Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cinco Puntos Holiday Gift Guide

Perplexed over what to buy your persnickety loved ones? Look no further! The Cinco Puntos Holiday Gift Guide has you covered with presents for family, friends and Secret Santas alike. And there's a lot more where these came from! If you still can't make a decision, visit our website or stop by our store at 701 Texas Avenue in downtown El Paso for our complete collection of stories for children, bilingual classics, YA fiction and books for all of us who are old enough to walk up to the bar and order a hot toddy or Irish coffee to warm ourselves for the Holidays! Remember, Cinco Puntos is celebrating our 25th Anniversary, so folks at the store get a 25% discount. Or make life easy by getting 15% off at the website. Happy Holidays, everybody! Thanks for keeping us alive and well for all these many years.

•BOOKS FOR KIDS•

 

The hilarious retelling of a Christmas Classic. Meet Santa’s newest helper: his cousin Pancho, a farmer and former mariachi singer living in South Texas. When Pancho volunteers to help Santa deliver presents to all the children on the Texas/Mexico border, things take a turn for the fantastic, complete with a magical wagon, an adorable helper elf, and yes, even Flying Burritos.
Winner of the Tejas Star Book Award
Written and Illustrated by Xavier Garza
$17.95 Hardback | $8.95 Paperback | Bilingual | Ages 5+



Joe Hayes' newest bilingual book. A wealthy landowner bets the farm that trusted employee Juan Verdades cannot tell a lie. When the daughter of the man who stands to win the bet tricks Juan into making a foolish mistake, Juan wonders if he can admit it. This clever and heart-felt retelling is beautifully illustrated in dreamy earth tones.
By Joe Hayes • Illustrated by Joseph Daniel Fielder
$8.95 Paperback | Bilingual | Ages 8+


Ben Saenz at his best! In this endearing, richly told story, an old man tells his granddaughter about the nine most beautiful dreams of his lifetime. Younger children will enjoy the bright colors and counting aspects while older readers and adults alike appreciate the textured meanings of Octavio Rivera’s wondrous dreamscapes.
Best Book for Children, Texas Institute of Letters
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz • Illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia
$17.95 Hardback | $8.95 Paperback | Bilingual | Ages 5+

Another brand new story from Joe Hayes! This time ‘round the teller of tall tales explains exactly what happens when a skunk falls in love… with a particularly stinky pair of sneakers. Start a collection of Joe Hayes' tall tales and get The Gum-Chewing Rattler too.
L.A. Times Holiday Book Gift Guide selection
By Joe Hayes • Illustrated by Antonio Castro L.
$16.95 Hardback | English | Ages 7+

A wonderful introduction to Mexican culture, 3 year-old Little Lalo plays the lotería cards and counts as his possessions the sun, the moon, a lion, a fish, a clown, a train, and the crown on his head. Each card in Lalo’s kingdom has its own page, illustrated with a playful, brightly colored woodcut.
Written and illustrated by Artemio Rodríguez
Best Design of a Trade Book Award Finalist, TIL
$12.95 Hardback | Bilingual | Ages 2+

Based on the book, snag this beautifully-designed game of luck and you can have as much fun as Lalo every time you play lotería with friends and family! But the set and save! Purchase The King of Things and Loteria Game for only $20— a $7.95 savings!

Designed and illustrated by Artemio Rodríguez
$15.00 Card Game | 2-8 Players


•GRAPHIC NOVELS FOR YOUNG ADULTS•


Be careful growing up in the green, wet, mango-sweet Mexican village of Rosario, where dead corpses rise up out of the cathedral walls during July when it always floods; where vast silver mines beneath the town occasionally collapse causing a whole section of the village to drop out of sight; where a man with a paintbrush, to wit Mr. Mendoza, is the town’s self-appointed conscience.
2010 Kirkus Best Books for Teens
By Luis Alberto Urrea • Illust. by Christopher Cardinale
$17.95 Hardback | English | Ages 12+

Go underground in this dark yet hopeful story of survival deep in the forgotten tunnels of the New York City subway system. Anthony Horton— abandoned youth, wandering soul, art lover— is your tour guide. You won’t regret the ride.
By Youme Landowne & Anthony Horton
Illustrated by Youme Landowne
$17.95 Hardback | English | Ages 14+

 

•FICTION FOR YOUNG ADULTS•


18 year-old Zach ponders life, God and other obstacles as a patient at a therapeutic residential program for alcoholism and post-traumatic stress in this evocative and graceful story of redemption and recovery.
Editor's Choice Award, Library Media Connection
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
$16.95 Paperback | English | Ages 15+

