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April 24 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

An Evening With The Secrets of Publishing Panel


Books & Books


April 24
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134
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Books & Books presents…



Aquilino Gonell, Susan Shapiro, Raj Tawney, Dan Lopez, and Andrea Askowitz


Wednesday, April 24th, 6:30 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables


Books & Books is proud to present an evening with Aquilino Gonell, Susan Shapiro, Raj Tawney, Dan Lopez, and Andrea Askowitz to discuss their panel: The Secrets of Publishing.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.

About their Books:

American Shield is an all-American tale of duty and determination—beautifully told by an immigrant, a veteran, and a patriot.” —Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the United States House of Representatives

Set against the extraordinary events of January 6, 2021, Aquilino Gonell’s inspirational memoir is rooted in the joys and struggles of the immigrant experience that have long defined the American experiment

Aquilino Gonell came to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a young boy. Although he spoke no English, he dedicated himself to his adopted land, striving for the American dream. Determined to be a success story, he joined the army to pay for college. He saw action in Iraq and returned home with PTSD. Believing in the promise of our government, he focused on healing himself and supporting his family. His hard work paid off when he landed a coveted position with the United States Capitol Police and rose to the rank of sergeant.

January 6, 2021, changed everything. When insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, Gonell bravely faced down the mob attempting to thwart the peaceful transfer of power. The brutal injuries he sustained that day would end his career in law enforcement. But when some of the very people he put his life on the line to protect downplayed or denied the truth of that day, he chose to speak out against the injustice done to him and the country. Chronicling what it means to live a life of conviction, one that adheres to the best ideas of our democracy, American Shield is a bold testament to the power of truth, justice, and accountability from a highly decorated officer and immigrant who exemplifies the greatest aspirations of a grateful nation.


A timely self-examination of the “mixed” American experience featuring exclusive recipes and photographs from the author’s multicultural family.

As citizens continue to evolve and diversify within the United States, the ingredients that comprise each flavorful household are waiting to be discovered and devoured. In Colorful Palate, author Raj Tawney shares his coming-of-age memoir as a young man born into an Indian, Puerto Rican, and Italian-American family, his struggles with understanding his own identity, and the mouthwatering flavors of the melting pot from within his own childhood kitchen.While the world outside can be cruel and unforgiving, it’s even more complicated for a mixed-race kid, unsure of his place in the world. Turning to his mother and grandmother for guidance, Tawney’s assistance in the kitchen provided intimate moments and candor as he listened to the tales behind each culinary delicacy and the women who perfected them. Each lovingly prepared meal offered another opportunity to learn more about his extraordinary heritage. The ability to create delicious fare with his family wasn’t just a duty for the grand ladies who raised him; they were a survival tactic for navigating new and unknown cultures, not always willing to accept them at first or even a hundredth glance. As Tawney examines both himself and his loved ones through the formative stages of his life, from boyhood through adulthood, he begins to realize, through all of the chaos and confusion, just how “American” he actually was.In this contemporary coming-of-age tale, Tawney tackles personal hot-button issues about race and identity through poignant, heartfelt moments centered around delicious meals. From succulent tandoori chicken to delectable arroz con habichuelas to scrumptious spaghetti and meatballs, Tawney shares his family recipes along with the intimate stories he overheard in the kitchen as he played sous chef to hundreds of recipes that not only span continents but come with their own personal histories attached. Colorful Palate is a tale of the mixed experience, one of the millions that rarely gets told, undefined by a single group or birthright, and unapologetic about its lack of classification.


My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy. In this memoir of her 40 weeks and five days in hell, Andrea Askowitz takes an unflinching look at her pregnant life from struggling with hormones to poor body image to a self imposed exile from family to take us on a ride through the turbulence of single lesbian motherhood. Along the way we meet her liberal parents as they struggle with their daughter’s choices, the lover she longs to reconnect with who goes M.I.A. before the pregnancy, the friends who turn out to be no help at all and strangers who offer up some unlikely kindness. Andrea presents herself real, raw, impossibly cranky yet deeply touching with her self-deprecating dark sense of humor that will make you wince or better yet send you into uncontrollable fits of laughter.


