Friday, October 30, 2009

Gringolandia Book Tour! (Edited)

Brief Description:

Though haunted by memories of his father's arrest in Pinochet's Chile, Daniel Aguilar has made a new life for himself in the United States--far from politics. But when his father is released, Daniel sees what years of prison and torture have done. Trying to reach his father, Daniel, along with his "gringa" girlfriend, finds himself in the democracy struggle of the country he thought he left behind.

Lyn Miller-Lachmann
Curbstone Press 2009
ISBN: 978-1-931896-49-8

To celebrate Halloween, here is my first author interview and a giveaway!

Interview with Lyn Miller-Lachmann

1. If you ever listened to music while writing--or if you already do--what type would it be? Examples!

Oh, I definitely listen to music. In general, I listen to the music my characters would listen to. For Gringolandia, that includes Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Sting for my protagonist, Daniel, and his girlfriend, Courtney. When Daniel's father is a heavy presence in the scene, and for the scenes that take place in Chile, I listen to a lot of the protest music from Latin America that was popular during the time-recordings by Victor Jara (who was killed by the military in the first days after the 1973 coup in Chile), Inti-Illimani, Angel and Isabel Parra, and the musicians who helped me research the novel, Schwenke & Nilo.

For my novel-in-progress, the characters share an interest in Metallica, so I've been listening to a lot of Metallica. The young woman who's the principal narrator of my adult novel, Dirt Cheap, is a huge Dave Matthews Band fan. I have broad tastes, so I can pretty much accommodate the musical interests of all my characters.

2. If you ever wrote another book, what would you title it and why?

I'm working on another teen novel right now, which has the title “The Minus World.” It's a companion to Gringolandia-the protagonist is Daniel's younger sister, Tina, three years later. In 1989 Tina travels to Chile to visit her family living there and falls in love with a dangerous boy. The title refers to a secret level of Super Mario World, a video game Tina and her new boyfriend play (while listening to Metallica), but it also refers to Chile's location in the Southern Hemisphere if you plot it on a graph, as well as the constant sense of menace in a divided country going through major political changes.

3. Did you have any specific writing process when you wrote "Gringolandia"?

I usually worked on the novel after dark, once I finished my regular job, and I wrote until one or two in the morning. I also did a lot of writing on weekends, when I could finish a chapter a day. Sometimes when the writing was going well or I was obsessed with a really intense section, I'd cut out of work for days at a time. Fortunately, I'm in New York and my boss is in Florida, so I could get away with it, as long as my work got done in the end.

4. As Editor-in-Chief for Multicultural Review, do you take your work home? As in, does most of your inspiration for your books come from the workplace? If so, how so?

I work at home so I'm always taking my work home. My inspiration doesn't come from work, but from my experiences over the years. In the case of Gringolandia, it came from teaching English to refugees from Central and South America in the 1980s and organizing concerts of Latin American music through an organization made up mainly of exiles from Chile who missed the music of their country. In the case of Dirt Cheap, it came from living in a suburb that I hated and where I didn't fit in. I used to say that the only thing worse would be if the suburb were built on a toxic waste dump, so I ended up writing a novel set in an upscale and rather unpleasant suburb built on a toxic waste dump. By the way, I moved about six months before the novel came out, and I really like the new place.

5. Do you have a preference when writing for teens or adults?

Not really. It depends on the story and the characters. All of my fiction has prominent teenage characters, even Dirt Cheap, but whether the teens are main characters or secondary characters determines if the book will be considered young adult or adult. I used to teach high school history and English in the New York City Public Schools, and I still teach seventh graders part-time in a religious school program. I like being around young people and listening to their stories. And in the program where I teach now, we write plays as a group. Some of them have been very good, and one of them is now under consideration for publication in an anthology.

Author's bio:

Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review, the author of the award-winning reference book Our Family, Our Friends, Our World: An Annotated Guide to Significant Multicultural Books for Children and Teenagers (1992), the editor of Once Upon a Cuento (2003), a collection of short stories for young readers by Latino authors, and the author of the novel Dirt Cheap (2006), an eco-thriller for adult readers. For Gringolandia, she received a Work-in-Progress Grant from the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.

