From Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul


Maria Luisa Alaniz is professor and chair of the Social Science Department at San Jose State University. She received her B.A. And M.A. from San Jose State University and her Ed.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her current research, based in her hometown of Stockton, California, focuses on the effects of public policy on personal lives. Her hobbies are reading, hiking and travel.

Maya Alvarez-Galván received her B.A. in Spanish, and M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles. She completed her Ph.D. at USC. She teaches ESL at Mt. San Antonio College. She enjoys traveling with her husband. She is working on a novel focusing on educated Latina women. Contact her at [email protected]

A first-generation Mexican-American, Irma Andrade was born in Texas. She is the daughter of migrant workers who settled in southwestern lower Michigan in 1967. She enjoys writing personal essays and memoirs. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, mountain biking and training in the martial arts.

Ellen Batt is Associate Professor of Modern Foreign Languages and Education at Albertson College of Idaho. She teaches English as a Second Language, German, linguistics and courses for teacher certification in ESL, bilingual education and foreign-language education. She enjoys presenting her research on issues surrounding bilingualism and diversity.

Carlos R. Bermúdez, born and raised in Puerto Rico, graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia with a B.A. in English and Communications. After writing for a number of television shows in Hollywood, most recently, he co-created and was executive producer of the hit comedy series Los Beltrán, produced by Columbia Tristar.

Juan Blea holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from the College of Santa Fe. He works as a system analyst in Santa Fe and is working on completion of a Master of Science degree, specializing in Cognitive Science. He is an avid reader and has written two books, Under the Same Sky and Butterfly Warrior. He can be reached at [email protected]

Michele Capriotti received her Bachelor of Arts from California State University Long Beach, and her Master of Arts from Azusa Pacific University in TESOL. She has been a teacher for twenty glorious years. She loves to travel and spend time with family.

Michele Carlo, a native New Yorker, a Nuyorican and a natural redhead, is a writer/performer whose work appears in New York City as a soloist, as comic character Carmen Mofongo and as a storyteller with The MOTH. Her novella about growing up as a redheaded Latina will be completed in 2005.

Angela Cervantes received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Kansas. She credits her family and childhood in Kansas for most of her inspiration to write. Angela currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri, where she writes a monthly column for KC Hispanic News, sits on the board of The Writers’ Place and pigs out on queso fundido every chance she gets.

Zulmara Cline is an inspirational writer for Latinas/os, publishing many articles dealing with voice, biculturalism and living in two worlds. As an associate professor at Cal State San Marcos, Dr. Cline is also a scholar practitioner, writing extensively in the areas of literacy, diversity and multicultural education. She lives in San Marcos with her family. She can be reached at [email protected]

Jose (Joe) Colón was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, of Puerto Rican descent and is proud of his island heritage. He has been involved in the arts for more than twenty-four years, acting, singing and writing for mostly community events and projects. This will be his first foray into publishing, and he is thrilled to be published among other Latinos who are sharing their own stories of struggle, love, culture and transition.

Randy Cordova, a third-generation Mexican-American, lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a features reporter at The Arizona Republic, where he covers stories connected to the entertainment industry. He’s a graduate of Arizona State University and a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He lives five minutes away from his brother. E-mail Randy at [email protected]

Cristina Cornejo received her Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University in 2003. She currently works for a nonprofit organization specializing in the production of public service advertisements. Cristina is also working to attain her Master of Arts in Communication from Johns Hopkins University. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

A former English and Women’s Studies instructor, Sylvia M. DeSantis lives in Pennsylvania with her partner where she divides her time between administrating educational multimedia projects and writing fiction, poetry, and essays that complement her study of holistic healing. Her story was inspired by a true family portrait and is dedicated to both the immigrant women of the early twentieth century who worked hard in their selfless pursuit of the American dream, as well as to our autistic children who affect us in profound and precious ways. She may be reached at [email protected]

Alejandro Díaz holds an M.F.A. in Film from the University of Miami and a communications degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He has written a number of scripts whose themes revolve around the vast Latino experience and is a published writer. Mr. Diaz directed the short film Pan Dulce y Chocolate, which was showcased in the following festivals: The 6th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, Cine Sol Film Festival—TX, LEMI Emerging Filmmakers Mini-Fest—CA, San Antonio’s Cine Festival, and Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival—MI. Alejandro’s main ambition is to continue writing and producing stories about people and topics that audiences have not been traditionally exposed to.

