Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Piri Thomas

Born on September 30, 1928 to Puerto Rican-Cuban parents in New Yorks Spanish Harlem, writer and poet, Juan Pedro Tomas (Piri Thomas) is best know for his bestselling book, Down These Mean Streets. I read the book many years ago and immediately made it a part of my library. The book, an autobiography, is an honest approach to the racial discrimination suffered while growing up in Spanish Harlem and his involvement with drugs and crime. Piri has also written a sequel titled "Seven Long Times" depicting his prison years. He also has several other books and many poems to his credit.

Visit The World of Piri Thomas for full bio, info and to read some of his poetry.

Youtube video via PBS

Sunday, September 27, 2009 Social Media

Social media.. there is much that has been written and said about it. It comprises an almost limitless scope of information resources dispersed in many forms. From blogging, forums, pod casts, picture, video to social networking, social media has grown enormously. Whether many realize it or not, if you are on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or using any communication or multi-media application and posting some type of information then you are a part of social media. Unlike traditional media (such as newspapers and magazines), social media allows for communication between many and the ability to edit, comment, share views and opinions on an almost infinite scale.

Now enter the growth of the Latino/Hispanic population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino/Hispanic population is projected to nearly triple, from 46.7 million to 132.8 million during the 2008-2050 period. On the internet, the Latino/Hispanic user is expected to grow some 25% by the year 2010 to nearly 21 million. These stats speak volumes in themselves and demonstrate the need for greater unity among the Latino/Hispanic social media community.

This is where Latinos in Social Media (LATISM) takes the lead and brings Latinos from all realms of the social media world together . Bringing together professionals and novices alike who share an interest in social media whether through blogging, tweeting, connecting or any of the various social media outlets. LATISM brings a wealth of information to all Latinos and has shown the power of Latinos/Hispanics in its own respect. From its humble beginnings, the group now boasts chapters in New York, Florida, Washington D.C. and Texas. This in itself demonstrates the capabilities and opportunities that can come to fruition when Latinos unite.

Next up for LATISM is their upcoming New York Heritage Tour followed by tours in Florida, DC, and California. The New York tour is being held on Thursday and Friday, October 1st and 2nd. The opportunity to still be involved in the New York Tour is still available. The tours will offer an opportunity to meet and network with leaders in their respective social media fields through conferences and meetings to include an Awards Gala and Networking Party recognizing the best Latinos in Social Media (vote here).

Latinos...stand up and don't get left behind. The opportunities are awaiting, whether on a small scale or large scale, and the choice is up to you. Make it happen.... join LATISM today!

No Latinos Left Behind - Education Scholarships Available!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

El Grito de Lares

Lares, Puerto Rico...Founded in 1827 and named after one of its settlers, Don Amador de Lariz had been known as Hato de Lariz since the early 1500's. Interestingly enough the city was founded by Francisco de Sotomayor and Pedro Vélez Borrero.

On September 23, 1868 Lares became an important place in Puerto Rican history. It was the birthplace of the first major revolt against Spanish rule and call for independence. Although the revolt was short lived the cries for independence would be heard for generations and still continues.

El Grito de Lares, planned by Ramon Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis and carried out by leaders of the Revolutionary Committee of Puerto Rico (Comite Revolucionario de Puerto Rico) etched its place in Puerto Rican history. While attempts to commerate it as holiday were outlawed during several time periods, since some would have preferred that this moment in history would rather be forgotten, in 1969, pro-statehood Governor Luis A. Ferré, declared September 23rd a National Holiday: El Grito de Lares.

Resources to feed your mind:
Lares (wiki)
Lares (
Grito de Lares (wiki)
El Grito de Lares (NY Latino Journal)
El Grito de Lares (
Grito de Lares 1868 (

Pagina Official de Lares
Judith Mercado Short Stories: The Cry of Lares

"Lares es Tierra Santa, y como tal, debe entrarse a ella de rodillas"
- Pedro Albizu Campos

Filiberto Ojeda Ríos (April 26, 1933 – September 23, 2005)
Calle 13 - Querido FBI - Tribute to Filiberto Ojeda Rios

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Capicuuuuuu! Does it Again!

