Author Websites: A Virtual Walk With 5 Favorite Authors

Sometimes a book is so good, you wish it didn’t end. It had great characters, a dramatic setting, and a plot that kept you up long past Leno’s monologue.

Check the author’s website to find other books and share the inspiration behind the words that keep us turning pages, either paper or digital.

Here are 5 author websites that deliver all that and more:

Isabel Allende

The prolific and fabled author has a site that is both rich in content and cleverly designed with unexpected visual treats at every turn. Little colorful sketches pop up when you hover over menu selections and a rose is her signature graphic. The site has two versions, one in English and one in Spanish.

This site offers a deep dive into Allende’s life and work. It is worth a minute to look through Allende’s biography and family photos, as well as read the Musings section, which contains essays on life, love, and her approach to writing. A new window opens for the Blog, which is mostly about her press events and foundation charity work. A sideways scrolling Timeline (under the About section) of her writing life was a well done and unique feature I have not seen elsewhere and gives everything we want to know about the author.

The site made me sigh with author envy except for the light gray text in some areas which was a bit hard to read.

Cristina García

The author of The King Of Cuba, as well as a wide selection of other novels and non-fiction works, has a website that showcases not only her books but also the Las Dos Brujas Writing Workshops that she sponsors. The Books page is especially easy to navigate, with her beautiful covers arranged in a grid. Click on a cover and you are taken to a page for that book with icons for easy purchase from amazon.com and other vendors.

The site prominently displays a calendar of appearances, including Las Dos Brujas workshops and there is a link to a separate website for more about the workshops. Interestingly, the site doesn’t have the traditional About page but a C.V. resume page instead. A PDF version of the resume is available for download. In lieu of a blog, there is a Select Interviews section.

C.M. Mayo

Mayo is a prolific novelist, travel writer, translator, and poet who has had a long-standing love affair with Mexico. That spirit shines through on every page of this dense and downright fun website. With quirky retro art sprinkled throughout, the site has a lot to offer, from Mayo’s podcasts documenting the life and times of Marfa, Texas, to news about both her books and those that she has reviewed. Her books, including The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, are all listed on the homepage.

The Free For You page is stuffed full of goodies, from advice to writers to her list of essential books on Mexico. The Blog tab leads to another page chock-full of links to her current and past blogs, including her popular Madam Mayo blog, her blog about reading War and Peace, and much more, all written in a friendly, direct-to-you style.

Silvio Sirias

The author of Meet Me Under the Ceiba, set in his parents’ native Nicaragua, currently lives in Panama but publishes both fiction and non-fiction in the US. His website is a lovely and clean walk through his books and life, that lands his About section as the homepage, immediately inviting you into his world.

The website has links to two different blogs, Tropical Reflections and Tropical Perceptions. The two blogs keep his site consistent by using the graphics and background, but Reflections offers musings on “events close to my heart as well as on my life as a U.S. Latino writer living in Latin America.” The blogs are not updated as often as would be optimal but each post is a substantial essay.

Luis Alberto Urrea

This website takes the prize for Best Use of Color and Graphics. The author of novels including The Hummingbird’s Daughter and nonfiction books such as The Devil’s Highway has a standout website that includes a homepage slider that lets you click rather than zooming images on its own, a list of events, and a wry bio that makes you want to read more.

A unique feature on the site is the Book Club page. If your book club is reading one of his books, you can find discussion topics and an invitation to have him connect virtually with your club! The Blog is not frequently updated although the rest of the website is, notably the book news.

What is your favorite author website? Let us know!

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Thriller and mystery author Carmen Amato’s own website is a work in progress! CLIFF DIVER, the first book in her Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “consistently exciting” and the next book in that series, HAT DANCE, will be released later this summer.

In HAT DANCE, Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil in a desperate attempt to stop an arsonist and find a missing girl. But when the music stops, the consequences will be deadly.

Check out all Carmen’s books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato and connect with her on Twitter @CarmenConnects or http://facebook.com/authorcarmenamato. Her Pinterest boards illustrate her books and can be found at http://pinterest.com/CarmenConnects.

Pressed for Time and Money? 3 Places to Read Short Stories Online


By Carmen Amato

Time and money. If we had unlimited supplies of both we might spend all of both buying and reading books.

