Spoiler Alert!

By Shari Randall

Spoiler alert. Those warnings are ubiquitous nowadays. We just wrapped up the Olympics, where the difference in time zones made watching television or reading the news a minefield for anyone who wanted to be surprised by the outcome of an athletic event.

 

I even heard “spoiler alert” at a recent book club meeting. Half the group had finished the book —a bestselling literary novel— and the other half hadn’t. The group voted to not talk about the ending in order to avoid spoiling it for those who hadn’t read to the end. I was the only dissenter (full disclosure – it was a very book clubby book, by which I mean it wouldn’t have been so popular if the main character hadn’t survived, nay, triumphed, against the odds and lived to fight for justice another day. I was correct and I admit, I wasn’t a fan of the ending. It would’ve been much more realistic and enjoyable to me if the author had killed off the protagonist. Sorry, I digress.)

 

In general, I don’t mind knowing how a book ends. As a reader —and a writer— I find it enjoyable to see how the author weaves the story line into a satisfying conclusion.

 

But if the club’s choice had been a whodunit or work known for a big twist…I definitely wouldn’t have wanted the ending spoiled. Imagine the ire heaped on any book club member who spoiled the twist of Gone Girl or The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? What your friends would say if you spoiled the ending of The Sixth Sense or The Prestige or Murder on the Orient Express?

 

There was an article about spoilers in Psychology Today by a professor who studies decision making. You can read it here.

 

A group was given short stories to read. Some were given the story plus the ending. Then researchers asked if having the ending ruined their pleasure in the story. The outcome? Most of the study’s subjects said it didn’t.

 

My fellow mystery reading fans will immediately see the flaw in the construction of this study.

How many of the study’s subjects were mystery readers?

 

The team ran the experiment again, with a another group of subjects. This time the results were different. Ha! We know why. The group must have included mystery readers who read for the pleasure of puzzling out the clues to how-, why-, or whodunit. The study’s organizers posit there is a group with a higher “need for cognition” who like to figure out the story for themselves. (read: mystery fans)

 

The mystery reader reads because – what were Sherlock Holmes words? — “My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation.”

 

What do you think about spoilers? Do spoilers bother you or do they heighten your pleasure in a story?


Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series. Her debut, Curses, Boiled Again, won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. As Meri Allen, she writes the new Ice Cream Shop Mysteries.

 

 

The Letter to My Granddaughters by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dearest Granddaughters,

I’m a mother, an aunt, a great aunt, and a great-great-aunt, but I’m not a Grandmother. Not yet. Maybe never. But my sisters have shared their grandchildren with me and my nieces have shared their grandchildren with me; therefore I am a tia abuelita. This letter is to these granddaughters of other women who are included in my circle of love. The generations of women leading us into the new world.  I want to share with you not only my love but my knowledge and what I’ve learned from my mistakes. 

Juliana 2021 age 64

One of my great-great-grandmothers, Abrana Quintana was born in the 1800s in New Mexico Territory before it was a state. We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us. We’ve always lived in this land. She was a full-blooded Ute woman who married a white man, a traveling preacher from Maine. He moved to Santa Fe and converted indigenous people to Christianity. She may have been his translator through Indian country. They had several children and my great-grandmother, Abrana Jacobs, was born in New Mexico. 

She was half Ute and half European by way of England and indigenous New Mexico ancestors. She married a full-blooded Navajo and became Abrana Gomez. They had several children and my grandmother, Phoebe Gomez, was born in Alamosa, Colorado in 1890. 

She married a man from Alamosa and became Phoebe Mondragon. My mother, Eloisa Evelyn Mondragon was born in Howard, Colorado in 1923. She married my father, Julian Aragon, and became Louise Aragon. 

My father and mother were known as Jack and Louise. I was born in Canon City, Colorado during the blizzard of April 1957 and was named Juliana Aragon. This is my story of my ancestors and how I came to be during the 1950s and lived to be 65 years old and discovered my heritage and DNA. Many of my ancestors were indigenous to the Southwest and their bones are buried here. 

