Forgive me folks for not posting the last couple of days. I’ve been down with one of those Stand type illnesses–you know the type where the end of the world is coming and you’re not going to be around to see it. Anyhoo, I am blogging over at Blogging in Black today. I hope you’ll check out my first post there. It’s a little piece called The Great Outline Debate. Please let me know what you think.
Archive for May, 2007
As a romance writer I’m a believer in true love. As a woman I’ve been a wife for nineteen years–almost. Tomorrow is my anniversary. To mark the day I’m sending you a few thoughts on love and marriage–sorta. All quotes come from A Curmudgeon’s Garden of Love by Jon Winokur.
Love is the affectation of a mind that has nothing better to engage it. Theophrastus
When you’re in love, it’s the most glorious 2 1/2 days of your life. Richard Lewis
The Book of Life begins with a man and a woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations. Oscar Wilde
If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question? Lily Tomlin
The tragedy is when you’ve got sex in the head instead of down where it belongs. D.H. Lawrence
Give me chastity, but not yet. St. Augustine
What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine. Susan Sontag
Take it from me, marriage isn’t a word, it’s a sentence. King Vidor
By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one you’ll become a philosopher. Socrates
The only way a woman can ever reform her husband is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life. Oscar Wilde
The only thing that holds a marriage together is the husband bein’ big enough to step back and see where his wife is wrong. Archie Bunker
Ah well. Give your significant other a big hug from me.
By the way this is my 200th post. Another reason to celebrate. Enjoy the long weekend!
Please welcome Caridad Piniero to the blog. I’ve known Caridad since my first book came out. I think we met at the one and only RWA conference I attended. My first book was coming out with Arabesque and her first was coming out with Encanto. You couldn’t pry us off the ceiling with a crow bar.
Caridad is visiting today as part of her Virtual Book Tour for her latest offering, Blood Calls. If you like vampire, Caridad’s got it, plus steamy, sexy romance. In case you were wondering how it is on the Latina end of the literary pool, Caridad knows all and tells all. Enjoy!
The State of Latina Fiction Today by Caridad Pineiro
I was one of the launch authors for Encanto, the Latina romance line, in 1999. Encanto was a wonderful idea that couldn’t quite find a foothold in the publishing world and folded just two years later in 2001.
Why didn’t Latina fiction take off with Encanto?
1. Booksellers didn’t know where to place the books which originally contained the stories in both English and Spanish.
2. Latinos had never had a place in chain bookstores and therefore, didn’t think to visit such bookstores for Latino/Spanish Language reading matter. Readers were more comfortable picking up that kind of reading matter at a local bodega.
3. Distribution to traditional bookstores seemed to be difficult.
4. Latinos don’t read.
5. The quality of the Encanto books reflected that the writers had only been selected because they were Latino and weren’t good writers.
6. The stories weren’t Latino-enough.
7. We don’t have Latinos in _____________ (fill in the name of a town).
Those last four on the list were comments that many of the Encanto writers faced when trying to schedule book signings or which appeared in assorted reviews. Part prejudice-part ignorance, but difficult to deal with as a writer. I don’t think any of the Encanto writers intended to become poster children for Latino fiction, but we did become just that in 1999.
It’s now 2007 and is the state of Latina fiction any better?
Definitely. Many of the ground-breaking women of Encanto have gone on to success in both fiction and non-fiction so reason number 5 above was definitely way off the mark. THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB and other successful commercial Latina fiction have opened a crack in the wall of the publishing world for Latina writers, but there’s still a good way to go before Latina fiction becomes accepted as a commercially viable genre.
It depends in part on the individual bookstore. In areas were there are Latino sections, you may find books by Latino authors. Unfortunately, many of these “Latino” sections are generally stuffed with Spanish translations of non-Latino books or books by non-Latinos who happen to write in Spanish, like Isabel Allende.
Why do I call Allende a non-Latino? Because by my definition, Latino works highlight the culture of Hispanics in the United States. Latino culture is a melding of the Hispanic with the American. Books by Allende and others just don’t reflect that Latino culture in the United States. So if you pull all those translations and non-Latino books from the Latino section, you may find just a smattering of books by Latino authors. For a fascinating discussion on whether such literary segregation should even occur, please check out this discussion at Romancing the Blog.
