Better with You Here
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 2012
Order signed copies from Brazos Bookstore.
If you ask her, Natasha Davila will tell you there’s nothing more important to her than her kids. She’ll do anything for her son and daughter-even play nice with her ex-husband. Only now she’s facing a problem she never expected: her ex is re-marrying and suing for full custody. She could fall to pieces . . . or she could call on her friends. There’s Sara, whose tough talk hides a soft-and loyal-heart, and Haley, who has so much more to offer than a pretty face. When they’re together, Natasha doesn’t have to be someone’s wife or someone’s mother. She can just be. When Natasha’s ex ups the ante and exposes some disturbing news about her friends, she’s forced to cut ties. But can she really walk away from the women who have been standing by her side?
Lone Star Legend
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 2010
Order signed copies from Brazos Bookstore.
When Sandy Saavedra lands her dream job with the popular website ¡Latino Now!, she can’t wait to write hard-hitting pieces to combat all those stupid Latino stereotypes. While visions of Pulitzers dance in her head, her editor in chief is suddenly laid off, replaced by the infamous Dolores Villanueva O’Sullivan. Dolores has one mission: make ¡Latino Now! an internet phenomenon, no matter how many pandering puff pieces she has to pack onto its pages. Sandy doesn’t see how she can keep this job without losing her soul, especially when she’s sent to Middle-of-Nowhere Texas to investigate the dumbest legend her people ever created, the Chupacabra. She fears she’s about to fail an assignment-and lose her job-until she meets Tío Jaime, a grandfatherly hermit who might be crazy, or might be the best thing that ever happened to Sandy’s career.
Houston, We Have a Problema
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2009
Order signed copies from Brazos Bookstore
Jessica Luna is your typical 26 year old: she has man trouble, mom trouble, and not a clue what to do with her life (though everyone else in her family seems to have plenty of suggestions!) After a lifetime of being babied by her family, Jess is incapable of trusting herself to make the right choices. So instead, she bases all of her life decisions on signs. She looks to everything for guidance, from the direction her rearview-mirror-Virgin-de-Guadalupe sways to whatever Madame Hortensia, her psychic, sees in the cards.
When her sort-of boyfriend Guillermo, a gifted unmotivated artist, disappoints her again, Jessica thinks it’s time to call it quits. Just to be sure, she checks in with Madame Hortensia who confirms that yes, it is time for a change. (Who knew $20 could buy so much security!) Right on cue, Jess meets Jonathan; he’s the complete opposite of Guillermo–of all Jess’s boyfriends, in fact. He’s successful, has a stable job….and is white. Jess isn’t sure if Jonathan is really the change Madame Hortensia saw. Sure he gives great career advice, but is he advising her on a career she actually wants? And yes he’s all about commitment, but is it Jess or her mother who really wants marriage?
Jess runs back to Madame Hortensia for advice, but even she is out of answers. Now there’s only one thing that’s certain: no one–not her mother, her sister, her boyfriend or her psychic–can tell her what to do. For better or for worse, Jess will have to take the plunge and make her own decisions if she wants to have any future at all.
To the Last Man I Slept with and All the Jerks Just Like Him
Publisher: Arte Publico Press, 2004
Weaving her exploration of family life, love, the struggle for economic stability, and the search for a personal creative space, Zepeda’s brash voice cuts at society’s stereotypes, at once critiquing those around her and herself. Family, friends, and the unwitting strangers around her—no one is safe from her commentary.
With dark, knife-in-the ribs humor and poignant glimpses of youth and early adulthood, Gwendolyn Zepeda’s first book is the literati’s version of television variety shows of the 1970s. Chock full of sharp observations in a narrative that jumps from personal essay to a parody of romance novels to inventive fiction, this collection spans a wide range of themes: the complications of being a “half-white child of hippies born in Houston in 1971″ and raised in a largely Mexican barrio . . . “How to Be a Trailer Trash Housewife” . . . and a midnight dance with a giant cockroach.
Though her creations aren’t easy to behold, they are assertive, calling out Zepeda’s own lessons learned as she strives to hammer out a life. She writes in “To the Last Man I Slept with and to Everybody Else,” a variation on the title story, “You wanted to be the rock star, the ninja, the cowboy in black. I wanted to be with those people so I pretended they were you. But secretly, I have always been all of those things.”