top of page

Welcome and thank you for visiting!

Here you will find:
Information about author visits

Writing tips
Information about my critique service
Short stories and first chapters of my novels.

My YA books include:

Historicals Set in the American Revolution
Lorenzo's Secret Mission
Lorenzo's Revolutionary Quest
Lorenzo and the Turncoat

Green Slime and Jam
Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy

George Lopez, Latino King of Comedy
Famous Latinos


Behind the Author

     Writing has always been a passion for Lila W. Guzman. Her first success was an "A" in 11th grade Creative Writing when she wrote a short story based on her Uncle Chester's experiences as a POW in World War II.

      Next, she translated and published two novels by Galdos--The Campaign of the Maestrazgo and A Royalist Volunteer.

     After her short story, “Star Apples” won Honorable Mention in Fiction from the National League of American Pen Women, she began to get serious about her writing career. Her first novel, LORENZO'S SECRET MISSION, was her second novel to be published. The second novel that she wrote, GREEN SLIME AND JAM, was published first in March 2001.

     Lila was born in Lexington, Kentucky and graduated from Jeffersontown High School just outside of Louisville. She attended Western Kentucky University and taught Spanish and French at Franklin-Simpson Middle School before working on her Ph.D at the University of Kentucky. After a year at the University of Georgia.where she was a temporary lecturer, she joined the U.S. Navy. When she finished Officer Candidate School, the Navy sent her to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. There, she taught native speakers how to teach their language to members of the Armed Services. As a result, she knows a smattering of a bunch of languages--just enough to get her into trouble.

     If the U.S. Navy had wanted her to have a husband, it would have issued her one. But it didn't and she got married anyway to an army officer who became her co-author. They have three children and three grandchildren.


Sphere on Spiral Stairs

Author Visits

Do you need a speaker at your school or club?

Book now for 2023-2024.

A 50-minute session ($300).

In person: within a 50-mile radius of Austin, Dallas, or Brady, Texas.

Remote options are also available.

Contact Lila for the honorarium for a physical visit beyond 200 miles of Round Rock, Texas.

Possible subjects:

How a Book Becomes a Book

The Role of the Spanish in the American Revolution

Louisiana's Role in the American Revolution

Texas's Role in the American Revolution

Tips for Writing Fiction

The Hero's Journey

Send an email to

Put AUTHOR VISIT in the subject line.

I will send you an email and we'll work out the details.


Do you need a critique service?

Writing is a difficult skill to master.  Getting published is even more difficult. There are a hundred and one issues to consider as you shape your fiction project. Pacing. Show, don't tell. POV.

Potential problems often become invisible because you are so close to the material and you might miss the obvious.

That's why I work as an independent book editor and writing consultant.  I primarily work with novelists and short story writers in a long-term relationship to shape fiction into the best product possible.

I offer the following ​Author Packages:


Help with critical “do’s and don’ts” when writing fiction. Are you confused about “show, don’t tell?” Point-of-view? The Hero’s Journey? How to structure your novel/short story?

Send me the first 20 pages of your manuscript. I’ll critique it and then we’ll talk about strategies to improve it. A 30 minute consultation is included. If you decide to rewrite, I reread and make final remarks.


Ready to take your writing to the next level? Ready to fine-tune your story? This package continues the learning process on writing fiction. It includes specific feedback on character development, plot, theme, putting tension on every page, and more.

Send me the first 120 pages of your work in progress. I’ll read it, critique it and then we’ll talk about strategies to improve it.


Guidance on the most crucial writing you will ever do. This is your “first date” with an agent or editor.


It has to be perfect.


Email me at and put CRITIQUE SERVICE in the subject line. Let's discuss your project.

​I cannot guarantee publication. (But I wish I could.)

Ph.D. (Spanish Literature/University of Kentucky)
M.A.C.T. (Spanish/Western Kentucky University)
B.A. (Majors:  Spanish and French/Western Kentucky University)



FAMOUS LATINOS (English and Spanish editions)
Short Stories in: PIF Magazine, Millenium Science Fiction and Fantasy, San Diego Writers Monthly, Xoddity, Austin Writer, Roswell Literary Magazine, Canadian Writers Journal, Touched by Adoption, Round Rock Leader, and other publications.

Honorable Mention in Fiction, National League of American Pen Women (Short Story:  "Star Apples")


Finalist, Book of the Year, ForeWord Magazine 2001

Finalist, Golden Spur (Texas State Reading Association), 2006


National TCARA Book Award, 2006

Winner, Arizona Authors Literary Award, 2006
Finalist, Cybils Award 2006

No pornographic material, please.
Your manuscript should have twenty-five lines per page. Times Roman 12 font.

MY PHILOSOPHY ON WORKING WITH WRITERS:  I don’t believe in taking advantage of people.  Likewise, I don’t like to be taken advantage of.


Cat on the Balcony
Citrus Fruits

How did the Lorenzo series come into being?

     For several years, my husband Rick and I talked about writing a book together, but we could never find a  subject we both liked. Then one night, about 2:00 in the morning, he shook me awake with a burning question. "Did you ever hear about the Spanish contribution to the American Revolution?"

     Not being at my brightest at that time of night, I squinted up at him and said,         "What?"

     "I found something on the Internet. I'll bookmark it. Look at it tomorrow."

     The next day, after he left for work and the children headed to school, I went to the Internet and read a one-paragraph blurb that told about a secret flatboat mission in 1776 delivering Spanish supplies to George Washington. I have a Ph.D. in Spanish and had never heard about this.