Now available in paperback only from Cinco Puntos Press! Set in a 1960s Las Cruces barrio, Sammy navigates love and loss in this classic Latino YA novel.
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Winner of the Americás Award
Outstanding Books for the College Bound, ALA
$19.95 Hardback | $11.95 Paperback | English | Ages 14+



•NON-FICTION FOR THE HISTORY BUFF•

 

The True Crime Classic people can’t stop talking about— now in a brand new edition! Featuring a preface from writer Charles Bowden, and updated introduction and epilogue. Uncover the hidden history of Mexico’s drug trade from the beginning with unheard-of access to the original cartel kingpin, Pablo Acosta.
By Terrence Poppa
$16.95 Paperback | English


The best seat in the house! Like Boston for the American Revolution, El Paso, Texas and sister city Juárez, Chihuahua served as the intellectual crucible for the Mexican Revolution. A can’t-put-down read with dazzling images and unforgettable storytelling.
Southwest Book Award Winner
By David Dorado Romo
$26.95 Paperback | English

The photographs in Las Soldaderas and Elena Poniatowska’s commentary rescue the women of the Mexican Revolution from the dust and oblivion of history. Without the soldaderas there is no Mexican Revolution—they kept it alive and fertile, like the earth.
By Elena Poniatowska
Photos courtesy of The Casasola Collection
The Southwest in full of mystery and lost treasure. But this treasure hunt ends up in the strange corridors of the human heart. In 1937, a con man and an unlicensed chiropodist known as Doc Noss discovered fabulous treasure inside a New Mexico mountain named after the Apache chief Victorio. 
By Robert Boswell and David Schweidel
$15.00 Hardback | English

•WHODUNITS FOR THE MYSTERY LOVER•


This unsettling anthology features over a dozen hard-boiled noir tales (quite a few penned by Cinco Puntos alums) with Texas’ lonely, dusty landscape as the backdrop. Put out by our publishing pals at Akashic as part of their acclaimed Noir Series.
Edited by Bobby Byrd and John William Byrd
$15.95 Paperback | English

Sex, murder and gun-toting poets in post-Revolutionary Mexico City. Dominoes are played by all. This unforgettable tale from Mexico’s primo crime writer follows four quirky, tormented men on a secret mission to snuff out conspiring government officials, corrupt army officers and American industrialists.
By Paco Ignacio Taibo II • Translation by William I. Neuman
$13.95 Paperback | English




 •TUNES & POEMS FOR THE MUSIC FAN•


Created in the spirit of the Beat Generation’s music-and-verse marriage, a retrospective album of Bobby Byrd’s poetry set against the pensive soundscapes and guitar noodlings of El Paso’s own resident rock star Jim Ward (At the Drive-In, Sleepercar). A dreamy listen for a chilly winter’s night, and a must-have for any music collector.
By Bobby Byrd and Jim Ward
$15.95 CD





All of these items— and lots more— are available on our website, www.cincopuntos.com for a 15% discount and at our storefront at 701 Texas Ave. in downtown El Paso for the 25% discount.


Have a great holiday season from all of us at Cinco Puntos Press!
 
 
 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Johnny Byrd: Our Man in Guadalajara


Johnny Byrd with Domi (Domitila Dominguez), Antonio Ramirez 
at their house in Tlaquepaque outside Guadalajara.

Every year Johnny Byrd travels down to Guadalajara to attend the Feria Internacional del Libro, aka la FIL. His job is to sell rights of our books to publishers from other countries, or buy rights for books we think may do well here. It was at the FIL that we discovered, through the help of good friends, La Historia de los colores / The Story of Colors written by Subcomandante Marcos and illustrated by the incomparable Domi (aka Domitila Dominguez). The Story of Colors is the book that got written up on the front page of the New York Times and made us famous for a few days in 1996. That in turn helped us sell over 100,000 copies of the book. Domi, her husband Antonio Ramirez and their family (together they form el Colectivo Callejero) have been close friends of ours ever since (see below) our first meeting them. Domi and Antonio collaborated to illustrate our other book by El Sup, The Question of Swords / Folktales of the Zapatista Revolution, one of my all-time favorite CPP books although it didn't come close to the kind of publicity or sales of The Story of Colors. And it is through The Story of Colors in a roundabout way we met our very good friend and colleague Patsy Aldana of Groundwood Books (Toronto). Patsy is one of the great ladies of independent children's book publishing. A wise and generous woman. [Note: I wish there was a good profile of Patsy online but there's not.] So the FIL has been an important part of what Cinco Puntos Press is and, we hope, will be.

