Check Me Out on Bronx Buzz Discussing My Novella, Cooties & Other Kindergarten Quandaries

I was so excited to be invited back to The Bronx Buzz to discuss my novella, Cooties & Other Kindergarten Quandaries. (Grab your copy here.) The Bronx Buzz does excellent work and I was glad to be on again to talk about my fiction work!





My Novella is Now Available!

A couple months back, I hinted at some cool news I’d announce soon and now is that time! My novella, Cooties & Other Kindergarten Quandaries is now available in Running Wild Press’ Novella Anthology, Vol. 3, Book 3.

Despite the title and the fact that the four protagonists are in kindergarten, this is not a children’s book. Unless your kid likes satire and and political humor thrown in every so often.

It’s an episodic novella, consisting of 11 chapters, each tackling another obstacle – the boogeyman, an evil substitute teacher, tattletales, etc.

This novella was about five years in the making. I wrote the very first chapter back in 2010 when I was a senior at Baruch for one of my assignments. I didn’t do much with it afterward, maybe sent it out to a few lit mags, but it wasn’t until 2014 when I picked it back up and continued the characters’ misadventures trying to navigate kindergarten as these super geniuses. It was just a lot of fun to write, to be honest.

Novellas are kind of a weird in between genre, so I was really glad it found a home at Running Wild Press, an independent press based in California. Cooties… shares the pages with about eight other talented authors, and I’m excited to be able to share this news with you finally.

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You can purchase Book 3 from Powells, Mysterious Galaxy, Indiebound, or Amazon. (Please support independent bookstores!)

If you’d like to keep up with my writing life and endeavors, check out my author site here.


Reading Juliet Takes a Breath

At this year’s Bronx Book Fair, I had the pleasure of meeting the awesome people of Riverdale Avenue Books, based in Riverdale (duh!) They were gracious enough to let me pick one of their books to read, and Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera was the one that stood out to me.

I recently wrote about The Education of Margot Sanchez and how amazing the cover is, and Juliet Takes a Breath is a book with another eye-catching cover and after reading the blurb on the back, I knew it was the one.

Following Bronxite Juliet, an undergrad who, after reading fictional hippie feminist Harlowe Brisbane’s Raging Flower” Empowering Your Pussy by Empowering Your Mind, decides  to move across the country to Portland to intern for her new hero. But not before coming out to her family and leaving them to deal with the news.

What I enjoyed most about this novel is Juliet’s transformation. We see her with a tough exterior that I’m sure many of us who have grown up here will recognize, but she is incredibly vulnerable and unsure of herself, trying to figure out who she is. I also enjoyed Rivera’s use of language. Juliet does not mince words and her personality comes through in the way she mixes her growing knowledge of feminism and intersectionality with the slang she has learned growing up here in the Bronx.

Definitely something to take along with you as you head to Orchard this summer!




The Education of Margot Sanchez is the Book I wish I Had Growing Up

The March read for the book club I joined this year, Readers & Shakers, was The Education of Margot Sanchez by Bronx-raised Lilliam Rivera.

The young adult novel follows Bronx teen Margot Sanchez and her quest find herself set against the backdrop of the battle over the gentrification of the South Bronx. When I was a teen, I loved reading romance comedies, but was also (and still am) an absolute nerd for politics and news. There never seemed anything that was somewhere in the middle. I think The Education of Margot Sanchez is a step in the right direction.

The novel takes place over the course of a summer. Margot, whose family lives in Riverdale, but owns two supermarkets in the South Bronx, not far from St. Mary’s, is desperately trying to fit in with the “popular” girls at her affluent prep school. Forced to work in her family’s supermarket for the summer, she spends her time trying to avoid creepers and drama with the cashieristas. One day, she meets Moises, a young community activist trying to prevent developers from coming into the neighborhood to build luxury buildings that are obviously not for any of the locals *swoon.* On top of all of this, she’s also trying to figure out her friendship with her best friend from elementary school, who instead of attending the elite prep school, has gone to an art high school and made a bunch of new friends, causing Margot to feel insecure.

I’m so glad I’m not a teenager anymore.