Now the part you've all been waiting for, Giveaway Time!

On all the blogs that have joined this book tour there will be a giveaway and winner for a signed copy of Gringolandia everyday of the tour!


Leave a comment with your email addy! (You may me email at if you do not feel comfortable leaving a comment :-)

Extra Entries:

+4 for asking Lyn a question

+2 for being/becoming a follower

+1 link on your sidebar or twitter (please leave a link)

Contest ends today at 12:00 PM EST

I will email the winner and send their addy to Jo Ann who will send it to the author who will mail the prize autograph book to you!

Lyn will be answering any question/comments that are left for her only today. So get you chance at fame and talk directly to the author of this inspirational novel.

The upcoming stops (and one that did a fantastic job already for the tour):

Oct 29 Kelsey The Book Scout

Oct 30 Lilibeth ChicaReader

Nov 1 Reggie The Undercover Book Lover (Not Really) book

Nov 2 Melaine Melaine’s Musings book review

Nov 3 Mariah A Reader’s Adventure!

Nov 4 Erica The Book Cellar

Nov 5 Erica The Book Cellar

Nov 6 Sarah Sarah’s Random Musings

Nov 9 Faye Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm

Nov 10 Melaine Melaine’s Musings

Nov 11 Hope Hope’s Book Shelf

Oh, and I must mention the fantabulous Jo Ann Hernandez who has been nothing but helpful when it came to the bloggers hosting the book tour! She is awesome, check out her blogsite:

Jo Ann Hernandez at BronzeWord Latino Authors organizes YA Book Tours for authors. If you are interested in having a tour or being a blog host contact her at BronzeWord1 AT yahoo com


Side-note: Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

Pages: 320
Published: September 6th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin

From Goodreads:
Is this my hidden Mutant Power--The ability to screw up absolutely any decent situation? Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favourite target., his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy's new little brother or sister. Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he's been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and--most important of all--a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and away from all the people who make it hell for him. When fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can't resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice--to ignore or crush anyone who stand in his way. But Kyra has secrets, too. And they could lead Fanboy to his dreams...or down a path into his own darkness.


"Goth Girl" has some damage to her sanity. "Fanboy" is a bit self-absorbed. From the very first page I was hooked! No kidding. I'll even tell you the line(s) that got to me: "When my parents got divorced, my mom got custody of me, and I got custody of the old Pentium clone that used to sit in the den at our old house. Thanks to the very best in Microsoft/Intel engineering, it crashes every time you exhale too hard in its general vicinity." It was on the first page, no lie; and it was the second sentence that got me but wouldn't make sense without the first.
Schemata. Hate. Expectations, good and bad. "Fanboy" loves comics--excuse me, graph novels. Hence the immediate input to the geek category at school, not mentioning the ridicule, of course. The List is only worthy of the names that get there--the people that intentionally do the effective, purposeless shoving, pushing. He safety bullet keeps him calm, even if it may make others freak.
After repeated hits from a dweeb who had been no trouble till then, "Fanboy" finds that he is no longer being ignored. But, exactly what crowd did he attract? Cue "Goth Girl", Kyra. Knocked-up sister, dead mother, ignorant father, and supplying different cars from the family for every ride home. Any of it true?
Random hits bought these two together, comics made it last longer, but in the end will "Fanboy" actually be the one saving "Goth Girl"? Both emotionally and physically? "Fanboy" doesn't keep up his ignorance facade for long, there was never a reason to in the first place.
Recommended heavily for its humor and cheekiness.

Grade: B+


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Miami Book Fair International!

Hey guys, just wanted to let you in on what I will be doing on the weekend of my mother's birthday, lol! I will be going to the Miami Book Fair Internationl, this will be my first time and I'm super psyched! I know that Danielle Joseph and Meg Cabot are going to be there and they will be stalked, no worries. For more info check out there website:
Check out Danielle's post about it, as well:
P.S. It's my birthday! hehe

Friday, October 16, 2009

Contest Entry: First Crush Encounter

I posted this as a comment entry in Tara Kelly's contest for Harmonic Feedback, and I just wanted to share it with you guys because I love the story and reminisce about it quite often.