Johnny Diaz is a staff writer at the Boston Globe and was a reporter at the Miami Herald where he began writing at age sixteen. Johnny was born and reared in Miami Beach by Cuban exile parents. He visits them often for his mom’s flan, his dad’s media noche sandwiches and the warm weather. Pleas e-mail him at [email protected]

Maria Ercilla, born in Havana, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of four. Her life has been rich in both Cuban and American traditions, and it is this mix of cultures that has been a great source of inspiration for her writing. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education. She has been teaching Creative Writing and English Literature to high-school students for the past twenty years. She is presently teaching the handicapped. Her stories and poetry have appeared in Calyx, Puerto del Sol, Amelia and numerous other journals. Her many awards include The International Hemingway Poetry Award (1997 and 1998) and the Allen Tate Memorial Award (1998). Her work just recently appeared in So Luminous the Wildflowers, an anthology of poetry by California writers. She is presently at work on her third novel, The Year of the Bad Boy. Her other interests are photography, collages and reading. Ms. Ercilla lives in Los Angeles, California, with her son and daughter.

Renee Fajardo found out early on that she really loved the art of storytelling. She began collecting and writing family stories for her children ten years ago. Today she is a writer and storyteller in Denver, Colorado, where she lives with her husband, seven children, two cats, a bird, a fish, a dog and a cactus.

Antonio Farias lives in New York, but pines for a place with warmer weather, preferably somewhere with a kiddie water park where he and his daughter, Lina, can pass the time chasing each other through water jets. He is currently working on a novel. You can reach him at [email protected]

Roberto G. Fernández is a Cuban-American author. He teaches at Florida State University and has published the novels Raining Backwards, Holy Radishes! and En La Ocha y La Doce.

For thirty years, Dahlma Llanos Figueroa was an English and creative-writing teacher, as well as a high-school librarian in the New York City public schools. Her writing is based on her experience as a member of the Puerto Rican community in New York City and on the island. Dahlma is currently revising her novel, Legacy, and is working on a collection of short stories. Her work has been published in various literary journals.

Aurelio Deane Font recived his degree in bilingual education from Temple University in 1976. He has worked as a public school teacher, a musician and as a research assistant for the University of California, San Francisco. He can be e-mailed at [email protected]

Elizabeth García teaches Latino Studies at Hunter College in New York City. She is the founder of two online sites, and She enjoys speaking to various audiences about her experiences as a Latina in the United States. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Alvaro Garduño received his Bachelor of Arts in Chicano Studies with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001. He works with International Scholars and their Health Insurance needs at UHS Tang Center. Alvaro enjoys spending time fixing his home. Please email him at: [email protected]

Rogelio R. Gómez received his Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 1980, and his Master of Arts, 1990, from Southwest Texas State University at San Marcos, Texas. Roy enjoys riding his motorcycle, tattooing, jogging and playing the button accordion. He is completing his first novel.

Chela González has an undergraduate degree in psychology, and graduate and post-graduate degrees in theological studies. She has taught elementary to graduate students and has served as a Youth Minister, Catechetical Leader, Pastoral Associate and Permanent Deacon Formation Director. She is currently Archdiocesan Director of the Office of Catechesis in Santa Fe.

Linda M. González has been writing since the seventh grade. She received her B.A. from Stanford in English: Creative Writing and finally claims herself as a writer twenty years later. She is the mother of Gina and Teotli, her inspiration to create caminos of love and healing for this and future generations.

Religion and ritual have always been of interest to Mónica González. In the early ’90s, she earned her B.A. in Religious Studies and M.A. in Theology. Since then she has worked as a campus minister and is currently developing a prayer book for young adults. Her e-mail is [email protected]

Cuban-born Barbara Gutiérrez lives in Miami where she has worked as a journalist in both print and television. For the past four years, she has worked in public and media relations. Barbara has always been interested in literature and belongs to a feminist women’s book group. You can e-mail her at [email protected]

Nancy Harless is a nurse practitioner now exercising her menopausal zest through travel, volunteering in various healthcare projects and writing about those experiences. Most of her writing is done in a towering maple tree, in the treehouse built specifically for that purpose by her husband, Norm. She is currently writing a book, Womankind: Connection and Wisdom ‘Round the World, about strong, beautiful, courageous women who have illumined her journey. E-mail her at [email protected]

Patricia L. Herlevi Balquin was born of mixed heritage and considers herself a jane-of-many-trades. This fosters a sense of oneness with all races and species.

Cindy Jordan was born in Redondo Beach, California. Cindy wrote Billboard’s 1983 country song of the year, “Jose Cuervo, You Are a Friend of Mine.”

Heather J. Kirk is a writer and photographer, and often combines both via digital artist. She published a book of poetry and can be reached at [email protected]

Suzanne LaFetra has contributed to numerous newspapers, magazines and literary journals. She lives in Northern California with her family, and is currently at work on a memoir. Contact her at [email protected]

Yahaira Lawrence is a mother of two gorgeous children, Aislynn and Gabriel. She will be graduating from Pace University in Spring 2006 with two bachelor of art degrees in English and Applied Psychology. She is currently working on numerous writing projects and hopes to become a successful romance novelist.