My son, Daniel, hasn’t married or had children and so the story ends with him. Except, I have you, my granddaughters, to carry on my story of being a Corn Mother and how I came to this world and how I left. You will tell my story to your children and they will tell their children and so my name will be heard and my stories will be told by you and your descendants. 

I have had the blessing of being born into a world where women had the right to vote and to make decisions about our bodies, but it wasn’t always true. Our Corn Mothers weren’t allowed to vote, practice family planning, or even wear pants. They were ruled by the patriarchal society and were told what to do, who to marry. Today, we can wear whatever we want, and we can vote for whoever we choose, so don’t forget the sacrifices made so that we have this freedom.  

What I discovered in tracing my ancestors’ journey is that we are all related. We are all a combination of DNA from many people and from many places. My mother’s people were mixed and included Ute, Navajo, and European blood. My father’s people were mixed and included Pueblo, Navajo, and Spaniard blood. But I can trace my DNA back to Africa, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, South America, and North America. We are all related. Remember this. 

What I learned from my journey in life is that I have the blood of warrior women coursing through my veins and so do you. We are survivors. We are Corn Mothers who brought everything holy into the world and we created life and gave love to all our children. I have loved thousands of children in my lifetime. I have taught and held and hugged countless children who needed hugs and love. I am blessed to have the ability to love not only my son but everyone’s children. 

I will be honored as a Corn Mother in the Return of the Corn Mothers 2022 Exhibition at the Colorado History Center this October, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done in my lifetime. I honor my Corn Mothers who did not get recognition in their lifetimes but led the way for us. Go into the world and teach the children to love everyone and to be kind to those in need.  You will be blessed in your life and you will learn what it is to truly love and be loved. 

Corn Mothers Aimee Medina Carr and Juliana Aragon Fatula 

Banned Books and Tip Lines to Snitch on Teachers by Juliana Aragón Fatula

 

1990’s Cast from Su Teatro Intro to Chicano History 101 by Anthony J. Garcia 

Dear Reader, 

I woke at 4:30 a.m. and realized that I’m losing my mind. I thought about the state of the country and I began to cry and laugh simultaneously. I wondered if I’d gone insane to be able to laugh about the news that Governors were not only banning books but creating tip lines for parents to call in to report/snitch on teachers teaching history, culture, art, music, etc. that offends their students by revealing the atrocities perpetrated against women, people of color, religions, gender fluidity, whatever. I began to cry again at the absurdity of our nation and the political turmoil that surrounds us because the left and right are strangling each other with hate against anything they don’t like. 

I watched last night’s DVR recording of my favorite journalist, Ari Melber, and his guest the world renowned astrophysicist, Neil Degrasse Tyson. I love them both. I watched the interview and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Neil was speechless several times because the clips that Ari showed him from the new blockbuster movie, Don’t Look Up, showed Meryl Streep as the President of the U.S. telling her supporters lies. They believed her lies instead of the scientists who were telling the world that an asteroid was hurling towards Earth and would destroy everyone and everything much like the extinction of the dinosaurs. He laughed at the clips but explained that it was frightening because it paralleled what the previous leader of the U.S. had done by lying to the world and claiming that he had won the election and lying about the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th saying it was a peaceful protest of patriots. wtf.

I listened to the two men, who I respect, talk about this movie that explained how we are headed for doomsday because SCIENCE and facts/truth no longer matter to people. I wondered what the fudgecicle happened to people to make them so easily duped. 

I had a good cry and remembered that books were being banned because they were teaching students to open their eyes and learn about how this country was stolen, how indigenous people were slaughtered, how Africans were kidnapped, and made to work for those same people who slaughtered the indigenous and forced to work as slaves and make those murderers rich. Students’ books and libraries are being listed as books to ban because they tell the truth about how this country came into being and how people were beaten, hung, murdered, raped, humiliated because they were other. LGBTQ books would be banned, books written by people of color about their culture would be banned, religious books would be banned if they didn’t teach Christianity. I threw up a little in my mouth and began to sob. 

