Welcome to Californio!

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It’s here and ready to be read!

I’m proud to finally be able to say: You can order a paperback of Californio through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or pre-order the e-book (available August 2nd) for Kindle or Nook.

Californio ebook cover REV

If you live in the Santa Barbara area, or you’re planning to visit Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta (August 2 – 6), Californio is the perfect book to enrich your Fiesta experience.  You can find Californio at Chaucer’s Bookstore on Upper State Street.

If you have a favorite bookstore in your own town you want to support, just give them the title, Californio by Darlene Craviotto, and ask them to order you a copy.

If you’re a member of a book club and would love to use Californio as one of your books, please contact Simone Wilde at Simone@californiothenovel for special wholesale pricing, and a guide for discussing the novel, along with California’s First Pioneers.

Thank you to all of you who have come to this blog, read my posts, and given me the confidence and courage to always write what my heart wants me to write. I would never have written this novel if not for the feedback, the kind words, and the connection that I’ve found here at this blog. I hope you enjoy Californio because I felt while I was writing it that we were all taking this journey together.  A writer always works in solitude, but is never really alone.  Our readers are always at our side, peeking over our shoulders and guiding us along. 

Thanks for always being there.  

#2 Signature

Viva La, Y’all!

(It’s that time of year again, and if you didn’t read this before, here’s what all the Viva Las!!! are all about…)

It’s Fiesta again in Santa Barbara, and if you don’t know about our fair city’s yearly celebration, let me fill you in:  It’s a five-day-all-you-can-drink non-stop party with sombreros.  There’s a parade (filled with horses), lots of alcohol (mostly tequila and cervesa (beer), but hey, in a pinch even Baily’s Irish Cream will do) and so much Spanish-style dancing in colorful costumes you’ll think you wandered on to the set of “Zorro.”

Today’s Fiesta, also called “Old Spanish Days,” was originally started by the local Poole-Verhelle Dancers in 1922.  Dancing for personal enjoyment and community entertainment eventually evolved into big tourist business known as La Fiesta.  Here’s a photo of that original group:

Fiesta-1923

My grandfather is supposed to be somewhere in that photo.  But for the life of me, I don’t see him anywhere – maybe he was behind the camera taking the picture.  You can see him (and my grandmother) in this photo below, all dressed up in their finest.

Bobbie & nanie Fiesta

And going back one more generation – before Fiesta became commercialized and was simply a helluva great fandango – here’s my great-grandfather.

Great-grandfather fiesta

If you’re a certain type of local, however, Fiesta time in Santa Barbara is when you abandon the town to the tourists and take off to Hawaii.  My dad and uncle always took ten days off on the dates when Fiesta would fall.  They had their own business – an ironworks/welding shop – and they’d hurry like hell to finish up their jobs, sometimes working right up to the night before Fiesta Pequena at the Mission kicked off that year’s big party.  How they managed to get all of their work done in time for their getaway was always a Fiesta miracle, and involved long hours of work, much yelling, swearing, and both brothers threatening each other with martyrdom: “I’m not going on vacation!!!” “NO, I’m not going!!!” Although their parents’ generation had started Fiesta, the two brothers hated that time of the year in their hometown. Maybe this photo had something to do with it:

Dad Fiesta

That must have been the one and only time the brothers dressed up in costumes.  Too bad because they were awfully cute hombrecitos.

In spite of the dislike the two brothers had for Old Spanish Days craziness, the love for Fiesta still beats strongly in the younger generation.  My kids always stop their own lives to return like spawning salmon to their hometown, and the sweet sounds of mariachis, and cascarones crunching against people’s heads.  If you don’t know what a cascarone is, come to Santa Barbara this weekend and we’ll show you.

Not me, of course.

I’m getting the hell out of here before the tourists take over.

(If you enjoyed reading this post and you’d like to read more by Darlene Craviotto…) 

REV Cover_ebook-1

 

(Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes iBooks Store)

Viva La!!!

(This was originally posted last year but I’ll be writing a new web series (“Californio“) beginning next week  that was inspired by our family history as seen in the photos of “Viva La!!!)

I like to put up new blogposts on Thursday, but this week I’ll be too busy drinking margaritas and getting smashed – by cascarones (hollowed out eggs filled with confetti). It’s Fiesta time once again in Santa Barbara.  If you don’t know about Fiesta, let me fill you in:  it’s a five-day-long party with sombreros. There’s a parade, LOTS of alcohol (mostly involving tequila and cervezas (beer), but hey, in a pinch even Baily’s Irish Cream will do) and so many displays of Spanish-style dancing in colorful costumes you’ll think you wandered onto the set of “Zorro.”