A Brilliant, Buoyant Guide to Publishing Your Book
Hundreds of thousands of books come out every year worldwide. So why not yours? In The Book Bible, New York Times bestseller and wildly popular Manhattan writing professor Susan Shapiro reveals the best and fastest ways to break into a mainstream publishing house. Unlike most writing manuals that stick to only one genre, Shapiro maps out the rules of all the sought-after, sellable categories: novels, memoirs, biography, how-to, essay collections, anthologies, humor, mystery, crime, poetry, picture books, young adult and middle grade, fiction and nonfiction. Shapiro once worried that selling 16 books in varied sub-sections made her a literary dabbler. Yet after helping her students publish many award-winning bestsellers on all shelves of the bookstore, she realized that her versatility had a huge upside. She could explain, from personal experience, the differences in making each kind of book, as well as ways to find the right genre for every project and how to craft a winning proposal or great cover letter to get a top agent and book editor to say yes.

This valuable guide will teach both new and experienced scribes how to attain their dream of becoming a successful author.


The Show House. Quirky Orlando retirees Thaddeus and Cheryl, and adoptive parents Steven and Peter, come together for a family weekend in Orlando, where Cheryl anxiously hopes to repair the dysfunctional and toxic relationship between her husband and their son. When news of a serial killer that targets gay men at nightclubs rocks their community, over-worked pharmacist Laila grows concerned for her handsome and arrogant younger half-brother, Alex, who has been missing for several months. Meanwhile, the calculating murderer’s own life begins to spiral out of control as he unwittingly falls for a would-be victim. Overwhelmed by meeting his granddaughter Gertie for the first time, Thaddeus kidnaps her in order to take her to Disney World setting off a wild goose chase where these intertwined families finally collide.


About the Panelists:

SUSAN SHAPIRO is an award-winning Jewish American journalist. She’s the author/coauthor of the acclaimed nonfiction books Unhooked (a New York Times bestseller), The Forgiveness Tour (a Jewish Book Council pick), The Bosnia List (an Oprah book of the Week, ASJA award winner and William Saroyan Nonfiction finalist ) and World In Between (A Notable Book for Global Society.) She writes for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Newsweek, among others.

Raj Tawney is a writer and journalist whose work largely reflects his New York-area upbringing and sensibility. Raised in an Indian, Puerto Rican, and Italian-American household, Tawney has explored his own race and identity through stories published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, USA Today, Smithsonian magazine, and many other outlets throughout the country.

Andrea Askowitz is a full time mom, writer and founder of Bike Out, a non-profit created to introduce gay and lesbian inner city kids to the outdoors. She does stand-up featuring scenes from her life and book and produces the program Lip Service: True Stories Out Loud at Books & Books in Coral Gables Florida.

Dan J. Lopez’s work has appeared in “The Collagist,” “Storychord,” “Mary Literary,” “Time Out New York,” and “Lambda Literary,” among others. “The Show House” is his first novel. He lives in Los Angeles.

On January 6th, 2021, former Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the Capitol Police faced down the insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol. For hours, wildly outmanned, he battled in hand-to-hand combat, sustaining blow after blow from chemicals, pipes, poles, and battering rams—all the while thinking this would be how he’d die. The brutal injuries (physical, mental, and moral) Sgt. Gonell sustained on January 6 ended his career in law enforcement. But when some of the politicians he protected that day, and for years prior, downplayed or denied what happened, he chose to speak out.

In the United States Army, he served honorably and had a decorated career rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. President Biden recently awarded Sgt. Gonell the Presidential Citizenship Medal and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal for the pivotal role and bravery displayed while defending the Capitol Building. He’s also the recipient of the Carnegie Immigrant Award, The Common Good American Spirit Award, Virginia University’s The Center for Politics’ Defender of Democracy Award. He’s been featured in The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, NPR, CBS Mornings, NBC News, Fox-TV, MSNBC, The Daily Beast, The Hill, Rolling Stone, Telemundo and Univision.