I must have cried, laughed, puked, shat, farted, broke into hysterics for hours. Then I drug myself off the bathroom floor and began to write this post. My books would be banned because I dared to write poetry about drug addiction, child molestation, rape, genocide, alcoholism, cultural appropriation, religious persecution. I felt sick again and dragged myself back into the bathroom to purge the negativity out of my soul and watch it swirl down the toilet.

I for an instant thought, I don’t want to live in a world where books are banned and then I realized that if I flushed myself down the toilet and died nothing would change and THEY would win. I made a pact with myself that I would keep writing my stories, poems, plays, novels, essays and telling my truth because the truth matters. And I know that when I was teaching I would have been one of those teachers that was snitched on the tip line for teaching the truth/science/facts/history/world culture/world peace because the haters gonna’ hate and the only way to fight them is with the truth, and books that are banned are the ones the students need to read. FREEDOM.

Juliana Aragón Fatula’s ancestors indigenous to Aztlan, migrated from New Mexico to Southern Colorado. In 2022 she was awarded the title of Corn Mother for the Return of the Corn Mothers Project funded by the Colorado Folk Arts Council, Chicano Humanities Arts Council, Metropolitan State University of Denver and US Bank. She is the author of The Road I Ride Bleeds, Crazy Chicana in Catholic City, and Red Canyon Falling on Churches (winner of the High Plains Book Award in 2016.) She has been a Macondista since 2011, was a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities ambassador and Director of Creative Writing for las mujeres unidas de CSU Pueblo and she conducted writing workshops for Colorado Writers in the Schools K-12, Bridging Borders, Cesar Chavez Academy, and Cañon City Middle School. She performed in the nineties with Su Teatro Cultural Performing Arts Center and after Operation Desert Storm, she toured in the Persian Gulf for the Department of Defense with the Latin Locomotions. She is shopping her first mystery, The Colorado Sisters, for a publisher. She believes in the power of education to change lives.

2021 Survivor’s Notes by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dear Reader,
The smile on my face in my Aspen Grove several years ago shows that I love living in Southern Colorado. What the smile does not show is that living in my hometown of Canon City, aka Klanyon City, has never been easy for me but my grandparents, parents, and several siblings are buried here and this is my birthplace and will probably end up being my final resting place. I will have my ashes scattered with my Sister, Irene, on Irene’s mountain about fifteen minutes from my home. 
The difficulty for me in living here are all of the memories, good and bad. I lived here for fifteen years before I left home and headed to San Francisco, California to have my son, Daniel. He was born when I was fifteen and a year later before his first birthday, we returned to Colorado and to my parents home. 
I worked and attended high school until I was sixteen and went to work full time for the phone company as a telephone operator. I made lots of friends with the ladies and learned skills in communication and business. From there I moved to Denver, Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City, Green Mtn. Falls, Divide, Woodland Park, and transferred from Mountain Bell to higher paying jobs and better positions. 
One day, my life changed and I lost everything and returned to my parents home. When I figured out what I was doing, I returned to work and began my higher education at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs. I attended Pueblo Community College, Denver University, Denver Metro, Arapahoe Community College and eventually graduated from Colorado State University – Pueblo with a degree in English and minor in Creative Writing. 
I became an educator and taught in Pueblo, Colorado at Cesar Chavez Academy for a year and loved teaching middle school language arts and teatro. But the next year I went to work in my hometown as a 7th grade language arts teacher and began my full circle of teaching in the same building that I attended almost forty years ago. 
The building had lots of memories and I felt proud to be able to visit my mother in her home everyday and go home for lunch from my job as a teacher in my hometown. It was too good to be true. I failed as a teacher in my hometown because I refused to accept the conservative and close minded parents and administration who told me that I could not teach diversity in my classroom. I did not return the next year to teach. Instead I went to work for Colorado Humanities Writers in the Schools. I taught K-12 students in writing workshops that lasted ten to twelve weeks and ended with their poems being published in an anthology of their work. It was the most rewarding job of my life. Until I began teaching writing workshops for Bridging Borders a leadership program sponsored by the El Pueblo History Center, CSU-Pueblo, Social Services, and the Rawlings Library. 
Mentoring those young women changed me. I became a role model and a leader in my new community of Pueblo. Pueblo accepted my liberal ideas and creative lessons in diversity and one World one Love thinking. I found my calling. 
Today, I continue to write for the Stiletto Gang, write book reviews for la Bloga, attend writing workshops via Zoom, read my poetry and sell my books at conferences and book fairs. I have found a way to enjoy living in my hometown without being part of the community. Instead, I travel the state and nation to places filled with diversity, and open minded individuals like me who appreciate my crazy ideas and flamboyant lifestyle. 
I graduated college at the age of fifty. I  blossomed at mid-life and now that I’m nearing 65 and senior citizen status, I’m semi-retired and loving reading, writing, researching, learning, and growing into the best human being I can possibly be. If my hometown taught me one thing it is that home is where the heart is but happiness in your community can only come when you surround yourself with like minded people and I’ve found my tribe. They are writers, educators, performers, activists, and students who are life long learners like me.  