I'm not sure if this will count but it is a long encounter with my first crush in the fifth grade.
However, it was the day I finally admitted to myself--and sadly my talkative friends--that I had feelings for Ricky. That's him.
We were getting ready for our all day field trip to the Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida--what all the fifth graders get to do close to graduation. Mind you, I live close to Disney World to it was a 5 hour drive. What a long drive it was...
I'm sitting next to Caro--her nickname, my best friend at the time and just chatting away about my new-found feelings for a guy sitting about 3 rows up. We've already taken off when Grace--the nosy *itch in front of us--decides to turn around and butt in our conversation.
"Are you guys talking about Ricky?" Grace asks, knowing the answer.
"Yeah." Caro says cautiously, she suspects somethings up too.
"Do you want me to tell him--" Grace gets cut off by my screech and people start turning to stare.
"No!" I yell at her, trying to plead with my eyes, but I can't help but feel a slight thrill in my stomach.
"Are you sure?" She asks, already turning around to tell Isabell, THE GIRL SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO RICKY.
I'm less hesitant with my answer and by the time I open my mouth, Grace is almost done telling the story. Caro looks at me strangely. What have I done? I strain in my chair to sit up straighter to see both their reactions--Isabell and Ricky. I was such a sucker for attention, that I misinterpreted the look on Ricky's face; my worst mistake.
Is it possible that he likes me back? I thought with an exciting smile.
Caro has resolved to not pay attention anymore, I think she knew what was coming.
I hear the chattering of Grace and Isabell talking about the new hot news. Then, all of a sudden, they start asking me questions, like "Do you want to go out with?" "Are you guys going to hold hands?" "Do you want to switch seats?" The last from Isa, for which I then feel mortified and cannot believe she pratically yelled the question.
I wait for Ricky to protest but he is not even paying attention anymore. However, I do see the sideways glance he's giving Isa, as if she was crazy for even making the suggestion.
This goes on for the rest of the trip there, which seemed to be a lot longer than 5 hours at the time. For the day at the amusement park, Ricky and I said we were going out. But such a thing cannot last, especially since it was the end of the school year, and Ricky's not worth it, anyway. However, it was not I that burst the happy-Islands-of-Adventure-trip bubble. It was Melissa, who didn't know at the time that she had crushed any hope of a lasting relationship--yeah, right.
"Ricky said that he only wanted a girlfriend for a day to see what it felt like." Melissa states flat out. That's just how she is, but I am the one that asked her to talk to Ricky for me about how he felt about this whole 'situation'. I'm such a coward.

I look back on that day so many times, because I always have friends asking me if I've ever gone out with someone, and I say yes. Sometimes I tell them how long it lasted, and sometimes I think it's none of their business. Hope you enjoyed my story about my first encounter; even though I kind of broke the rule a bit.

Hoped you got a good laugh!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Awesome contest! @PrincessBookie

Great contest going on at PrincessBookie! Go enter, she could end it at any time and there will be four winners!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Guest Post: Jocelynn Drake!

I finally got the nerve to ask an author to do something for my blog; took a lot of courage people. Introducing this--super amazing, freaking awesome, doesn't-know-what-her-books-do-to-me--author is none other than JOCELYNN DRAKE, who has the creativity to create the fast-paced novels of the Dark Days Series! She agreed to write a guest blog post about Dawnbreaker, her latest Dark release--that I have yet to read, and this post is such a tease. Without further ado:

Jocelynn Drake

Dawnbreaker is the third book in the Dark Days series and marks the end of the main story arc that was started with Nightwalker. I will admit that when I first started writing the Dark Days series, the main story arc regarding the naturi’s attempts to break out of their cage was supposed to encompass only two books. However, as I was working on Dayhunter, I realized that I was trying to cram too much into a single book and at same time, was missing out on a lot of side information that I thought people would find interesting. So, in the end, I decided to change the ending of Dayhunter and take Mira back to Machu Picchu in Dawnbreaker – back to where all the trouble began for her.