Anyway, Johnny has been in Guadalajara since Sunday--eating the delicious food, drinking the delicious beer, enjoying the weather, and talking the book talk. Since Johnny doesn't carry a camera, I'm putting up some photos from last year when I accompanied him. It's hard work, exhausting work, but it's a good time too.


Patsy Aldana (4th from right) of Groundwood Books asked us to co-host 
an open house at the home of Domi and Antonio. We were 
delighted to do so. Our guests were librarians from all over 
the United States and a few distributors to libraries. 
It was a great day, and Domi and Antonio sold some work!

Los Angeles was the FIL's "featured country" in 2009.
One day, walking around, we ran into our friend Luis Rodriguez.
How cool can that be!
Children's Book Press was also at the 2009 FIL.
Here we are with our friend Janet (Sales and Marketing)
and Dana Goldberg (Executive Director)
We had just enjoyed a wonderful lonche de mariscos!

But it's time for Johnny Byrd to come on home. 
We hope he brings good news.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Webinar on Graphic Novels hosted by Baker & Taylor

Book wholesaler Baker & Taylor is hosting a Webinar next week for Librarians and book retailers (their target clients). It's Wednesday, 2pm EST, and to attend you need to sign up at their website. We're curious what they can say in 25 minutes, but I think it may be interesting. John Shebleski is on the panel. He's Sales Manager for Diamond Books, a good friend, is very knowledgeable about graphic novels. B&T is one of our biggest clients through Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, and they've sold lots of our first two graphic novels: Pitch Black: Don't Be Skerd by Youme Landowne and Anthony Horton, and Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush with Christopher Cardinale illustrating the Luis Alberto Urrea story. Pitch Black was chosen for a Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens by the American Library Association in 2009 and Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush has already been chosen as one of the year's Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and we hope it joins Pitch Black on the ALA list. We're crossing our fingers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Highway 35 Lone Star Noir Boogie


Editors Johnny Byrd and Bobby Byrd are on the road again, celebrating the publication of Lone Star Noir (Akashic Books). This time they'll be visiting the three cities along the I-35 Corridor--Friday is San Antonio at the Twig, Saturday is the SMU B&N and Sunday it's back down the road to Austin at BookPeople. Please come by and say hello. It's good to see old friends, great to meet new folks. Also, for those who can't make to any of the events, signed copies are available now at the Cinco Puntos website or at the Cinco Puntos storefront at 701 Texas Avenue, El Paso.  


--Fri., Nov. 5, 5:00pm Happy Hour
SAN ANTONIO
The Twig Bookshop in their new digs at the Pearl Brewery.
200 E Grayson, Suite 124
*Featuring editors Bobby Byrd, Johnny Byrd, with contributors Ito Romo, Lisa Sandlin, Jesse Sublett, and George Wier.

--Sat., Nov. 6, 3:00pm
DALLAS

SMU Bookstore
3060 Mockingbird Lane
DALLAS, TX
* featuring editors Bobby Byrd and Johnny Byrd, with contributor George Wier.

--Sun., Nov. 7, 5:00pm
AUSTIN
BookPeople Bookstore
603 N. Lamar Blvd.
This reading and booksigning inaugurates BookPeople's new MYSTERY PEOPLE book section.
*Featuring editors Bobby Byrd, Johnny Byrd, with contributors Ito Romo, Jesse Sublett, and George Wier.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Short-Handed Halloween Stomp


Copyright illustration © 1999, Luis San Vicente.
All rights reserved. Reproduction or copy of this image is not permitted without permission.

Oh, my God. El Día de los Muertos and Halloween are just a few days away and we’ve not published our annual mini-catalog for these sweet and holy days. The ghosts are sharpening their knives for supper, they’re cleaning their bowls and glasses, they're hungry for some menudo and tequila, but they need to know what to read. Well, it’s certainly not too late if you live in El Paso. Just come on down to 701 Texas Avenue and we’ll pack your goodie bags with books. And if you live out of town, well, it’s not too late if you have a good bookstore near you. Or you could even call Cactus Mary Fountaine here at Cinco Puntos and she’ll do what she can to get you books. But meanwhile, we’re sorry for the delay. The Fall is a busy time for Independent Publishing and we’re traveling and working. Ni modo. We thank you always for your support of Cinco Puntos Press.

