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Fantasy Film Casting for 'Summer Camp Is Cancelled'

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Belita Moreno as Grandma Raquel

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As a kid, I grew up watching George Lopez. I loved Belita’s character, even though she was actually much meaner than Grandma Raquel. Belita was always a sassy, no-nonsense person in her portrayal of George’s mother. But, she was also very harsh at times, so if she were to play Grandma Raquel, she’d have to turn down her harshness just a smidge.


Javier Bardem as Father González

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Who else could play Father González BUT Javier Bardem? Javier usually plays a villain and why wouldn’t he? He can speak death using only his eyes and face. He scared the hell out of me when he played Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. Javier is 100% perfect to play Lyndon’s strict priest and I know he’d do a marvelous job.


Ardal O’Hanlon as Father O’Brien

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In the 90s, Hat Trick Productions made the show Father Ted, a hilarious comedy based in a fictional part of Ireland. The show surrounds the daily life of a Catholic priest, Father Ted, and his co-father, Father Dougal, who was played by Ardal. Ardal’s character was goofy, kind, and gentle, just like Father O’Brien. Since Ardal has experience portraying a funny priest, he would adapt to Father O’Brien’s role very easily.


Horatio Sanz as Uncle Manny

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I remember seeing Horatio on Saturday Night Live back when I was in junior high and thinking he was the funniest cast member of the lineup. He’s extremely talented at doing impersonations and exaggerating his facial features to get a laugh from his audience. If anyone can do an awesome job playing the most annoying character in SCIC, it’s definitely him.


Eva Longoria as Mrs. Donna Pérez

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Not only is Eva Longoria an excellent actress, but she’s also a huge philanthropist for children’s causes. Because of her generous history, I know she’d play a great mom to Lyndon. Additionally, she is also a Texan and since Summer Camp is Cancelled is rich in both Mexican and Texan culture, she would know exactly what to do for her role.


Jaime Camil as Mr. Edgar Pérez

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Jaime Camil has been in both Mexican and American productions. He was the voice actor for Miguel’s father in Coco and he’s also been on Jane the Virgin as well as other comedy shows. His background in making people laugh is perfect for playing Edgar.


Last, but not least – who would play Lyndon Baines Juan Pérez?

This is a hard question because I really don’t know! Lyndon is such a sweet boy and he has strong beliefs in friendship and how others should be treated. Whoever plays his character should have similar personal beliefs.


You can pre-order Summer Camp Is Cancelled by clicking here.

 
Our Voces Features Darlene Campos For Hispanic Heritage Month
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Through October 15, Our Voces will be featuring posts for Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting Latinx and Hispanic kid lit authors. This past week they interviewed Darlene Campos to get her thoughts on various things. In the article, Campos spoke on the first time she saw herself represented in literature.


‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros! I read it for the first time when I was 13 years old and I could relate to the characters and the story line so well... For the first time ever in my school assigned readings, the main character was a Latina, just like me.
— Darlene Campos

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Campos also spoke on her first novel, Behind Mount Rushmore, her next project, Summer Camp Is Cancelled, and also, her hopeful future for Latinx books.


I want today’s Latinx kiddos to see themselves in main characters and be inspired to write their own stories to share with the world. I’d especially like to see graphic novels starring Latinx characters.
— Darlene Campos

You read the full article here. Campos will also be giving donating 100% of her royalties to ongoing hurricane relief through October 15.

5 Writers Who Started From The Bottom

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Writing, like many careers, has its risks. There is no guarantee a writer will be a bestseller or have their story made into a movie. However, many writers did not go into this field for fame and money – they write because it is their passion. While writing carries its risks, it is not impossible to become a successful writer over time. Here are five writers who started from humbled beginnings.


Sandra Cisneros

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You may know Cisneros from her novel The House on Mango Street. In addition to this novel, Cisneros is the author of many books as well as a past winner of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship and the Texas Medal of Arts. Cisneros’ childhood was not an easy one. She grew up in poverty, constantly relocated, and with six brothers, she often felt isolated in her own home. It was this isolation that led Cisneros to writing and she composed her first poem at just ten years old. When one of her high school teachers encouraged her to keep writing, Cisneros took the advice and was later admitted into the Iowa Writers Workshop. It was at this workshop that Cisneros discovered her writing voice. She is now considered one of the most influential writers of this generation.


