Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Vacation Time and Updates

Hey guys!

So, for the first time in almost twenty years, I am going on vacation for a whole month. I can't even begin to express how excited I am because this is a real vacation, as opposed to a few days off during which I actually still do work from wherever I happen to be. I'm not going to any exotic destina— You know what? Scratch that. I AM going to an exotic, beautiful destination with awesome beaches and rivers and mountains and kiosks that sell frituras, the most amazing fried food in the world. I am going home, and we all know Puerto Rico is the prettiest place under the sun. :-)

Having said that, I'm losing my mind trying to get ready to leave. There's simply not enough time in the day for all the things I need to accomplish, and that's the reason I have decided to push the release of Forces of Nature to November.

As you all now, this is will be my first release since 2014 and I don't want it to be another task I have to somehow squeeze in before I leave. I want to be able to dedicate it my full attention and enjoy it. I want to be able to promote the story and talk about it until I'm blue in the face, cause I am proud of it. Hopefully, you all will understand and rest assured, I'll get ready for the release as soon as I've settled in Puerto Rico. Of that, I give you my word. 

xoxo


Monday, October 15, 2018

National Hispanic Heritage Month




Every year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrate the contributions, histories, and cultures of American citizens whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. This originated back in 1968. First it was only a week, then it was extended to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, a year before I graduated from high school. I was seventeen at the time. I was American, having been born and raised in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. Yet the first time I heard about Hispanic Heritage Month was around 2010, a full nine years after moving to New York, and it got me thinking about my own heritage and my country’s past.


Puerto Rico’s diaspora in the mainland USA is huge. We represent ten percent of the Latino population and are the second largest Hispanic group after Mexican-Americans. Our guaranteed citizenship allows us to travel back and forth on a whim, which most of us do, making migration an everyday thing. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who didn’t have family members ‘allá afuera,’ meaning living here in the U.S., or serving in the Armed Forces. As a result, there are 3.5 million of us back home and 5 million of us here, and, let me tell you, when I arrived in NYC, I could’ve sworn all of us lived in this place.


The first thing that caught my attention was the flags. Sure, there were almost as many ‘restaurantes de comida criolla’ (Puerto Rican food restaurants) as there were Starbucks. I could also hear our very particular version of Spanish spoken wherever I went, and I heard salsa and reggaetton music blasting from cars often enough. But it was the constant display of Puerto Rican flags that got me emotional and made me wonder the reasons behind the passionate, over-the-top need my people have to let everyone know where we are from. Not for too long, though. I was busy getting settled, so I just assumed it was national pride and brushed it off.


Fast-forward to 2010 and the moment my daughters had to bring a traditional dish to school for the Hispanic Heritage Month potluck. They had to write essays on what our country of origin has contributed to American society as well.


The kiddos immediately mentioned what most people here are familiar with—famous Puerto Rican singers and entertainers like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Marc Anthony, who have contributed to the arts. They knew about Nydia Velázquez and Luis Gutierrez, Puerto Ricans serving in Congress…about Sonia Sotomayor, born to Puerto Rican parents and the first and only Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic American heritage. They knew about Roberto Clemente, a Hall of Famer and one of the most celebrated and renowned baseball players in the world…about all the boxers hailing from Puerto Rico, and even Gigi Fernández, who won two Olympic gold medals representing the United States, and is the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.


I told them about our very own Dr. Antonia Novello, the only Hispanic woman to serve as Surgeon General of the United States. About Rita Moreno of ‘West Side Story’ fame, one of the few performers to have won all four of the major entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. About astronaut Joseph Michael Acaba, one of the most distinguished members of the American space crew with a few missions under his belt, and Anthony Romero, the president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization promoting freedom and justice for all American citizens, no matter where we live. And let me tell you, the more I taught my daughters about all these wonderful people, their accomplishments, the fields they have impacted, and all their contributions to American society, the prouder I felt about Puerto Rico’s ability to produce so much talent despite its size, and the more I thought about that flag.


And, me being me, I needed to read on it. I had to find out why my people are so emotionally attached to our flag, and why our anthem, ‘La Borinqueña,’ and songs like ‘Que Bonita Bandera’ and ‘Preciosa’ always bring tears to our eyes. I did, and now I’m going to share some of our history with you.


As you may or may not know, Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since the end of the Spanish American War in 1898, and we were made citizens in 1917. We are a hybrid society with a unique ethnic and cultural fabric that comes from our Taíno, Spaniard, African American, and European heritage and traditions that’s quite different from mainstream American culture, yet we are very much Americanized. Worth noting is the fact that this applies to both mainland and Puerto Ricans on the island. Recounting everything that has happened since we were colonized then ‘gifted’ to the U.S. would take months. Suffice it to say, the United States government considered us inferior—almost savages, and incapable of governing ourselves. So they decided to do it for us, and they did their best to turn us around and make us like ‘you.’


No Spanish. No Catholicism. No National anthem. No flag.