The Festival of Bones / El Festival de las calaveras: A Little-Bitty Book for the Day of the Dead written and illustrated by Luis San Vicente. On Mexico's Day of the Dead, the skeletons jump for sheer joy. And no wonder: they’ve been cooped up the whole year long and now they’re ready to party. With fantastic illustrations and a wild and fanciful poem, San Vicente captures the spirit of this most marvelous holiday. A short and fun essay, directed toward young readers, explains this important Mexican holiday, and the fun things kids can do to join in the festivities.

El Cucuy: A Bogeyman Story in Spanish and English by Joe Hayes and illustrated by Honorio Robledo. In the Southwest and much of Mexico, the scary bogeyman is known as el Cucuy. With his humped back and his big red ear, el Cucuy was once a standard part of child rearing. Many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans will tell you, "I grew up with el Cucuy." And there are plenty of stories of lazy, disobedient children whose feet were set back on the straight and narrow path by an encounter with this ogre. Although today's parents no longer think it appropriate to rely on threats of calling the local bogeyman to come and carry their children away, the young still delight in tales of bad boys and girls, ones who are much worse than they are, getting the good scare they deserve from El Cucuy. Of course the best tales, like this one, always have a happy ending.

Egad! We’re briefly out of stock of Joe Hayes classic La Llorona, the Weeping Woman. Can you believe that? Our best selling book is so popular she’s all out into the streets looking for her children. She’s arriving—at least in her iconic book form—in November. Not soon enough. Forgive us. But we have something almost as good. Perhaps for some, even better: Joe Hayes telling the story of La Llorona--along with El Cucuy--on the audio compact disk: Two Scary Folktales in Spanish and English. And you can watch Joe telling La Llorona bilingually on his classic DVD. He’s in a mountain New Mexico ghost town. He tells a little bit of Spanish, the same then in English. A classic Spanish guitar is playing in the background. And every once in a while you see La Llorona herself running through the stream. Oh, she’s looking for her children. Mis hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiijjjooooooooos! Mis hiiiiiiiiiiiiiijjooooooooooooos! It’s something else to hear and watch Joe telling the story. Bring your blankets. It's very good to have some place to hide!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CINCO PUNTOS PRESS AT THE TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL

This weekend, October 17th and 18th, is the Texas Book Festival at the State Capital in Austin, Cinco Puntos Press will be celebrating our usual theme: Book Publishing Independence. We'll be at Booth Number 311. Publishers Johnny Byrd and Bobby Byrd will be the hosts at our booth. Come by and visit, check out our new books, remember the back list and talk the talk and buy some books. Remember, we’re “the publishing house La Llorona built,” so as always we’ll be giving out a free bumper sticker with every purchase: HONK IF YOU’VE SEEN LA LLORONA.


As always, Cinco Puntos Press will be sending our representatives to the State Capital.

Saturday, 12pm, Capitol Extension Room E2.014. Johnny Byrd and Bobby Byrd will be discussing their anthology LONE STAR NOIR which they edited for Akashic Books (Brooklyn). It’s always fun to collaborate with a colleague in this world of independent publishing. They will be joined by contributors Tim Tingle and Sarah Cortez.



Saturday, 12:30pm, Capital Extension Room E2.016. Tom Miller will be on the panel “110 In the Shade -- Writing About the Southwest.” He says he’ll be shamelessly flogging REVENGE OF  THE SAGUARO: Offbeat Travels Through America's Southwest.







Sunday, 1:00pm. Children’s Chapter Read Me A Story Tent. Tim Tingle will be telling the story from his new book SALTYPIE: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light, Saltypie is a Native American’s story of moving to Texas. The trouble it brought. Tim says if there's no trouble, there's no story. So there you go. Cynthia Leitich Smith has praised it as an important children's book about growing up Native American. And if you're there on Sunday, ask Tim to conclude with his famous singing of “Amazing Grace” in his native Choctaw.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Texas Bleeds Noir Fiction

Well, like we didn't have anything else to do, Johnny Byrd and I delighted ourselves by editing Lone Star Noir, an anthology of unpublished crime fiction featuring Texas writers. And, no, Cinco Puntos is not the publisher, Akashic Books of Brooklyn is the publisher. Akashic has a large and very successful series of noir anthologies--Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Rome, Mexico City, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Phoenix for God's sake. All sorts of places. And Akashic publisher Johnny Temple--obviously feeling the need to plug the noir side Texas into the series--asked Johnny Byrd and me to edit Lone Star Noir. He wanted us to go beat the bushes.

The rule is all stories in an Akashic noir collection will be unpublished. Akashic, like Cinco Puntos, likes diversity, so he wanted the greatest mixture of voices we could find. It was what made the looking fun. Akashic and Cinco Puntos have for a long time been sharing booths at conferences and book fairs. We have one of those solid relationships that are the foundation of independent publishing in the United States. They are good friends, good colleagues and they are good citizens in the world of independent publishing. So it was a no-brainer. Yes, we said.