Once again, Capicu Poetry does what Capicu Poetry does best...they put on a great show. The stage was blessed with talent after talent. From the veterans to novices the night turned out to be uplifting. I am not a poet but being among all the talent brings out a feeling of wanting to participate just the same. Again, I walk away from a night of Capicu Poetry feeling inspired. Capicu....does it again! Some of those who came through....

    Raw Elementz Collective
    Jose Arias
    Fizzle McQueen
    Just Jay
    Joe 'Elemento' Romagnano
    The Real
    Jay Rivera
    Jose Vilson
    Victor M. Matos
    Sonia Mercado Hopewell
    Mala Fama- Ill Fame
    Conan Aka Mr.VIP
    with Comedy by Johnny pen

    Capping off the evening was featured poet Jani Rosado, while holding her own as an agent at image Cultura she held it down with her poetry for Capicu. Check out her site: Musings and Scribbles.

    I usually sound off with the words "pa que lo disfruten" but if you haven't been to a Capicu event then you've obviously missed out...this time around it's "te lo perdiste!"

    Capicu Poetry and Cultural Showcase

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    A Boricua Cook Book Signing

    Great authentic latin cuisine cookbooks are hard to come by. Here's a chance to pick up the real deal in latin cooking.
    Cookbook author Dr. Erisbelia Garriga, will be signing copies of her books: "Homestyle Puerto Rican Cooking and Sabrosuras Boricuas" at Bogota Latin Bistro on Saturday, September 19th from 2 pm to 4 pm.

    If you're a fan of Puerto Rican or Latino food in general, here's a chance to meet the author, pick up her books and learn to make these incredible cuisines at home.

    Place: Bogota Latin Bistro
    141 5th Avenue @ St. John's Place
    Brooklyn, NY 11217
    Saturday, Sept. 19. 2 pm - 4 pm
    Info: 404-734-8982

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Capicu Poetry and Cultural Showcase is Back!

    After a long summer break, George "Urban Jibaro" Torres and Papo "Swiggity" Santiago are back with their Capicu Poetry and Cultural Showcase. In full swing just in time for Latino Heritage Month with a show featuring the poetry of Jani Rosado and a book signing by author Ivan Sanchez. I've been inspired and impressed with the events George and Papo put on in the past and I'm sure they will not disappoint!

    Date: Friday, September 18, 2009
    Time: 7:30pm - 10:30pm
    Price: $5
    Location: Notice Lounge & Cafe
    Street: 198 Union Avenue
    City/Town: Brooklyn, NY

    Que lo Disfruten!

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Rep Your Favorite Latino/a Book for Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept 15 - Oct 15

    A message from Jo Ann Hernandez:

    As an author, I thought of one way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. We can celebrate our books written by our own and win a book in the process. I borrowed the idea from Darcy Pattison doing Random Acts of Publicity Week and as they say, “Why reinvent the wheel.” I thought her idea and her tips were perfect to celebrate our books for this month. Please read on and join all the fun!!!

    To Participate:
    1. Daily Acts of Publicity. Each day, do one Random Act of Publicity. You can choose to concentrate on one Latino/a friend’s book; you can choose a different Latino/a author/book each day; you can promote a Latino/a book you like, even if you don’t know the author.
    2. Post a comment when you complete the review or post or how you do the publicity on BronzeWord Latino Authors on that day with a link to your post, what type of review it is, and your email address.
    3. At the end of the week, a random name will be picked and a book will be awarded.
    4. There will be a grand finale winner for the person who posts the most reviews for the five weeks.
    5. In addition, there will be five winners. One per week.

