Inspirational Nonfiction

‘Latina Authors and Their Muses,’ edited by Mayra Calvani

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Official paperback release date: December 15, 2015

Editor’s Preface

“To be an artist includes much; one must possess many gifts-absolute gifts-which have not been acquired by one’s own effort. And, moreover, to succeed, the artist must possess the courageous soul.”

“What do you mean by the courageous soul?”

“Courageous, ma foi! The brave soul. The soul that dares and defies.”

from The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

In 2005 Carmen Dolores Hernández, book review editor at El Nuevo Día newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, came to visit Brussels. She’d published some of my short stories and novel excerpts in Revista Domingo in the past, and I deeply admired her wisdom as a writer and woman of letters.

I invited her and her husband to my home for dinner, and over wine and various Turkish dishes (my husband is Turkish, and Carmen had expressed her love for this cuisine), we chatted late into the night about writing, books, and authors. She mentioned the anthology she had put together back in 1997, Puerto Rican Voices in English, a vibrant collection of interviews with fourteen of the most prominent Puerto Rican writers living in the United States-including, by the way, Esmeralda Santiago, who so graciously agreed to take part in this project.

Soon after Carmen returned to Puerto Rico, I ordered a copy of Puerto Rican Voices, and became absorbed by the candor and insight of the authors as they talked about their backgrounds, books, and writing. More than fascinated, I became fixated. I asked myself, wouldn’t it be cool to put together a similar anthology showcasing Latina authors writing in English in the United States? An inspirational, entertaining, and informative tome focusing on the craft of writing andthe practical business of publishing, one that would provide aspiring authors with the nuts and bolts of the business. A book that would not only showcase prominent figures but emerging voices as well, writers working on a wide range of genres from the literary to the commercial. After all, there’s valuable wisdom at every stage of a writer’s career, and the different genres would provide a wider spectrum to the reader.

By this time I had already started interviewing authors for a variety of online sites and publications. I enjoyed probing into the minds of these authors, and was always able to take away something from them.

But I wasn’t ready for Latina Authors and Their Muses yet. A couple of years passed. The idea simmered as I worked on other projects.

Then, in 2009, I started writing a column focused on Hispanic literature for Examiner.com: National Latino Books Examiner. Over the next few years I had the great fortune of becoming acquainted with a remarkable group of talented Latina authors from various backgrounds writing in different genres, ranging from sweet children’s picture books to darkly sensual vampire novels to fun, humorous chick lit. Talent and a high respect for the craft characterized these ladies, but also a strong connection to their roots and a desire to encourage and support other Latina writers.

In February 2011, I decided to take the plunge and write a proposal. But before I began, I realized I had to contact authors to see if they would be interested in participating. So I began researching and embarked on the painstaking process of emailing the authors individually, describing the project to them. I was thrilled with their initial response:

“Sounds like a wonderfully creative project!”

“I would love to participate in a book that would encourage aspiring Latina writers.”

“What a great idea!”

“I’d be honored!”

Did I mention how much Latina writers like to encourage and support other Latina writers?

Infused with their enthusiasm, I put together a proposal that I eventually sent to fifteen literary agents who had a history of working with Hispanic authors. Within a week I had multiple requests. Eventually, I signed with Leticia Gomez at Savvy Literary. She began the pitching process right away. Unfortunately, although many of the editors loved the concept and deemed it worthy, they were concerned about the marketing aspect of it. How would they market the book? The audience was too niche, too narrow. After a year of waiting and rejections, Leticia kindly let me know she had exhausted her efforts with the top editors.

I wasn’t ready to give up.

In February 2013, I submitted the proposal to my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books, a small traditional press in Kingsport, Tennessee. Soon after, I was offered a contract.

Of course, I was elated. But my work had just begun.

Until then, I had only written the proposal, which included two sample interviews. I still had research to do, and I needed to prepare questionnaires for each author. That was the fun part. The challenging part was keeping myself organized and keeping track of emails, interviews, contributor agreements, photos, etc. I set up a system, which included various lists and logs.

Latina Authors and Their Muses has been a labor of love in every aspect. It has also been a completely selfish project. I wanted to hear what these authors had to say, hoping I wasn’t alone. I wanted to relate to them and learn from them-and learn I have, so very much! In a way, they’ve all become my mentors. For readers, some of the questions may sound repetitive. However, this isn’t from lack of imagination as much as sheer selfishness: I wanted answers to questions that had obsessed me and that I felt inquisitive about (e.g. How does one define success? What does the term “professional author” mean?). I had many a-ha moments from their thoughtful, perceptive responses-exactly what I was after.