 

Blessings on this day of thankfulness by Juliana Aragon Fatula

 Dear Reader,

Today, I give thanks to all of my loved ones for putting up with me and my cantankerous irreverent unholy magic. ha. 

My great great grandmother, Abrana Quintana a Ute woman married a white man.

Rev. Albert Jacobs a white man married a Ute Woman and became my ancestor.
Juliana Quintana Jacobs Gomez Mondragon Aragon Fatula a Crazy Chicana in Catholic City 2021

I’m thankful for the DNA that my ancestors gave me and the knowledge that we are all one people. The color of our skin does not make us different. Birds come in all colors but they are still all birds. Que no? 

I never knew my European ancestors or my Indigenous ancestors but in my research I discovered that many indigenous women married white men and had children that were mixed blood. 

I married a white man and we did not have any children but our relationship has been of a mixed race marriage and we have made it work for 30 years. I’m thankful for him and his Slovak ancestors that made his DNA. 

I’m thankful for my father’s DNA that gave me my Navajo and Pueblo ancestors. And my mother’s DNA that gave me Ute and Navajo ancestors. 

I am a mixed blood Mexican Indian. A Chicana from Southern Colorado. I’m thankful for all of my ancestors, European and Indigenous that made me into the human being that loves all people of all colors, races, religions and ethnicities. 

This holiday remember where you come from and be thankful that you live in a country that believes in Democracy. At least if we can keep it. 

Thank you readers for taking time out of your busy holiday to read my blog and listen to my stories. I’m thankful for you. 

The Search for mi tatarabuela by Juliana Aragón Fatula

2015 Holy Cross Abbey, Canon City, Colorado

October 28, 2021 

 
Dear Reader, 
October blew in like a hot air balloon on LSD. Whoosh. My lawn chairs down the block at the neighbor’s hootenanny. My golden Aspen leaves blown to smithereens and my wildflower seeds scattered to the wind. Southern Colorado today feels like windy Wyoming or the streets of Chicago on a blustery day in autumn. But let me get to the point. I’m not here to discuss the weather in Southern Colorado. I’m here to discuss the phenomenon known as Zoom Writing Workshops. 
My next workshop falls on November 7, 2021. The great fact of Zooming Workshops, I don’t have to spend time and money traveling to Las Cruces, New Mexico; but oh, how I wish I were travelling south to visit mi comadre, Denise Chavez. She leads an incredible writing workshop. This will be my second with the Chicana icon. She holds a special place in my heart, and we have become comadres/familia. 
Juliana with Denise Chavez in Las Cruces, New Mexico

My assignment from Denise instructs me to find a photo of a relative and study the photo and place a copy in a sketch book and doodle, draw, dabble with words, figures, whatever comes to my imagination but put it down in pencil, ink, colored pencils, markers. I can use glue and scissors and add memorabilia to my tribute to my ancestor. The exercise focuses my attention on one singular person, the flexibility to create something, and to write when the story comes to me. 
I’ve chosen my tatarabuela mi great-great-grandmother, Southern Ute from New Mexico Territory before it was a state. I have a photo of her thanks to Ancestry.com and a relative I discovered through DNA testing. My indigenous ancestry ties me to North and South America as well as many other countries. I’m fifty-eight percent indigenous to this continent, America.

