Saturday, May 21, 2005

JUST GOT BACK from attending my niece’s graduation in SIU; drove 5 hours from Carbondale—by myself (actually my daughter was with me, but she was in the back seat chilling). Words can’t begin to express the pride I felt watching my niece get her bachelor’s in dental hygiene after all she’s been through. She introduced me to her friends as “the famous author,” which made feel good, but also embarrassed me. I keep telling people I am NOT a famous author—yet. My sister also has a bad (albeit well-intentioned) habit of telling people I got a million-dollar book deal. I told her I don’t want some crazy psycho kidnapping me for ransom, for money I never got(!). Do I sound irrational—I don’t think so! We live in a crazy, mixed-up world. She insists I should “claim” that statement. I don’t mind stating my book will hit the million-dollar mark, but I don’t like lying about the book deal—I wish I did get a million dollars, but it was much, much, much less than that (you hear that, crazy psycho kidnappers!).

I HAVE BEEN editing the new novel, In The Picture I Have Of You (ITPIHOY), almost daily and I just have to say, God is good. Words are just coming into my mind from both the left & right. Just when I think I’ve gotten a scene down, some new revelation comes to mind. I’ve changed the main character’s name, Dimaris, to Xiomara, because: 1) when I received the rejection letters back in ’97, every single one of the editors referred to my character as “Damaris” (apparently she was some Greek mythology character); and 2) I have this obsession with unique names, especially those that start with “X” or “Z” ( I always have a character in my books with a name starting with either letter). In Choose Me, it’s Zephyr.

THE GOOD NEWS . . . My book is featured in the June issue of Essence magazine (woo-hoo!) on page 106 with the rest of Walk Worthy Press’s recent releases. It’s not a feature, or a review, but a print ad. I feel proud, but not in an arrogant way. I don’t feel famous, but I feel proud, but not in an arrogant way. I don’t feel famous, but I feel my dream of being featured in Essence has come true. Now I just have to get on their top 5 Bestseller List . . .

THE NO-SO GOOD news . . . I got my June Latina magazine issue and I was VERY disappointed that there was no mention of my book. I know my publisher sent them a press kit. And earlier this month, I e-mailed the editor reminding her about my book. We first corresponded in 2003 when I sent off the manuscript to WWP. She was very encouraging & told me to keep her up-to-date. I mean, I wasn’t looking for a full-page feature, or even an interview, just a blurb in the June calendario, or possibly a book review. Maybe she didn’t like the book; maybe she didn’t even read it. Maybe the Christian theme threw her off. I guess I am more hurt than disappointed because: 1) she didn’t even bother to write back; 2) Essence is running a print ad on WWP books including mine, and while one of the main characters is an African-American male, the female character is a LATINA. And then people wonder why I identify with African American culture more than my own Puerto Rican culture. It’s because they have always accepted me more than my own “so-called people.” And it isn’t even about the publicity, it’s the principle of the thing. I’M A LATINA AUTHOR WITH A BOOK ABOUT A STRONG LATINA CHARACTER. Latina constantly gets letters from readers who are tired of their disregard of dark-skinned Hispanics, as if we all look like J-Lo. Why do “we” have to bring this up at all? They know we come in all colors. I guess they saw the “Black characters” on the book cover & assumed it wouldn’t “appeal” to its “pale-skinned” Latin readers. Am I overreacting??

FORTUNATELY, I WILL get over this snub. I have to keep telling myself not to sweat this petty stuff. This is about Him, not about me.

MORE GOOD NEWS . . . Choose Me will be reviewed in the new local Latina magazine, Cuerpo, so I'm happy about that. I’m happy because I met Lissette Calderon (CEO & Founder) when Cuerpo was just a dream, just like my book was once a dream. So I guess it means more to me than being featured in “that” other magazine.

ON A WHIM, I just did an on-line search under my name to see what was new as far as reviews, and Romantic Times gave Choose Me a rating of 4 ½ stars out of 5 (which translates as “fantastic”). Woo-Hoo! I know I shouldn’t put too much stock in these things because if I accept the good, I’ll have to accept the bad. For now, I think I’ll accept the good. (

Peace, Love & Soul
Paz, Amor, y Alma


At May 23, 2005 2:44 PM, Blogger Maria S. said...

Dear Xenia,
I just finished reading your interview in Marcela's Latinidad newsletter and took a whole hour to read your newsletter on your Yahoo group and finally made my way to your blog. All I can say is I am so inspired by your story and journey in writing. I am an artist and dabble with writing mostly just in my journal but after reading I think I may even start a new blog just for writing...mostly short stories... and remembrances. I'm also a bible school drop out so maybe I'll write a novel about that someday. I can't wait to buy your books! Saludos y Bendiciones,
Maria Sanchez


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