In spite of their different backgrounds, education levels, and jobs, two factors more than any others bind these writers together: their passion and commitment to their craft and to sharing their stories with the world in spite of the odds.

Latina Authors and Their Muses is a celebration of creativity, the writer’s life, the passionate quest for spiritual and artistic freedom. I invite you to peek into the courageous souls of these forty women. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as much as I have.

Contents

Interviews with 40 multi-talented Latina Authors

Marta Acosta
Lisa Alvarado
Julia Amante
Margo Candela
Kathy Cano-Murillo
Mary Castillo
Jennifer Cervantes
Leila Cobo
Zoraida Córdova
Lucha Corpi
Sarah Cortez
Angie Cruz
Liz DeJesus
Anjanette Delgado
Carolina De Robertis
Lyn Di Iorio
Teresa Dovalpage
Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
Iris Gomez
Reyna Grande
Rose Guilbault
Graciela Limón
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
Diana López
Josefina López
Dora Machado
Maria Gabriela Madrid
Michele Martinez
Sandra Ramos O’Briant
Melinda Palacio
Caridad Piñeiro
Berta Platas
Toni Margarita Plummer
Thelma T. Reyna
Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Esmeralda Santiago
Eleanor Parker Sapia
Alisa Lynn Valdes
Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Gwendolyn Zepeda

ramses and I

About the Editor

Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned more than ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.

Categories: Inspirational Nonfiction, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Closet Words by Kim Hilton – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card

Closet Words coverTitle: Closet Words
Genre: Christian/inspirational
Author: Kim Hilton
Publisher: WestBowPress (December 10, 2012)
Pages: 174
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449774539
ISBN-13: 978-1449774530

Buying Link: AMAZON

Taken word for word as heard from God, Closet Words is a collection of powerful and penetrating words written down in the stillness of a prayer closet. Hearing from God for several years, Kim Hilton began writing down what she heard. Encouraging, uplifting, and challenging words with a clear message to His servants, Closet Words gives a renewal and refreshing word to the Christian believer.

BOOK EXCERPT:

Although it had happened once before, it was on a particular August morning in 2002 as Kim Hilton prayed a single prayer to God that He began speaking to her. Taken word for word as heard from God, Closet Words (WestBow Press) is a collection of the powerful and penetrating words that were written down in the stillness of a prayer closet. What began as Kim’s earnest journey to seek God in prayer became a passageway for God to answer and speak to her.

Kim was an orphan, the youngest of six children. Her mother was 13 when she had her first child and 19 when Kim was born. Six children in six years. Kim saw her mother shot with a shotgun by her father. She lived in violence, abuse and poverty. She personally experienced extreme hunger because there was no food. Eventually the State came in and took all six of the children from the home. They were put into an orphanage, then foster care and then eventually four were adopted.

She has lived a journey of healing for many years – she chose long ago to not only be a survivor but to be an overcomer. Kim began a journey of seeking God and as she did she began hearing from God. She kept a journal and wrote down what she heard.

It was during the time Kim had been searching for a deeper relationship with God and praying in the quiet of her closet that she started hearing from Him and she kept a journal of what she heard. His words would come at any time; sometimes as she was praying in the closet, sometimes at night in bed and she would reach for her pen and paper to scribble the words down. He even spoke to others through her and what she passed on to them greatly impacted their lives.

Kim reveals to us the words she heard in the same honest, straight-forward way she received them from the Lord. Closet Words is both encouraging and uplifting, and brings a clear message to the Christian believer – that we are not alone in this life and that God is deeply and personally committed to each and every one of us. From Kim’s powerful and inspiring words we are reassured that we never have to face the journey of life alone.

Chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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• This giveaway begins November 2 and ends November 29, 2013.
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Categories: Christian non-fiction, Inspirational Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Break the Chains, by Jay D Roberts, MD

9781627467582medTitle:  Break the Chains

Genre:  Memoir

Author:  Jay D Roberts, MD

Website:  www.jdrobertsmd.com  

Publisher:   Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC 

BUY BREAK THE CHAINS ON AMAZON / B&N / TATE PUBLISHING 

If you were abused over and over again, would you become an abuser? Or would you learn to forgive? Dr. Jay Roberts had to go to prison to learn the answer.

In 1999 Dr. Roberts was in at-home hospice care preparing for his own death from a neurological disease. At the point where he finally gave up, he experienced a spontaneous, overnight healing. It was not the first time he had “cheated” death. He had survived a fifty-foot fall from a cliff, a plane crash, and attempts on his life by rebel insurgents in remote areas in the Philippines in 1970s. This near-death escape was different though, because it was the culmination of a turbulent lifelong dialogue with God which started when he was a child being bull-whipped by his alcoholic father. Yet even after his complete recovery from disease, it would take a maximum security prison environment to reveal to him the mysterious power of forgiveness.