And it's been kicks.

You'll find some great stories (no filler here) in the volume, all unpublished. Even Mary Martha Crumley, the widow of Jim, searched through his archives and found a delightful and unpublished James Crumley story. It was like a visit from Jim's ghost. He brought along his Texas twang and his weird humor to tell a downright scary story of sisters and sex and envy and sorrow. Thanks, Mary Martha. And there's a whole list of good writers (see below). Some known and some new folks getting their feet wet and others in-between. Joe Lansdale, the creme de Texas noir. And Luis Alberto Urrea and David Corbette did a wild collaboration that waltzes across Texas from the Gulf Coast to El Paso and Juarez. Cinco Puntos Press writers contributed--Jessica Powers and Lisa Sandlin--getting their feet good and wet in the genre. The common denominator is good writing. Johnny and I are proud. We'll be in Austin this weekend at the Texas Book Festival doing a panel and selling Lone Star Noir in the big tent and at the Cinco Puntos Press booth. If you're there, come see us. Tim Tingle, Sarah Cortez, Johnny Byrd and me (aka Bobby Byrd) will be on the panel, and we hope some of the other authors are in the audience. Folks like Jesse Sublette, George Wier, Milton Burton, all of whom live in the vicinity. And whoever else is in the neighborhood. Copies should be shipping to your bookstores right now and should be available in the next week or so. We'll put them on our website, but in the meantime, if you are a noir fiction junkie, give us a call and we'll sell you one from our stock.
 

The List of Writers:  James Crumley, Joe Lansdale, Claudia Smith, Ito Romo, Luis Alberto Urrea, David Corbett, George Weir, Sarah Cortez, Jesse Sublette, Dean James, Tim Tingle, Milton Burton, Lisa Sandlin, Bill Crider, and Bobby Byrd.

From Bobby's introduction:

You can drive around Texas for a long time and never meet J.R. Ewing or Woodrow Call. The real Texas hides out in towns and cities like you'll find in Lone Star Noir,  and in that very Texas reality, among the everyday good folks of Texas, you'll find the hard-boiled understanding of guns and dope and blood money and greed and hatred and delusion that makes these fourteen stories come alive on the page. Sure, you might catch a glimpse of J.R. and old Woodrow Call, like a shadow at the edge of your sight, feel their heat at your back, catch a whiff of the dead flowers which are their Texas dreams. This is basic foodstuff for a Texas writer telling a story, but the story must always stay true to its place and the people who live there. That's the strength of these stories in Lone Star Noir--the particular place they come from, the language that the characters speak. Yes, they are pieces of the larger puzzle that is Texas, but they are more true to the pieces of ground they reveal. Texas, in all its many places, bleeds noir fiction . . .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CINCO PUNTOS IN SAN ANTONIO THIS WEEKEND

The Instituto Cultural de México in San Antonio (Hemisfair Park), in collaboration with Gemini Inc and its director Rosemary Catacalos, is presenting the book Incantations: Songs, Spells & Images by Mayan Women by Ambar Past, Maruch Mendes Peres and the Taller  Leñateros in San Cristobal, Chiapas. At 6pm on Thursday night, October 7, there will be a discussion with Ambar, Lee Byrd and Bobby Byrd at the Instituto. Immediately following at 7pm, Maya-Tzotzil Maruch Mendez will join Ambar for a Mayan ceremony to celebrate the book and the Mayan women who made it.


On Saturday night, October 9th, Ambar, Lee and Bobby will perform their work of poetry and fiction at 7:00pm at the offices of Gemini Inc at 513 South Presa. Also on Saturday Lee will be giving a workshop in publishing and Bobby will be giving a workshop in poetry. For more information, call Gemini Inc at (210) 734-9673.

Come join us. It should be fun. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

CPP Receives the EPCC COMMUNITY SPIRIT AWARD

On September 18th, the El Paso Community College, as part of its Second Annual EPCC Literary Fiesta, gave Cinco Puntos its Community Spirit Award for 25 years of celebrating literature. All three of us--Johnny Byrd, Lee Byrd and me too, Bobby Byrd--were delighted and honored. And we were in good company. The night before EPCC awarded its Literacy Legacy Award to Pat Mora for her work as a writer and as the principal force behind the annual literacy celebration El Día de los Niños. We were of course very proud. Our good friend Benjamin Alire Sáenz, who couldn’t be there sent out some very nice comments to be read. Novelist Rich Yañez and poet Lawrence Welch likewise honored us with some great thoughts, but most special was that our daughter Susie Byrd, who is the El Paso City Council Representative for District Two, gave a speech honoring us. Susie, of course, is an alumnus of Cinco Puntos. We are always wishing she would come back.


