Monday, November 29, 2010

Miami Book Fair International - All Stories are True

Author James Hall (Under Cover of Daylight, and other "Thorn" thrillers)was my professor of Creative Writing at FIU. He once quoted someone saying: "All stories are true, some actually happened."

When I attended his presentation at the Miami Book Fair International, I knew all would go well with my presentation the next day, because it was in the same room. Good karma, positive energy, a sign, whatever. Plus, I had a true story that actually happened.

If I had written a novel aboaut a mish-mash of pilots from nineteen nationalities that came together in a polarized city like Miami to save the lives of people they would seldom, if ever, meet--would you believe it? Would you believe that ex-CIA operatives and soccer moms and teenage pilots would risk their lives daily for absolutely no recognition? If I told you that spies infiltrated this motley group and that because one of them was also working for the FBI, two of their planes were shot down? Oh, and the United States had prior knowledge of the possibility? If I told you that this group dashed the hopes of closer relations with Cuba because, frankly, they simply pissed off Fidel and Raul Castro,you probably wouldn't believe it. It would be a great action novel.

But it's all true. Read about it in Seagull One.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Brothers to the Rescue Godmother raves about Seagull One

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Seagull One author Lily Prellezo met at the Brigade 2506 Center for Human Rights and Democracy luncheon on Sunday, September 19, 2010. The organization fundraises for the political prisoners in Cuba, sending necessary supplies like toiletries, pen and paper, cell phones, and other necessary items. During their meetings and luncheons, they always phone a prisoner to give him or her moral support.

Ileana was there, too, to lend her support. When the official "godmother" of Brothers to the Rescue saw Lily Prellezo, she raved about Seagull One!

The Congresswoman was an integral part of Brothers to the Rescue, repeatedly bringing the needs of the organization to members of Congress as well as the office of the President.

Thank you, Ileana, for your support of Brothers to the Rescue and the political prisoners in Cuba.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No Stranger to Paradise

To a writing paradise, that is. For four years, I've attended the Eckerd College Writers in Paradise Writers' Conference held every January in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida. The conference takes place on the bay on the campus of Eckerd college, and is headed by Sterling Watson and Dennis LeHane--yes, Dennis LeHane!

An Eckerd freshman named Lily B. Prellezo (my daughter) told me about it! Thanks to WIP, my writing got stronger and my book was publisehd: Seagull One: The Amazing True Story of Brothers to the Rescue.

Check out the interview at

Monday, September 13, 2010

If you're early you're on time; if you're on time, you're late!

Seagull One was released five weeks early from the University Press of Florida and it was just in time! Just in time to give everyone who had pre-ordered on a nice surprise in their mailbox. Just in time to get a rave review on ( Just in time for rave reviews from the most important people: the readers.

One rafter who read about himself in Seagull One said "the way you described my journey was perfect; the sequencing so exact; the emotions so precise."

Another reader said: "I haven't read a book in five years; I read Seagull One in five days."

One PhD at a reknown university claimed: "I've read everything on Brothers to the Rescue, and Seagull One is the definitive history."

Now's the time to read it, before all the upcoming events. See them on or Seagull One on Facebook.

Enjoy the read!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nilo Cruz "A Bicycle Country" is timely

Last Friday, my husband and I were treated to Nilo Cruz’s play, “A Bicycle Country,” directed by Marina Pareja at FIU’s Alternative Theater Festival. The excellent and intimate cast of three recreated a few months during Cuba’s “Special Period” in the late 90s, as they prepared to leave Cuba on a raft. At the same time these actors were captivating the audience, simulating their struggle aboard a raft on stage, a Cuban man was floating on a Styrofoam raft in the Florida Straits, dehydrated after three weeks at sea (see A. Chardy’s articles in the Miami Herald, July 13-14, 2010). We may have thought the balsero crisis was over, but the real crisis in Cuba continues.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Cubans didn't invent Styrofoam

The Cubans didn't invent Styrofoam

When Dupont invented polystyrene foam back in 1941, the first ones to implement the use of this new water-tight, airy substance was the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1942 they designed the first six-person raft made out of Styrofoam. Five decades later, Styrofoam, which keeps our coffee warm and our bike helmets secure, has joined the list of consumer products that some consider politically incorrect. After all, according to Oprah, Styrofoam takes 2,000 years to decompose.

Yesterday, a U.S. surveillance aircraft spotted a makeshift, seven-foot Styrofoam vessel 51 miles south of Marathon. It wasn't a U.S.C.G. raft that may have slipped off a mighty cutter, but a Styrofoam boat cradling a Cuban man that had been adrift for 25 days (see Alfonso Chardy's article in the Miami Herald, p. 3B). Just when we thought the balsero thing was over.

The rafter crisis wasn't a 1990s/Special Period phenomenon. The first raft discovered by the U.S.C.G. was back in 1959, just months after Castro's Revolution. The raft that ignited the desire to do something for rafters back in 1990, when Brothers to the Rescue was formed, was also a Styrofoam raft, a carved-out ark cradling the dying body of Gregorio PĂ©rez Ricardo. He didn't make it, but thousands of others did.

They keep coming. Change their immigration status, detain them in their own back yard, send them back to be terrorized by neighbors, shoot down some planes, die at sea--it doesn't matter. They keep coming, escaping a world where everything is politically incorrect. At a time when desperation in U.S.-Cuba relations has so many on opposing sides, it seems like Styrofoam may decompose faster than the Castro brothers.

Luckily for the man found yesterday, it didn't.