flotsam characters in the book’s opening and closing stories assemble. “The Collector” builds an assemblage of rafts and floating craft that brought people from the island to the Florida shore. “The Tower of the Antilles” could be an imaginary assemblage of collected vessels, existing in the mind of a woman in a coma, or being tortured. That’s one of the stories that will make you read it again, then turn back to “The Collector” and look back and forth for explanations.

Order The Tower of the Antilles from your local independent bookseller, or publisher-direct here.

New work from Jonathan Marcantoni

The original post for “The Memory of Time” can be found here:


Voice 1: For when we met, I felt like a god before the universe, naked and kneeling. I felt like a supernova at the center of a galaxy, my being illuminating with green and yellow lights, as the galaxy collapsed and renewed with me. Alone and clenching my muscles against the darkness, I felt cold, and unloved, seeking the heat of the light that touches me, and I was enraptured with the possibility of you, the women whose hand could grace my shoulder to assure me that this loneliness was but a fluke. I imagined that you could be mine and the dull lights would explode in a fury of reds and purples as I extend my body outwards to meet yours. For the love I feel when our eyes meet pulls me out of this place, beyond time and feeling, where I know the purpose of my life was to grasp your hand and hold your body and sense the heat of your lips against mine. Forgetting that in reality you were never mine, you were distant yet beloved, the domain of another, who you loved as you could never love me. But in this dream those boundaries do not exist, and our kiss is like the explosion of a star wh–

Voice 2: I touched your hair when you told me about your class, the project, one of those silly things that mean the world when you are five, while an adult like me sees it as just another assignment. Yet you are filled with pride, that you created something, with your own two hands, and with no help from a teacher. You drew the lines and filled in the colors and brought your creation to me, detailing the meanings of every broad stroke and every narrow line. How proud I was to be your father then. How small my significance appeared in the light of your accomplishment and how meager my worries felt then as you announced your grand feats of knowledge and skill. For you did not sense that the world existed before you, or that I too was once five, and had a parent I yearned to please and how I never felt such a sense of accomplishment the way you do now, and to know your papi lo–

Voice 1: Love was what I always wished to express, but you were onto the next thing, the next event, the next class, a shark who would die if they held on for a moment, long enough for me to pull you aside and reassure you that I saw you, in those seconds when you allowed emotion to take hold and rest. What would you find in those moments? Would I be in your thoughts? Or would time, in its march forever forward, take you further from my grasp, not to imprison you, not to control you, but to meet your lips with mine and know what it was to be a part of you? To be an extension of your passion and let you know what my love means in those dark spaces, those minutes under the moonlight when I am human again, vulnerable and–

Voice 2: You showed me all you had accomplished in school and I meditated on how much longer this would all last, your youth, your intense desire for my approval. I pondered how much longer until you forgot me completely, or until my words no longer mattered. Until my touch, stroking your hair, would no longer bring you comfort, and when my presence would not give you peace, and assurance, and when the dreams that wake you in the night no longer would require the comfort of your papi holding you, letting you know all is alright and that the morning will come a–

Voice 1: Again I see you, under the blue spotlight of your blue words, describing sex and speaking of connections that I will never comprehend. I will never know your moans and pleasure zones, or where the caress of my tongue would cause your body to shiver and your mouth to open and your soul to call out to me. I will never know what it means to make you climax, pleasure overflowing as if a river into a basin. I will never know what it is to be your home w–

Voice 2: While I tell you stories of faraway lands and the gods of space, the massive orbs that float in nothingness and pull all matter into a sense of self, I whisper in your ear that we are all stardust and empty nothingness filled only by the love of another w–

Voice 1: Who whispers her name in my ear, and I know her. I know her pain, her beauty, her power. But i will never know her warmth on a Friday night, curled up on a couch holding hands and not yearning to be anywhere else I–

Voice 2: If you only knew the joys of this life, and its accompanying sorrows, you would appreciate the flavors of discontent, or the flavors of yearning, which I pray you never know, for you are my happiness and I only think of protecting you. If only my love was enough, for one day you will understand that we do not choose those we love, and the minutes we are apart from them slide into years that we will never win back, w–

Voice 1: We will always be friends, and as friends I will love you and protect you and tell you the secrets of my world and guard yours when you whisper in my ear. As if you will reveal at any moment that I can fight away this loneliness, that you are here, and mine as I am yours and although I may be a god, I will not reign in solitude. I will preside over this universe with you by my side and never k–

Voice 2: Know that I love you, and that you deserve the love of one who sees you, who feels the same, so you will never experience the loneliness that plagues your papi, because I made a better world for you, a better life, that’s all I a–

Voice 1: I must ask you this: Do you feel the minutes when we are apart? Do you see my eyes as I absorb you? Or sense the softness with which I hold you in my heart?

Voice 2: Can my being your father make up for the heartbreak you will know? Will my love for you make up for the rejection you suffer? How will I know that my love was enough to take you through the universe as a being of passion fulfille or passion seen? Is it enough to be a parent and to give their child happiness? Or will you too find yourself, alone against the universe, longing for another who can never love you in return? Will you remember my caresses, my words of encouragement, and my devotion to you? Will that memory keep despair at a distance? Will the memory of me give you reason to push forward, so that the seconds, minutes, and hours of this life do not crush you?

Voices 1 and 2: Or would my love be enough, to fill the void of time and space and cover the distance between our bodies, as we embrace?


Jon Marcantoni is the publisher of La Casita Grande Press, as well as the author Traveler’s Rest, The Feast of San Sebastian, and Independent Book Award winner Kings of 7th Avenue. His first Spanish language novel, Tristiana, will premiere in August 2017. For more on Jon’s work, visit