Bella Coming Mid-November.
Somos en escrito is pleased to announce our upcoming publication Bella Collector of Cuentos by Carmen Baca.
When she opens an old photo album, Bella falls into a world where the gente of New Mexican folklore are on the verge of disappearing if she, her family, and community forget them: Don Cacahuate y Doña Cebolla, Coyote, duendes, Santa Sebastiana/Santa Muerte, the deadly Malhora, Llorona, and Coco, among others. Ancianos of Bella’s family line teach her what no one else has told her about her culture: the practices of the curandera, the forecasting of the weather through Cabañuelas by the farmer, the history of the Spanish dialect spoken in northern New Mexico and almost nowhere else, and more. But will she survive to pass on the tales?
Bella is the youngest in her family, excluded from memories shared between her older siblings and parents, who only ask that she focus on her education. No one asks about Bella the person, Bella the silent observer, never chosen to play with her school peers or invited to parties. She avoids drawing attention to herself, using her long, dark hair as a shield of protection. But could things be different one day? Her first chance to try might be in this alternate realm that resembles her home, but isn’t quite the way she’s ever experienced it.
Here is what people are saying about Bella:
“Carmen Baca’s work captures reality, mythology and the mystery of years gone by using vivid language and feeling. One can smell every tree, thunderclouds rolling by, fresh tortillas on the grill, or the balls of fire as brujas approach.”
Nicolasa Chávez, Deputy State Historian, Author and Curator
“An AWESOME read, a New Mexico fantasy in which readers will follow Bella, this book’s heroine, as she wanders the magical alternative world of the Dead and Forgotten. There she meets ancestors and other spirits of animals—both domestic and wild—witches, ghosts, birds, monsters, a curandera, her aunt and her grandfather. Bella Collector of Cuentos: entertaining, knowledgeable, and awesome.”
Lani Kyea, NM artist
Carmen Baca taught high school and college English for thirty-six years before retiring in 2014. Her debut novel El Hermano, published in April 2017, was a 2018 finalist in the NM-AZ book awards program. Her third book, Cuentos del Cañón, received first place for short story fiction anthology in 2020 from the same program. To date, she has published five books and close to fifty short works in online literary magazines and anthologies. Her goal to make her mark on New Mexico literature comes from her desire to pass on elements of her Hispano culture which have disappeared almost entirely since she was a child. She believes we should embrace our culture, cherish our roots, and remember our elders to prevent losing important facets of our identities as Hispano people.