This is what Ben said—

I’m sorry I’m not able to be here, but I just wanted to convey to all of you how absolutely thrilled I am that EPCC is recognizing Cinco Puntos with this award. For the last 25 years, Lee and Bobby Byrd have committed their lives, their energies, their hearts, their passions, their resources and their minds to publishing the highest quality literature that reflects the border culture in which they live. Cinco Puntos Press is not only a local and regional treasure--they are a national treasure. They have published--and continue to publish--books that are contributing to the national debate as to who we are as a people and as a nation. I love and admire Bobby and Lee and I have nothing but respect for what they have done for the writing community of this country. What they have accomplished is no small feat. I am proud and grateful to be one of their authors. I hate to brag, but I believe I may be their biggest fan.

 ●

My Parents Wandered Around for a While

My parents wandered around for awhile. Moving from place to place, looking for an anchor. Then when I was 7, after having lived in 15 different places from Colorado to New Mexico, they landed on the 2700 block Louisville Street in El Paso, Texas and haven’t moved since.

They found their anchor on the border, a place so unlike Plainfield, NJ where my mother grew up and Memphis, TN where my father grew up. They fell in love with the wide open spaces, the barren desert landscape, living at the base of a mountain, living five minutes from another country, living in a neighborhood with a little bit of everyone, where everyone belongs. They fell in love with the confusion of the border, a place American but not quite, a place Mexican but not quite. As writers, the language of the border made sense to them, mixing up Spanish and English to find the words that mean what you want to say, rather than confining yourself to one language or the other. Making up words when neither language quite captures the meaning. Language should always mean something. Right?

Cinco Puntos Press is their homage to a place they love, a place that has welcomed them as neighbor. Because they were not trained in the art of publishing, they were free to make the mistakes that built their reputation as an internationally recognized publishing company.

No one seeped in the children book industry headquartered in New York City would have ever recommended publishing a bilingual book about a woman who drowns her children. But when storyteller Joe Hayes tells the legend of La Llorona, he builds the story from both Spanish and English. Mom and Dad knew that La Llorona, a Mexican story passed from generation to generation, belonged to the Spanish language but could also be told in English. So for them it was a no brainer that both languages would share the same page, the same book. It was one of their first books and one of the first bilingual books in the United States. Now with the changing demographics of our country, no one blinks when you offer up bilingual books. Cultural change comes from places like El Paso, from companies like Cinco Puntos Press who build themselves from the pulse of their community. New York follows.

My dad and mom firmly believe in the publishing process as an act of creative discovery, a way for the actors involved to know themselves better. They picked Gloria Osuna Perez to paint the illustrations for Little Gold Star, another bilingual book by Joe Hayes, even though they knew she was dying. She was the right illustrator for the book. She finished three paintings and then told my mom and dad that she probably couldn’t finish. But she had an idea. Her daughter Lucia Angela Perez was an artist. Gloria had sketched the book. Lucia could finish the book. My mom and dad agreed. So while Lucia cared for her mom as she was dying, Gloria would teach Lucia about the colors, how to blend them, what her vision was for the book, how Lucia could help her finish. When Gloria died, Lucia was able to honor her mom and know her mom by finishing her work. The book is gorgeous and a testament to the open hearts of my parents.

The other thing about Cinco Puntos Press that I want you to know is that it is a family business. My brothers and I have all worked there. My husband worked there. And if you aren’t family to start with, you eventually get there. And the remarkable thing about working there is that even if you are packing books or managing the accounts, you are invited into the process of creating and selling books.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Elif Shafak on the politics of fiction

Great talk on TED by Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, although after watching the video I hesitate identifying her simply as Turkish. She speaks about the power of storytelling, the meaning of crossing borders, following the imagination beyond what is expected. As our friend Patsy Aldana from Groundwood Books reminds all the time (quoting another friend of hers): books are mirrors, books are windows. Shake out 20 minutes from your day and watch this fine talk. Much to think about. And of course now I need to go buy one of her novels.



