Lilliam Rivera

Lilliam Rivera is the author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult novel set in the Bronx. Featuring a Latina protagonist who is the lead and not the feisty sidekick, the novel explores tough topics like dysfunctional families, class and race, gentrification, and the perils of addiction.

It’s not surprising that this debut novel has been nominated for a 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adult Fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association. (Dear Hollywood, this would make a great movie. Get on it!)

Lilliam is an award-winning writer who was recently named a “2017 Face to Watch” by the Los Angeles Times. A 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion alumni with a Leonard Pung Memorial Scholarship, she has been awarded fellowships from PEN Center USA, A Room Of Her Own Foundation, and received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Speculative Literature Foundation. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Latina, USA Today, and Los Angeles Review of Books, to name a few.

Excerpt from The Education of Margot Sanchez (reprinted with permission from the author):

Sweat trails down the back of my neck to the crevice of my butt. I look down and notice the deformed wheel on the shopping cart I’ve been fighting with for the past five minutes. It’s the end of week number one. Instead of having me do any kind of social media for the supermarket, Papi decided I first needed to herd carts out in the parking lot. I crave shelving instead of this tiny new hell. Cars honk at me to move out of the way. One woman complained how dirty the carts were and how I should use a disinfectant to wipe each of them down. “You don’t want to start an Ebola crisis, do you?” she asked. No, I do not want to start a deadly disease but I also don’t want to do this.

I stop in the middle of the lot, pull out a hair band, and put my once-sleek do up in a lopsided bun. This is the worst, and this ugly uniform jacket adds nothing to my situation.

Before I faint Oscar thankfully comes out with a gallon of water.

“Sit down and take a break!” he yells. I join him underneath the store’s awning. “How’s it going?”

“I think I’m going to die,” I say. “It’s too hot to be out here.”

“Did you know that these carts cost more than a hundred dollars each? It’s true,” Oscar says. “What you are doing is so important. It might seem trivial but it’s not.”

A hundred dollars! Maybe I should bill Papi for each cart I collect. He can deduct it from the twenty-six hundred I owe.

“We should upgrade to the automatic-lock carts but they cost too much,” Oscar says. He pulls a towel from his back pocket and wipes the perspiration accumulating on his bald head. “Sometimes it’s good to do work with your hands.” He pours me a large glass of water and I gulp it. “It’s humbling work. You are almost done.”

He shows me his rough hands and we compare. My poor chipped nails. So not cute.


The Education of Margot Sanchez (Simon & Schuster) is available in hardcover and e-book versions at all major and independent bookstores. Her second young adult novel, Dealing in Dreams, will be published in 2018.

Lilliam brings her experiences as a former entertainment journalist and now a fiction writer to speaking engagements. Her craft workshops include ways to mine personal history for compelling fiction, how to tackle tragedy in young adult fiction, and an exploration of speculative literature.

Get to know Lilliam Rivera by visiting her website and connecting with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Ritzy Periwinkle

You only need to meet Ritzy Periwinkle once to understand that she’s a woman of many talents. Her portfolio is as multifaceted as she is, and it’s hard to encapsulate her work in a brief bio or artist statement.

Ritzy Periwinkle, born Marisa Estrada, is a Los Angeles-based visual artist and designer who manages to avoid the annoying stereotype of someone who has been entrenched in LA for too long. With an art degree from California State University Long Beach, Ritzy started her career in the music industry before pursuing the entrepreneurial path.

Ritzy’s artwork draws inspiration from street life and reflects her deep respect for culture, diversity, and justice. Her works have shown in galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Tokyo, and Seoul.

Once only her moniker for art exhibits; Ritzy Periwinkle has now become the umbrella under which she provides creative direction, graphic design, illustration, strategic branding, and more to clients in various industries. Her client list includes Goldenvoice, LACMA, Lucasfilm LTD, and Warner Bros, just to name a few.

She also designs her own line of products inspired by music. In her online store, you’ll find enamel pins created from her original illustrations of Prince and Stevie Wonder. Her votive candle holders featuring portraits of Selena and Juan Gabriel make great gifts. If you love old school hip hop, your kitchen needs one of her hand-stamped tea towels.

Ritzy is also involved with artist collaborations including Army of Snipers International Crew and Ladies Love Project. Earlier this month, she teamed up with Toofly and Nisha K. Sethi to bring the Ladies Love Project Pop-Up Shop to DesignerCon.

Ritzy’s infectious laughter and energy can be heard on The Nerd Out, a podcast she co-hosts with Lisa Jenkins. Last but definitely not least, she is the Magical MF Warrior to the Supernatural Bear. You can occasionally follow along on their adventures through her Instagram.

If you don’t know Ritzy Perwinkle yet, what are you waiting for? Visit her website and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.