News and views from the award-winning author of the Class H Trilogy: AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSE DIVIDED and PANCHO LAND

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Being Hispanic

As part of the 2013 Ohio Diversity Latino Talent & Leadership Conference, I had a chance to meet a talented high school student who shared this poignant essay. Her words deserve to be heard. 
Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Being Hispanic
By Kimberly K. Maldonado-Torres 
People have different opinions of what being Hispanic is, for me being Hispanic is that difference. I can’t possibly truly define what being Hispanic is, because it is a colorful mixture. There are so many pieces that I find it a shame I can’t delve into them all. I can say this though, it is like the pull of the tide, it is the sway of the palm trees, it is the heat that comes of the dancing flame. This is what I think being Hispanic is; the merging of many components that leads to diversity matched by few. Being Hispanic allows me to see beyond just race and color; I rose from a rainbow like family and can see the attributes of others no matter where they come from. I personally see being Hispanic as not just a few races, many times I forget race is involved, I see being Hispanic as an upbringing. It is a connection that binds us all. Even though we come from different places, our core is derived from the same concoction. That color, those feelings within us all, drive us forward and helps us shape the world around us. I still find it difficult to put it to words, but I feel that even with everything that makes it up, above all being Hispanic is about unity and acceptance, no matter your roots. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reality Check on Immigration Reform

Put away the festive hats, my friends. The party is over on immigration reform. The House Republicans, who control that body, have pronounced the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill dead on arrival. 

In truth, the massive Senate bill was never more than political theater, a crass attempt to woo Latino voters by a coalition of politicians with temporary mutual objectives. These included the national committees of both major parties, senators with national ambitions and those in districts with large Latino populations. They are the only winners in this farrago. The losers are the U.S. public, the majority of whom support immigration reform, at least in principle. 

So today, I think it's worthwhile to reprise an essay I penned in March of this year. Unfortunately, it is still all too relevant.

Immigration: The Political Rubik’s Cube

First, the good news: Immigration reform has gained support among Democrats and Republicans. And now, the bad news: Immigration reform also has some very determined opponents in bothparties.
As recent headlines show, the pro-reform Republicans include national party leaders who see their party in a demographic death spiral without Latino support along with employers in labor-starved industries. Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, worried about the negative effects on Latino voters of racist-laced rhetoric against illegal immigration, urged the GOP to “stop being the stupid party.” Meanwhile, high-tech business leaders have organized a “virtual march for immigration reform” to bring more skilled workers into the country as part of a comprehensive immigration bill. All this bodes well for a bi-partisan reform effort. However, the Republicans are deeply divided on the issue.
Opposing reform in the GOP is the nativist fringe. Their xenophobic fears are best summed up by a woman at a Tea Party rally with a sign that read: I want my country back. Along with Tea Party types, the nativist wing is represented by well-organized lobbying groups like NumbersUSA, Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Although the Republican national leadership has scaled back its support for these groups, they will still pose a formidable obstacle to immigration reform. Their members have proven to be energetic and highly vocal in the past. “An amnesty bill is going to split the party,” FAIR spokesman Bob Kane told theNew York Times.
On the surface, Democratic support appears strong. President Obama has declared that immigration reform is a priority of his second term. But labor unions, a powerful Democratic constituency, are opposed to a key component of any comprehensive immigration bill: a guest worker program. Will the Democrats risk a major source of funds and organizing power and pass a bill opposed by big labor? Not likely.
The safest play for the Democrats will be to pay lip service to comprehensive immigration reform, do very little to see it passed, and blame the Republicans when it doesn’t. This tactic will secure Democratic support among Latinos while avoiding a confrontation with big labor.
How do supporters of immigration reform solve this political Rubik’s Cube? One way is to avoid a “comprehensive” bill altogether. Remember the horror show of divisiveness over comprehensive health care reform? That debate might seem civil compared to the passions comprehensive immigration reform could stir.
We’ve made progress on the DREAM Act. Let’s push it over the top. A guest worker program is another piece of immigration reform that could be passed separately (with Republican support) and help undocumented workers come out of the shadows. Increasing the number of visas for highly skilled workers would help the U.S. become more competitive as well. Taken one at a time, each issue has a better chance of emerging intact than as part of a behemoth comprehensive bill requiring compromises that will leave everyone dissatisfied.
Let’s solve the immigration Rubik’s Cube by passing reforms one at a time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ohioana Book Festival - A celebration of the written word

Most of us who write do so because we are compelled to it. Even those fortunate enough to achieve some measure of success still endure a long trail of setbacks along the way – and there is always the solitary nature of our craft. Being an Ohioana Book Festival featured author was an experience that made those sacrifices worthwhile. I want to publicly thank the Ohioana staff for this honor and the fine work they do on behalf of all Ohio authors and readers.

The book festival was marvelously coordinated, a day that made the authors feel special and gave readers a chance to share in the magic of writing. The outreach activities before the festival were elegantly managed as well. Congratulations to the Ohioana Library team on another wonderful event.

The Columbus Dispatch carried a full page story on the book festival
The crowds filed in promptly at 10:00am and lasted all day.
I was honored to be among the ten featured authors at the 2013 Ohioana Book Festival. Back row, left to right: Ellis Avery, Daniel Kirk, Robert Olmstead, Raul Ramos y Sanchez, Emilie RIchards. Front row, left to right: Rae Carson, P. Craig Russel, Bob Hunter, Sharon Short, Carla Buckley. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Do you really know the facts?

Classifications of ethnicity and race in the U.S. can be bewildering -- and have changed over time. Do you really know the facts? Take the quiz below and find out. The correct answers may surprise you.

