Giveaway, Guest Post, + Excerpt for Luz: A Novella by Leslie DJ

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | |

Luz: A Novella
Leslie DJ

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Sinister Girlz

Date of Publication: March 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0998127828

Number of pages: 160
Word Count:  43,000

Cover Artist: Michele Catalano

Tagline: He’s going to propose. She’s going to tie up loose ends.

Book Description:

Luz Vargas is a promising young Latina writer from Washington Heights, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood in New York City. Who upon receiving top honors for her short story, "Here and There" from the prestigious Quisqueya Writers of Tomorrow Association, Luz's boyfriend, Luke, suggests a couple's getaway to the Dominican Republic where he plans to propose. But when the trip to the Island brings her face to face with a past love, Luz is torn between honoring her commitment to Luke and revisiting an island romance.

The story is told through a series of vignettes that chronicle Luz's struggle to reconcile her American identity with her Dominican side.

Luz awoke to the sound of roosters crowing. Her eyes fluttered as they adjusted to the sunlight that crept through the tangerine-colored curtains. As she sat up and reached across the bed, familiarizing herself with her surroundings, the man beside her stirred. She placed a hand over her mouth and looked down to the tiled floor while she recalled the events of the previous night. For a moment, she had forgotten where she was. Luz had been vacationing in her mother’s homeland, the Dominican Republic, for the first time in over a year, the longest she had gone without paying the island a visit. She traveled there so frequently that she knew the immigration officers by name and the female officers often came from
behind the glass partition to give her a hug. She steered clear of the male
immigration officers because they were known to get a little too friendly,
especially with foreign-born Dominicanas traveling on their own.
Usually she went to the DR alone, but this time Luke, her boyfriend of seven months, was accompanying her. Luke was the complete opposite of Luz. He was short, stout and fair-skinned with light-colored eyes that changed depending on his mood or the color of his shirt. Luz was tall with sizeable hips but a slender figure. She spent most of her mornings on a treadmill or punching and kicking Tae Bo-style to old VHS tapes. She had long, jet-black hair and a tan complexion.
They rooted for opposite teams—he for his home team, the Red Sox, while Luz was a seasonal Yankees fan — which meant they were bound to break up during the
post-season depending on whose team made it further into the playoffs and how
much gloating the other could withstand. Luke enjoyed his scotch neat while Luz
preferred a cold cerveza now and then and only resorted to hard drinks when in
desperate need of a pick-me-up. They were such opposites, in fact, that many of their friends often joked that the only thing they had in common was the first two letters of their names.
Even so, Luke was kind and understanding and ‘got’ Luz. He especially understood and respected her need for writing, encouraging her and even submitting discarded manuscripts to local contests behind her back. He was handsome, well-mannered and the first real American boy to pursue Luz. She appeared to be living theAmerican Dream.

About the Author:

Leslie DJ is a Dominican-American writer and radio personality who resides in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

She is the writer and founder of, an online publication that features written and audio music related content. She hosts Sinister Girlz Live on WBMB Baruch College Radio 94.3 FM New York on Fridays at 4pm EST.

Her debut novel, “That Girl” was released in September of 2016 and is available on

She graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Playwriting from Marymount Manhattan College and received her MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction from The New School of General Studies.

Have you been to the Dominican Republic? What was it like, what made it into the book and what didn't? Or, how was writing vignettes different than a typical novel? Was it authentic for this story and/or something you'll continue?
My parents are from the Dominican Republic, I am a first generation Dominican American and I visited the island as a kid against my will. The thought of spending my summers there without cable TV or English-language programming did not appeal to me at all. I didn’t start traveling there on my own until my early twenties. Each trip spurred all kinds of ideas as I immersed myself in the culture and partook in new experiences. I was reading books by Junot Diaz and Julia Alvarez and I wanted to reconnect with my roots. I began writing about my experiences while visiting the Dominican Republic and ended up creating Luz and scripting her journey. It came to me in chunks and it never felt like a linear story. I think it works well with the type of story I wanted to tell. It was a first for me and I think I succeeded in what I wanted this project to be. Aspects of Luz’s story are loosely based on my love affair with the island and the boy I would eventually marry and later divorce. It’s such a tropical and beautiful environment that you can’t help but fall in love with the music, the food and the people. There’s a lot that didn’t make it into the final draft mainly Yanira’s story (Luz’s mother) it’s such a big important story to tell that I feel it’s better to give her, her own book to tell her story. I wanted this book to focus on Luz’s journey and unraveling.

WOW! Thank you so much Leslie for answering both of my questions so thoroughly. Fascinating how thing change when growing up. The kid going against their will sound like a great YA book, if you ask me. I can't wait to read Luz and I'll be on the lookout for her mom's story as well!

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win, but if you want to gaurentee your copy pick it up now on Amazon.

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1 comment:

  1. That cool and a must pick for me to spend the summer time...


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