    Here are some good suggestions:
    Random Acts of Publicity: Reviews
    Reviews add credibility: they are the marketer’s tool of using a testimonial. The twist on Amazon and other sites is that celebrity testimonials don’t matter as much as just another reader’s comments. To be effective, though, the comment must ring true, they must be authentic and credible.

    To go the extra mile, video testimonials are the most effective tool out there. Sure, it’s an act of love to record and post a testimonial about a friend’s book, but it would really make a difference! Or add a photo of a kid reading your friend’s book. Anything extra makes a difference.

    The More Reviews the Better
    I’ve looked for studies about the effect of reviews on sales, but haven’t found anything solid. But anecdotal information says that the more reviews the better. There seems to be break points at about 20-25 reviews and 100 reviews, at least. That is, over 25 reviews and there’s a bump in sales. Over 100 reviews and there’s a big bump in sales. (If anyone has seen a study to corroborate this, let me know!)

    Bad reviews don’t necessarily hurt, as long as there are just a couple. In fact, I’ve seen information that says a few bad reviews make all the others seem more plausible. Too much good can be unbelievable: remember the keys are authentic and credible. No book will please everyone.

    The More Recent the Reviews the Better
    Should you review older books? Yes! The more recent the reviews the better the title does on searches.

    So, here’s one strategy for reviews. Everyone knows that the best sales time is the Christmas holidays. Books are given as gifts, more books are sold in November & December than other months, etc. What you really want, then, is a concentration of reviews in September and October – recent reviews for the holiday season.

    Good news: We’re just in time to help a friend’s book!

    Your Random Act of Publicity Task for the Month
    Post at least one review of a book per week.

    Places to post reviews:
    Library Thing
    Good Reads
    Any suggestions for other places to post reviews?
    Please post at BronzeWord Latino Authors about what you’ve done today to be eligible to win a book.

    At the very least, you want a webpage to be in the top 30 results, or your chances of clicks are virtually zero.

    You can also:
    Word of Mouth: Talk to kids!
    Word of Mouth: Talk to parents!
    Word of Mouth: Talk to booksellers, librarians, teachers, or other professionals!
    Word of Mouth: Talk to anyone! But a bit of explanation, followed by your enthusiasm – that’s what will help spread the word.

    Jo Ann Hernandez
    White Bread Competition
    The Throwaway Piece

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    LVBT Guest Post: Walking on a Rainbow: "How I Became a Children’s Book Author" By Mayra Calvani

    Today, as part of BronzeWord's Latino Virtual Book Tour, I turn my blog over to author Mayra Calvani. Welcome, Mayra....

    Walking on a Rainbow: "How I Became a Children’s Book Author"

    I used to think writing children’s books was boring. Writing for those demanding, whining creatures? Are you kidding? Not for me. No thanks.

    That was a few years ago.

    Now, nothing fills me with more joy and excitement than writing a picture book or a novel for tweens. Writing for children is like stepping into a fresh, magical, innocent, marvelous world of color and words. Writing for children is, in fact, like walking on a rainbow.

    So how did the change happen?

    Easy. I had children.

    I recently read an interesting post by another children’s author about how in order to write good children’s stories, one must know children. Of course, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, but in general, I find this observation to be true. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one must have children in order to write great children’s stories, but it does mean that one must interact with them, know their fears, fantasies, dreams. In sum, one must have a clear idea of what goes on inside their little heads and hearts.

    In my case, having children brought out a tender, gentler part of me to the surface, a part I didn’t know I had. Suddenly, as I read to my little daughter every night, picture books, with their beautiful and evocative illustrations, became very appealing to me. I don’t remember when the exact moment happened, the moment when I thought, ‘I want to write a children’s book.’ But I do know I went from extreme to extreme: from chilling horror to sweet picture books. Two very different worlds, but I’m able to switch from one to the other without much problem. On the contrary, each one serves as a refreshing break from the other. So I may work on a lovable children’s story in the morning, and dive into a disturbing werewolf scene in the afternoon. It’s fun, like having split personalities, without the crazy element (or at least, I hope so!).

