Friday, August 21, 2009

Welcome Raul Ramos y Sanchez to Carolyn in Carolina

I want to welcome Raul Ramos y Sanchez to his last stop on the First Annual BronzeWord Latino Virtual Book Tour. The Book Tour is designed to give exposure to wonderful authors like Raul. Please feel free to ask Raul questions or leave a comment for him today. He will be visiting and talking with you. I am also happy to say that a random comment on one of these blogs will receive a signed copy of his latest book America Libre.

A little blurb about America Libre:
AMERICA LIBRE is a gripping fictional account of U.S. immigration issues set in a near-future where Latino rights groups riot against the violence of border patrols and vigilante justice reigns in the American Southwest. Against this tumultuous backdrop, ex- Army Ranger Manolo Suarez finds himself romantically drawn to a Latina radical activist, threatening his marriage, his family and everything he knew and believed about patriotism.

We are also doing something different today. Raul has been hosting a contest on his blog and since this is the last stop on the book tour, he thought it would be fun to bring it here and then pick a winner. Woo-hoo! I am posting his comments and photo entries down below. If you really like one, give it a shout out.

So welcome Raul to Carolyn in Carolina. I am so glad I got to host you today!! As you see, I am a fan. And peeps, please feel free to comment or ask questions. Raul will be around and he is willing and ready to talk!! Remember, a random comment will be chosen and someone will win an autographed book!! If you would like to buy a copy of his book, click on the Amazon widget on my sidebar!

Also, I would like to thank JoAnn Hernandez, author and the brains behind BronzeWord Latino Authors, for coordinating another great book tour!!

From Raul:

The $50 winner of the MyAmericaLibre Photo Contest will be announced here today! Still time to enter!

Today at 5pm EST is the deadline for the “MyAmericaLibre” photo contest -- and your chance to win $50. So you still have time to enter! To take part, just send in ANY photo of your copy of AMERICA LIBRE. The shot can be in a bookstore, in your hand, on a table, you name it. ANY PHOTO of the book will qualify. But please keep it legal. Don't risk life and limb or break any laws, OK? Enter as many different photos as you like.

You have two places to post your shots:

1. The “Photos” section of the Friends of America Libre Facebook page

2. As a TwitPic on Twitter #MyAmericaLibre

Here are the contest entries so far…

Bob Englert

Barbara Estes

Tom Farmer

Carolyn Gonzalez (Frida reading America Libre)

Karla Hernandez

Melody Mangual

Austin Miller

Elisa Molina

Christophe Moustirats

Raymond Ng

Raymond Ng (Well fed warriors make for well run revolutions!)

John Rivera

Scott Willis


  1. Go Barbara Go Barbara A Vote For Barbara is a Vote For Democracy!!!

    Yeah Barbara!!!!

    Pick Barbara! She got the soul of the book.

    Go Barbara Go Barbara!!!!!

    a non-basis observation.....

    Jo Ann Hernandez
    BronzeWord Latino Authors

    oh yeah good book tour Raul and Carolyn!!!!

  2. Oh yeah I liked Carolyn's photo too.

    Vote for Carolyn!!!!!!

    Jo Ann

  3. Good morning!

    Nice to see the wonderful and inspirational Jo Ann Hernandez (organizer and mastermind of the Latino Virtual Book Tour) has already stopped by and shared her view on the best photo. Thanks Jo Ann!

    I should probably mention that the deadline for photo entries will be at 4pm EST today. So there is still time if you want to enter. The winner will be announced at 5pm EST.

    I'm looking forward to chatting with Carolyn and her visitors today. So please feel free to make a comment about anything at all. The book, the photos, the weather, whatever. We just want to have some fun.

    Con mucho gusto,

  4. Dios Mio! I am a bad hostess. You beat me Raul.

    I want to welcome you to my blog and hope we will have a great discussion today. It's a little early but I suspect we will get visitors throughout the day.

    Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Raul!!

  5. Good morning, Raul!

    The premise of your novel is interesting. Let's pray that nothing like that ever comes to pass. It's a very frightening thought.

  6. I agree, Babba. It's sad but the media does not pay attention to a problem until there is blood on the street. I put the blood on the street in fictional form hoping to avoid it in real life. Good to hear from you!

  7. Raul, how much of your own experiences as an immigrant helped shape the narrative of the book? And can you share your experience? I was wondering how you ended up in Ohio.

  8. I'd go further and say that the press actually likes it when there's blood in the streets. Good for ratings. It's disgusting.

  9. Hi Raul,

    Carolyn took my question!

    Interesting premise for a novel. I stopped by your online forum. Some of the sentiments expressed there echo your novel. It is truly frightening to read people's comments about a revolution and war over immigration.

    On a more personal note...are you hopeful with the recent warming of relations between the States and Cuba?


  10. Carolyn, as a child I saw my parents divorce because of the Cuban revolution. My mother feared for her life and mine because of my dad's clandestine efforts to help Castro while he was still in the mountains. So she brought me to the U.S. and later remarried. Her new husband was from Ohio and that's how I wound up here. But traveling back to Cuba every summer as a child until 1961, I saw Castro take power and how quickly things can change in times of political turmoil. Those experiences were integral to writing AMERICA LIBRE. I have lived through a revolution and know how easily things can go wrong when circumstances are tense. Unfortunately, we could be approaching similar conditions here in the US today.

