Tell Your True Tale: East Los Angeles — the book presentation this Saturday

TYTT draft cover JPEGHey all — An invite  to the presentation of a book that grew out a tremendously successful series of nonfiction writing workshops I gave to new writers at East L.A. Public Library.

The presentation of  TELL YOUR TRUE TALE: East Los Angeles takes place this Saturday (April 26) at 2:30 pm, at the library, which is located at 4837 E 3rd St, (323-264-0155).

The volume is stunning for the mosaic of East L.A. it presents, as well as the variety and quality of the stories: A vet returning home from Vietnam; a janitor in Houston trying to find her children in Mexico; of braceros finding their way north and back home again; a man learning confidence as he woos a woman; a bus rider in Los Angeles; a mariachi singing for a heartbroken family on Christmas Eve.

All by folks who’d never published before: Andrew Ramirez, Celia Viramontes, Olivia Segura, Manuel Chaidez, Jacqueline Gonzalez, Joanne Mestaz, and Diego Renteria.

I call my workshops TELL YOUR TRUE TALE. They attempt to excavate new stories from unheard communities as they help new writers over the intimidating humps that keep them from realizing their writing dreams, and push them to start thinking like writers — all by mining the stories in their lives or those of people close to them.

Hope you all can make the presentation this Saturday, and pass along the word to others who might be interested.

Meanwhile, grab the book at


Filed under California, Culture, Storytelling, Tell Your True Tale, Writing

7 Responses to Tell Your True Tale: East Los Angeles — the book presentation this Saturday

  1. Lost in the Yucatan

    Hello Mr. Quinones,
    I’m still wondering how it was that I came across the presentation of your book this Saturday. Being that I am a first time writer I’m thrilled that someone is helping and wish you continued success.
    Part of my story is that one day I left LA with a suitcase and my laptop and moved to Merida, Yucatan where I have been living for the last four years.
    It has been a rich experience that allowed me to complete my “own true tale” to which I have added real and fictitious characters as I went along. It’s now about 260,000 characters, I feel that it is complete, but don’t know which way to go with it now. Since this is my first time writing I could really use some advice. Thank you so much for your time and encouragement to those like me struggling to share our experiences with the rest of the world.

    • samquinones

      I’d be happy to take a look at a stand-alone story from the memoir. I don’t have time to look at the entire manuscript. But I sometimes put stand-alone stories up on my Tell Your True Tale page. If you think the memoir is done, then you should try querying book agents and see what they say. Or possibly submitting parts of it to publications. That way you can get some feedback, which is invaluable. You need to research journals, magazines, etc that publish writing similar to yours and send all or part of what you’ve written to them. That requires putting in some time online, but it could be well worth it. I’d also look for online writing groups, with whom you can share your writing and from whom you can receive feedback.

  2. Congratulations, Sam. It’s amazing what you’re doing.

  3. David H

    When I read that you are doing a workshop at the ELA library it brought back many memories for me. I was living in Montebello in the 50’s from the the age of 10 to 20. I quit going to school when I was 15 years old because I had just flunked the 9th grade at Eastmont Jr. Hi. I started using heroin when I was 13 years old and heroin addiction and school was just not workable. I did not want to live my life as an uneducated addict so every day after I found my drugs for the day I would get on a bus and spend 3 or 4 hours at the library on Whittier Blvd. Between my addiction , juvenile hall and the library I was able to pass my GED by the time I was 17 years old.

    • samquinones

      David H — thanks very much for a great vignette. Interested in expanding on it? Bet it would make a cool story. happy to look at it if you do. I hope you can make the presentation….Sam

      • David H

        Thanks for the reply. I would really like to attend your workshop, however, I live in Florida.
        Yes I have hundreds of stories as I continued using drugs for the next 30 years. I had emailed you several months ago outlining my life story. If you could do a search of your emails you may find my email, otherwise I could write a short version of my life. Although I did finally go to college my grammar and writing skills have always been my weakest characteristic.

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