Stephen King

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Best known for his horror stories, Stephen King’s works have become synonymous with terror and fright. He is known for several novels including Carrie, It, and The Shining. Before King became the writer he is today, he had a difficult childhood. His father left the family when King was only two years old, making King’s mother the sole provider for him and his brother David. When King grew up, he was barely able to support himself and his wife Tabitha due to unemployment. He made some income by selling short stories to magazines, but it was not enough. It was around this time that King began drafting Carrie. He became so frustrated with the novel that he initially threw it away in the garbage, but Tabitha encouraged him to finish it. Carrie proved to be King’s big break, thanks to his wife!


Gabriel García Márquez

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García Márquez is best known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. However, like many writers, García Márquez’s past was a struggle. Before he started writing One Hundred Years of Solitude, García Márquez had the idea for the novel, but he was unsure of how to write it down. One day, García Márquez was driving his wife and children to Acapulco for vacation, the first line popped into his head and he immediately turned the car around to head home and write the first draft. To make ends meet, García Márquez sold the family car and his wife Mercedes persuaded the local butcher, baker, and their landlord to grant them a line of credit until García Márquez finished his latest book. When One Hundred Years of Solitude was finally released, it became an international success and García Márquez officially became a respected voice in literature.


Toni Morrison

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Morrison is a former winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. She is famous for her novel Song of Solomon. As a child, Morrison grew up in a difficult time. When she was around two years old, her family’s landlord set fire to their home since they had been unable to pay the rent, leaving them with nothing. Morrison’s father worked several odd jobs to support the family. Later in life, Morrison married and had two sons, but divorced soon after, leaving her to care for her two young sons all by herself. When she began writing her first novel, The Bluest Eye, she woke up each morning at 4 AM to write as her sons slept. It was Song of Solomon that gave Morrison her biggest acclaim, and with this, her writing career kicked off to a supreme start.


Octavia E. Butler

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Butler is best known for her science fiction Patternist series and the Xenogenesis series. Before she became a writer, she too came from humbled beginnings. Her father died when she was only seven years old and she was raised by her mother and grandmother in a very strict household. Butler’s mother was a maid and sometimes she accompanied her to work where they witnessed and experienced racial segregation. Butler was also extremely shy and was diagnosed with dyslexia and often bullied at school. She took comfort in reading books and when she was ten years old, she begged her mother to buy her a typewriter so she could begin writing her own books. As an adult, Butler worked several jobs to support herself and woke up every morning at 2 AM to write before a long day of work. Butler would later win the MacArthur Fellowship, becoming the first science fiction writer in history to hold this award. She would go on to win many more awards for her influential science fiction works.


Yes, writing has its risks, but sometimes risks are worth taking. To writers who are just getting started, remember that you are just getting started and the future holds completed dreams. These five writers got their breakthroughs despite the odds and you can, too!

122 Rejections For 'Behind Mount Rushmore' Tells A Story of Perseverance for Darlene Campos

BY: GH

 

Every time our authors do an interview, we learn something interesting about them. Posted today at Tuscon Tales, a children's and young adult literature publication showcasing new and established writers, Darlene Campos revealed that 'Behind Mount Rushmore' was rejected 122 times.


Sometimes I was up until 2 or 3 a.m. just sending out queries. Fortunately, I had publishing credits to show off in my query letter, but I still received 122 rejections for Behind Mount Rushmore.
— Darlene Campos

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But she continued to submit her book for publication and encourages other writers to do the same.


Writing is not easy and publishing a novel is definitely not any easier. There will be times when you feel like you’re not a good writer and you shouldn’t even try anymore, but this is not true! Rejection letters show you’re trying. Wear them like a badge of honor. Keep on writing and keep on querying even when you don’t feel the drive to keep on. Even when everyone you know tells you that you can’t, show them you can.
— Darlene Campos

She also recognized the importance of pushing diverse stories involving diverse characters, which was a main driver that led to publishing with Vital Narrative.