As a follow up to this discussion: This idea of the politics of fiction is a complicated subject. Indeed, much of the impetus for the emphasis on "multi-culturalism" in U.S. letters from 1970 forward came from the hoity toity ignoring the aesthetics and work of different ethnicities, especially the work of people of color. But now it seems from Shafak's experience that the multi-culturalists have become the gatekeepers. They expect her, for instance, to write sad stories about Muslim women with veils. But she doesn't want to write about what she knows best. She wants her imagination to roam. The important thing, in all instances, is the work itself. Is it a good story, is it a good poem? Literature is always a river flowing downstream, going here and there, depending upon the geography of our imagination. --Bobby

Friday, September 17, 2010

David Thompson, May he rest in peace


with his wife McKenna

David Thompson--aka publisher of Busted Flush Press and manager of Murder by the Book Bookstore in Houston--died suddenly Monday at the age of 37. He was a sweet man, a guy who loved what he did, did it very well and stirred the waters gently in the world of crime fiction in the United States. He loved what he did. It radiated from. I knew him as a colleague because Busted Flush is also distributed by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, and Johnny Byrd and I looked very much forward to visiting with David and McKenna at Murder by the Book in late October. David was very excited about Lone Star Noir, an anthology of crime fiction that Johnny and I edited for Akashic Books. David, the generous man that he was, suggested writers and helped me track down others. He was a good guy, a friend to many.

I strongly suggest this link that will take you to novelist Alafair Burke's (yes, that first name is familiar to mystery lovers) blog. It's well worth the read. She really touches upon David the gentle man. Also, follow her link to the Houston Chronicle article about David's romancing of McKenna. Or maybe it was vice versa.

May David rest in peace.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

El Grito: ¡Viva, México!

RINGSIDE SEAT TO A REVOLUTION: AN UNDERGROUND CULTURAL HISTORY OF EL PASO AND JUAREZ: 1893-1923


"David Romo’s Ringside Seat to a Revolution is a fascinating glimpse into unknown scenes of the Mexican Revolution of 1911. He takes us into El Paso and Juárez-facing one another across the Rio Grande-in the years just before and just after the exciting events of the revolution itself. It is close up and personal history-through the eyes of an extraordinary cast of characters. It is "people’s history" at its best."--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
"David Romo’s micro-history is brilliant. Here you’ll find what official history seems to ignore: the salt of the earth, the surprising anecdote, rumors, the absurd. The odd relationship between El Paso and Mexico makes this book all the more fascinating."--Paco Taibo II, Mexican novelist and historian, author of Ernesto Guevara, Also Known as Che and a biography Pancho Villa.

Truly, the best seats in the house for watching the spectacle of the Mexican Revolution were located along the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas and its sister city Juárez, Chihuahua. Indeed..., these cities--like the city of Boston, Massachusetts, for the American Revolution--served as the intellectual crucible for the Mexican Revolution. This is where the first modern revolution of Latin America began. The heroes and images of this people’s uprising still populate the border’s cultural landscape like ghosts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

JOE HAYES AND BEN SÁENZ PRIZE-WINNERS NOW IN PAPERBACK

Please note: On the website page for each of the books, directly under the box with title, price and shopping cart button, we've added the GOOGLE PREVIEW feature. Click on that button and you can see a sample of each book. By the way, Cinco Puntos feels very blessed to have these two men publishing books with us.

Dance, Nana, Dance / Baila, Nana, Baila--Joe Hayes’ bilingual collection of stories from the glorious island of Cuba has just been released in paperback. The collection has thirteen tales, a perfect mixture of stories from the Afro-Cuban and Hispano-Cuban traditions, told in Joe’s audience-tested style. His Spanish is perfect, and it reflects the language Joe heard on the island during his many visits there over the last ten years. Dance, Nana, Dance has received many honors--the 2009 Aesop Award; Críticas' Children’s Best Books of 2009; Skipping Stones Honor Book; Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2009; the Anne Izard's Storytellers' Choice Award; and the Américas Book Award Honor Book. Click here to learn more about Joe’s process of creating this book and his visits to Cuba.




Benjamin Saenz' much praised and award-winning children's book The Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar is also now out in paperback. So, what exactly is the perfect season for dreaming? For Octavia Rivera, it’s summer, when the sky is so blue and a few lovely clouds come floating along to decorate it. And on these first long days of summer, he is visited by some very interesting dreams where a cornucopia of wonderful things fall from a piñata. But who can Octavio tell? Tijuana artist Esau Andrade did the magical illustrations. Esau’s work is like Seurat and Magritte becoming best friends. They decide to run away from Europe and take a bus to Guadalajara but the bus gets a flat and they end up painting folk art in a little village in the mountains of Jalisco.

