Sunday, November 8, 2015

Linton Robinson - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Linton Robinson. He has written many novels, short stories and essays. Linton has created several award winning videos.



Author Genre: Drugs, Weapons and Loose Women God bless 'em all

Website: Linton Robinson
Twitter: @LintonRobinson
E-Mail: linrobinson [at] mexipost [dot] com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile


Author Description:
Born in Occupied Japan, schooled in Asia, now a 20 year resident of Latin America, Linton Robinson's status as a born outsider is reflected in his books.

Robinson worked as journalist for years, winning awards and placing articles in top American magazine and newspaper markets. This was followed by a brief career as a photographer, also with credits in top markets. He then moved into mail order catalogs, with noted success, before switching to newspapers in Mexico and Guatemala. His syndicated columns "Flesh Wounds" and "Weekend Warrior" were cult favorites in the nineties.

He is currently working on novels and screenplays and doing videos.


SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Ooo, tough question first. Actually some health issues have clouded my future picture, and I have been struggling to answer that one for myself. But one answer is clear: series. Probably the biggest concept in successful book marketing/discovery and I was too dumb to realize that years ago. I will be extending the series started with “Mary of Angels”… an easy pick since it began life as a television series proposal.

Has the advent of ebooks changed anything in your writing, getting the book to your readers and the relationship with your readers and fans?

eBooks changed EVERYTHING, created worlds. For me even more so than others. I wish they had come along when I was in my twenties. There are so many advantages; like correctability, pricing, accommodation of different lengths. An extreme example of ebooks being Godsent to me is my “Properties of Light”, a hypernovel. I wrote it as 100 chapters not sequenced, but referenced by theme, keywords, names… and was unable to publish it as such. With eBooks, having a novel tied together with hyperlinks is very doable.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Since I live in Mexico, personal appearances are tough to pull off. (Plus, I HATE signing books since my handwriting is so juvenile and deranged.) I hope to do some appearances in Southern California in the coming year, and some more writing conference appearances. My best online contact is Facebook, including several groups I started there for writers: Humor Writers, San Diego Writers, and Writing Conference Link-Ins.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thanks for the comments on my covers. I’m mostly happy with them… though some of the early ones like “Sweet Spot” are kind of embarrassing now. I have no art talent and no training. I think a lot of writers can do covers if they take a little time to figure out what the elements of covers are all about. I ran a series on how to make your own covers on the Indies Unlimited blog. Some of these like “Vote of Confidence” were commission to artists and I added the type later. Several like “Mayan Calendar Girls” and “Tijuana Nocturnes” were “found” online (or in the latter case, a mural on a Tijuana passage). Artists are very amenable to having their work featured on covers (and therefore amazon) and since the work is already done, it costs them nothing to allow that and can help them. The two humor anthologies I co-produced have covers I shot with a $50 junk camera. My colleague did her first cover ever at that period, and it was extremely successful.

You have several great book trailers. (See links below.) They look very professional. Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers?

I made all my book “trailer” videos myself. Again, with no training, skills or particular talent. I caught the “video bug” for a while and was cranking them out. Even more than covers, I see videos as something the average writer is very capable of producing.., and very possibly do more effectively than professionals. You don’t see a lot of “viral” activity out of all those same-same “book report” trailers from the video mills. But you DO see some of that with clever, cute, or crazy vids that were “home made”. My vid for “Mexican Slang 101” got over 60,000 views on Yahoo and YouTube and was one of the first ones I did. Often all the writer really needs to produce one is really nice cover art. I suggested a children’s book author do her own from her own creativity, awareness of the book and intended readership, and her surrounding life. She did one of “refrigerator art” by kids, soundtracked by a bunch of kindergarteners singing some dumb song. It went over very, very well. I would strongly suggest that writers at least give it a shot. Try for something under a minute long. If nothing else, learning how is fun. I have a popular ebook—somewhat dated—on doing this, recently released as a freebie at http://books.noisetrade.com/lintonrobinson/vids4free


You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

I have done a lot of short work, but very little in traditional “short story” form. Much of it walks an odd line between fiction and reporting. I’m not sure how much crossover or “sell up” there is from shorts to novels. But shorts material is excellent grist for the promo mill when given away as samples or “lead bait” or whatever. Interestingly, I have just recently started a collection called “Gigs”, shorts about the many concerts I covered when doing “A&E” sections of newspapers. And speaking of giveaways… here are two examples of those pieces:
http://linrobinson.com/GIGS/bbking.pdf
http://linrobinson.com/GIGS/cheechong.pdf


What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I’m a huge believer in the judicious use of freebies to build “discovery”, and argue adamantly against those who think their work is so wonderful they need to overprice it for the market and not deign to offer free or discounted “loss leaders”. I discuss this—with some interesting comments—on the Indies Unlimited site: http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/12/10/free-still-a-bargain/.

