Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Family of Writers...Mine!

It's been a while since I've posted a blog here. Let's catch up with some news. Since my last post, I've been fostering and nurturing a particular family of American Latino writers...mine!

My son, Victor Cass, has just published his third book, a novel issued a few months ago called Telenovela. It's set in Pasadena, California, our hometown, and deals with the love lives of two beautiful, young professional Latinas who are first-generation Americans. Miriya and Lorena's immigrant backgrounds could not be more different, yet their similarities help forge a strong bond of friendship and loyalty between the two women. Their love lives are so different from one another, but fate has a way of making paths cross in more ways than we'd like. The book is fast-paced, rich with dialogue and cultural realism, and can be read in two sittings for many people. Check it out on It's getting rave reviews and will put a smile on your face!

I'll talk some more about Vic's other books in another blog. For now, go online and see what this young, handsome Latino (am I a biased mom?) does in his busy life: as a Pasadena police officer, an exhibiting fine artist, a community pillar, and a very busy writer. He's working on his fourth book now.

Who's the second writer in my family? My daughter, Dr. Christine Reyna-Demes, a professor at De Paul University in Chicago. She's a scholar and has had numerous research articles in Social Psychology published in academic journals over the past decade or so. In her teenage years, she also wrote soulful, intense songs and poetry. Her job requires her to "publish or perish," so her keyboard will be warm for many years to come!

I'm the third writer in the family. Though I've been fortunate to have short stories, essays, other nonfiction, and poems published in newspapers, journals, and books throughout the years, I've also just published a book, my first. It's a collection of new stories and is called The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories. It will be out in early summer this year. When it's published, I'll tell you more about it. In the meantime, please hold good thoughts for its success, along with Vic's book.

The title story in my new book was just published in a wonderful academic/literary journal called Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (Volume 8: Spring 2009). The editors of the journal--Dr. Tiffany Ana Lopez, a professor at University of California, Riverside, and Dr. Karen Mary Davalos, a professor at Loyola Marymount University in California--are themselves well-regarded Latina authors as well as academicians. (Dr. Lopez edited the excellent anthology, Growing Up Chicana/o, in 1993 and its influence is still felt today.) Their support and nurturance of Latina/o authors is tremendous!

My dream is that someday my son, daughter, and I will collaborate on a book. I have three ideas in mind, and I feel that any of them would be a welcome addition to our American literary world. The book would be nonfiction, with a social/historical bent. Its focus would be people: their dynamics, relationships, successes and failures. Why not? People are the most important element of this world.

This blog focuses on Americans who happen to be Latinos and who happen to be writers who are contributing to the literary landscape in our nation. Please pardon my immodesty in writing about my own family this time around, but I do feel satisfaction and joy in the fact that the three of us--Vic, Chriss, and I--share this great love of the written word, and that we have a genuine desire to share our ideas, feelings, experiences, and knowledge with others in the hope that we might bring a smile or chuckle, a flash of insight and understanding, or a bit of new knowledge to the lives of our fellow human beings.