The other part of what will determine where a Latino book will be shelved is the publisher and how they market and title the book. If they stress the Latino aspects, you may find yourself in a Latino section if the bookstore has one. If they don’t, chances are you’ll be shelved in either the romance or fiction section. Is that good or bad? For many Latina writers, being shelved along similar genre works is a definite plus as it expands their likely reader base beyond the Latino niche the publisher was attempting to reach.
That’s definitely a good thing. My vampire books in THE CALLING series from Silhouette have always been shelved along with all the other paranormals even though the books feature Latino characters. That’s helped me establish a wider reading audience, but as well, it’s helped me spread a bit of my Latino culture to people who might not have already experienced it.
Part of the reason I write with Latina characters is to show that Latinos are here and part of the mainstream. It’s hopefully helping to eat away at the “brown out” of Latinos in the media.
Is there still prejudice about Latina fiction? The prejudice is actually not what you might think. Oftentimes selling one of my books is harder not because the book contains Latinos, but because it’s a romance. I’ve had many a reader walk away once they realized the books were romances. It’s hard to handle that, in particular when it’s a Latina walking away. Why? Because without support from fellow Latinas it will be that much harder to convince the publishing world that Latina fiction is commercially viable.
Do Latinas support Latina fiction? Thanks to wonderful magazines like CATALINA which established the first Latina online book club, support is rapidly growing for Latina fiction. However, I find that at traditional book signings, such as the one that recently occurred at the RT Convention in Houston, I still sell more books to non-Latinos. Despite that, I have Latina support from a number of wonderful fans who are regulars at my blog, websites and book signings. I think that as more and more Latina fiction is out there for readers, and as they are made aware of it by the media, support will continue to grow.
Are there avenues for you to get published if you are writing Latina fiction? There are more and more publishers looking for Latina fiction. However, I recommend that you not limit yourself by choosing publishers that will specifically put you in the Latina fiction genre. A good story is a good story no matter the color or ethnicity of the characters. Pitch your book to any publisher that is interested in the kind of story you have written.
I hope my comments have been helpful and I look forward to receiving any questions or comments you might have.
Imagine that. I used to head over to that site often to see who was the latest MO-ron to get hit with the clue gun. But lately I’d got tired of all the snarkiness from everyone lately–Smartbitches, Karen Scott and other folks included. I’m too old for all the sturm and drang. I’ve got nothing against those blogs. I’ve mentioned them here before, But lately, all I want is a quiet spot in which to write my opuses (or is that opi?).
But for a while there, I truly enjoyed this blog. Farewell. Maybe now you’ll tell us who you are. What if Monsieur Clooney wanted to know?
Affaire de Coeur is once again holding it’s Reader/Writer Poll of great books. You may want to stop by and check it out. Once you click on the link above, scroll down a little until you see another link to go to the poll.
Speaking of favorite books and authors, who were the standouts for last year anyway? You tell me.
I can’t think of a dang thing useful to say today, so I’m doing what someone else apparently did when I found this floating around the internet –borrow, borrow, borrow. The following article penned by fellow romance author Dara Girard may be uncommon and unconventional, but right on point. Aspiring writers (and the rest of us folks) take note. To Dara, thanks for the wise words.
Uncommon Advice For Beginning Writers
1) Convince yourself you want to do something else. If you don’t succeed, proceed to number 2.
2) Write what you don’t know. Write what interests you. Fiction is about emotion not personal experience–that is a memoir. Truth comes from emotion. Write with passion.
3) Embrace rejections. Not literally unless it makes you feel good. Understand that they are as inevitable as bad hair days, gum on your shoe, and taxes. You’re in the marketing business. Everyone will not buy your product, but eventually somebody will.
4) Procrastinate. You don’t need to write every day. On some days just be idle. Use these days to fill up your creativity well. Take a long leisurely walk, organize your cupboards, read, buy the stationary you’ll send to your fans, imagine a brilliant review and write it down, sketch your book cover with a blurb from an author you admire.
5) Write to make money. Poverty need not be a mandatory requirement of the writing life. Artistic expression is all well and good, but you need to eat. So write the books of your heart, but also understand the market and see if you can tailor some of your work to fit it. You can write your Great Novel on the side, but trust me it’s very difficult to be creative when you’re starving.
6) Skip the book and watch the movie. Especially, the movie versions of classic novels. The writing style has changed drastically in the past centuries. So writing like Charles Dickens or Henry James will not get you far in today’s market. However, don’t let it skip your notice that their books (or the rather movie versions of them) still capture contemporary movie audiences. Why? Because of the stories they tell.