Aurora Levins Morales is from Maricao, Puerto Rico, and lives in Berkeley, California, with her daughter, Alicia Raquel. She is a full-time writer and community historian, and the author of three books, and many poems, stories and essays.

Melody Delgado Lorbeer is a freelance writer living in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. She is a wife and mother of two, and enjoys reading and long walks on the beach. She is currently at work on a middle-grade children’s novel. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Charles Arthur Mariano lives in Sacramento, California, born and raised in the Central Valley town of Merced, California. Charles currently works for the state government at a low-level position and writes in the basement of that building after hours.

Nilsa Mariano holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Binghamton University, New York. She teaches at a two-year college and does storytelling locally as well as for Spoken Word. She is published in several online literary ‘zines.

Cynthia Leal Massey is the award-winning author of Fire Lilies, a historical novel of the Mexican revolution. Her second novel, The Caballeros of Ruby, Texas, is a 2003 WILLA Award finalist for Best Original Paperback. Massey is a magazine editor in San Antonio, Texas. Visit her Web site at

Jacqueline Méndez is a former schoolteacher and is currently working on her writing on a full-time basis. She has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She has recently completed her first manuscript novel for young adults titled Heart of the Jaguar. You may e-mail her at [email protected]

Colin Mortensen-Sánchez is an award-winning writer and public speaker who attended UC Berkeley, appeared on MTV’s Real World, and runs the popular Web site His authorial debut, A New Ladies’ Man: A Complete Guide to Getting, Pleasing, and Keeping the Girl, hits bookshelves on August 2, 2005. Yippee!

Kathy Cano Murillo, the “Crafty Chica,” is an artist, newspaper columnist and book author from Phoenix, Arizona. She is a pop-culture junkie addicted to glitter, reality TV, movies, music and quad mochas. See more of her work at or e-mail her at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette, Jr. received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in 1996. He works for the FOX television network in National Promotions working on such shows as American Idol, The OC, and the hit reality series The Simple Life.

Ruben G. Navarrette, Sr. a native of Central California, had a law-enforcement career that spanned from 1966 to 2003. He was a deputy constable for Fresno County, a police sergeant for the Sanger Police Department, a district attorney investigator in Fresno County and a Labor Standards Investigator for the State of California.

Marta Alicia Oppenheimer was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She received a bachelor’s degree from Clark University and a master’s degree from Pratt Institute of Art. She is currently a successful artist and, hopefully, a future author. She lives in Miami with her three wonderful dogs and her spoiled fat cat, Budweiser.

Norma Oquendo grew up in Connecticut, but currently resides in North Carolina where she works as an insurance manager. She has been writing poems since she was in elementary school. She recently published two books of poems and is currently working on her first novel. Please e-mail her at [email protected]

Johnny Ortez graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with his Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Journalism. He has been a freelance writer for a variety of publications since 1996. Currently, Johnny lives in Los Angeles with his partner of two years, Kirkland Tibbels, and their red, short-hair, miniature dachshund, Rufus. Johnny works for Funny Boy Films, the nation’s first gay and lesbian film studio. He is working on a novel and screenplay.

Salvador González Padilla received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the prestigious Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles in 1995. Salvador currently divides his time between his three passions: teaching, acting and writing. A published poet, Salvador is currently working on his first novel. Please e-mail him at [email protected]

Xiomara J. Pages is a freelance writer, journalist and motivational speaker. She is the author of four books and has given workshops in the United States, Europe and Latin America. She volunteers for the International RETT Syndrome Association in Maryland (an illness that her daughter Sandra suffers from). Xiomara is involved with parents of disabled children, the elderly, domestic violence and women’s issues. She supports all the arts in her community. Please e-mail her at [email protected] or

Steve Peralta is a freelance writer and media consultant. He received his B.A. degree in English from the University of Colorado at Denver in 2000 and currently lives in San Antonio with his two sons, Stevie and Benjamin.

Lauren Pérez is twenty-one, a Nuyorican amateur writer from the Bronx with a B.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College. She is blessed to have her mother, Barbara, Uncle Ivan, friend Mary Jane Torres, and Heriberta Figueroa, her abuelita, who unconditionally encourage her creativity. Siempre Pa’lante! E-mail Lauren at [email protected]

Mary Helen Ponce is the author of Hoyt Street, An Autobiography. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico and has been published in France, Germany, Mexico and Spain. She is currently at work on an eighteenth century historical novel. She can be reached at [email protected]

Jennifer Ramon-Dover lives in Los Angeles, California, where she’s a marketing manager with a major motion-picture studio. She thanks her husband, James, her Mexican mother, Ana Maria, her Peruvian father, Simon, and especially her late Mexican grandmother, Julia Escobedo, for always inspiring her to keep reaching for her dreams.