Public Law 53, the Gag Law, was passed in 1948, forbidding us from owning a flag, uttering a word in favor of independence, and singing ‘La Borinqueña’ on top of everything else.    For a long time, owning a flag was a felony, and any Puerto Rican who dared do so would go to jail for ten years. Every day, the FBI and the Insular Police would raid people’s homes, searching for flags. In November of 1950, 3,000 Puerto Ricans were hauled off to jail in one week alone. Some of them weren’t even ten-years-old.


It took nine years to repeal Public Law 53. The very next year, the first Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in New York City. It was 1958. Puerto Ricans took to the streets en masse, marching through Manhattan, singing Bomba and Plena songs and, you guessed it, waving those flags with pride. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that we haven’t stopped.


A hundred years after becoming American citizens, Puerto Rico remains a colony of the United States, and, albeit fighting tooth and nail to preserve our culture and traditions, we are loyal to the mainland. As previously mentioned, we have contributed musicians, athletes, chefs, scientists, politicians…the list goes on and on, but that’s not all.


Puerto Rico is a crucial part of the United States economy. It produces biotech products and thirteen of the world’s top-selling brand name pharmaceutical drugs. Our territory also defends what’s known as America’s third border, aids hindering drug trafficking incoming from South America, houses several military facilities, and is home to parts of the nation’s ‘Over the Horizon’ radar system, which allows the Unites States to maintain control over a wide range of aerial and marine areas of the Western Hemisphere. And last but not least, we have ‘contributed’ our men.


Thousands of Puerto Rican soldiers have fought for the mainland’s ideals. The 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed Borinqueneers after the indigenous Taíno name for Puerto Rico, Borinquén, was the first Hispanic segregated group in U.S. history. The soldiers couldn’t vote for the president, but they fought during World War I, World War II, and in the Korean War, for which they received a Congressional Gold Medal. Needless to say, we honor the American flag along with ours, and bury our troops along with yours.


I can’t speak for other Hispanic people living in the United States but I can tell you that being Puerto Rican here isn’t easy these days. I work, I contribute to society, and I am proud of all the ways in which we have helped this nation being what it is, all while trying to understand why my people are treated the way we are.


My name is Taylor V. Donovan. I am Puerto Rican. I am American. And, just like every Boricua, born here or on the island, I’m neither from here nor from there in most people’s eyes. Ni de aquí, ni de allá, but both places hold my heart. 


Xoxo


 
     



Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Queer in Color

Hi guys!

Interview with yours truly in this month's Queer in Color newsletter about my upcoming release, 'Forces of Nature.' Here's a snippet.


QIC: What inspired you to write this story?

Taylor: The inspiration for ‘Forces of Nature’ was Puerto Rico’s financial crisis and Hurricane María which, as everyone knows, devastated the island. I wanted to explore how unemployment has separated families and contributed to the ever-growing diaspora and why most of us can’t wait to get back home.

QIC: How did your characters come into being? Were you inspired by your own life experiences, by travels, someone in your neighborhood, etc.?

Taylor: I can’t deny there’s a little bit of me in Saúl Cartagena Toro. Having moved to the United States seventeen years ago, I’ve dealt with homesickness, the pain from being away from my family, and the frustration from not being able to help as much as I wish I could when something happens down there and I can’t hop on a plane right away. I definitely shared some of my experiences with him,


QIC: What makes your story and/or characters unique and interesting?

Taylor: Culture. I didn’t shy away from showing the good along with the bad, nor from portraying my people just like we are.

Go check out what else I had to say, and don't forget to subscribe!

Taylor
xoxo

#TVD #ownvoices #TheCaribbeanTalesSeries #PuertoRicoStrong #gayromanticfiction #mmromance

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I'm Back!!!






And over over at My Fiction Nook today talking about my hiatus, why I am releasing stories in the Caribbean Tales Series before 'Six Degrees of Agony,' and Hurricane Maria. We have blurbs, release dates, excerpts for 'Forces of Nature,' 'Living on the Edge' and 'Heavy Hitters' plus there's a Kindle giveaway! Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win.   


Friday, October 27, 2017

Living on the Edge... Mark the Date!

Hey all!

As you may (or may not) know, I put everything on hold a little over a month ago so that I could process things and deal with the aftermath of Hurricane María's passing through Puerto Rico. It obliterated my hometown.

Not being able to talk to my family for weeks was the worst thing I've gone through in my entire life, and let me tell you, I've been through some crazy stuff. In fact, you'd probably roll your eyes and scoff if I wrote them into a book. That's neither here nor there, though. My point is that the feeling of impotence was debilitating. Seeing the suffering of my fellow Boricuas as well as watching the devastation in our little slice of paradise knocked me on my big fat Puerto Rican behind. I could barely function, and I wasn't sure I wanted to release a book that's set in a place that's going through so much right now.

But I do.