Dawnbreaker opens back in Mira’s domain of Savannah, where she and her people are being constantly hunted by the naturi. By returning to Savannah, readers are able to see the impact the naturi are having not only on Mira but on the rest of her people as well as the lycans that live in Savannah. The relationship between the nightwalkers and the shifters has become strained at the lycanthropes are controlled by the naturi and used to hunt down the nightwalkers. The question then becomes how far are you willing to go to protect your own people? This is something that Barrett, Alpha of the Savannah Pack, has to face as he tries to get Mira to leave Savannah.

The cast of characters in the Dark Days world expands greatly with Dawnbreaker. We meet a rogue princess by the name of Cynnia that is holding more than few interesting secrets that could be of use to Mira. We also meet an earth witch that proved to be the most difficult character that I’ve ever had to write considering that she is very different from my own personality. Archie, the county coroner that we first met in the Unbound novella, “The Dead, the Damned, and the Forgotten,” makes a brief appearance in Dawnbreaker and is set to make another appearance in Pray for Dawn, book four in the series. Finally, my favorite of the new characters is a dark figure that made a very mysterious appearance at the end of Dayhunter. She is back and will start having a stronger impact on the storyline during the near term.

However, for me, the real joy was getting to write scenes with Tristan, Knox, and Amanda, as I view them as Mira’s Savannah family. I like their personalities and the way they interact with each other. They also help Mira relax and bring out her more protective instincts.

Looking out into the future, I am currently contracted for six Dark Days books. I have finished book four, which is called Pray for Dawn, and I am in the revision stage of book 5, which is called Wait for Dusk. This winter I will be working on book 6. In the future, I am hoping to introduce new dangers, new storytellers, and some exciting surprises.

Thank you so much, Jocelynn. As my first author guest post-er, I am in debt to you!
I hope you guys enjoyed this little tease of Dawnbreaker, and hope there will be more guests posts to come! I haven't read Dawnbreaker, as I said before but I have read the first two and here is my review on Dayhunter. Thanks again, Jocelynn, your an awesome writer and cannot wait for future works!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

Published: February 27, 2007 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

I am not my illness. "Girl with Anxiety," "Trauma of the Week" -- no. I hate stuff like that. Everyone, everyone has their issue. But the one thing my illness did make me realize is how necessary it is to ignore the dangers of living in order to live. And how much trouble you can get into if you can't.
Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can't quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she's trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That's why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that's where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.
His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian's cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she's in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.
Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn't felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.
Master storyteller Deb Caletti has once again created characters so real, you will be breathless with anticipation as their riveting story unfolds.


Panic Disorder and elephants. Jade DeLuna has different techniques to staying calm when she feels an attack coming on. Counting syllables with her fingers till she finally stops at her pinky, thinking of her dream setting, the desert; and even thinking about elephants are just a few. Watching the elephants through her live feed on her computer, Jade finds something different about one boy--man, actually--in a red jacket. This man seems different from all the visitors that just pass through; he also has a baby attached to his back. After failed attemps to come in contact with him, Jade cannot get over him. She must put a name to that face. Continuing on with her overachieving routine and fascination of elephants--beside the fact that she was asked--she volunteers to work with the elephants. Distancing in the household causes Jade to retreat with her "friends" at the zoo even more than usual. After a couple of months, 'red-jacket boy' shows up again, and Jade seems to believe that this may be a good omen; and for a time it is. Only Sebastian has a secret, a secret that if spread around would make him disappear. Can he trust Jade to keep his secret safe? Or will the inevitable catch up to Sebastian, resulting in another retreat?

The Nature of Jade is a whole made up of little things in Jade's life; everything that she notices, makes memories of, has an impact on her. The love of her elephants, her brother; the lava lamp type glass in her bedroom; her religious candles; and her overachieving tendencies. All of them have the calming influence in Jade, an insparation to strive through the worst of times. The qualities of her mentality are so relatable and understandable that I wonder if those are the worries that young adults think about. Written in the common teenage-angst language, you can tell that Caletti has a way with words. Recommended to all YA's out there that are paranoid but just need a push to get through the day.

Grade: B+