I knew my maternal grandmother, Phoebe Mondragón, but not my great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother. I’ve made the pilgrimage to Alamosa and to Villanueva, New Mexico to visit my ancestors graves. I honor my ancestors for the struggles they endured to enable me to be a survivor. 

Abranita Quintana Jacobs 1860’s

My tatarabuela, Abrana Quintana, was born March 16, 1842, in the territory of New Mexico. Her ancestors came from Ute land. I’ve never told her story until now and although I don’t know the facts, I do know her truth. She was an indigenous woman living in the wild west during the Indian Wars, the Mexican American War, the Civil War. She married a white man, a Preacher who converted the indigenous people of New Mexico and Southern Colorado and taught his wife and children the English language with the help of the Bible. 
Why did she marry him? Did she need a husband? Did he need a wife? Did he need a translator? Did he need a woman tough enough to survive the old west and the ways of the white man during a struggle over the land, water rights, and human rights? Did she need a home, money, food, safety? Did he need someone to teach him the culture of the Ute people? 
My research has led me to the place they married Ft. Union, New Mexico. Records indicate that he served in the military during the Indian Wars and fought in several battles. Did he kill people or was he the official preacher for the wounded and dead who fought the Indians? Did she cook, feed, nurse the soldiers who invaded, stole, and pillaged her people?

She received a pension from the military after her husband died. Did she become a Christian or did she retain some of her native skills, language, culture? Did she pass those skills to her children? 

My grandmother, Phoebe Gomez was Abrana Quintana’s granddaughter. She was bilingual but spoke English and Spanish/Spanglish. She read the Bible every day, attended church, played the accordion, and sang hymns. I learned Bible stories and hymns from my grandmother. But I didn’t learn any of the Ute language or customs. The Anglos acculturated my ancestors both Ute, Navajo, and Pueblo into Mexicans, then Mexican Americans, and today are known as Chicano: Abranita Quintana Jacobs, Abrana Jacobs Gomez, Phoebe Gomez Mondragón, Eloísa Mondragón Aragón, Juliana Aragón Fatula. 

For my Zoom writing workshop assignment, my research and storytelling will take me to the New Mexico Territory to discover my tatarabuela Abrana Quintana and her ancestors so they can tell me who I am, where I come from, and where I’m going. Because, until you know where you’ve been, you cannot know where you are going. And everywhere you go, there you is.

The Cycle of Life in My Chicana Garden by Juliana Aragon Fatula

 September 23, 2021

Dear Reader,

Woke up this morning and ventured out the backdoor to inspect my Chicana Garden. The hawk landed on my grape arbor and settled in amongst the concord grapes. I waited. The hawk flew low to the ground and swooped towards my tomatoes. I waited and watched. The hawk reappeared and flew inside the arbor and landed. I thought the hawk was eating my grapes, but they had already dropped to the ground and shriveled into raisins. I walked toward the hawk and heard it flittering in the grape leaves. It flew away and returned underneath the arbor and waited while I slowly crept closer. I thought maybe he was blind or injured or maybe couldn’t take flight because it was too young but as I drew nearer the hawk spread its wings and took flight. I looked in the sky but didn’t see the hawk in the air. I approached the bird and the hawk took to the grape leaves and I heard fluttering of several wings. I thought maybe the hawk was trying to rescue baby hawks that were stuck in the grape arbor. But then I realized the hawk was after my sparrows. 

A couple of small sparrows were scrambling for safety from the hawk in the large grape leaves and the hawk was trying to push them out from their cover. I watched and waited. The hawk flew away and took to the heavenly blue sky. I wondered why the hawk hunted in my backyard and then I realized my husband feeds the birds and provides bird houses and a bird bath for water to drink. My backyard is a sanctuary for birds, or so I thought. But, by feeding the birds and providing food, water, and shelter we provided the perfect hunting ground for the hawk. Plenty of sparrows, doves, blue jays, robins, finches, and hummingbirds. 

Our beautiful garden filled with apple and peach trees, grapes, and plentiful flowers to attract bees and butterflies looks like the garden of Eden. The birds sing and soar through the yard bomb diving carefree. They flock to my yard for the bird seed and stay because of the numerous bird houses hanging from the trees. There’s even a condo with twelve apartments that my husband built. It looks like a miniature of our house. 