  11. Hi Shirley,

    I think President Obama is taking a wise course by offering concessions to the Cuban exiles in Miami first. They are a powerful group politically and have been the biggest advocates for maintaining the embargo. As was the case in Poland, Germany and other former Soviet bloc nations, opening up relations and trade with the US will help bring about change -- and very likely without bloodshed.

  12. I fear you are right Raul. We are close to upheavel in the US if things don't change course. I think people who don't experience any strife can't imagine how easily a country can fall into turmoil. It really only takes one event to get people crazy. And lately, I have seen how angry people and for all the wrong reasons. And it upsets me that not only are media personalities flaming the fires but also our representatives in Washington. It's a dangerous game.

    On a lighter note, I hope everyone is looking at the contest entries and give your favorite a shout out! It might influence the judging. LOL

  13. You're scaring me, Raul. It seems like people are all so angry at each other about so many different things. And the immigration issue seems to be red hot.

  14. This quote from your bio on your website is quite powerful and very true.

    "Castro’s sudden rise to power transformed Cuba. During the anti-American rallies Castro fomented, I heard my relatives shout hateful slogans about people I knew and loved in Miami. Castro was preparing Cuba for war and I saw how some leaders use hate, fear, and patriotism for their own ends. As an eleven-year-old I received military weapons training. That’s how desperate Castro’s war preparations were."

    Hate, fear and patriotism are being used by some people in this country to stir up trouble against Hispanic immigrants. As I said, it's quite frightening.

  15. Yes, Babba, there is a huge amount of anger directed against ALL Hispanics because of the immigration issue. This is actually nothing new. Germans, Irish, Italians and Jews have all suffered discrimantion after their arrival in the United States. But none of these groups could ever say "my ancestors once owned this land" like the Latinos of the Southwest. That is a scary combination - especially when you realize how many young Hispanics we will have in the next 20 years. Alienate them and the U.S. could become another Kosovo. That's why we need to stop the race-baiting politics and anti-immigrant hysteria.

  16. It's very frustrating, Raul. So many people see immigrants as the "other" and then take it step further and start to see the "other" as inhuman and once they take that step in their minds, then they have no conscience about how they treat immigrants. Not to mention the absurdity of believing that "real" Americans are only white Anglos. I'm a white Anglo but I know the history of this country and my ancestors are the newcomers. But so many Anglo Americans seem completely unaware of that.

  17. Yes, Babba, I realize how sombre this topic can be. At the same time, we need to leaven our lives with a bit of fun as well. So I hope we can chat about some of the photos and the thoughts behind them too.

  18. While I think all the photo entries are great; I'm torn between Ms. Estes' and Carolyn's.

    And I'm not just saying that because it's Caro's blog!!

    I like Carolyn's because it's whimsical, but Barbara's photo is pretty powerful.

  19. Karla Hernandez's photo is nice along with the bumpersticker. And Barbara Estes' is poignant.

    Of course, Frida is my fav.

  20. Love the photo Caro...although that cat entry is awfully cute. You couldn't get Scout to pose for one photo?

    Hello Raul, fellow Ohioan here (Cleveland).

  21. Ask and you shall receive:

  22. LOL @ Frida

    Charlie Vázquez

  23. Hi Shel! A shout out to a fellow Buckeye! Glad you could join the conversation. Nice to see the range of interpretations on the pix, isn't it? I've worked in advertising for over 25 years and its amazing how creative people can be -- and not just the artists and writers, either.

    Hola Charlie,
    Glad you are enjoying the pix. I have to admit Frida and Willam the cat both made me laugh out loud, too.

  24. Hi Raul,

    The books I placed alongside America Libre are books authored by fellow Filipino writers. The Rosales Saga (Dusk, Don Vicente, and The Samsons) is a historical fiction of the struggle of the Philippines against foreign rules (first the Spaniards, then Americans, then Japanese, and finally Marcos). The one other book that I think is related to America Libre is Charlson Ong's An Embarrassment of Riches where it portrayed an alternate world goverened by a successful revolution. BTW, the bookends are two Spanish busts handmade and given by a friend. I believe it complements the subject of the books very well.

    The 2nd pic is more light hearted. I just happened to spend last Sunday reading the rest of America Libre over dimsum. One day, when I get to see Havana, I would like to check out the Chinese section of the city (if any still exists). I read a few novels like Christina Garcia's Monkey that gave an interesting glimpse of Chinese people living then in Havana. I would love to go and see what remains there one day.

  25. Hello Raul and Caro
    I love the discussion going on here, it's frightening to
    think we could have our very own version of
    the Cuban Revolution here (pause to make sign of the cross).
    On a lighter note, non-religious note, I love Carolyn's picture the best. Frida would have definitely dug this book.