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para soñar has been honored on 2008-09 Kids' Indie Next List; with the Tejas Star Book Award; the Paterson Prize Best Book for Children; the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) Award for Children's Liiterature; Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2009; and as an Américas Book Award Honor Book

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Flood & the Rainbow on Texas Avenue


One day in July on a Saturday the skies opened up and in a matter of minutes the water was at our door.


The rain came closer and closer to walking right in the front door like he wanted to use the bathroom. Or look at the paintings. Why not? It was raining outside and the wind was blowing.


But of course like most of the monsoon rains in El Paso it blew away in 30 minutes and left us with a rainbow. And driving away that afternoon I saw the rainbow was sitting right at our doorstep. Good, I thought, we need that!

And now the school year has started. Come on down to Cinco Puntos at 701 Texas Avenue in El Paso or at our website in the neighborhood of digitized ether and look over our new books. Good stuff is happening. New books are ready. And we'll be there.


Monday, August 30, 2010

David Pogue & the Mystery of The EBook Wars


We've been talking e-books for years and now we're performing contortionist tricks to put our books into all the various sorts of platforms (formats). The Kindle. Sony. Nook. This. That. The Other. For novels and books of non-fiction (without graphs and illustrations), it's not hard. We generate a PDF file and email it off to CONSTELLATION. (Constellation is an element of the Perseus Sales and Distribution network. PSD owns Consortium Book Sales and Distribution, our trade distributor. It's complicated. It didn't start out this way.) Anyway, Constellation formats the file into the various platforms for the different readers, downloads them to the various sites, and, ZAP, we're good to go. But, as you know, we also do illustrated books and bilingual books. Not so easy. We have some clients who do the illustrated books quite well, and in a later blog we'll list them. But Joe Hayes bilingual collections of stories--not so easy.Take for instance, Joe's best selling collection of stories in a bilingual format: The Day It Snowed Tortillas / El día que nevó tortillas. Hopefully, you know the book. It's formatted on the page so that the English and Spanish texts are close at hand--opposite pages, following--which doesn't work on an e-book reader. Well, it doesn't work gracefully. So the folks at Constellation and the various e-book companies are unsure how they want to receive this. We've about decided to cut and paste the complete Spanish test of a story after the complete English text of the story. But what do we do with a book like Joe's Bluebonnet Winner, Ghost Sickness / Mal de la Fantasma? It's a novella, so right now we're thinking about placing the complete Spanish text of the book after the complete English text. But either way, it won't be as user friendly as our books.

We certainly would like our readers input about e-books. Do you own one? Do you want one? We don't even have one ourselves yet. We're thinking about buying an IPAD. But our friend Ben Saenz bought an IPAD. He'd had it for about a month and still hadn't downloaded a book yet. Ha! He's busy watching movies and listening to songs and playing. And the selection of books for IPAD is not nearly as big as Kindle. The reason is Apple is still negotiating contracts with publishers. Right now Constellation/PSD is in negotiations, so no CPP books are available yet on IPAD. So now I don't know what we're going to buy.

I wanted David Pogue to help me. His video is fun. But we still don't know what to buy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MONSTER SCORES AT PEN USA


Ben Sáenz' Last Night I Sang to the Monster  was a finalist for the 2010 PEN USA Literary Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Congratulations to Ben!  The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman and David Roberts was the winner. The awards committee went with frivolity for this year instead of a serious and engrossing look into issues facing teens. Oh well. That's how the publishing ball bounces. It's a big national award, and there are only four finalists. Even though the list won't be posted until next week, PEN has given us clearance to start bragging.We love Ben's Monster book, and we think that it--like his other CPP YA novel Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood--it will be a book that high school teachers will be using for a long time to come. Like Sammy, Monster is a book that doesn't dodge issues but Ben's prose makes a real good read for all of us, teenagers included, who want to understand better teenage alcoholism and dysfunctional families. Zach is a character that all will like and sympathize with and remember for a long time to come.

Cinco Puntos, of course, is proud to be publishing Ben's work. He's a great guy to work with. He comes by the office--we talk books and business and poetry, Lee and he doing a little editing, then we all talk some chisme, we laugh, we have a cup of coffee. And sometimes we take the walk across the bridge to Mexico. El Paso is such a cool place.

And by the way, his much praised and award-winning children's book THE PERFECT SEASON FOR DREAMING /  UN TIEMPO PERFECTO PARA SOÑAR is now out in paperback. Tijuana artist Esau Andrade did the magical illustrations. Take, for instance, the park scene in the exact middle of the book--a full two-page spread, like Suerat discovering the truth about Mexico, forgetting all about pointillism and deciding instead to take a bus to Guadalajara: