Connecting Latinas All Over the World through Literature

August 2016: Celeste Leon, Arturo Hernandez

by Celeste Leon

Publisher: Floricanto Press

  • Publication Date: November 27, 2015
When nineteen-year-old Ramón León wins the Puerto Rican lottery, he believes his promise to establish the first dental and medical clinic in his village will be achievable. But a chain of catastrophic events intervenes. Luck is Just the Beginning is not only an enchanting story of the joys and sorrows of family, but also the saga of one man’s determination to see his dream through.

Celeste’s short storiesSharing Luck and A Lucky Man, were published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Celebrating People Who Make a difference, and and for The Preservation Foundation . Both stories are adaptations that ultimately grew into her novel.

C-Leon-1062PT-Portra-300x300Celeste was named “One of Ten Latina Writers to Watch and Read” by the Latina Book Club of New York and shortly thereafter they published this interview in honor of Women’s History Month (March): Beyond a Stroke of Luck: An Interview with Celeste León by Teresa Dovalpage.

Celeste is a 2013 alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She is the recipient of First Prize in the annual contest for the High Sierra Writers group in Reno, Nevada for her essay, Finding Home, about her travels to Puerto Rico in search of her family roots. When Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor read the piece, she said, “If your work on your short story reflects your work on your book, it will be successful.” The piece was also a finalist in the 2014 annual contest for The Preservation Foundation.

Celeste is a physical therapist and lives in Truckee, CA with her family.




The Music of Jimmy Ojotriste
by Arturo Hernandez Sametier
  • Publisher: Lunita Hispanic Press, LLC
  • ISBN-13: 978-0996559409
Arturo Hernandez-Sametier’s third book moves away from gang life for a beautiful story of fate and first love among a young group of Mexican street musicians. Jimmy Ojotriste is a disabled guitarist with a glass eye created by an aging Tijuana artist. The eye is beautiful, sad and sometimes powerful. His trio makes a living on the streets of the East Los Angeles, easily the best on the street and eyeing the larger city. They thought they had come to terms with the cancer and disability that would eventually end their trio. But this summer three magical women enter their lives. Three young couples immerse themselves in music and dance, love and brujeria to stave off the approaching betrayal.
ArturoHernandez - resized400pixBio:
My father bought the oldest laundromat in L.A., and I learned to fix machines while he held me upside down in the tight space behind the washers. Our “lavamatica” operated in a milieu of gang shootings, street vendors, musicians, social activists and a growing Chicano art movement. By 16 I had become a working musician, and singing at tables paid for college. I was immersed in the LA music scene when my brother landed the lead in a Hollywood stage musical, and the director hired me to write the score. George C. Wolfe would later go on to win Tony awards as a playwright and director: But working for George I learned what an unbridled, unstoppable commitment looks like. I believe that helped me say yes when two south central activists, Sister Natalia Duran and boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, helped me found an experimental school for the Clanton and Primera Flat’s gangs, an event that changed my life and theirs. I have been blessed with remarkable people in my life, and have lived a wonderful tension between a desire to tell stories and the opportunity to create them. Peace in the Streets: Breaking the Cycle of Gang Violence was my first book, and a revision is due in November, adding stories from my work with Apache and Pima Indian gang youth. For The Music of JimmyOjotriste, I took off two years, bought an ice truck and worked it with my twin, 9-year-old daughters – as beautiful an experience as a Papa could wish for. The truck gave me the time to write a story percolating for twenty years—finally capturing for myself the taste and resonance of music as life, the magic in my culture, the memories of an eastside youth and its dreams.

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