    So far, I’ve got four picture books out: The Magic Violin, Crash, Chocalín (Spanish edition) and Humberto the Bookworm Hamster. Two more are in the illustrating stages and will be published next year. I also have a middle-grade novel and about ten more picture book manuscripts doing the agent/publisher roundup.

    The world of children’s book publishing is extremely competitive, to say the least. It takes hard work, dedication, perseverance and commitment to become a published author. I know the stakes, but once you step into that magical rainbow, there’s no turning back.


    Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover, and animal advocate. She loves writing for children and adults. She’s a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and Suite101 and the Latino Books Examiner for Visit Mayra at MayrasSecretBookcase.

    You can pick up any one of Mayra's books:

    I welcome all who stop in to leave comment for a chance to win one ebook copy of your choice (Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, Embraced by the Shadows, or Sunstruck).

  • Next stop for Mayra on this Latino Virtual Book Tour is @ Christina Rodriguez blog on Wednesday, September 16.
  • Be sure to stop in then to continue on this tour. Eso que lo disfruten!

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Pedro Albizu Campos Remembered

    History...there is much that has been told and written , yet so much more that remains. Pedro Albizu Campos...his life...his much that has been told and written, yet so much more that remains.
    Regardless of any individual opinion about Campos, the truth stands that he had a profound affect on Puerto Rican history. Some abhor him and many adore him. If one truly follows the history of Puerto Rico and the social impact of its relationship with the US then one can come close to understanding Campos and his love for "La Patria". He lived and died by his own words "La Patria es Valor y Sacrificio".
    While there is so much positive in Puerto Rico there is also much negativity; that, I believe, comes from socio-economics and its relationship with the US. Puerto Ricans have one less struggle than other Latinos (immigration?) yet we still find reports that Puerto Ricans are falling behind. Has it become so apparent that many have taken citizenship for granted. You have been given the means and ingredients to bake a cake and when you are done, the cake gets taken away and you are left with only the crumbs. Enough!! Remember....

    Pedro Albizu Campos (September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

    'Los jovenes tienen el deber de defender su Patria con las armas del Conocimiento' -Pedro Albizu Campos (9/12/1891- 4/21/1965)

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Albizu: The Documentary

    Michael Torres – Producer/Director
    Producer/Director Michael Torres

    Born in and inspired by The Bronx, Michael is a Los Angeles based filmmaker, producer and editor. Michael began his filmmaking journey in 1998.....cont.

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    Sunday Sofrito Message from Sofrito For Your Soul

    Sunday Sofrito - September 6th, 2009 (este es para la comunidad)
    After months of tireless efforts from the American Diabetes Association's Por Tu Familia committee led by Helene Velazquez, we are finally 6 short days away from our "Feria De Salud" (9/12/2009) that will be held in the Bronx but there is still work to do. I am asking reader to help us get the word out about this event. WE NEED YOU TO MAKE IT A SUCCESS.

    What is La Feria De Salud?

    Feria de Salud is an outdoor community event that is intended to reach thousands of local Latinos/Hispanics with the important message that they may be at risk for diabetes. Feria captures the festive elements of a street fair, but maintains the important aspects of choosing and managing a healthier lifestyle for the entire Latino family. The atmosphere of Feria includes music, dancing, nutritional information, cooking demonstrations, speakers on topics related to diabetes, and a variety of product and service booths.

    This year we will have special appearances by Lisa Mateo, Son Boricua, Tony Touch (my favorite DJ) and Dance on 2.

    We need your support...via volunteers, sponsorship and just spreading the word about this event. I am specifically looking for Latino organizations to link up and become a community partner in this initiative.

    Tell your friends to tell their friends to tell their cousins and let's all have a great celebration that promotes healthy living in our community. Are you a blogger? Please repost!!!

    So many of you have asked how you can help us on

    Sept 12th for La Feria De Salud...and this is my response.