In the telling of his fascinating story—of extreme abuse, of the compulsion to become a pain and wound care specialist, of medical school in a third world country against a dangerous political backdrop, and of his return home to deal with the demons he’d left behind—Dr. Roberts tackles the big questions illuminating physical, mental, and spiritual growth. Break the Chains affirms faith in both God and the human spirit. It is as revealing and inspirational as it is truthful and poignant.

Prologue

Palm Springs, California
1999

My eyes water as I stare at the whirling ceiling fan. The blades blur and transform into bolos (machetes) that slice through the air and my thoughts. The physician in me dissects my infirmity, orders treatment for cure, and demands to be in charge. The Christian in me calls for faith without understanding, to die to self, to surrender to Christ and his will. My medical and religious beliefs battle and clash like opposing bolo blades.

I lay wasting in my bed with muscles, once toned and defined, now atrophied and weak. I am wounded. I struggle to push the opened Bible away from my bedside. Beverly has placed the Bible next to me for weeks. She and I have been married since 1975, after a three-year courtship. I wonder if she wants to reconsider the “for better or for worse” part of our vows. How easy those words flowed from our naive mouths.

The Bible falls to the floor. The fight is over.

I smile.

My inner voice and friend, Buddy, warns me I am wrong to
disrespect the Bible.

I tell him to go away.

He does.

My eyes close. My brain waves surge and scenes are projected on the back of my eyelids, reflections of my past. I am in fifth grade. It is late at night. I walk like a robot to the kitchen. My pajamas stick to my bottom. The dried blood from the bullwhip lashings holds the fabric to my skin. My father is passed out, drunk. His right hand, with its thick, stubby digits and brownish-yellow stain between the long and middle fingers, hangs over the edge of the couch. He snores with the intensity of a train. I select the sharpest knife and walk over to the bullwhip that hangs on a wall near the living room. I remove it from the wall, walk back to the kitchen, and stand at the table. I methodically cut the whip into small pieces. It takes several hours. I return the knife to its proper place and put all the pieces of the bullwhip into a paper bag. I open the back door and hide the bag in the bottom of the trashcan.

I look up and see a million stars, turn, and then walk back into the house. I stop to pee and go back to bed. When I awake later that morning, I try to sit up but cannot. I stand and cautiously walk to the living room. My father is not there. A squished pillow partially hides his body imprint on the sofa cushion. Stale beer odor hangs in the air. I turn and walk over to the wall. The whip is not there.

I thought it was a dream.

My eyes scan more images from my life.

Wounds dominate the picture.

I have always tried to heal wounds, others’ and mine.

Some wounds are not easily sutured, some impossible.

Categories: Christian non-fiction, Inspirational Nonfiction, Memoir | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Krista Pettiford author of Surrendered Balance Daily Living for the Modern Christian Woman visits Plug Your Book

Surrendered Balance Virtual Book tour

Title of Book: Surrendered Balance Daily Living for the Modern Christian Woman

ISBN:  9780982380505

Genre: Christian Women, Inspirational/Devotional, Family

Publisher: Makk Publishing Company

Publication Date: 11/30/2010

# of Pages: 213

Link to book on Amazon (or where it is sold): http://www.amazon.com/surrenderedbalance

About Surrendered Balance

Do you live a fast paced and hectic life? Is your relationship with God suffering because of it? Imagine living a life of balance, in the flow of God’s will even while you’re always on the go. It is possible to flourish and have fulfillment in both your spiritual life and natural life without feeling as if you are neglecting either one. It comes by way of surrendered balance.

Hermina Krista Pettiford, in her first book connects with modern the Christian woman, giving fresh ideas and insight for balancing the responsibilities of modern-life while maintain an intimate relationship with God.  In her personable style she gives practical solutions and applicable tools for women to make a life of surrendered balance no longer just a dream but a reality!

A modern Christian woman is someone who balances all of her responsibilities – family, career, friendship, ministry to others, and caring for herself all while keeping the Lord at the center of her life. If you are a modern Christian woman this book was written for you.

Proverbs 31:16 (AMP) says, “She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.”

As modern Christian women we balance so much: time with the Lord, family, friends, work, staying fit and healthy, making time for ourselves without feeling too guilty, church and ministry.