It’s no coincidence that the two most reviewed and sold books I have published had initial give-away periods that got them days of 6000 or more downloads. I outline one way to implement this process in yet another give-away document, http://books.noisetrade.com/lintonrobinson/ms-2-mkt


Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

Mailing lists are a huge concern of mine, especially recently. I have been building lists and mailing to them (I got used to regarding a 4 percent open rate as successful during my brief career in direct mail marketing back in the pre-email days). I build lists any way I can think of. Including offering wonderfully helpful documents for free to get contacts… as you’ve already noticed. Good practices in email are actually a tricky topic, and anybody doing major mailings should read up on it first. If you send to 500 addresses out of Yahoo almost none will actually make it to their recipients’ inboxes. I would heavily suggest the use of MailChimp or SendinBlue free services…and DON’T send to dirty lists or those who don’t want to hear from you or you’ll pay for it. Not the “lead bait” site I used for the freebies I offered above: NoiseTrade is a quick easy way to offer info for email addresses, and you don’t hear any book marketing gurus mentioning it.

Since you write about Mexico and other Latin countries, do you publish your books in Spanish? How is your audience there?

I haven’t published any of my own work in Spanish. I did publish a couple of books of graphic stories by a Tijuana artist, in both Spanish and English versions. There are some very different approaches that work in Latin American ebooks, and not what you necessarily think. I discussed this in this article on Digital Book World, and anybody thinking of marketing ebooks in Mexico or points south might want to read this first: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012/whats-going-on-in-the-mexican-e-book-market/


What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I am not a good reference on the all-important task of getting reviews, I’m afraid. I have agonized over the lack of that kind of response and, obviously, not come up with a good answer to the problem of making those people out there give me a pop on amazon. I am considering unorthodox methods, such as going to readers’ homes and threatening them and their pets with exotic weapons. One obvious tip is to include a “Write Me A Damned Review” link in your ebooks, and I am in the process of plodding through my published books and adding that sort of “call to action”. I have started including a plea for reviews in announcements of free copies… but so far it’s had little effect. If you’re reading this and have yet to review one of my wonderful books, look out: I know where your poodle crosses the street on the way to obedience school.



Author's Book List
Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows - Short Stories & Essays by Mexico Writers
**2015 Gold Digital Award winner from Independent Book Publishers of America** This is one of the best books available about life for both expat residents and natives in villages and cities across Mexico. What sets it apart from most other books about living in Mexico is that it's a literary collection of short stories and essays, full of insights by contemporary authors who write and live full time in Mexico or who have spent a lot of time living in the country. The superb collection contains twenty two works, all but five from authors who live full time in the country. Their writing spans a variety of topics; many contributions extol life in Mexico's abundant sunlight while others examine what the shadows sometimes obscure. It's a sampler of sorts, with active hyperlinks for more information about the authors and their other writing.

The anthology contains complete chapters from books and also single pieces from internationally-acclaimed authors and emerging writers: Bruce Berger, E.G. Brady, Ann Hazard, Michael Hogan, Jim Johnston, William Kaliher, Janice Kimball, Judy King, Jeanine Kitchel, David Lida, C.M. Mayo, Carol M. Merchasin, Mikel Miller, Katie O'Grady, Antonio Rambles, Daniel Reveles, Robert Richter, Lin Robinson & Ana Maria Corona, John Scherber, Jennifer Stace, James Tipton, and Candelora Versace. Perhaps the best way to gain valuable insights about the day-to-day life of people in a foreign country is to read good books by authors living and/or writing in that country. The purpose of this book is to identify several writers who can help readers accomplish this for Mexico. Enjoy!


Order the Book From:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Flesh Wounds
A book length collection of the cult column of the nineties... plus many bonus pieces, for a bonanza grouping of the famously dark, gritting evocations of urbane decay.


Book Trailer: Flesh Wounds

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Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Vote of Confidence - BeeBee Blaylock Saga Book 3
BeeBee is back, a little older and much wiser, but still the lovely cheerleader with an instinct for landing in employment trouble.

Her past fracas with the governor campaign lands her a job as a "bagwoman" for a San Diego mayor race, but she rises in the ranks when she runs into some conmen and starts using them to hustle votes, not money.

But re-enter the villain from her last politics job and she has to scramble to come out with a job, the money, and a cute guy she's learning to appreciate.


