Annette Montez Kolda
Welcome to my blog! Here you will find my inspiration for my books and general thoughts about life and what I'm up to. Thanks for following along.
Definition of Comadre:
Comadre literally means co-mother. The word is used to refer to a close friend,
a Godmother, or the mother of a Godchild. The word is also used to refer to the
mother of a son-in-law and the mother of a daughter-in-law. And traditionally, the
word also refers to a sponsor for quinceañeras and weddings.
As you see, the term Comadre is an important word in the Spanish language. It
carries a heavy load. For my group of twelve Comadres, none of our children are
married to each other; we are not Godmothers to each other’s children, nor have we sponsored quinceañeras and weddings.
Rather, we are friends that are closer than friends. And Comadres is the perfect
word to describe us. We love each other very much. Our group includes teachers, state and federal workers, a police officer, a doctor, a restaurant owner, a marketing director, and an insurance adjuster. Our careers are diverse, but what we have in common are our children and our faith. We’ve been together for twenty years. We met when our children attended Catholic middle school together. Now our children are grown up, married and some have their own children.
We are present to one another through good times and bad. We share the joy of
our children’s successes, marriages, and especially, especially each other’s grandkids.
We also share in the grief and loss of loved ones, trying our best to hold them up a little on our end. We share meals together, long conversations, once in a while a
weekend getaway together, and always, always shared prayer.
Prepping for Book Three
My third Sister Bridget book is a mystery, so I've been reading a lot of them. Looking back at my Kindle, I see The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell, 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard, The Searcher by Tana French, Last Day by Luanne Rice (and others by Luanne Rice), Every Last Secret by AR Torre, The Hunting Party (and others) by Lucy Foley, and more. I go through a lot of mysteries. They're so easy and fun to read, and I recommend all the above. But recently I was stopped in my tracks by Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Man Booker International Prize for this book. The book is a mystery written in first person by probably the most unique character/narrator I can think of. The story takes place in Poland and is written in Polish, so the reader gets the story from a very specific worldview, not only because of the Polish culture, but because of the unique beliefs of the narrator. I feel like the story was translated into English in an outstanding way. I don't know the Polish language, so I can't say that with 100% certainty, but I feel like the vernacular fits the culture, rather than sounding like a typical English language narrative. And, of course, it all comes down to the mystery which unwinds in an unexpected way. I liked the book so much, I started reading it all over again, picking up on clues to the mystery that I hadn't caught the first time. Also, when I'm driving, I listen to it on Audible (obsessed much?). On Audible, it is read in a slow, elderly, Polish accent. So good!
Eventually, I moved on to a new mystery when I discovered Paco Ignacio Taibo II. I'm reading his crime mystery, Some Clouds, which takes place in Mexico City. Like Tokarczuk, this book was written in another language and translated to English. This time, I do know the original language, Spanish, and I can attest that the vernacular is spot on. Some Clouds has that unique way of throwing humor into a scary, violent situation without making it inappropriate. For instance, I've reached a passage where the investigator encounters a novel writer who is in peril. The novel writer is pretty much described as a socially awkward nerd, and his name is Paco Ignacio! Not so subtle humor like that.
Book Two of my three-part series is coming soon!
St. George's Book Club
I was honored to attend St. George's Episcopal Church's book club meeting. We had fun discussing Pura Vida and enjoying a theme-inspired spread of tamales, flan, and other Mexican goodies. What a great group of ladies. Thanks for having me!
Pura Vida to be spotlighted in Bipolarmuse Quarterly
We are please to SPOTLIGHT the first chapter of Annette Montez Kolda's @azmk5 wonderful book PURA VIDA in the Fall 2017. #BIPOLARMUSEQarterly!
San Antonio Book Club
What fun! On Thursday night, I had dinner with a great group of ladies. Their book club read Pura Vida and invited me for dinner and discussion. Thank you, ladies. I enjoyed it so much. Now I need to finish my next book so I can come back!
Rob Roy Book Club
Rob Roy Neighborhood book club in Austin. These are some of the ladies from my neighborhood. We enjoy reading books and getting together in each other's homes once a month to discuss them.
Reading is the Cornerstone of Writing
When I decided to write a book, I looked for help. I turned to an online writers' programs. I applied to UCLA's Writers' Program Online and took classes offered through Writers' League of Texas. I will talk about that experience in a later post. For now, let's just talk about the importance of reading.
Reading is a writer's foundation. Remembering back to my childhood, I can still sense the magic of reading. I know that sounds cliché because everyone says it. You know what they say, "You open a book, and voilá, you are transported to a different time and place!" Kind of magical what our brains are able to accomplish with imagination.
When I was in third grade, our teacher would take us to the library and tell us to pick out a book. Naturally, I looked to the book shelves that were just my height. There, I spotted a big, fat book called Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which by the way, was first published in 1868. So there I was in 1969, a little Catholic, Latina girl reading and falling in love with the March sisters who lived such fun and interesting lives in New England during the American Civil War. That book was 101 years old when I picked it up and enjoyed it so much. The story was 101 years old, not the actual book. I mean if it were the actual book, it would be worth a lot of money and wouldn't be on the lowest shelf of Windsor Park Elementary in Corpus Christi, Texas. Anyway, you get my point. Or maybe you don't because I went off subject, but my point is that themes are universal and timeless.
What is the theme of Little Women? One theme is: girls can create their own futures; they don't have to stick to cultural stereotypes. I remember thinking it was so odd and interesting (and frightening) that Jo left her family to pursue a writing career in New York City! Another theme of the book is: genuine love, kindness and compassion, not wealth, leads to true happiness. Oh Amy! She was so beautiful, vain and stuck-up! But in the end, she discovered true love and the beautiful bonds of family and forgiveness.
These themes are timeless and can be conveyed by so many genres, characters, plots and settings. What book are you reading right now? Can you identify the themes? I just finished reading In the Name of the Father by A.J. Quinnell. It is an exciting, fast-paced thriller in which the life of Pope John Paul II is at stake. It's theme? There are many, but one theme perhaps is: some people justify evil deeds in order to bring about a greater good. Again, a universal and timeless idea. Perhaps you can think of other stories with that theme that have nothing to do popes!
So that to me is why reading is a writer's foundation. Themes transcend time and place. Yes, settings and characters can touch us deeply, but meaningful themes are what profoundly shape our souls.
So here you are now, wanting to write a book. What book are you reading at the moment? Can you identify the themes? Can you take one of those themes and think of a different story that would illustrate that theme? Write down your ideas! Now you're beginning to write!