Watching the movie of these books will help you learn how to develop your storytelling abilities. See what stands out, pay attention to what scenes linger in your mind, what dialogue makes you gasp or laugh out loud, what does the camera focus on? How does that enhance the tale? We live in an age where people are very visual; writing to that preference will help make your work successful.
7) Get into character. Use stick figures to lay out a scene, listen to the music a main character would listen to, wear a piece of clothing a character might like, write a diary enter for them. Photograph the area where your character lives; if your character comes from a different place, eat the regional foods they might eat. These activities will help you make your story and your characters come alive.
8) Laugh at yourself and the industry. Many authors like to offer dire warnings about the death of the mid-list, how publishers are consolidating, they bemoan the few options there are for new writers and how publishers promote only the lucky few. Yes, that’s true, but you can be a happy author despite the industry.
Unfortunately, too many writers take themselves too seriously. We’re a maudlin group despite available Prozac, alcohol and pills. It’s a crazy life. It’s supposed to be. We make up stories for a living! It’s a Peter Pan profession like dancing and acting. You want to emotionally strip yourself naked and have people applaud. Isn’t that bizarre?
So you can get discouraged, but you don’t need to be depressed. Stories are needed. They keep our cultures alive.
9) Don’t worry about promotion. If you haven’t written a word, don’t concern yourself with bookmarks, getting on national television, networking bookstores or the like. Anyone can sell an idea, find out if you can deliver.
10) Celebrate milestones that don’t seem to count. Contest losses (can’t win if you don’t enter) bad drafts (at least you finished) rejections (at least you’re in the game), $25 checks (at least you got paid to write), personal notes (someone read your work) and anything else that gets you closer to your publication goal.
Celebrate being a writer in every little way that you can. You deserve it.
© Copyright Dara Girard. All Rights Reserved
Maybe it’s the title of the book I’m reading (by Laura Lippman–see the sidebar) maybe it’s my love of the now-defunct Charmed or just maybe it’s just me and a couple of my girlfriends from my former school throwing le dish at a local Applebees. We had started out saying we were going to go to this coffee bar but quickly abandoned that option for somewhere that served a mean cocktail.
Needless to say we girls had an excellent time. The number three has been a significant factor since my youth, starting with being the middle of three sisters. And now three is important to me again–coming in the form of a three book paranormal trilogy that has coalesced in my mind. What hasn’t materialized is a publisher for said trilogy. I have been a long time believer in putting things out there in the universe and watching what manifests. So here, on Monday morning, May 20, 2007, I am sticking it out there. I’ll keep you abreast of what happens.
I got a phone call early this morning from my friend Missy Brown letting me know some sad news. Katherine D. Jones has died. This comes as a shock to me since I saw her not long ago at RSJ. She gave me a lift back to the hotel after I’d lost all my money ($20) at the slot machines. We laughed and caught up with each other and had a great time. That was in March.
Katherine’s husband has already posted a message to readers on her website:
Ms Katherine Jones, internationally known author, mother of two young men, and my loving wife has passed on 17 May 07. Eventually I will update this site with more information. Please Know…she absolutely loved sharing her craft, interacting with each of you, and most of all, helping aspiring writers pursue their dreams!
Live Your Life… Follow Your Dreams… There are NO Guarantees … Katherine’s Husband
Amen to that Mr. Jones. Please join me in sending prayers and good thoughts to Katherine’s family, particularly her boys. Katherine, you will be missed.
In an unprecedented rights grab, Simon and Schuster has finagled a way to hold onto rights for the length of copyright so that they never revert to the author. As if writers didn’t have enough problems. We make the least out of the deal, so the glom is not appreciated. An article in PW suggests agents rethink submitting to this house and bar them from participating in auctions unless they are willing to forgo this new clause in doing so. Can’t say I blame them. Ouch!
Someone please explain to me how Melinda, MELINDA got booted off of American Idol. I don’t have anything against Jordin or Blake, but to me neither deserve to win this competition. Okay, I have nothing against Jordin, but Blake gets on my nerves. Boys tapping on things and making noises with their mouths is something we discourage in the Savoy household, not something we encourage our offspring to show off on national TV.
I can’t even complain too much since I never voted–let that be a lesson to the electorate come 2008. Now all I can say is that if Laila Ali doesn’t win on Dancing with the Stars there’s going to be some trouble up in here.
Hey Elliott, now I know what happened to the missing top to my Wondermop. Sheesh. Quelle unattractive, my friend.