     And so the Lorenzo series was born. Lorenzo's Secret Mission tells the story of the flatboat flotilla. Lorenzo's Revolutionary Quest focuses on the first cattle drive in U.S. history. Texas longhorns were driven up the King's Highway from San Antonio to feed soldiers fighting the British. Lorenzo and the Turncoat focuses on the 1779 tornado that devastated New Orleans and left it vulnerable to British attack.


Image by Gaelle Marcel

    Writing Tips

Here are some suggestions about writing contests.

Let's say you've finished a manuscript and need feedback.  One of the best
and most subjective ways to get an honest opinion is to enter a contest.  
There, someone who does not know you and has no vested interest in you
will read your work, rate it against other entries, and (perhaps) give you
suggestions for improvement.


Some contests offer cash prizes. Some do not. Sometimes the feedback you get is invaluable.

What will the judge be looking for?  Here is a sampe score sheet.  (100 is a perfect score.)

1.  Does the book open in the correct place?  Does the opening "hook" grab
your attention?

2.  Is the setting clearly defined without extraneous description?  Is there a
clear sense of time and place?

3.  Are the main characters, their goals and motivations clearly established?  
Do they engage you as a reader?  Are their actions/reactions believable and consistent?

4.  Is the conflict believable and suitable to the genre/category?  Is it clearly established?

5.  Is the plot unique, or a fresh approach?  Is it believable and suitable to the genre?

6.  Is the writing active rather than passive?  Is there a good balance of
narrative and dialogue?  Is the pacing suited for the genre?  Does every
word count?

7.  Is the tone clear?

8.  Does the story contain the elements essential for its targeted genre?

9.  Is the manuscript neat and in proper manuscript form:  Readable font, free
of typos, spelling and/or grammatical errors?

10.  The strongest selling point of this submission (and miscellaneous score)


0-1:  needs major revision
2-4:  rough draft quality
5-7:  average (has potential)
8-9:  very good (ready to submit)
10:  outstanding (set apart from most)



TIP #1

Put a slug line (your last name, a short title, and page number) at the top
right of every page (except the first).  This is how it should look.
                                                                         Guzmán/Pirate   2

Why is this important?  Let me tell you a story.  One night, I was on the
couch reading a manuscript.  My son, who was six at the time, leaped into my lap.
Papers went flying.  The scalding cup of coffee in my hand sloshed all over
me--and the manuscript.

My son froze.

My daughter yelled "Run, Forrest, run!"

Daniel tore out upstairs and didn't show his face for the next hour.  (A very
wise move on his part)
I gathered papers and spent the next thirty minutes sorting them and
grumbling.  Thank goodness the manuscript had slug lines.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, Daniel lived to see his seventh birthday.

Common mistakes in manuscripts

1.  No hook on page 1
2.  No hook at the end of Chapter One
3.  The hero has no goal.  (X wants to ____ because ______)
4.  It starts too slow
5.  It's unoriginal.
6.  Wrong facts.
7.  No redeeming qualities in the antagonist
8.  A protagonist who is too unlikeable
9.  No overriding theme/no book goal
10. Lack of goal, conflict, disaster.
11.  Too many characters
12.  Too many characters introduced too soon.
13.  Showing vs. telling
14.  Starting with someone other than the protagonist

(unless it starts with a prologue)
15.  Not having the protagonist carry the action
16.  POV switches from paragraph to paragraph.
17.  Do not keep secrets from the reader.
18.  Characters doing things apparently unrelated to what

other characters are doing.
19.  Plot glitches.  
20.  Straining belief.  

  Questions? Contact me by email.



(If the video doesn't play on your device, view the video on a computer.)

This is a video I took while visiting a French fort in Louisiana. After an author visit in New Orleans, I decided to do some research in Fort St. Jean Baptiste. A re-enactor offered to show me how to fire a musket. It was misty--not good shooting weather.  He went through all the complicated steps of loading the musket. (If a musketeer could fire three shots a minute, he was going great.)

     The re-enactor fired.   Nothing happened.

     He put in more powder, pulled the trigger, and . . . It fired! If you look closely, you can see the smoke.

     You might wonder why he's barefoot. French soldiers in Louisiana did not wear shoes when it was warm. They only had one pair and saved their shoes for the cold winter months.

First paragraphs are difficult. Lots of information must be delivered in a short space. Look at the first paragraph of Lorenzo's Secret Mission.

Who is the main character? What does he/she want?

Where is the main character? What is the time period?

Drop in clever clues. If the main character is clutching a musket, the MC is probably in a particular time period.

What does the MC want? (Lorenzo wants to get to his grandfather in Virginia.)

In the first draft, I started the book with Lorenzo at his dying father's bedside. It was too much of a downer. Also, the book was not about Lorenzo's father. It's about Lorenzo becoming involved in a secret mission during the American Revolution.

The Lorenzo series tells the story of Spain’s contribution to the American Revolution. From New Orleans, the Spanish sent supplies to the Continental Army in 1776. (Lorenzo's Secret Mission)

Texas longhorns fed Spanish troops fighting the British at Baton Rouge. (Lorenzo's Revolutionary Quest)

A hurricane swept through New Orleans in 1779 shortly before the Battle of Baton Rouge. (Lorenzo and the Turncoat)

Notebook and Pen

Lila W. Guzman, Ph.D

Contact Lila by email to schedule author visits. 

Thanks for submitting!

We don’t have any products to show right now.

We don’t have any products to show right now.

We don’t have any products to show right now.

We don’t have any products to show right now.

We don’t have any products to show right now.

We don’t have any products to show right now.

bottom of page