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Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category


So we spent the last week crowdsourcing our cover for FRANKY BENÍTEZ, a story of love, pain, and hope from San Juan to Boston. We received 28 entries in five days and have chosen our three favorite covers. For those who gave us feedback before on our social media sites, thanks. Now it’s just a question of typefaces and fonts. Please take a moment to vote below.

COVER 1

COVER 2

COVER 3

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I saw him at El Güero Canelo, a taco stand near school, that we all called “The Foolish Blonde” in English. He was filling his cup with Coke near the outdoor picnic benches while I was reaching for some Tapatío salsa to splash on my burrito.

“Hey,” he mumbled, his tan hair waving down around his eyes and over his shoulders. He was wearing a Green Day tee from their last tour, “21st Century Breakdown.” It had a hole near his left armpit, and a slight odor from the day’s heat oozed out of it like vapor. “You eat here, too?”

I had tried to avoid him, everyone did, ever since he kept claiming that the number 18 was really the number 6 a few days back in Calc. There he was, his chair leaning back against the wall, smiling with teeth as yellow as corn, screaming the number 6 from the top of his lungs while the new teacher, some Mexican or Yaqui prof from the border, tried to speak over him. The MexiYaqui prof had given up after almost straining his voice and had walked out to get the assistant dean.

“Yeah, I do. Best place in town,” I forced the words out, looking if there was anyone else from school sitting on the benches or ordering from the counter. No one, everyone today at The Foolish Blonde was either a rancher coming in for a late afternoon lunch or some real estate guy with no houses to show. There was no way out. I would have to sit with him.

“I’m going to find a space on the bench. Wanna join me?” I asked him. I could feel my eyeliner starting to drip down my brows. A bead of sweat slipped down the back of my neck and soaked itself onto my pink tank top.

“Yeah, whatever,” he shrugged.

We walked passed a mural of Cesar Chavez, Pedro Infante, and Selena. Above them was an angel dressed in charro pants and a large sombrero. The Mexican flag’s red, white, and green swirled in the mural’s background, up so high above the angel that it looked like it would fly away and never come back. The taco stand’s radio speakers blared a song by Juanes, a pop singer from Colombia who had sold out the local arena a week before. Loosely translated I let the lyrics flow through me as I walked with him to the bench nearest the road, hoping that no one I knew would come in for the next 20 minutes:

That my eyes are opened, by the light of your face, I ask this of God

That my mother will not die and that my father remembers me, I ask this of God

 


We sat. He crunched into his chicken tacos. I bit into my burrito. We chewed in silence, while Juanes kept asking God for favors and wishes to be fulfilled. Once in a while, I would glance at him. He was kind of cute, if he just cut his hair a bit and wore cleaner tees. I had asked about him a few months back when he first came to school to a girl who knew him from high school. She told me that he used to date some Latina chick who told her that one night he took some meth and started flipping out, and that a few days later, she had left him. Bad news, she said. Best not to chase him.

He kept eating his tacos, cheese stuck to the stubble on his chin, bits of tortilla clinging to his fingers. Bad news. Story of my life. Every guy I dated was bad news, from my the first time I kissed the neighborhood bully behind the stands in middle school to now, when Roberto just plain left me to go to New Mexico, find himself and dedicate himself to his industrial art. That was a week ago, and here I was, stuck in some shitstorm community college, living with my mom again, hustling to get a decent job that could pay for my classes and my car so that I can actually find some purpose in my goddamn life.

“Do you believe in freedom of thought?” his question startled. For a second I paused. “La Puerta Negra” by Los Tigres del Norte had began to play. Freakin’ ranchera music always reminded me of Roberto and the nights we would spend together drunk on tequila and pot.

“Freedom of thought?” I looked at him. “Sure. Are you saying we are free to think about anything we want to think about?”

“Yeah,” he said. “The freedom to think and imagine whatever the hell you want without anyone telling you what to do or say or think or breathe or sing or whatever.”

I laughed a bit. “Sure. I mean, who can’t stop us from doing what we want to do?”