God has a plan for each one of us that will bring about a proper balance between our spiritual and natural life. It is through the path of surrender and making time for Him that we find this plan. As we allow God to order our lives, not taking on more than we can handle or are called by Him to do, but rather, like wise women considering all of our choices in the presence of God before we proceed, our lives are bound to come into a state of surrendered balance and make room for all the needed things.

However, because of modern-day busyness, living a surrendered life and creating a constant balance is not always easy, even for those who have lived the Christian life for many years. The disciplines and principles in this book may not be new to you, but I believe the strategies and ideas will give you a fresh way of looking at how to balance your daily living as a modern Christian woman.

This book has two parts. The first part lists and discusses seven disciplines of a balanced life for the modern Christian woman. The second part is designed to help you implement these disciplines into your life without boxing you into just another system that will never work because it doesn’t fit your life. This book was written to help you keep track of your time, so that you will have time for all the needed things without getting overwhelmed.

The strategies and ideas I will share are those that God gave me when I was in a stressful time of life with more work and responsibilities than time and energy in a day. They still work for me and they will work for you if you apply them.

About Hermina Krista Pettiford

Hermina Krista Pettiford is the women’s ministry leader in her local church – New Covenant Tabernacle located San Diego, CA where she lives with her family. She has a B. A. in Biblical Studies from Southern California Seminary. Her belief is that the Spirit of God and the Word of God work together to create dynamic power for living the Christian life, thus, she ministers with a solid Biblical message and with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Her desire is to see women and families strengthened through God’s Word and their relationship with God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She has written out of her own life experiences, and her gift and love of writing to and for the Lord.

You can find Krista Pettiford at her website; www.surrenderedbalance.com

You can find Krista at her tour page at Pump Up Your Book

Categories: How-To, Inspirational Nonfiction, Non-Fiction, Self Help | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

KEYS TO LIVING JOYFULLY by Life Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff

keys-to-living-joyfullyAuthor: Sheri Kaye Hoff
Title: Keys to Living Joyfully
Hardcover: 158 pages
Publisher: Createspace (Aug. 2008)
Genre: Nonfiction; Spiritual; Inspirational
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1440403945
ISBN-13: 978-1440403941

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First Sentence: Friends, I am writing this book for you; every one of us has a tragic moment, event, or deep sadness that changes our lives forever. .

Keys to Living Joyfully is an inspirational book on experiencing joy, peace, passion, and energy in daily life. It is designed to demonstrate the powerful roles of thoughts, action, and faith. The book is a merging of Sheri Kaye Hoff’s spiritual life and lifelong interests in leadership and motivation. The ideas presented in the book are techniques and processes that have worked for the author and clients. Foreword is written by Michele Caron, creator of MyLifeCoach.com.

The book, Keys to Living Joyfully, was born out of a heartfelt desire to share the keys that lead to living a transformational life. Ms. Hoff is a personal and executive coach working with individuals, small businesses, and corporations. Her words on faith are derived from her own Christian walk and spiritual self-discoveries. Her action steps are a mix of faith. love, leadership skills, and management experience. Chapters include topics such as: Is your heart thinking right? And how to tap into intrinsic motivation. This book, Keys to Living Joyfully, offers the techniques and insights that move people towards more peace, joy, energy, and passion in everyday life.

sheri-kaye-hoffSheri Kaye Hoff resides in Parker, CO with her husband and three children. She is a Life Coach and owner of the Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company. She teaches college classes as an adjunct faculty member and has earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management. Her new book, Keys to Living Joyfully ,offers a way of living a meaningful, successful and joy filled life.

Ms. Hoff is a personal and executive life coach. Spirituality is a vital part of her life’s work. Prayer and meditation are integral pieces of her daily ritual, which enables her to pursue her life’s passions and live a truly joyful life.

Her words on faith are derived from her own Christian walk and spiritual self-discoveries. Her action steps mix faith and years of leadership training, mentoring, and management. Sheri Kaye Hoff suffered the tragic death of her younger brother when she was a teenager and struggled for years to rediscover the capacity to feel joy and to enjoy her successes. She has a heart felt desire to pass on her knowledge and discoveries that have led to a truly transformational life.

Ms. Hoff publishes a free weekly inspiration newsletter, Coach Sheri’s Weekly Inspiration Tips. The Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company also offers:

* Teleclasses.
* Webinars
* In person small and large group Coaching
* Corporate Training
* Keynote speaking
* Seminars
* Individual Career and Life

Coaching (For a limited time- receive a free introductory one hour life coaching session)

You can visit her website at www.lifeisjoyful.org.

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Categories: Inspirational Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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