Order the Book From:
Amazon


Mary Of Angels - Borderland Book 1
Lives intertwine at the Californa/Mexico border. Smugglers, immigrants, cops, lawyers, journalists, politicians, predators... and the various residents of barrios on both sides, a community with an imaginary line drawn across its heart.

Drawn from the scripts for the television show, this first book in its series focuses on several lives: Ado sings ballads on buses until his son is stricken down, Riles' sorry appetites suddenly come together for his stories and his ill-gotten gains, Pepito crossed all the water between Honduras and California, and now it's all fallen apart, Pucho goes from fighting pits to the border beach to a home in the smuggler roost, La Flaca married out of the hills at twelve, and hit the streets before finding her true calling.

This is border life unvarnished and undramatized... but human drama of its essence.


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Amazon


Tijuana Nocturnes
Decades of dark, biting, sweet, stories of Tijuana at night. Previously published in various periodicals of the border area, now collected into one slim volume.


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Amazon


It's Only Words - Lyric Poems
This is a book of poetry comprised entirely of song lyrics. I consider lyrics to be the best writing I do, and consider songs to contain the best poetry of our times.


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Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Mexican Humor 201
Jokes and humor from Mexico! Invaluable for the Spanish student, expatriate looking to blend in, businessmen... and anybody who likes a good laugh.

All humor in both Spanish and English, with pronunciation guide and study tips as you chucle your way through.

There's no better way to be part of a country than to be laughing at its humor--and here's a collection of classics.


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Amazon


Short Cuts
The first serious collection of Linton Robinson's short writings from over the last fifty years.

Some of the pieces in this book have been published in magazines and literary journals, some have been sitting in folders and boxes all that time and were recently scanned into ePrint for the purpose of publishing them in this volume.

Unlike much of Robinson's work, these are literary short fiction, more or less of the kind generally found in such compilations.

Unusual, powerful, amusing… but above all, short.


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Amazon


For Your Damned Love - A Doc Hardesty Adventure
KIDNAPPED IN MEXICO by a notorious air pirate, Dancy likes the wild life of the cartel gunmen so much that she takes over the gang and starts pulling robberies. The men who would possess her keep ending up dead. Can Doc find the beautiful heiress and bring her out alive? Or will he also fall for her? This book has been called "Romancing The Stone Noir": two attractive people fleeing drug bandidos through the jungle... but with a much more "adult" feel or both relationships and violence.


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Amazon


Pirate This Book
The title might be an entry in the controversy surrounding pirating of ebooks--and a suggested motto for unknown indie writers who are concerned about it.

But the content is strictly pleasure reading: shorts and samples from books by Linton Robinson. Some are complete short pieces, some are chapters that can stand alone. And a special treat: they're selected to fit the jolly rogering theme of the book. If you like pillaging and plundering, waylaying and heisting--especially with cute and well-armed babes involved--you're going to like "Pirate This Book". Maybe enough to rip it off and pass it around.


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Amazon
Barnes and Noble
KOBO


GUYStuff - 15 Real Stories For Real Men
Real Stories For Real Men! This collection of fifteen male-oriented stories ranges from pieces that once ran in magazines like "Hustler" and "Biker" to more complex fiction angling for insights into what it is about being male.


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Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Properties Of Light - A HyperNovel
A celebrated photographer hangs up his camera... and starts selling off his pictures on the streets of Seattle. Each picture has a story.

This is a true hypernovel. The hundred chapters--each a description or explanation of a photograph--are not connected by normal plot sequence, but by clicking links to read them in the order created by the reader. Plots might emerge, but are less important that relationships of mood, key words, color, or intent.

Stark and unflinching, the style has been described as "black, steel, and glass--focused just past infinity". Partly based on author Robinson's experiences as a photographer in Seattle, partly fictionalized, partly a kind of tech/flesh poetry, these images and their stories will haunt you.


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Amazon


Engines of Desire
These are poems that cut on several edges: anti-academic in approach, working the borderlines between poetry and rock lyrics, oral readings, “slams” and journals. Coming out of the reading series/street performance ethic of getting past referents and visual images to return to common emotions and auditory sounds, these poems still stand within the canon of “book poems” worth reading off the page. The stripped-down status, the unleveled gaze, the commitment to post-modernism without the self-consciousness are all directions being taken by contemporary international poets who work the internet rather than seminars and state presses.