“Exactly,” he picked up his Coke and starting gesturing at me with it, the straw shaking at me. “This is why this country sucks. No one is allowed to have freedom of thought.”

“Ok,” I said, popping the last piece of the burrito into my mouth. I smiled at him. Crazy bastard, and when he got riled up his hair flopped up, down, and around like a mop.

“I mean, we’re stuck because we are not allowed to think!” he said, banging his hand against the wooden bench. “Look at this place. People just sitting around, eating, not thinking, not speaking, just stuck.”

He calmed down and finished his Coke. The afternoon sun was descending onto the taco stand, its rays bouncing off of Selena and reflecting towards him. For a second, I thought he was would vaporise, but around him the light shone just like the angel in the charro pants.

“Wanna get high?” I asked. “Just bought a bag last night. We can listen to Green Day. Chill. Catch some Netflix. Talk.”

He nodded. We both got up from the bench, emptied our trays, and walked out of “The Foolish Blonde.” I wrote my address on his hand and we each went to our cars.

“See you there,” I said.

“Yeah, cool,” he said.

When I saw his mugshot this past Monday on the Tucson news, I was still weeping from the text I had received two days before. I still hadn’t answered it. I had just hurled my phone against the walls of my mom’s apartment and screamed as it shattered into pieces. Bad news. Always bad news.

JL did it. Killed little girl and shot lady. WTF. U knew him? Yes?

 


Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Check

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UPDATE, January 13: 6:15 PM EST: Valdes-Rodriguez just posted the following on her Facebook site: “Uhm…okay. Just got an email from my publicist saying CNN is postponing again because of the shootings. I’ll let you know more soon.” and tweeted this: My publicist just emailed to say my CNN interview is postponed again because of AZ shootings. I will update as I know more.

Twitter news moves fast.

Here is the ORIGINAL story we posted at 5pm EST on January 13:

Best-selling Latina author, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, who has become a case study about the pros and cons of social media, announced today on her Twitter and Facebook sites that she will appear on CNN on January 14 at 1:30 MST (3:30 EST) to discuss “the dangers of optioning your book to TV producers without reading the fine print, and the role of social media in reaching readers directly.”

Valdes-Rodriguez, whose issues with Ann Lopez a nd Encanto Productions have been chronicled consistently on this blog since December 23, confirmed to us this afternoon that CNN anchor Brook Baldwin will interview her. The author of The Dirty Girls Social Club also said that she will be the only guest to discuss this topic with Baldwin.

So, looks like this story that was going away is now getting national media attention.

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In our continuing commitment to feature #LatinoLit talent on Twitter, we are proud to feature the poetry of Obsidian Eagle.

 

Obsidian Eagle

About Obsidian Eagle (ItzQuauhtli)

ItzQuauhtli is a Nahuatl (Aztec) name that translates into Obsidian Eagle — this in turn has become the pseudonym for a deliberately anonymous AntiPoet operating solely online.  Nicanor Parra, the Chilean originator of AntiPoetry once wrote:

For personal reasons, the AntiPoet is a sniper.  He fights for the same cause but with a totally different technique.  He doesn’t disclaim the poet-soldier, he works with him from a distance, although his method may seem ambiguous.

Obsidian Eagle has taken said ambiguity a step further by introducing a technique dubbed poésie sans poète, which divorces verse from first-person pronouns (I, Me, My and Mine).  His blog ObsidianEagle.com has been publishing such AntiPoetry weekly for over a year now.  For submission guidelines visit this Submission Page.