Regina (Reggie) Ramos is a Chicana who loves to travel, eat and laugh. She lives in California and remains active with her family, friends, Trenzudas and community. Ultimately, Reggie wants to obtain a master’s degree and teaching credentials.

Anjela Villarreal Ratliff graduated with a B.A. from San Jose State University in California. Her work has been published in various publications, including Cantos al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing and The Mesquite Review. Anjela grew up in Southern California, but now lives in Austin, Texas.

Esther Bonilla Read taught school for many years. She has always written in her spare time. Esther currently teaches part-time for Texas A & M University in Corpus Christi, Texas. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening, reading, attending movies, and visiting their four children and four grandchildren.

Rick Rivera, the son of illiterate farm workers, started college when he was thirty while working full-time in a factory. He received his M.A. in English from Sonoma State University and has published two novels, A Fabricated Mexican and Stars Always Shine. Rivera is a college English instructor in California.

Liza M. Rodriguez was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She is a wife, mother and educator. She has developed community-based education programs and city-wide initiatives in Philadelphia. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Urban Education at Temple University.

Sylvia Rosa-Casanova, daughter of two Puerto Rican immigrants, was born and raised in New York City. She is the author of Mama Provi and The Pot of Rice, a picture book based loosely on her childhood memories. Sylvia lives in Congers, New York, with her husband and two sons.

Adriana Rosales is currently a student at Rutgers University majoring in English and education. She enjoys reading and writing poetry. As an English teacher, she hopes to inspire individuals to be creative and thoughtful because she believes knowledge has the power to change the world and people’s lives.

Mónica García Sáenz is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, whose roots grow deep in Chihuahua, Mexico, where she spent her childhood summers. She feels blessed to be 100 percent bilingual and bicultural. She now lives in South Florida and is a mother of three and loves reading, writing and cooking authentic Mexican food. She currently has a few books in the “making.” Please e-mail her at [email protected]

María Luisa Salcines was born in Guantánamo, Cuba, and immigrated to the United States in 1963. Maria is a certified parent educator for The International Network for Children and Families. She is the author of Little Things Remembered, a collection of stories about life, parenting and cultural identity. For workshops and author visits, she can be reached at 956-631-7667 or e-mail her at [email protected]

Caroline C. Sánchez comes from a long line of Spanish and Puerto Rican storytellers whose rich imaginations played an important part in her daily life. Caroline enjoys music, the arts and reading. She has many hobbies, among them, growing roses.

Melissa Annette Santiago is a language arts teacher at Pembroke Pines Charter High School in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She received her B.A. in English Literature from Florida International University in 2003, and is currently pursuing her M.A. in English Literature.

Raised in the nation’s poorest congressional district, Deborah Rosado Shaw’s strategies for success formed a bridge from a tough inner city beginning to award-winning entrepreneur and advisor to Fortune 500 CEO’s. As founder of Umbrellas Plus, LLC. and Dream BIG Enterprises, Deborah has designed, negotiated and closed multi-million dollar deals. The critically acclaimed author of Dream BIG! is a graduate of Barnard College and lives with her three sons.

Robert Suarez received his degree in Computer Information Systems from Calumet College of St. Joseph in 2003. He is fifty-four years old, married and works as an Industrial Fabricator in the Chicago South Suburban area. Robert enjoys a passion for Cubs baseball, genealogy and operating an Internet bookstore. Although he does not intend to pursue writing as a hobby, he is eagerly waiting to pen his memoirs, tentatively titled, Cubs Win . . . I Lived to See the Cubs Win! Unfortunately, his memoirs may have to be written by his descendents.

Marie Delgado Travis is very proud of her Nuyorican roots. She writes poetry and prose in Spanish and English. She worked in marketing/ advertising on behalf of top international companies for over twenty years. Marie is married to Edmunds, a retired attorney. They divide their time between homes in Houston, Texas, and Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Contact Marie at [email protected]

Olga Valle-Herr earned her Bachelor of Social Work, with honors, from the University of Texas-Pan American. Since her retirement, she takes creative writing classes. She is working on her first collection of poems for a book. She loves reading, writing and time with family. She welcomes e-mail at [email protected]

Margarita Velez is a writer from El Paso, Texas. Her work has been published in the Southwest Woman, Deming Headlight and the El Paso Herald Post. The El Paso Times published her weekly column. Velez has just completed a novel. Please contact her at [email protected]

C. M. Zapata has a forthcoming memoir, Magic Mountain, with Avalon Publishing and has work in Under the Fifth Sun: Latino Literature from California (Heyday Books). She has been published in the Hispanic Link News Service, Newsweek and other international publications, sharing her son’s courage and raising awareness about the rare genetic disorder, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP). FOP turns muscle into bone with tumor-like swellings, and is usually heralded by malformed large toes missing a joint. For information about FOP, go to

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