Book Trailer: Engines of Desire

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Amazon


Bailin'
Cole Haskins and Bunny Beaumont are crazy in love, which is sometimes good for their careers robbing banks, sometimes not. When even Cole’s lightning draw and Bunny’s steel-nerved driving doesn’t keep them from blowing a big heist in south Texas and have to split to Mexico to hide and heal up, they end up losing money on an armored car robbery that wrecks a town, but luck into an embezzler about to be killed by a bounty hunter. They save him—for a stiff price—but by the time they smuggle him back into the USA on the flying chopper built by two nutso biker/smugglers, things are getting way too loose. They end up in a hostage hole-up, then get chased to a cliff by the law like Thelma and Louise. And through all the hot-wheeling, lead-slingin’, and wheeler-dealin’ they never miss a chance to crack a joke or smooch each other silly.

A richly comic crime novel with a unique twist, it’s also a cock-eyed romance. You’re going to remember Bunny and Cole.


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Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Sky Seeds
Teenagers have parent conflicts. Mexicans have conflicts between their Native and Colonial roots. Benito Ochoa experiences both in spades: his long-absent father is from "beyond the sky" and shows up to enlist him in a scheme to rebuild and rule the Earth.

Plucked from the gutters of Tijuana to study at Yale--and the hyperspace realms of The Sky--Benito wants to rebel, but seems to be a step behind galactic events. So he exploits the ancient, unused system of meta-space "Tubes" to run amok with his street gang amigos; smuggling across a sprawl of lesser and greater developed planets. His week is spent as a Yalie with a hot redhead girlfriend, arguing with professors about history that he knows more about than they do, but can't prove it.


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Amazon
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Boneyard 11 - The Borderlines Series
Pretty Woman" meets "The Godfather" in a border prison. Convicted drug lord Gaspar lost his wife and family, but wants company and prison visits, so he arranges a marry with a beautiful call girl--but he had no idea what he was getting into. The sweet, gentle Nan steps up to being a wife--and when Gaspar is attacked and harried by Feds and gangs, she strikes back with spectacular fury. What’s a nice call girl like Nan doing in a place like the penitentiary? 1. When a divorced crime boss decided he’d like conjugal visits, she won the personality segment of the cattle call. 2. She’s safe in there than outside with the Feds and rival gangs trying to nail her. 3. Since he got battered into the hospital, she’s been trying to patch up his shattered family. 4. She’s starting to see the monthly trysts in the “boneyard” as a sort of haven from the cares of the world. 5. It’s a great place for planning her para-military raids against the MS-13 wildboys who threaten her husband’s life. 6. Irony. She’s finding it comes with the territory. Our Nan is not your typical romance heroine. She’s a high-priced take-out prostitute who marries the carcerated border “Godfather” Gaspar for money and convenience, but gives him genuine affection and a fierce loyalty. Authentically kind and sweet-natured, she reacts to threats with a cold-eyed, homicidal efficiency. Desiring nothing but peaceful sleep, she detonates a war that shocks even veteran border cops. While having lived on illegal sex trade since she was twelve, she is scrupulously honest and has never even been arrested. And after living a life without love or sexual response, she finds herself falling for a handsome athlete--who is in charge of a Federal task force targeting her husband’s cartel. But aside from the bundle of contradictions, Nan isn’t typical because she’s just not an ordinary person. Charming and gentle but all spring steel inside, filtering the world through her infectious sense of humor, capable of reaching out touchingly to a child but stepping up bravely to danger, thinking out of the box and ahead of the gangsters, Feds, killers and corrupt cops that suddenly surround her, Nan Gaspar is a woman to be dealt with, and to be remembered. And all she wants out of life is a good night’s sleep.


Book Trailer: Boneyard 11

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Amazon
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Afro-Cuban Boogie-Woogie - A Doc Hardesty Adventure
"Doc" Hardesty--G.I. turned solider of fortune, turned photographer--tries to lead a peaceful life, but they keep coming back and not letting him. This time, "they" want him to rescue a hostage from some Cuban terrorists, and the hostage is the woman he's most loved in his life, the journalist that helped him turn from a killer into an artist.

The rescue, run by U.S. government agencies, also makes use of an old comrade of Doc's, "Jim Dandy" Earl, colorful rock'n'roll warrior currently about to be betrayed by the army he's training in Africa.


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Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Mexican Slang 101
Cabo Bob's MEXICAN SLANG 101 © is the ultimate guide to Spanish slang as spoken in Mexico. This slim, but potent, book allows you to:

Be Cool!
Fake Multiculturism!
Make Friends!
Impress Dates!
Get Your Ass Arrested!
Be the Hippest Gringo at your Beach or Bar!
And, of course, mucho, mucho mas.