The press I’m with focuses on diverse books by diverse writers which was definitely a big help because we turned out to have the same goals: more diverse books for readers.
— Darlene Campos

Campos also gave insight on the research she completed for the book, her inspirations for characters and revealed some information about her next novel, Summer Camp Is Cancelled.

Read the entire interview here. Darlene is donating 100% of royalties to Hurricane Harvey Relief in her hometown of Houston this month. You can support here.

 

Campos To Donate Royalties to Hurricane Relief

BY: DARLENE P. CAMPOS

 

Floods aren’t anything new in Houston. We’ve gone through hurricanes before. We knew the neighborhoods most prone to flooding before Harvey paid us his visit. We prepared ourselves with full hoards of food, bottled water, and gas. We thought we were ready.

Harvey showed us we were wrong the minute he arrived.

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Yet, unlike thousands of fellow Houstonians and Texans in other cities, I didn’t lose anything.

I didn’t lose power.

I didn’t lose water.

I didn’t lose my car.

I didn’t lose my house.

I didn’t lose my life.

The only physical loss I had was a couple of pounds because I was so petrified, I could barely eat. Harvey made me lose weight. That’s it.

Harvey also made me lose pieces of my heart. The neighborhood where I grew up is in shambles. A beloved bakery my fiancé and I visited whenever we wanted a good dessert is gone. The libraries I practically lived in during my college years are severely damaged. Watching your city, the place you call home, conquered by floodwaters is agonizing. Yet, Harvey did not take Houston’s hope. We Houstonians watched our city be ravaged by Harvey. We Houstonians have come together to rebuild.

After Harvey, I was overjoyed to be unharmed, but I felt so guilty to be spared. Why didn’t Harvey come for me? He tried. He flooded my entire street and then the water crept up to the rear of my car. By morning, the water receded. Harvey came close. For others, he came full force and showed no mercy.

I pledge to donate my royalties from September 15th through October 15th to the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. For the next month, all of my royalties will go directly to helping Houstonians rebuild their lives. Please visit https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/ for more info or to donate.

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“And so there are claims forgiven

And so there are things that are gone

Houston is filled with promise…”

  • R.E.M., “Houston,” 2008
Darlene Campos Shares Dedication from 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

To my great grandfather, Jose Alcides Martinez Tobar (1903-1994), who would wake up in the middle of the night to write and drive my great grandmother, America Isidora Villamar Naranjo de Martinez (1920-1988), crazy every time he did so. Thank you for passing on your talents and determination. Thank you, great grandmother America, for always being his inspiration and making his written works possible.

To my mother, Tammy Yasmin Martinez, who has supported my writing journey since the day it began. Thank you for all the home-cooked meals, the prayers, the ridiculous jokes, and your nonsensical quirks which have appeared in every single story I have written. My love for you is so deep, there will never be a tool long enough to measure it.

To my boyfriend, David Noé Alcalá, who lets me write without any interruptions or distractions. Thank you for always boosting my mood, your hugs and kisses, and all the surprise “I Love You” text messages. I cannot wait until you are officially my husband. You make me feel emotions I did not know I had. I might be a writer, but I could have never written the love story you show me every single day. I love you, teddy bear.

To my good friend, Javier Andres Pritchard, who read the first (and terrible) drafts of Behind Mount Rushmore. I am so lucky to have had you as a reader during my early writing days. You always told me one day I would have a book published and now, here it is. Thank you for your suggestions, your encouragement, and your open ears whenever I need a friend to talk to.  

To all the creative writing/English professors and classmates I had over the years – this book would not be possible without you. Special gratitude goes out to Jessica Paige Wilson, Anthea Ara Rafique, Bertram Allan Mullin, Carla Erizbett Arellano, Donna Dennis Muñoz, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Bruce James Martin, Laurie Clements Lambeth, and Aaron Reynolds. Go Coogs! Picks Up, Miners!

