The story of one man’s tenacity to accomplish his dream
Inspired by a true story
First Place, Biography, 2018 Latino Books Into Movies Awards
Mariposa Award, Best First Book, 2016 International Latino Book Awards
Finalist, Multicultural Fiction, 2016 International Book Awards
If you would like to arrange for me to speak to your book club or send comments and questions, please contact me at email@example.com as I’d love to hear from you! I will travel to book clubs in Northern CA or am available via SKYPE.
When nineteen-year-old Ramón León wins the Puerto Rican lottery, he believes his promise to establish the first dental and medical clinic in his village will be achievable. But an unexpected chain of catastrophic events intervenes. Luck is Just the Beginning is not only an enchanting story of the joys and sorrows of family, but also the saga of one man’s determination to never give up on his dream.
I’m thrilled to announce my children’s story was just published. Click here to read the web version of “Ramón’s Lucky Toothache.” It is a tribute to the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria!
I’m delighted to say my essay, Lessons From My Father, was just awarded Runner-up/Second Place in the 2019 Nonfiction Contest for the Preservation Foundation. Click here to read this tribute to my dad’s passing. Visit The Preservation Foundation to find out more about their work.
Awards, Reviews and Press
- Click here and scroll down to watch the short video of Edward James Olmos at the 2018 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival reading the winners of the Latino Books into Movies Awards. Luck is Just the Beginning won for Biography!
- Check out my op-ed piece “The Forgotten Citizens” in the Orlando Sentinel on the anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Learn about recovery efforts and how you can help!
- I was honored to be selected by LatinoStories.com for their list of the “Top Ten New Latino Authors of 2017.” Click here to read their description of my novel and hearty congrats to my fellow authors and wordsmiths!
- Many thanks to Beth Ruyak and her wonderful staff for hosting me on INSIGHT on NPR, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. Click to listen to our interview.
- Check out the most recent four-star review from Online Book Club.org. Note very few books receive 4/4 stars!
- Visit Amazon.com or Goodreads to read the most recent five star reviews or to leave a review. The Midwest Book Review states: “Celeste Leon’s beautifully written debut novel is the story of a young man in 1940s Puerto Rico who wins the lottery, only to realize that, as the title states, luck is just the beginning. The novel is rich with Puerto Rican flavor and historical details, and Leon writes with simplicity yet profound perception about the human nature. Ramon is an endearing, utterly likable character – an honest, good-hearted man who makes mistakes yet rises above them . . .” Read the review by the Latina Book Club as well.
- Luck is Just the Beginning was honored with a Mariposa award for Best First Book in the 2016 International Latino Book Awards, the largest awards program in the USA celebrating Latino literature for 20 years! It was also awarded finalist in the “Fiction: Multicultural” category of the 2016 International Book Awards, established in 2009; 2016 was the largest year with over 1500 entries.
- Read the latest review in the Eagen Enterprise and thanks to their editors for a great interview.
- Luck is Just the Beginning was selected as Book of the Month in August for Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. I was honored to be their guest on their teleconference on August 22, available to their 20,000 members. Listen to the teleconference as a podcast here and scroll down to August 2016.
- Check out the article released on June 1, 2016, “Telling her Father’s Story” in the Tahoe Weekly. Thanks to reporter Tim Hauserman for a great story about stories!
- I was delighted to be named one of “Ten Latina Authors to watch and read” by the Latina Book Club in honor of Women’s History Month. In celebration of “luck, family and inspiration,” the Latina Book Club posted an interview with me called: Beyond a Stroke of Luck, an Interview with Celeste León, an exciting new author with a great family tale. Thanks to wonderful author Teresa Dovalpage for conducting the interview.
- Thank you to WOCA “The Source” News Talk radio for welcoming me to Ocala, Florida for this engaging interview. My deepest appreciation to hosts Larry Whitler and Robin MacBlane for their support. Watch the 25 minute UTube video of the interview here. And thanks to the Ocala and central Florida communities and Barnes and Noble for hosting successful book signings and to Carlos Medina of the Ocala Star Banner for his article, Author Chronicles Dad’s Winning Lottery, Journeying from Puerto Rico to Ocala.
- Luck is Just the Beginning was selected as “editor’s pick” on Blogcritics Magazine, read the interview here.
- You can listen to a podcast of my interview that aired on March 18, 2016 on KCKQ 1180 AM, a Lotus Radio Station in Northern Nevada. Click on “What’s the Story” to hear me talk on the popular weekly show about the evolution of my book and writing. Many thanks to wonderful hosts Janice Hermsen and Dennis DuPerault!
- Read the article, Family Heirloom, in Vermont Quarterly, my favorite university magazine published by my alma mater, the University of Vermont. I am grateful to editor Thomas Weaver for a great piece!
- I did a radio interview on February 2, 2016 with author and delightful radio host, Teresa Dovalpage, of KNCE True Taos Radio. You can read the synopsis on my blog in the post, A Great Interview.
- Read the article in the Sierra Sun from November 20, 2015: Truckee woman’s debut novel based on father’s true story of winning the lottery.
- Luck is Just the Beginning was featured in the January, 2016 issue of the Michigan State University Alumni newsletter. Click to view the current issue and select January, 2016 in the archives section and scroll down to the third article!
- Read my article, Sharing Luck, that was published in Moonshine Ink on December 11, 2015.
- “Luck is Just the Beginning is sure to appeal to young readers everywhere. Set in 1940s Puerto Rico, the novel’s message cuts across cultures. The decisions the main character, Ramón, has to make remind us of important decisions we all make in life. I recommend this novel highly, especially to teachers who will find it a valuable teaching tool.” Rudolfo Anaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima, Alburquerque
- “When Ramón León wins the lottery, he believes his dream will come true. He has yet to discover that the gods first favor those whom they would destroy. Celeste León’s compelling biographical novel of her father’s struggles to become a healer among the people of Puerto Rico follows Ramon León’s twisting tale from exultation to despair and finally to fulfillment. Above all, it is gripping story of heartbreak, courage and self-sacrifice, of one man’s struggle to find the right path to his dream. It will take your breath away and warm your heart.” David Sundstrand, author of Shadow of the Raven, Shadows of Death
- “Celeste León takes the reader on a deeply affecting voyage, balancing “the luckiest man in Maunabo” Ramon León’s dreams and aspirations against the push and pull of a tightly-knit community. Emotionally pitch-perfect, skillfully written, this historical novel transports the reader on an unforgettable journey to a time and place most of us have never known.” Désirée Zamorano, Author of The Amado Women Twitter: @LaDeziree
- “Luck is Just the Beginning announces the arrival of a gifted and intuitive writer whose heart, grace, and compassion will surely win her a devoted readership. With skill and precision, Celeste León explores the complexities of family, home, and heritage in a refreshing new way. León’s debut novel places her among the most exciting Latina writers working today.” Alex Espinoza, author of Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León
- “Just finished reading ‘Luck is Just the Beginning’. A wonderful well written story about a man who wins the lottery, how it changes his life, the struggles, a roller coaster of events and his personal success at remaining true to himself. I found myself smiling at the end..almost in tears and feeling good all at the same time. I think you will love this book, It is very well written with a comfortable flow and great descriptions of life in a small town in Puerto Rico. I highly recommend it!” Jane Lufkin, Goodreads review