We have two dogs, a Border Collie, and a mini-Aussie. We used to have four cats but one by one they grew old, and one by one, as they turned eighteen, they died, and we buried them in the flower garden. I used to worry that my husband was feeding the birds and the cats were hunting them and eating them. But now my cats are gone and buried, and the hawk hunts my birds. 

Our dogs like to bark at the birds, the squirrels, the deer that eat my roses and they bark at the cats. Our yard is full of birds singing, dogs barking, and deer grazing. Don’t forget the corn stealing, masked bandits, the raccoons. They arrive in the dark, as do the bears, to rummage through the dumpster. The dogs sleep through all the thievery and snore loudly until morning. 

I wake up and walk to the backdoor and witness the hawk swoop into my grape arbor and stalk the sparrows. The scent of concord grapes rises from the lawn and lingers as I watch the hawk take to the turquoise sky with a sparrow in its talons. The circle of life has begun and ended in my Chicana Garden as the birds build their nests and lay their eggs in the spring. 

Three Things: With Debra H. Goldstein

 by Shari Randall

If you’re a reader of the blog, you’ve made the acquaintance of the multi-faceted Debra H. Goldstein. Judge, litigator, author are just a few of the words that describe her. 

I thought it would be fun to play a game to learn a bit more about Debra, things you might not know. I stumbled upon a Facebook game called Three Things that was a lot of fun, so here’s “Three Things With Debra!” I loved learning more about her, especially our shared love of pizza and dark chocolate.


Three Things You Might Not Know About Debra H. Goldstein

Three favorite foods:  Pizza, ice cream, dark chocolate
Three places I’ve lived: New Jersey, Michigan, Alabama
Three jobs I’ve had: Salesperson, litigator, judge
Three things I can’t do without: Family, books, and it is a toss-up between pizza and dark chocolate
Three favorite places: Beach (any place with water), New York City (Broadway), almost anywhere in Europe (I love exploring)
Three favorite hobbies: Reading, Writing, Piano
Three things I’m looking forward to: my son’s wedding; more grandchildren (this may take awhile to achieve); Four Cuts Too Many (Sarah Blair Mystery) was released on May 25, 2021, but I can’t wait for Five Belles Too Many to come out in June 2022.

How about you, readers? What are three things about you that you’d like to share?

Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series. Yes, she plays too many games on Facebook. Three things about her? She loves to dance, can’t do without cardigan sweaters, and writes the new Ice Cream Shop Mystery series as Meri Allen.

The Colorado Sisters, L.A. and Eva Mondragon, Chicana Private Investigators by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Me with amigo and fellow Latin Loco Motion Perform, Manuel Roybal, Sr. and our tour guide in Sicily near Mt. Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe. I loved touring and performing on the military bases in 1995 between the Gulf War and the war that followed. The best days of my youth were spent flying in cargo planes like the ones transporting the asylum seekers from Afghanistan today. Have a little charity. 

Dear Reader, 

     This summer spun me on my heels, ripped my hair out of my head, threw me on my ass, and kicked me in the gut then punched me in the mouth. I’m not being  hyperbolic; I’m describing how I felt when I faced my son and asked him why he refused to get vaccinated against Covid 19. He said, we’re in a civil war in this country. Vaxed and the unvaxed. He shouted his theories. I remained calm and quietly wept. I gave up and accepted his choice. I’m writing this because I need your prayers or whatever voodoo you do do because I’m desperate for a miracle. If my prayers are answered, I’m worrying for no reason; but reality, science, facts, statistics and the fact that we live in a county notorious for not wearing masks or getting vaccinated has validated my fears.  

     So today, I’m going to stand tall and ask all the ancestors to send their healing power and energy to my son and protect him. I’m going to smudge sage and sweetgrass and burn copal and chant and drum in the spirits to surround him with a safety net since he won’t do it himself. I’m going to think positive and remain calm and peaceful because there’s not a fricking thing I can do. He’s an adult. It’s his body. 

