I can’t believe the year is almost over! A quick review of 2019 shows it has been quite a fun year. Is it the so called “euphoric recall”? Maybe, but in any case, it has had a lot of sandunga. Let me tell you all about it.
In March I went to the Tucson Festival of Books to present my novel Death Comes in through the Kitchen. I met two wonderful Soho Crime authors whose work I had loved since I read them for the first time: Cara Black (Paris! Paris!) and Martin Limon. Wonderful people!
In November I went to Dallas for my first Bouchercon conference. Hopefully, it won’t be the last. Such a receptive audience. People asked lots of questions during the panels and seemed genuinely interested in the books and their authors. Here I am with two other panelists from “The Name of the Game Was Murder,” Meg Gardiner y Dana Cameron.
Ready to present my novel Queen of Bones, fresh out of the oven:
Also available was the paperback edition of Death Comes in through the Kitchen. I really like this cover with the almendrón (vintage car). Very Habanera!
I was so happy to meet my brilliant editor Juliet Grames. Here, with her and Soho publicist Rudy Martínez.
I also met other amazing Soho Crime writers. Sujata Massey is the author of the award-winning novel The Widows of Malabar Hill. And many more!
Someday I’ll go to Kerala, India, I told her.
A few weeks ago my short story “The Sandalwood Killer” was published in the current issue of The Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. A real honor for this newcomer to the genre!
My short-story “Defensa propia” appeared in Ellas Cuentan, a crime fiction anthology written by Latin American women published by Sudaquia Editores.
As some of you know, I also work fulltime at New Mexico Junior College teaching Spanish and ESL. Here I am with my ESL students who decided to celebrate my birthday last October.
But life can’t be just about work, verdad? This summer my husband and I went to Egypt, something we had wanted to do after watching a bunch of Ancient Alien episodes. Not that I believe everything they say there, but these episodes can give you food for thought…and inspiration for your travels.
We spent a few days in Cairo, then took a cruise along the Nile.
It was fun and relaxing. It was hot too.
It was fun and relaxing. It was hot too.
I would end up in another hot place before summer was over, though.
Just five days after we came back, I got my Cuban passport. Yes, to go back to Cuba I need to bring my Cuban passport, though I have been an American citizen for almost twenty years…Don’t get me started on that. I have mentioned the fact in almost all my novels. Anyway. Carrying the aforementioned Cuban passport (and the American, of course) I landed in Havana in late July.
This was my first visit in 19 years. My mom, who is 83, can’t come to visit me anymore. Here we are, in a bicitaxi.
A word about marketing…
If you want to sell books, they need to be promoted. No question about that. And I love marketing and “el brete.” While in Havana, I took hundreds of shots of my novels’ settings that are now available for blog tours, interviews and more.
This is all about Queen of Bones—the “queen of bones” is the orisha Oyá, the Santería deity that rules the cemeteries. Notice my mom, looking suspiciously at the almendrón that took us there—the engine made a questionable noise all through the ride. But hey, we arrived in one piece.
We also visited Chinatown. The neighborhood plays an important role in the novel since the protagonist, Juan Chiong, grew up there. I made sure to incorporate some interesting Cuban-Chinese elements, like the worshiping of San Fancon, a syncretic deity. Plenty of references to the orishas, too since one of Juan’s girlfriends is a Santeria believer. Yes, he has more than one girlfriend…how strange for a Cuban guy, huh?
After such a hectic year, the holidays have been blissfully quiet. I am immersed in the translation of Death Comes in through the Kitchen into Spanish because I would like to return to the Spanish-language market even if it is…well, through the kitchen door.
Happy New Year!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!