The U.S. will be a "minority" nation by 2050. free polls 

Most people of African ancestry in the Americas speak English. free polls 

The second largest "Chinatown" in the Americas was in what city? free polls 

Which of the terms below has never been used as a racial category on a U.S. census? free polls 

Want the correct answers? You'll find them here. 

Thanks for taking part!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

By Far the Best of an Exciting Trilogy

This recent Amazon review of PANCHO LAND by journalist Leonel Martinez captures the essence of the novel so well, I think it merits its own blog post. Thank you, Leonel, for taking the time to pen your insights.

By Far the Best of an Exciting Trilogy

A review by Leonel Martinez

A few years ago, when I read the first book of the Class H Trilogy, "America Libre," I wondered why no novelist had thought about this plot before. Picture this:

After months of steadily increasing violence between Hispanics and non-Hispanics across the southwest U.S., cities throughout the nation erupt in flames. Finally, Congress passes legislation to approve the erection of large walls around inner-city barrios, transforming them into quarantine zones like the Japanese internment camps of World War II.

But the violence increases until the truth is obvious: The United States is in an all-out civil war against Latino insurgents, derisively called "Panchos."

This is the focus of Cuban-born author Raul Ramos y Sanchez's three cautionary war tales about a Latino secession from the U.S., "America Libre," "House Divided," and "Pancho Land." The latest installment, "Pancho Land," is by far the best.

The main character, Manolo "Mano" Suarez, is an unemployed mechanic and military veteran who finds himself the reluctant leader of the Latino insurgency. But in "Pancho Land," he fights a more personal war as well, becoming increasingly embroiled in conflicts with his rebellious son, Ramon. As if that's not enough, Suarez works with the movement's diplomat to fend off the rebels' more radical elements and ensure the Latino secessionists can one day be recognized by the United Nations as a legitimate government.

The book surpasses the others at least in part because Ramos seems to have gained confidence with each. The characters in "Pancho Land" are more complex, the plot more intricate, and the political lessons more striking.

When the insurgents choose Latinos to infiltrate the U.S., for example, they recruit those of lighter skin or with African features because most Americans tend to stereotype Latinos as brown. And Ramos drives the point home by emphasizing a fact that would surprise most in the U.S: There are more black people who speak Spanish in the Western hemisphere than those who speak English.

Read these books, and they will reaffirm what I hope most of us know: The only enemy is extremism.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The May winner of a signed novel from the Class H Trilogy

Brooklyn-based photographer Jhonn de La Puente is this month's winner of a signed novel from the Class H Trilogy. Congratulations, Jhonn! I really appreciate your support and that of all the people who like the Class H Trilogy on Facebook.

Would you like to win a signed copy of AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSE DIVIDED or PANCHO LAND?

You'll be automatically registered to win every month when you like the Class H Trilogy page on Facebook. It's as easy as clicking on the link below.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Last day for PANCHO LAND Kindle edition at $1.99

Just a reminder that today is the last day for the special price of $1.99 on PANCHO LAND for Kindle. I hope you'll take advantage of this 60% savings on a novel that is among the top ten in Amazon's Top Rated Political Fiction.

My publisher introduced this three-day discount to celebrate my selection as a Featured Author at the Ohioana Book Festival. You and your friends in the region are cordially invited to attend the festival which is free and open to the public.

Ohioana Book Festival
May 11, 2013
10am to 4:30pm
Fort Hayes Metropolitan
Education Center
546 Jack Gibbs Boulevard
Columbus, OH 43215

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

PANCHO LAND among Amazon's Top Rated Political Fiction

It's proving to be a week of good news. Following the official announcement of my selection as a Featured Author at the Ohioana Book Festival, I learned of another windfall of good fortune...

PANCHO LAND reached the top ten in Amazon's Top Rated Political Fiction titles. 

To see my work listed alongside George Orwell, Vince Flynn and other political fiction luminaries is something I dared not dream when I began work on my first novel, AMERICA LIBRE. This milestone is a testament to the colleagues, friends and family who have helped me hone an audacious idea into a story that readers have rated as a satisfying experience. My deepest thanks to all of you.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez

If you've considered buying PANCHO LAND, the next two days might be a great time. My publisher has reduced the Kindle price from $4.99 to $1.99 (60% off) to celebrate my selection as a Featured Author at the Ohioana Book Festival. More details at this link:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Selected as a major book festival Featured Author

Dayton Daily News story by reporter and fellow Featured Author Sharon Short
I'm proud to announce the Ohioana Book Festival has selected me as one of its ten Featured Authors for 2013. This honor is based on the release of the third novel in my Class H Trilogy, PANCHO LAND. The Class H Trilogy includes the novels AMERICA LIBRE (2009), HOUSE DIVIDED (2011) and PANCHO LAND (2012).
In the seven years since its inception the Ohioana book Festival has become one of the major literary events in the Midwest. And my publisher (whom I'm happy to say always looks out for the bottom line), is making available a limited-time discount to celebrate this special recognition…
60% Off 

I hope you'll join me in celebrating this special honor and will share this news with friends and family.

Where and when:
Ohioana Book Festival
May 11, 2013
10am to 4:30pm
Fort Hayes Metropolitan
Education Center
546 Jack Gibbs Boulevard
Columbus, OH 43215

Friday, April 5, 2013

April Winner of a Signed Novel from the Class H Trilogy

Congratulations to the April winner of a signed novel from the Class H Series... Amielynne Barr! Thanks for your support, Amie -- and thanks to everyone who likes the Class H Trilogy, the page where you are automatically entered in a drawing to win a signed novel every month. 

Want a chance to win a signed novel from the Class H Trilogy every month?
Like the Class H Trilogy page on Facebook.