To all of the wonderful English teachers I had in public school, but especially to Carol Thielemann, my second grade reading and writing teacher, Terri Cyphers, my sixth grade English teacher, Laurie Wilmoth, my seventh grade English teacher, and Carolyn Giannantonio, my ninth grade English teacher. I owe the strength of my writing skills to you. Thank you for being my foundation. A big shout out goes to Meadow Wood Elementary, Spring Forest Middle School, and Stratford High School!

To every literary journal that has published my work – thank you kindly for giving me the opportunity to share my words with your readers.

Last, but certainly not least, to Jennifer Snider-Batula. Thank you for your homemade cookies, the coupon booklets, and your wise insight on this adventure called life. You are the best co-worker and neighbor anyone could ever imagine. When Fred Rogers talked about good neighbors, he was talking about you.

The following stories were previously published in slightly different form:

  • “The Friend” was previously published by The Gap Toothed Madness
  • “The Dance” was previously published by RiverBabble
  • “The Funeral” was previously published by Word Riot
  • “The Cigarette” was previously published by Alfie Dog Limited
  • “The Burst” was previously published by Connotation Press
  • “The Crush” was previously published by Forever! Onward
  • “Lost Angeles” was previously published by The Aletheia
  • “The Fork” was the 2013 prose winner of Glass Mountain’s poetry and prose contest, previously published by The Writing Disorder and featured in Plain China’s Best Undergraduate Fiction Writing of 2013 anthology
  • “The Return” was previously published by Bartleby Snopes
  • “The Wedding” was previously published by Red Fez
  • “The Bullet” was previously published by Elohi Gadugi and was the winner of the 2013 Sylvan N. Karchmer Fiction Prize, awarded by the University of Houston
 
Fantasy Film Casting for 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Charlie Hill as Jay Eagle Thunderclap

Unfortunately, Mr. Hill passed away in 2013. He was a fantastic Native American stand-up comedian and actor. In fact, he appears in the Roseanne episode “The Last Thursday in November” as D.J. Conner’s teacher. He was also a guest on The Richard Pryor Show as well as The Tonight Show with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman. His humor definitely fits the bill for Jay Eagle’s character.


Irene Bedard as Josephine Thunderclap

Ms. Bedard was phenomenal in the movie Smoke Signals. There is a scene in the movie when she tells Victor the real story of a house fire his father was involved in. Her delivery is spot-on and most of all, her acting makes you feel like you’re in the movie with her. She is outstanding on the big screen! I can’t imagine anyone else playing Josephine other than Irene Bedard.


Graham Greene as Mr. Wayne Graywolf

I’m a huge fan of Graham Greene. He plays Mogie in the movie Skins which is based on the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. If you’ve read Skins, it’s impossible to imagine another actor playing Mogie. He’s charming, funny, and can adapt easily to any role he’s given. If anyone should play Mr. Graywolf, it’s him.


Sacheen Littlefeather as Sequoia Red Cloud

If you’ve heard of Marlon Brando, chances are you’ve heard of the time he refused to accept an Academy Award for Best Actor in The Godfather. Brando sent Littlefeather in his place to decline the award as a form of protest for the unjust misrepresentation of Native Americans in the film and television industry. I admire Littlefeather for her bravery in speaking up. If you look up her speech on YouTube, she was met with some applause, but also a lot of booing. Despite this, she kept on speaking. While Sequoia might not be the most likeable character among people, she holds her beliefs true to her heart, no matter what anyone thinks. Littlefeather would be perfect for this role.


Geri Keams as Yolanda Running Bear

Keams is an incredible storyteller, though she has appeared on several television movies and shows. I love how engaging she is when she tells a story. You can find her telling stories on YouTube if you just search her name. Ms. Running Bear is known for being a quirky science teacher, so I believe Geri Keams would fit this role just right.


Gary Farmer as Ray Firebird

This role is a big role. Gary Farmer stars alongside with Graham Greene in Skins as Mogie’s friend, Weasel Tail, which is where I first discovered his acting. He’s been in Smoke Signals and Powwow Highway where he is just as mesmerizing. Ray Firebird is a major character in Behind Mount Rushmore and only a major guy can play him. Gary Farmer is that major guy!


