Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reading & Book Signing on Dec. 9

To celebrate the paperback release of Calligraphy of the Witch I will be doing a reading & book signing at ChimMaya Art Gallery (5283 E. Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90022) on December 9 from 2-4pm. One of the things I most like about the paperback (other than my darling wife's cover, of course) is the way Marina, Gabi, and Nick at Arte Publico Press made the influence of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, on the book and on the main character's life, front and center. The story could be described as Sor Juana meets the Salem witch trials, although it's her assistant Concepción who embodies the poetry and philosophy of la décima Musa in New England. This is the flyer that Alma created for the event. Note the nifty code box that can be scanned by a phone or Ipad and it will take you directly to my website. So cool.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Calligraphy of the Witch Book Trailer

After four years of Calligraphy of the Witch being out of print, the paperback edition has just been released by Arte Público Press. I'm so happy the book is available again. When the hardback first edition was released by St. Martin's Press in the Fall of 2007, I had just started Chairing the César Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies at UCLA. Administrative work completely absorbed all of my time and energy for three years, and I wasn't able to do the book justice, unlike the success I had with Desert Blood, which I was able to promote widely. Now, Arte Público Press has released the paperback edition of Calligraphy of the Witch, sporting a brand new cover designed by my darling wife, Alma Lopez. Alma is also responsible for this gorgeous book trailer. You can order the book through my website:, or wherever books are sold. The new cover features performer/musician Lysa Flores as the main character, Concepción Benavídez. Special thanks to Adelina Anthony for performing the part of Concepción's daughter, Hanna Jeremiah, in the book trailer.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pooling thoughts at the end of my spring sabbatical

Im sitting in my mom's kitchen in El Paso this Friday morning looking out at the contrast between dry desert and the blue pool in the backyard, abandoned most of the time but still glittering the same bright clear blue as the west Texas sky. I'm remembering all the different parties we've had in this backyard, most memorably my 40th piñata party over a decade ago, and even further back, my goodbye party as I prepared to leave El Paso after 27 years and two lifetimes here, to embark on the adventure of PhD school at the U of Iowa (where I only last 9 months). At the time all I had in terms of publishing credits were a few poems and short prose pieces, and the dream of one day being a published author of novels and other booksg gleamed as bright and pristine as this backyard pool. Today I have ten published books, and I sit here contemplating how to balance the completion of two more: my next academic book and the YA novel I've been working on since I finished NaNoWriMo in 2010. It is the end of my spring quarter sabbatical at UCLA which means I have only three months of writing time left before I have to find my Profe hat and start preparing for the new academic year and our first cohort of PhD students in the Chavez Department. I could never have imagined this busy and productive life back in 1985, even with my BA and MA in hand. My life then was like that pool, clear and wide open.