Book Trailer: Mexican Slang 101

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Amazon


Sweet Spot
A romantic adventure set in Mazatlán, Mexico amid the world's third largest Carnival celebration and violence and corruption with a uniquely Mexican feel. Mundo Carrasco, baseball hero turned journalist, isn't in danger from the "narco" cartels, or whoever murdered the Mayor--it's the woman he longs for that will get him dead if he doesn't watch out.

Mazatlan’s riotous carnival explodes into murder, love, sex, kidnapping…and baseball.

If anybody wondered why star journalist Mundo Carrasco would stop investigating Mazatlan’s drug lords and politicos in order to run the shady new puppet mayor’s press relations, then they had never been to bed with the scorching, amoral, monumental Mijares. Mazatlan’s huge, blaring Carnival became the greatest time Mundo had lived since his days as a local baseball hero: access to the real power and closeted skeletons, a political future of his own, and…mostly…the perfect flesh of Mijares. Then the mayor beats up his wife, the city government starts to unravel into scandal and panic, and they start killing people–with Mundo right up there on their list. Tumbling through the tumult of Carnival, mob violence, narco suites and wretched bulldozed hovels, musical mayhem, his own corruption, and three women who want to reclaim his soul for his own good and their own purposes, Mundo is either sorting himself out or getting totally mixed up…if he comes out of it with his damaged scruples and bruised hide intact.


Book Trailer: Sweet Spot

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Amazon
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The Way Of The WEEKEND WARRIOR
Weekends are hell. If you do them right. That's the subtext of the columns scrawled by Wiley from various states of semi-consciousness as he slinks out of the woodwork and insinuates himself into the soft underbelly of Southern California consciousness. Wilier than a coyote, badder than Santa, Gonzo'er than Dr. Duke, the Wilester lays waste to everybody in range, not least himself.


Book Trailer: The Way Of The WEEKEND WARRIOR

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Amazon
Barnes and Noble


Mayan Calendar Girls - The Great Meso-American Novel
When it came to calendars, those ancient Mayans got a lot of things right. But they also missed a few bits. So TEAM 2012 fills in the whole picture: a batch of hot, sassy Calendar Girls who are all about getting their hands on the purloined clues to what will really happen on 20/12/2012. If they can pull off the investigations and daring raids needed to keep this cosmic lore (and their own bods) out of evil hands, they just might save the world... or at least enjoy the happy ending. And they have no help but a crystal skull that's gotten hooked on stoners, a blond diver who loves dolphins maybe too much, a Black spy working against Obama's Campaign, a redheaded fire dancer, an odd assortment of thugs, priests, and crazos... and time itself.

Remember: It's not the end of the world, just the end of time.


Book Trailer: Mayan Calendar Girls

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Amazon
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Imaginary Lines - Stories of Physical, Cultural, and Culinary Frontiers
Two writers populate the border with unforgettable personages, events and insights.

National borders are abstract lines that take root as physical barricades and divides. Cultural differences create people whose differences from others stem entirely from their minds. Lovers, societies and families are bound together with bonds as fragile and ephemeral as the mooring lines of great ships. And inside each person is a map or similar boundaries, frontiers, and alliances. This book turns the visible differences at the border of two nations into a mirror, a metaphor for the human condition.

When these stories first appeared in San Diego periodicals, Baja Week and Harpers, they were acclaimed as more than just “border lit” by readers and fans: critics praised the blending of Linton Robinson’s craftsmanship and transparent style with Ana Maria Corona’s clear-eyed witness and charming voice. Now they are collected in book format for readers outside of the border area… but within the eternal no-man’s land of their humanity.

Lines and shades shift, blur and disappear as gigolos, street hustlers, gamblers, smugglers, pioneers, magicians, and members of Ms. Corona’s large, border-straddling family illustrate the blending influences of food, love, family, and time. Cooking becomes another sort of metaphor in several of these pieces, sex and love take on mirror-image qualities in others. Did Mexican women and chile peppers conquer the world by being plundered and consumed? Is “Magical Realism” real? Or even magical? Is the difference between American and Mexico best seen in the difference between sheep and goats? Can a gigolo love and be loved in return? Can a matador or cockfighter love his family through bloodshed? What do illegal maids think when they are cleaning your bedroom? What do men do in those dins of iniquity?


Book Trailer: Imaginary Lines

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Amazon
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Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
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Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

2 comments:

  1. He writes very entertaining books and he's quite an inspiration to many writers. Great interview and best wishes for even more success!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great writer, great stories, stories that should all be #movies they're so good! A true inspiration, wishing him excellent health.

    ReplyDelete