I want to bring Living on the Edge to all of you—introduce you to my gorgeous island, our culture, and our people, and show you places that, albeit currently destroyed, I have no doubt will get their former beauty back, because we Boricuas won't rest until we'd fixed our home. Another thing I want to do is contribute to that effort in any way I can, which is why I've decided to donate all proceeds from this book to relief efforts back home.

Living on the Edge will be released November 24, 2017 and it is now available for preorder on Amazon. So please, take a look at the blurb and consider one-clicking on the buy link. Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get. 

xoxo

Taylor

Le Blurb:

 Damián Laporte Ortíz is an expert at leading a double life. Most people know him as a war veteran and highly decorated cop working for F.U.R.A., a specialized police unit in Puerto Rico. Others know him as a crook. His family sees him as an honorable man and an exemplary single dad. The truth is he’s morally ambiguous and willing to bend rules. His peace of mind, happiness, long-term relationship, and survival depend on keeping his worlds apart. It isn’t until his professional career takes a series of unexpected turns that he’s forced to reconsider his priorities and stance.

Gay rights activist Gael Cisneros Beltrán dedicates his life to representing the marginalized LGBT community in a place he otherwise considers to be paradise. Fighting for their rights consumes his days. Going home to his closeted boyfriend replenishes him at night. Balancing their needs, goals, and responsibilities is a complicated act, but their commitment to each other continues to stand.

No challenge is too great to overcome. Nothing can tear them apart. Not until the past comes knocking and their carefully built parallel lives finally collide. Now they must decide what matters more—the common good or their love.



 

    

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Living on the Edge

Hey all!

I'm here with an update on the release of Living on the Edge. I had a publishing delay because the world hates me, but I'm sitting on the book while I organize a bigger release in a few days, and here's why.

As you may or may not know, I'm from Puerto Rico, and we were just hit by Maria, one of the top ten worst Atlantic hurricanes ever. All communications are down. We lost power in the entire island. Rain is still coming down, rivers are overflowing...I have no idea how my family is doing. Not a good time for me.

San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, is the setting of my new book, "Living on the Edge." Yesterday I saw an interview with the mayor and she said nothing in San Juan is like it was two days ago, and that broke my heart more than it already was. The feeling of impotence is indescribable, but I need to do something, so I've decided to promo the book more before release in order to gain traction. All royalties will be donated to help rebuild Old San Juan.

All post the link on my social media pages when the book goes

live, and I'll appreciate it from the bottom of my heart if you guys found it in your heart to share the link and help me spread the word. Puerto Rico needs every cent they can get.

<3

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Love Bytes Repost: Excerpt & Giveaway: Taylor V. Donovan – Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge

Hello everyone! My name’s Taylor and I’m an author of gay romance and suspense. Today I’m here to talk about a new release from me, finally, and I’m super excited about it. Thanks to Love Bytes for hosting!:-)

Some of you might not have heard of me ever. Some of you probably recognize my name. You see, I’ve been gone for a long time, but we’re not going to get into the reasons why. New day, new beginnings, and I want to focus on that. You can head over to my blog to find out what’s the plan for my other books.

So I’ve been working—and working some more—on a new series called Caribbean Tales. It is set in my homeland of Puerto Rico and features local guys. I don’t think I can properly express how much these books mean to me. Developing love stories that span years and placing the scenes in locations that I have the fondest, most amazing memories of was exactly what I needed to get back in the game. I’m chomping at the bit to have you experience our culture, traditions, and ways from page to page.

I don’t want to take much of your time, so I’m just going to leave you with an excerpt and a request to leave a comment for a chance to win an ARC. You can also enter my snazzy giveaway—a Kindle Fire 7 preloaded with all my books.:-)

Good luck!

xoxo

Taylor



Title: Living on the Edge
Series: Caribbean Tales Series
Book: 1
Genre: Gay Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Desecheo Press
Release Date: September 15th, 2017

Le Blurb:
Meeting his soulmate, falling in love, and starting a relationship is only the beginning.
Lieutenant Damián Laporte Ortiz is well acquainted with deception. He’s also an expert at leading a double life. Most people know him as a war veteran and highly decorated cop working for F.U.R.A., a specialized police unit in Puerto Rico. Others know him as a crook. His family sees him as an honorable man and an exemplary single dad. The truth is he’s anything but. That’s why half of his friends believe he goes home with a different woman every chance he gets, while the other half knows for a fact he’s in a long-term relationship with a guy. His peace of mind, happiness, and survival depend on keeping his worlds apart. It isn’t until his professional career takes a series of unexpected turns that he’s forced to reconsider his priorities and stance.
Gay rights activist Gael Cisneros Beltrán dedicates his life to representing the marginalized LGBT community in a place he otherwise considers to be paradise. Fighting for their rights consumes his days. Going home to his closeted boyfriend replenishes him at night. Balancing their needs, goals, and responsibilities is a complicated act, but their commitment to each other continues to stand the test of time.
No challenge is too great to overcome. Nothing can tear them apart. Not until the past comes knocking and their carefully built parallel lives finally collide. Now they must decide what matters more—the common good or their love.