With all of the Bronx references and the complexity and endless drama that comes with adolescence, I know that 16 year old Lisa would have really enjoyed this novel. Then again, so did 27 year old Lisa.

I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed and I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly! But, I think the desire to want more from a book in this way isn’t a deal breaker. At the book club, we talked about keeping the audience in mind, which is also important. For a teen, it may not be a big deal or they may not even notice.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it a lot and definitely recommend checking it out and supporting a writer from the Bronx.

Also, the cover is gorgeous!

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Bronx Book Fair, Saturday May 30

This Saturday, May 30, 2015 the Bronx Book Fair will be held at the Bronx Library Center featuring workshops, talks, and readings from local authors. Plus, it’s totally free!

Read below for more information:

The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the
community of poets and writers in the Bronx and to connecting those
literary artists to readers and booklovers of all ages. Through
readings, workshops, and presentations our goal is to engage the
community with a variety of literature and programs that will broaden
access to Bronx literary artists, increase library usage, and
encourage a love of books and reading.

• Music: NuyoRican School Poetry Jazz Ensemble is a performance
ensemble grounded in the idea of providing creative literature in

• Poetry performance by Grammy Award-winning poet J. Ivey
• Storyteller Thelma Ruffin Thomas

• Contributors to the Bronx Memoir Project will read personal
selections from the book.
Bronx Heroes ComicCon! Connect with great comic book artists from
the Bronx and NYC area.

Bronx-born Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa will read from her book
Daughters of the Stone.
• Workshop: Writing Womanhood: Telling Our Stories in Our Voice,
facilitated by Peggy Robles Alvarado and Lorraine Currelley

• Legacy Women, an all-women’s traditional musical group rooted
in Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms and traditions, bring
their unique blend of drumming, song, and dance

• Librarian Panel Discussion: Engaging Readers: Adults, Teens and
Children. Presented by the Bronx Library Center/NYPL

• Poetry Reading: Urayoán Noel of Canto Mundo, Brian Francis of
Cave Canem and Cathy Linh Che of Kundiman Poetry Reading

• BRIO Reading: Bronx Recognizes Its Own award winners Froilan Kali
Ramirez and Nahshon Ratcliff read from recent work.
• Open Mic hosted by Five Boro Story Project. Poets, register
early, limited space.

Catch Bronx Poet Urayoán Noel’s Book Launch THIS Saturday, July 5

The Bronx Council on the Arts will be doing having a special book launch party for BRIO Award Winner Urayoán Noel this upcoming Saturday! Read below for details from BCA.

The Bronx Council on the Arts’ (BCA) Bronx Writers Center will present a book signing and reading by Bronx poet and scholar Urayoán Noel, at BCA’s future headquarters at 2700 East Tremont Avenue       

(corner of St. Raymond Avenue) on Saturday, July 5, 2014, from 4:00-6:00 pm. Noel will speak about his newest book, In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam, followed by a Q&A discussion. Admission is free and all are welcome. Books will be available for purchase.

“The Bronx Writers Center is honored to host Mr. Noel’s first New York City book release event for this groundbreaking study. And we will have more events as such in the future, as part of our book presentation series designed to spotlight books being published by Bronx natives and residents, as well as books about the Bronx In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam (University of Iowa Press, 2014) is a critical analysis of the development of the Nuyorican poetry movement, from its mid-20th-century barrio roots to the contemporary global stage. 2011 BCA BRIO winner and Bronx resident Urayoán Noel is a poet, performer, scholar, translator and Assistant Professor of English and Spanish at NYU. The Bronx Writers Center supports and develops the appetite for writing and reading in the Bronx and searches for and promotes new community voices and audiences via literary and literacy programs. The Bronx Council on the Arts is a private, non-profit membership organization that is the official cultural agency of Bronx County for more than 50 years. Recognized nationally as a leading arts service organization in providing cultural services and arts programs, BCA serves a multicultural constituency of almost 1.4 million residents. BCA provides an array of services to 5,000 artists and more than 250 arts and community-based organizations.

The Bronx Writers Center, a program of the Bronx Council on the Arts, is supported by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Robert A. Bowne Foundation, the NYS Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, Arts Midwest, the Lambent Foundation of the Tides Foundation, and the Bronx Branches of the New York Public Library.