Likewise, on Twitter @ItzQuauhtli is responsible for the longest-running series of rolling rhymes via a thread known as #TheTumbler—derived from Hispanic style couplets called La Bomba in the author’s natal El Salvador.  Although writing mostly in English, ItzQuauhtli does produce Spanish and bilingual poems as well. Here is a poem in Spanish, along with its English version:

Seres alzados

~ I ~

No temo a nada ni a nadie
Sea que ande paseando
Por las avenidas de San Salvador
O sobre los muros en Machu Picchu
Ahí voy, con pasos pesados
Aventado a toda cabeza
Deletreando frases vivientes
En tres idiomas (Francés, Inglés, y este)
Porque el más allá no se queda quieto
Ni tan siquiera un solo instante
Menos para los quienes se inquietan
Y aquellos que se desesperan
Bueno, esos salen aún peor

~ II ~

La Muerte es transcendente
Nuestras almas; ilusión
En esta vida no hay constante
Excepto, vuestra fe y devoción
Tal como Castaneda os dijo
Que Don Juan había dicho:
“El único camino que debes seguir
Es uno que sobresale rebalsando
Desde tu propio sentir.”
Así que nos toca elegir
Rechazar el misterio con ciencia
Sacrificando lo ideal – o –
Bautisarse con agua pura de consciencia
Cual es la misma energía
Del espacio abierto, universal!

And here is the English version:

Elevated Beings

~ I ~

I fear nothing and no one
Whether I’m treading
Through the avenues of San Salvador
Or over the ruins of Machu Picchu
There I go, with heavy footsteps
Headlong
Spelling out living phrases
In three languages (French, English and Spanish)
Because the great beyond does not stay still
Less so for those who grow restless
And those who despair
Well, they’re worse off yet

~ II ~

Death is transcendent
Our souls; an illusion
In life there are no constants
Except, one’s faith and devotion
Like Castaneda told us
That Don Juan had said:
“The only path worth following
Is one that overflows
From within your own heart”
Thus, it is up to us to decide
Reject all mystery with science
Sacrificing the ideal -or-
Baptizing ourselves with
Pure water of consciousness
Which is the same energy
As universal space, ethereal!

Copyright ©Obsidian Eagle

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For the last few weeks, we have received several comments from our readers about the ongoing social media saga of Latina author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. One of the major issues some of our readers kept mentioning was that the story would never gain traction with the national press. Tonight, however, The New York Daily News, one of  Top 200 websites in the United States and one of the world’s top 700 sites, published a piece by Latina playwright Dolores Prida entitled “Hollywood goes bananas for stereotypes.”

 

 

In the piece, Prida recounts the many times movie and TV producers approached her to see if they could option her works. As she says: “[I] even received money for rights, but nothing ever came of it because I was unwilling to change characters and plot to fit a pre-determined idea of what Latinas are supposed to be.”

Prida then goes on to specifically use Valdes-Rodriguez’s recent battle with Ann Lopez’s Encanto Productions about the TV script adaptation of The Dirty Girls Social Club. It is pretty clear from Prida’s comments that she fully supports Valdes-Rodriguez. Here is how she closes the piece:

 

The blogosphere and social media has been abuzz in the last few days with another case of the disappearing real Latina character.

Alisa Valdés-Rodríguez, author of the 2003 best-selling novel “The Dirty Girls Social Club,” translated into some 10 languages, fulminated in her blog about the changes made to her characters and story for a television series pilot script.

Valdés-Rodríguez says she dislikes the script “because it is woven through with stereotypes and because it erased every single one of my African-diaspora characters, erased my Cuban-Jewish character, erased my only Dominican character, erased my main Puerto Rican character and erased my only lesbian character for no justifiable reason, changing them all into stereotypical characters more in keeping with persistent Hollywood cliches.”

The twist here is that the draft Valdés-Rodríguez read was written by three Latinas. Through their production company, they presented it to a major television network which shall remain unnamed, since this small-screen gran escándalo is now in the hands of lawyers and getting more convoluted by the day.

The unfathomable aspect of all this is that production companies or studios buy the rights to a property because of the success it has achieved as is, and then proceed to change the plot and characters into something unrecognizable.

Why not just commission scripts from scratch to fit their marketing vision? We writers would love to make some real money, and since the only other Hollywood Latina character is the ever-present Mexican nanny or undocumented maid, we should seriously consider channeling Carmen Miranda under the cover of pseudonyms.