  26. I pick Carolyn Gonzalez's Frida reading America Libre!!!

  27. Thanks for giving us this knowledge about Filipino culture and history, Raymond! Many Filipinos and Latin Americans share the same Spanish last names which are the remnants of Spain's colonial period. I would like to know more about other similarities and hope you might share those.

    And hello to Brooke! Thanks for stopping by and joining our chat.

  28. Hola Ms. Latina!
    I had a great time on your blog this week too. Thanks for inviting me to visit!

  29. I see the hispanic communities are getting more and more politically active in recent years. My question is, how do you think we can get even more latinaslatinos active politically? Do you believe it has to get to a higher boiling point, or is there a gentler way to encourage activism?

  30. Hi pestkaj,
    For the last few years there's been a movement on the part of Spanish-language radio and TV stations to encourage Latinos to vote and take part in the electoral process. However, the ultimate healer of all immigrations wounds is time. As recent studies and U.S. history have shown, with each generation in the the country immigrants adapt more and more to their new home. Not to say they'll completely lose their identities. That's why we still have St. Patrick's & Columbus Day celebrations. But time has healed the once bitter enmity against Irish and Italian immigrants and they now hold ethnic celebrations without being accused of disloyalty.

  31. I just checked and it appears we have no more entries. So here are the people eligible for the $50 prize. Just before 5pm I will go to a and enter 1 through 13 (Raymond entered two photos so he gets two chances.) The random generator machine will select the winner!
    1) Bob Englert
    2) Barbara Estes
    3) Tom Farmer
    4) Carolyn Gonzalez
    5) Karla Hernandez
    6) Melody Mangual
    7) Austin Miller
    8) Elisa Molina
    9) Christophe Moustirats
    10) Raymond Ng
    11) Raymond Ng
    12) John Rivera
    13) Scott Willis
    In the meantime, we can continue our conversation ... and wish your favorite entrant the best of luck.

    By the way, this is how I give away a signed copy of AMERICA LIBRE every month for people who are Friends of AMERICA LIBRE on Facebook. So if you'd like to join, just follow the link below:

  32. Raul, you have a poll on your website to see who people would like to see play the roles if AMerica Libre would become a movie. Who are your choices?

  33. All the photo entries are great! Carolyn's is very clever.

    Also, the virtual book tour is a wonderful idea. Another innovate way to use social media. :)

  34. Which stars do I like for the roles in AMERICA LIBRE? Hmmm. I should probably keep that to myself. I'd rather hear what other people have to say -- especially when they suggest new actors.

    Thanks for entering your photo, Karla. I know it was heartfelt.

  35. Ok, the time we've been waiting for has arrived. We now have a winner from mysterious depths of
    Drum roll, please…

    Number 11 – Raymond Ng!

    Evidently it paid $50 to enter two photos because Raymond’s second entry was the lucky one. (Raymond please DM your address on Twitter so I can send the prize.)

    Congratulations to Raymond and to everyone who entered a photo! I hope you enjoyed seeing the imaginative, personal and heartfelt photos of everyone who entered. Thank you for taking part.

    While I’m giving thanks, I’d like to start by recognizing the hard-working originator of the Latino Virtual Book Tour: The Dulce One herself, Jo Ann Hernandez of BronzeWord Blog and Latino Book News. Everyone in the Latino Blogsphere owes a huge debt to Jo Ann.

    I also want to thank all of my wonderful hosts beginning with the spirited Carolyn Gonzalez. Fifteen blogs in 19 days has been an exhilarating and exhausting experience. As a celebration, I plan to sleep in for the next two days.

    Gracias as well to everyone who has left a comment and I have gotten to know. I look forward to staying in touch in the future.

    Con mucho gusto,

  36. Hello Raul and fellow bloggers. I like pestkaj's question. To be honest, I don't like politics and I don't see myself being highly involved in it. Nevertheless, I like to be politically inclined and be informed of what's happening and spread the word.

    But, the inmigration issue is something that would encourage me to be active. I think this is a very very important issue because it not only affect families but also the future education of the children and/or involved.

    Raul, you said "Illegal immigration is a hotly debated topic. Yet it is only the tip of the iceberg." If that is the case, we have a big problem and a lot of work to do as a community. But, for how long will those affected stay calm? not for much...

  37. Congratulations Raymond for your win! Now, is there a way we can work out 50/50? lol.

    Until another creative adventure, hasta pronto. Also, don't forget to visit my blog to find ways on how to help others.


  38. Congratulations Raymond!!! YAY!

    I also want to thank JoAnn for all her efforts on these book tours. I think it's wonderful to give Latino authors a space to talk and get exposure for their work!

    And gracias Raul for coming to my blog for the day. Era un placer (it was a pleasure) and amigo you are welcome anytime! Mi blog, es su blog!!

    And thank you to all my wonderful readers who are also my friends. You make my blogging worthwhile. And I appreciate you coming and commenting today. I will be pulling a winner for the signed book in a little while and will post it here.

    Thank you!!

  39. My vote goes to Elisa Molina!!!

  40. Okay I picked the winner of the signed book and the winner chosen by tom picking names out of a hat is:

    Shel - YAY!