    Volunteers are needed to make this event a success...

    please sign up or invite someone who you know would jump at the opportunity to help raise awareness that disease that has affected us so much. Here is the link, I will personally be there with my family and some friends.

    Volunteer For Feria!

    If you are not in the NYC area but want to get involved with the American Diabetes Association and Por Tu Familia, visit for Por Tu Familia's website.


    To request your free copy of our Latin Flavor in the Kitchen Recipe Sampler and to receive a free guide on type 2 diabetes (request ADA Channel number 2), call 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383). Bilingual representatives are available to take your call.

    Questions??? Call The Sofrito Hotline.


    This posting is a repost from Sofrito for Your Soul
    by George 'Urban Jibaro' Torres

    Saturday, September 5, 2009

    Latino Virtual Book Tour Continues....

    Last month I had the pleasure of hosting Raul Ramos Y Sanchez as part of BronzeWord Latino Authors Virtual Book Tour along with many superb bloggers. It was such a great experience that I decided to have another go at it. This time around I am hosting Mayra Calvani, multi-genre author, reviewer and animal advocate who hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Here is a look at Mayra's work:

    The Magic Violin
    "This is a beautiful book with lyrical text. Vivid descriptions make Melina’s emotions tangible. The accompanying illustrations are a perfect match. They give a charming view of 19th Century Europe. A lovely addition to anychild’s bookshelf.” --Julie M. Prince, YABooksCentral
    “Filled with old world charm, children will find this book has a distinctive foreign flavor. Illustrations are reminiscent of earlier days and the story itself conveys an old-fashioned feeling. The magic of a European Christmas Eve comes to life through text and pictures in this gentle tale......more..

    The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

    Are you passionate about books? Do you have the desire to share your thoughts about a book with readers, yet are unsure about what makes a good review? Are you curious about the influence reviews have on readers, booksellers, and librarians?
    If you’re an experienced reviewer, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing will serve as an excellent reference tool and amalgam of resources. If you’re a beginner, this book will show you how to write a well-written, honest, objective and professional book review.....more...

    Meet…Daniella, a naive and deeply sensitive architecture student who feels herself surrounded by carnivorous creatures from the Mesozoic Era.Zorro, a deranged criminal running rampant on the streets of San Juan, terrorizing women who wear miniskirts.Tony, Daniella's boyfriend, smug and selfish and demonically handsome, who seems oblivious to everything about him except to his own obsession with fame and LSD.Ismael, Daniella's ex-husband, as cruel and innocent as a child, an art critic whose fantasies of revenge will force him to do something that will shock the entire island.....more...

    Embraced by the Shadows
    "[Embraced by the Shadows] is a wonderful tale of a woman torn between a love she can not resist and a life she does not understand. Alana is a character to fall in love with... Mayra Calvani did an exemplary job in weaving this story of passion, love and betrayal. Once the reviewer started the prologue she was hooked and could not put this book down. This is a must read for fans of paranormal!" –Love Romances
    "...For any of you female readers that have always had the fantasy of your masculine vampire following you all through your life and not revealing himself....more...

    Chocalin (spanish)
    Join Marcelo as he learns to care for his brand new—and very peculiar—puppy and sets out to choose the perfect name for it....more...

    I welcome all to stop in and leave comment for a chance to win one ebook copy of your choice (Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, Embraced by the Shadows, or Sunstruck). In the meantime, you can purchase hardcopies of Mayra's books and embrace yourself in some good reading.

    LVBT Schedule

    Como Siempre, Que lo disfruten!

    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Latina Art Exhibit

    You are all invited to show your support to the upcoming Latina Art Exhibit of the 100 Hispanic Women Inc. on Sept.10 at Taller Boricua, NYC's El Barrio.

    Thursday, September 10, 2009
    6PM - 9PM
    Taller Boricua
    1680 Lexington Ave
    NYC, NY 10029

    Que lo disfruten!