Sunday, January 31, 2010

Puerto Rican Statehood - The Vote No

Since I'm Puerto Rican and write about Puerto Rico, I sometimes get asked about Puerto Rico's status. Puerto Rico is either a territory of the United States or a colony depending on who you ask. The UN is on the side of colony.

Every once in a while, the question comes up in a formal way, and Puerto Ricans on the island are asked to vote to voice their opinion. Usually the vote goes something like 49% for statehood, 49% for status quo and 2% for independence. It seems that the question is going to be called again.

What would I vote?

Well, first I'd say I should have absolutely no right to vote because I don't have a primary residence on the island. I live in Connecticut. People who aren't on the island shouldn't have a vote. Period. Why? Aren't they just as Puerto Rican as those on the island? Sure. But they won't be living with the decision. I'm just as American as any Texan, but I don't live there and shouldn't have a vote on what affects them only.

But what advice would I give my friends and family who do live there? I have two pieces of advice:

1 - The citizens of Puerto Rico should look at the history of what has happened to native populations in each of the 50 states. For instance, did native Hawaiians maintain control of their island in 1959? Are the Eskimo people (Inuits?) the powers of Alaska? Puerto Ricans should ask whether Native Americans or even Mexican descendants benefitted by the statehood votes in California or Texas or New Mexico or Arizona or Colorado or Nevada or any other state. Will Puerto Ricans be able to retain control of the island upon becoming a state? If the answer is yes, then go for it. It would be lovely to be the first state out of 51 to have the native population retain control after statehood.

2 - Realize that as soon as Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state, there will be a big push (bigger than in previous years) to make English the official language of the United States. Only a tiny percentage of Puerto Rico's 4 million residents speak English fluently enough to do well if, for instance, court proceedings and contracts were all in English. Of course, the 1st amendment might protect the right of Puerto Ricans to have their contracts and laws be in whatever language they choose, but I'd rather see an amendment to the US Constitution that says that "Congress shall make no law concerning an official language for the United States." When that happens, there will be a real protection for Puerto Ricans.

Notice that Puerto Rico would be one of the bottom three states in terms of economics. There's a benefit, then for the people of Puerto Rico. For the first time, they'd be eligible for welfare. There'd also be some more monies poured into the island to bring their schools and infrastructure up to par (though they're generally not so bad now).

Right now, I'd be for the status quo. Hopefully, with one more generation, Puerto Rico will be ready to hold its own.
I love the island and I love America. Just not sure they're right for each other at this time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Interview

There's an interview with me up at El Boricua. El Boricua means "The Puerto Rican" in Taino-speak. This is part of the massive buildup for the March 30th launch of BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO.

In other parts of my promotional efforts, I have a call in with Oprah's people, and certain low-level managerial staff at both B&N and Borders have promised me that both chains will have special midnight parties to celebrate the release of the book. People are expected to come costumed as Sheriff Luis Gonzalo or one of his deputies.

Of course, most of my fans so far have been Puerto Ricans, and the costume wouldn't be complete without handguns, so things could be very interesting...

Back to the interview...

In it, I talk a bit about my background for writing THE CONCRETE MAZE among other things.
There are also some great recipes in case you're looking for some fine Latino food. Be warned, however, that the food can lead to a sensory overload.

On the other hand, my interview will leave you feeling quite dull, so in all, things balance out...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Beginning of the End...

A few years back Reed Farrel Coleman waged a campaign to "Save Moe." Since his character, Moe Prager, is still going strong, the campaign must have gone well. I'm tempted to start a "Save Luis" campaign. Gonzalo is on the chopping block. That is, The next in the series Blackout in Precinct Puerto Rico is coming out to greet the world on March 31st of this year - happy news, no? But there's no contract for anything after that. Interestingly, the book is also the first that I wrote and the earliest set, so, in a way, the series has come full circle.

I'd love to expand the circle, write more novels, extend the series, see where Gonzalo goes next. I'm very much afraid - resigned, almost - of NOT seeing that happen. I have more to say, and I think the world could use more Gonzalo. Ah well.

What thinkest thou? Should I hope against hope that someone the numbers will work out and warrent a new adventure or should I move on and leave a tired series to die in the dust?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Edgars...

It's been a while, but here is a bit of news (besides Robert Parker's daeth...) The MWA has announced the nominees for Edgars this year. Congrats to all of course...


The Missing by Tim Gautreaux (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)
The Odds by Kathleen George (Minotaur Books)
The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books)
Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston (Random House - Ballantine Books)
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett (HarperCollins)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)


The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (Grand Central Publishing)
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley (Simon & Schuster - Touchstone)
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf (MIRA Books)
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield (Minotaur Books – Thomas Dunne Books)
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (Minotaur Books)


Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano (Akashic Books)
The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill (Pleasure Boat Studio – Caravel Books)
Body Blows by Marc Strange (Dundurn Press – Castle Street Mysteries)
The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler (Felony & Mayhem Press)


Columbine by Dave Cullen (Hachette Book Group - Twelve)
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr (HarperCollins)
Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo (The Penguin Press)
Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)


Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James (Random House - Alfred A. Knopf)
The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)
The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent (Fall River Press)


"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" – Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins (Busted Flush Press)
"Femme Sole" – Boston Noir by Dana Cameron (Akashic Books)
"Digby, Attorney at Law" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Jim Fusilli (Dell Magazines)
"Animal Rescue" – Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane (Akashic Books
"Amapola" – Phoenix Noir by Luis Alberto Urrea (Akashic Books)


The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf)
Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Penguin Young Readers Group – Philomel Books)


Reality Check by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)
If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Children’s Books)
Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books)
Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)


"Place of Execution," Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (PBS/WGBH Boston)
"Strike Three" – The Closer, Teleplay by Steven Kane (Warner Bros TV for TNT)
"Look What He Dug Up This Time" – Damages, Teleplay by Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman (FX Networks)
"Grilled" – Breaking Bad, Teleplay by George Mastras (AMC/Sony)
"Living the Dream" – Dexter, Teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime)


"A Dreadful Day" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Dan Warthman (Dell Magazines)


Dorothy Gilman


Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Zev Buffman, International Mystery Writers’ Festival


Poisoned Pen Press (Barbara Peters & Robert Rosenwald)

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 28, 2010)

Awakening by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur Books)
Cat Sitter on a Hot Tin Roof by Blaize Clement (Minotaur Books)
Never Tell a Lie by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Lethal Vintage by Nadia Gordon (Chronicle Books)
Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel (HarperCollins)