     As for my healing over this heartache, I write. I’m writing a book review for a writer I greatly admire. I’m working on a speech for an event in September called Latina Voices. They invited me to speak at the ten year anniversary and asked if I’d write a poem about Latina Voices to celebrate the event. So I’m writing a poem and trying something I don’t do and rhyming so it’s easier to memorize. Ha. I’m also scouring my closets and jewelry drawer for my regalia as a Corn Mother 2022 photo shoot and working on what shoes to wear and how to style my hair. Yikes.

     I have several writing projects in the works, always. I have completed two manuscripts, a memoir of poems called Gathering Momentum. I’ve also completed my first mystery love story, The Colorado Sisters and the Atlanta Butcher and will be submitting it for possible publication with a Chicano/Latino Press. There are only a few, but it’s important to me to be represented by mi gente. 

     The mystery is complete but in my head are two more mysteries involving the Colorado Sisters, L.A. and Eva. They have been described as fascinating characters and the men in their love lives have that certain je ne sais quoi that makes women swoon. Ooh la la. The love scenes steamed up my glasses one night and I had to take a cold shower. The characters are unique, funny, mysterious, and professional. I admit I’ve fallen in love with the characters I’ve created and their little world and the Love Shack, the 35 foot Airstream that serves as home base for the P.I. biz. 

     I’m proud of the work and the creativity that went into this manuscript and I’m anxious to write the next one and the next one. If nothing else, my writing and researching, and reading, and submitting keeps my head focused and my eyes on the future instead of the past and the chaos that is the 2020 Global Pandemic and the Civil War that rips families apart. 

Titles that Scream Read Me By Juliana Aragon Fatula

 Dear Reader,

What’s in a title? What’s in a name? Ask yourself what’s the title of the last book you read and the name of the author. I last read a series of books by the author Janet Evanovich. I had heard the author’s name before, but had never read any of her work. I decided to give her a try and I am now a huge fan. I read six of her books in one week. She kept me from being sad during a rough patch in my month. I’m glad I found Janet because she made me realize something about my own writing style. 

I’ve struggled with picking a specific genre for my mystery writing but I settled on love story. Sure there are private investigators, suspects, a homicide vicim, police detectives, coroner, and crime scene, but at the heart of the story are lovers. Murder and mayhem and romance and sex scenes, oh my. Janet led me to understand that my characters are in love in the middle of a brutal attack of the Atlanta Butcher. Dun dun dun. 

So the title of my love story has to reflect both the crime and the hook, the Colorado Sisters Private Investigators and the Atlanta Butcher Homicide. The Colorado Sisters and the Atlanta Butcher. A friend suggested the title should be The Atlanta Butcher, but I see this becoming a series of mysteries: The Colorado Sisters and the Denver Diabolical Death, The Colorado Sisters and the Chicago Serial Killer, The Colorado Sisters and the Pueblo Reservoir Drowning, The Colorado Sisters and the Yellowstone Camp Kidnapping. So as you can clearly see, the Colorado Sisters have lots of crimes to solve and I should get busy writing these mystery love stories. 

Watch this blog for future reveals and follow me on facebook to discover who killed Reggie Hartless and who is the Atlanta Butcher. The Colorado Sisters, L.A. and Eva Mondragon private investigators solve murders, missing persons, and cheating spouses and they travel the lower 48 states in the Love Shack, the silver airstream office on wheels complete with bullet proof windows, security audio and video system, password encrypted locks, and satellite telecommunications. 

Also, someone asked why so many of my characters in my story are gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual, I explained that many of my friends are LGBTQ and it feels true to me. It may not be your truth but it is my reality, so my characters reveal the world that I envision. The world where I live has people of all backgrounds and they lead diverse lives. So when you read my work and you ask yourself what kind of writer names a criminal defense attorney Shakespeare and gives him a crew cut Chingona girlfriend with a talent for hacking computers and undercover work that solves crimes.

And while we’re at it, how about the characters Smith and Wesson, the Border Collies that fall in love with the number one suspect, Tony McNally? Will they end up in puppy prison or will they help L.A. and Eva, the Colorado Sisters, solve the investigation?