But if time and money are in short supply you can still keep reading by going online to find short stories. You can find some great reads by Latino short story writers if you know where to look.

Here are three places to start:

1. The New Yorker magazine publishes the best of contemporary fiction but only older archives are available to the general public on its website. Here are 3 wonderful short stories by noted author Cristina Henriquez: Lunch, Carnaval Las Tablas, and Ashes that previously appeared in the print version of the magazine. They all reflect her Panamanian roots.

2. The website mexconnect.com for all things Mexico has a collection of fiction short stories tucked away and discoverable by using the site’s tags. The stories run a gamut of styles and subjects but have one thing in common—they are all related to Mexico and all well written. The format of the website is nice and clean, making the stories easy to select from the main page and easy to read when fully displayed. The Sanchez Ghost was particularly good.

3. The Rio Grande Review is a non-profit bilingual literary magazine run by students of the MFA in Creative Writing at The University of Texas at El Paso. The website contains an archive all of the editions as downloadable PDFs. Each edition is in both Spanish and English, making for a lengthy PDF (latest edition is 400 pages!) so this is best read online rather than attempting to print it out. This link leads directly to the archive page.

Bonus Suggestions:

While not a strictly Latino-themed story site, National Public Radio’s 3 minute story project is an amazing collection of stories sent in by listeners, based on NPR’s weekly writing prompts. The only requirement is that stories must be original fiction and able to be read in 3 minutes. Click on the different “Rounds” on the right side of the page to load stories that correspond to that particular writing prompt. But beware! This site is highly addictive!

If you read in Spanish, enjoy elcuento.com, a well-curated collection of short stories in Spanish from a wide variety of countries. The website is extremely simple and doesn’t offer much in the way of a visual draw, but just lists editions. Click on any edition and it brings up a table of contents along with the country the author is from. The title is a link to the story. FYI—I tried Google Translate on one of the stories and it gave me a readable copy but much of the poetry in the words was lost.

Finally, I discovered Eyes of the Blue Dog by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the fiction.eserver website. This link is to the story and this link is to the general archive page for short stories. A hidden gem!

Do you have a source for online short stories? Please share it with our readers in the comments!

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Carmen Amato writes thrillers and mysteries as well as a blog about encounters, choices, and travel at http://carmenamato.net/blog. CLIFF DIVER, the first book in her Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco was praised by Kirkus Reviews as “consistently exciting” and the next book in that series, HAT DANCE, will be released later this summer.

In HAT DANCE, Acapulco detective Emilia Cruz will risk a dance with the devil in a desperate attempt to track down an arsonist and find a missing girl. But as Acapulco burns, the dance will come with a price that no honest cop should have to pay.

Check out all Carmen’s books at http://amazon.com/author/carmenamato and connect with her on Twitter @CarmenConnects. Her Pinterest boards illustrate her books and can be found at http://pinterest.com/CarmenConnects.

Video of the Week: Author René Colato Laínez – Let’s Read! ¡A leer!

Have you been following our series of Latino author videos? We are so lucky to have such great writers willing to create videos to promote Latino children’s literacy for us!

Today, author René Colato Laínez has put together another super creative video for the bilingual families participating in our summer reading program. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Video of the Week: Mother/Daughter Authors Pat Mora and Libby Martinez

We have been so blessed to have so much support for the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. And we are especially thankful to the authors who have taken the time to create special messages just for our participating families. A few weeks ago, we showed you author Lulu Delacre’s lovely video. This week we have a another great message for you from mother/daughter authors, Pat Mora and Libby Martinez. Pat has done tremendous work for children’s literacy as the founder of Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros. In addition to the many books she has written for children and adults, she has also written two books with her daughter, Libby. Together they explain why reading and parents are critical for the development of children’s literacy skills.

Video of the Week: Life on the other side / La vida en el otro lado: Duncan Tonatiuh at TEDxSanMigueldeAllende

This week’s video features author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh’s TED talk in San Miguel de Allende. You’ll find out why he began writing children’s books and how his illustrations are

inspired by Ancient Mexican art, particularly that of the Mixtec codex. He also discusses why he has chosen the themes of migration and comparing/contrasting the lives of Mexican and American children for his children’s books. It’s a great listen and we encourage you to take the time to watch the video.