Eric Schweig as Gray Mountain Thunderclap

Like with Graham Greene, I’m a big fan of Mr. Schweig. He usually plays a tough guy, but a tough guy with a big heart. He plays Graham Greene’s brother in Skins and he does a fantastic job at this role. He’s flawed, but honestly, he’s an excellent brother in this film. He’s best known for being Uncas in The Last of the Mohicans, but this movie does him no justice. He is seriously underrated in the industry. He’s a perfect match for Gray Mountain Thunderclap.


Michael Peña as John David Gutierrez

Who knows where Nimo would be without John David? This role requires an outspoken nature, strength, friendship, and most of all, a smart mouth. John David doesn’t hold back and for this reason, I’d pick Michael Peña to take on this role. Peña played Cesar Chavez in the film of the same name and he was Sal Castro in Walkout. In these roles, Peña gave his all to stand up for what he believed in and never backed down. Peña has just what it takes to be John David.


Elaine Miles as Mrs. Rebecca Graywolf

Elaine Miles is probably best known for her work in the television series, Northern Exposure. She also starred in Smoke Signals and Skins as well. However, I first stumbled upon her acting in the mini-series The Rez in which she plays Mad Etta in the second season. She’s hilarious and unique not only as an actress but as a person, too. Mrs. Graywolf is a role she could master right away.


Last, but not least – who would play Nimo Thunderclap?

This is kind of a funny story. About a year ago, I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant here in Houston with my boyfriend. After dinner, we needed to get a few things from the grocery store down the road from the restaurant. Once we were inside, I noticed a young man, an employee specifically, who was the EXACT description of Nimo. I mean exact as in if I could make Nimo come alive from the novel, he’d look exactly like that employee. For privacy purposes, I won’t tell you the employee’s name, but I did ask him for helping locating an item I needed. He spoke just like Nimo and had his gestures. If there’s ever a movie or TV series based on Behind Mount Rushmore, I want to find this employee and ask him he’d like another job!


You can pre-order Behind Mount Rushmore by clicking here.

 
Resource List for 'Behind Mount Rushmore'

BY: STAFF

 

Darlene Campos spent six years researching while writing Behind Mount Rushmore. Listed below is just some of the resources she used to develop characters, create settings and build her story.


There are many more books I read – this is just a list of the books I can think of from the top of my head. I feel like I read a small library for this one novel.
— Darlene Campos
 


You can pre-order Behind Mount Rushmore by clicking here.

 
Darlene Campos Releases New Poem "Welcome To Houston"

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

We love Houston the way a mother loves her child,

more than the mother who stuffed

her dead daughter in the fridge to keep

collecting the girl’s social security check.

 

In Hermann Park, Sam Houston’s statue stands high

above everyone else. He faces children playing Frisbee

and sick people lingering to the Texas Medical Center.

At Buffalo Bayou, a man lies by the water

with a sack for a blanket while Joel Osteen

preaches prosperity.

 

We love Houston the way a car loves to speed,

more than the man who raced past a house

with his gun, splitting the

skulls of two kid brothers.

 

Jensen Drive is where sleazy men go

for a good time. If caught, they go

downtown to the jail on Bagby Street

where they can see the Aquarium from their cells.

The sharks wiggle around in their too small tank

as a child points up at their jaws. His mother pulls

him close, closer than Andrea Yates who drowned

her five kids in a bathtub.

 

Yet we love Houston the way mosquitoes

love sucking on our skin, the way the big oil

tycoons love their mansions in River Oaks.

 

Southwest is the place where it can be scary

to sleep at night and even drive through during

the day, but if you keep going, you will

end up in the Museum District where

Mr. Sam Houston will greet you again.

 

We love Houston the way a con artist

loves counting money.

 

We love Houston the way a wife loves her husband

that she’s been married to for over twenty years.

She looks at him with squinted eyes, remembering

a time when he was younger, thinner, and stronger.

She loves him just the same today as she will tomorrow.

 

She loves him the way a Houstonian loves Houston.