After all, she was a lot more fun and had more talent, maturity and integrity than the bunch of tight-assed, sex-crazed, twentysomething generic Latina characters producers seem to prefer.

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Our next submission was posted on our Facebook site from David Peck García. Now that is how you submit works in the age of social media. We are proud to present a sample of David’s works. David has a fascinating biography and is currently living in our favorite city, Madrid! You can visit David here: David’s Video Page from Madrid.

 

About David Peck García

 

David Peck García was born on the Great Falls of the Missouri river in Montana; the child of James Peck and Teresa García. He was raised in Bakersfield, California. His first job was breaking a strike at Digorgio Farms of the United Farm Workers (UFW). He then worked on Tom Hayden’s U.S. Senate Campaign in 1976; later that year, he joined the UFW as a full-time volunteer in the legal department of César Chávez in Salinas. David worked the next 15 years on electoral political campaigns before moving to Madrid, Spain to finish his novel: The Lost Decade. David teaches scientific writing to Spanish MDs and scientists in Madrid, Spain.

Here is David’s contributions to #LatinoLit. This is a bilingual work:

 

La anatomía de primavera

 

Antes de abrir mis ojos, la imagen de sus labios ha tomado mi alma.

Labios rojos, sonriendo, labios que he estudiado anoche.

Labios contando,

Labios bailando.

Labios abriendo el camino hacia las puertas de primavera.

La Primavera. La Madrileña.

Ojos verdes, azul en la madrugada.

Quiero ver, despierto, bajo el sol de verano, sus ojos contando los

besos de la primavera, en silencio.

 

© David Peck García

 

Dos Veranos

 

Dos Veranos.

Ha sido dos enteros.

It was spring that fractured: the first, the beginning; the late

winter late: pregnant; aborting that spring; but this spring, the end.

An end that came too soon: an end with out explanation. She wouldn’t

say what she felt except the bits and pieces that lacked a narrative,

a narrator. The narrator quit, not to save the story, but to prevent

your unhappiness. She pays a woman to listen to her unhappiness that

she can’t tell you at any cost.

 

It was too clean, to easy, too American this broken dialog – turning

one inward to a tortured monologue. The void filled in with questions;

the night emptied of sleep. Awake at 3:00AM, again. Immovable. The

sadness, jealousy, rejection filling an endless night: who, why, when:

what does she feel and when did she feel it – but with whom? Who

replaced you comforting her when she was sad? Who is laughing with her

when she is happy? Who makes her laugh? Really, what’s the cat she

left with you got to do with it.

 

If you love her, let her go. It is the last bit, the only piece out of

place; that and the taking care of her cat.

 

Are you happy, he asked. Un poco, she said last night, coyly.

 

Let her go. Let her be happy. Let her feel joy. She gave you two

joyful summers of her life. She doesn’t need your memory. She needs to

start anew. Be strong and give her this last piece; to end her

suffering; to begin her new narrative – because you love her still.

Let her go to this new joyful springtime dialog. It’s a good ending.

 

© David Peck García

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After issuing a lengthy statement and public apology about her recent legal struggle regarding the TV script adaptation of The Dirty Girls Social Club, award-winning Latina author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez has been active today on her Twitter stream. Here is a timeline of what she tweeted last night:

She started a series of tweets with the following post, where she offers the best of wishes to Ann Lopez’s Encanto Productions, the company which owns the option to adapt the Dirty Girls script for television. In the tweet, Valdes-Rodriguez makes reference to her other books, especially her latest book, Three Kings.

Valdes-Rodriguez then tweeted the following and says, “To save my sanity, I am letting it go. Mourning.”

What follows is a reply to one Twitter profile who reacted to the news. Valdes-Rodriguez’s clear: legal fees are expensive and Lopez’s lawyer, high-powered attorney Marty Singer.

Valdes-Rodriguez then tweets about money, hinting that Singer’s efforts have been effective, even though she makes no direct reference to him.

Valdes-Rodriguez closes her series of tweets with one that explains her emotional ordeal.

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