Today’s Fiesta, also called “Old Spanish Days,” centering around a Courthouse evening  known as “Las Noches de Ronda,” originally was started by the local Poole-Verhelle Group of Dancers in 1922.  Dancing for enjoyment and entertainment eventually evolved into a community party now known as La Fiesta.  Here’s a picture of that original group.

Fiesta-1923

My grandfather is supposed to be somewhere in that photo.  But for the life of me, I don’t see him anywhere – maybe he was behind the camera taking the picture.  You can see him (and my grandmother) in this photo below, all dressed up in their Fiesta finest.

Bobbie & nanie Fiesta

And going back one more generation, here’s my great-grandfather…

Great-grandfather fiesta

If you’re a certain type of local, however, Fiesta time in Santa Barbara is when you abandon the town to the tourists and take off to Hawaii. My dad and uncle always took ten days off on the dates when Fiesta would fall during the year. They had their own business – an ironworks/welding shop – and they’d hurry up like hell to finish up their jobs,  sometimes right up to the night before Fiesta Pequena kicked off that year’s Big Party.  How they managed to get all of their work done in time for their getaway was always a miracle, and involved much yelling, swearing, and both brothers threatening each other, “I’m not going on vacation!!”  “NO, I’m not going!” Although their parents generation had started Fiesta, the two brothers hated that time of the year in their hometown.  Maybe this photo had something to do with it:

Dad Fiesta

That must have been the one and only time the brothers dressed up in costumes.  Too bad because they were awfully cute hombresitos.

In spite of the dislike the two brothers had for Old Spanish Days craziness, the love for Fiesta still beats strongly in the younger generation. My kids always stop their own lives to return like spawning salmon to their hometown, and the sweet sounds of mariachis and “Viva La!!!” So forgive me if I can’t write a post today.  Sometimes there’s a greater calling than just the need to put thoughts into words.  It’s Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara!

And I have to get the hell out of this town before the tourists take it over.

(This year’s Old Spanish Days are from July 31 – August 4.  Viva!!!)

Viva La…!!!

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“Hey, it’s Thursday. Isn’t that blogger (with the name I never remember) supposed to have a new post out?”

Yep, guilty as charged.

Here it is Thursday and it’s not that I don’t have something I want to share with all of you (I do and I’ll write about that on Monday) but I don’t have any time today to write a new post.  Instead, I’m out having margaritas and tortas, smashing cascarones (hollowed out eggs filled with confetti) against someone’s head, and yelling, “Viva la!!!” It’s Fiesta time once again in Santa Barbara.  If you don’t know about Fiesta, let me fill you in:  it’s a five-day excuse to party. There’s a parade, LOTS of alcohol (mostly involving tequila and cervezas (beer), but hey, in a pinch anything alcoholic will do) and so many displays of Spanish-style dancing in colorful costumes you’ll think you wandered onto the set of “Zorro.”

Today’s Fiesta, now called “Old Spanish Days,” centering around a Courthouse evening  known as “Las Noches de Ronda,” originally was started by the Poole-Verhelle Group of Dancers in 1922.  Dancing for enjoyment and entertainment eventually evolved into a community party now known as Fiesta.  Here’s a picture of that original group.

My grandfather is supposed to be somewhere in that photo.  But for the life of me, I don’t see him anywhere – maybe he was behind the camera taking the picture.  You can see him (and my grandmother) in this photo below, all dressed up in their Fiesta finest.

And going back one more generation, here’s my great-grandfather…

If you’re a certain type of local, however, Fiesta time in Santa Barbara is when you abandon the town to the tourists and take off to Hawaii, or some other exotic location where you can party according to their local traditions. My dad and uncle always took ten days off on the dates when Fiesta would fall during the year. They had their own business – an ironworks/welding shop – and they’d hurry up like hell to finish up their jobs,  sometimes right up to the night before Fiesta Pequena kicked off that year’s Big Party.  How they managed to get all of their work done in time for their getaway was always a miracle, and involved much yelling, swearing, and both brothers threatening each other, “I’m not going on vacation!!”  “NO, I’m not going!” Although their parents generation had started Fiesta, the two brothers hated that time of the year in their hometown.  Maybe this photo had something to do with it:

That must have been the one and only time the brothers dressed up in costumes.  Too bad because they were awfully cute hombresitos.

In spite of the dislike the two brothers had for Old Spanish Days craziness, the love for Fiesta still beats strongly in the younger generation. My kids always stop their own lives to return like spawning salmon to their hometown, and the sweet sounds of mariachis and “Viva La!!!” So forgive me if I can’t write a post today.  Sometimes there’s a greater calling than just the need to put thoughts into words.  It’s Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara!

And I have to get the hell out of this town before the tourists take it over.

Viva La Fiesta!!!!

Just to get you in the Old Spanish Days mood, here’s a little Californio song that my grandfather used to sing to us…

El Capotin – Bobbie’s Song

(Click on the title in Blue)