Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The New Novel -- But First . . .

It’s 9:33 PM and I’ve decided to turn off the TV because I don’t want to hear the news anymore. They’ve been talking about the two little girls who were killed up in Zion, IL (on Mother’s Day) by one of the girls’ father (an ex-con). Not that I want to tune out that kind of stuff but after a while, the media capitalizes on horrific crimes such as these to appeal to the court of public opinion, get the grieving relatives with tears on camera. My daughter kept saying over and over that she doesn’t understand how a father could kill his own daughter, how ANYONE can stab and beat two little girls. She asked me if I ever worried about stuff like that when she and her brother were little, and I said yes, of course. I remember Jeanine Nicarico and the Atlanta Child Murders. I remember wondering why I brought children into this world and not having an answer even though I loved my children. Then because I am a spiritual being, a believer, I start telling her that this is all scriptural, that mothers will turn against daughters, fathers against sons, etc., that the reason God allows things like this to happen is because we (humanity) are becoming complacent with the “every-day” killings of city folks, especially children, especially people we don’t know. When something happens, we think, “Oh, that happened on the South Side,” or “Oh, we’re safe here.” There’s no sense of community, no compassion.

I will remember the names of the two little girls (Krystal Tobias and Laura Hobbs) just like I remember the names of the hundreds of other children who have died in Chicago in the years past.

I promised myself that this blog would be dedicated to a Year-In-The-Life of a new author s/p (that’s “status-post” for ya’ll without medical term experience a.k.a. AFTER ) the book deal. But I’ve noticed (from reading other authors’ blogs) that they occasionally discuss life, love, pet peeves etc. And you can’t help talking about those things when it’s around you and they influence your writing.

It’s now 11:05 PM . . . And now “Book News” . . .
This month has been very busy with CHOOSE ME. I can’t believe April is over and May is here. Soon it will be June (yes, I’m a poet as well) . . . I’m getting nervous, excited, and other emotions I can’t describe. Health-wise, I am almost fully recovered, thank God (and I don’t mean that figuratively). Now if I could just get rid of my allergies, I’d be perfect.

Last month, I visited several bookstores: Women & Children First, Pan de Vida (Bread of Life), a Christian bookstore, and a couple of chain bookstores (Barbara’s Bookstore, Border’s, Barnes & Noble).

Women & Children First (not to mention, I love the name) has been one of my favorite bookstores since my children were little. It was where I escaped when I would drop them off at their father’s and where I met Julia Alvarez, Esmeralda Santiago and Sandra Cisneros. I had always dreamed of seeing my book in their store window and holding a reading as I attended is years past. But I knew a reading was probably unlikely since the store catered to a predominately feminist and lesbian clientele. So when I went there to speak to one of the co-owners about the possibility of scheduling a reading, I wasn’t surprised when she got THAT LOOK in her eyes and said, “We don’t really have many religious events.” She admitted that she had received my press kit and book but hadn’t read it. I explained to her that it wouldn’t be a “religious” event (like a revival), it would be a regular reading and even though the main character was a Christian, I considered her an independent woman, in charge of her sexuality. I then added that my goal wasn’t to “convert atheists into believers” (to quote Kanye West), just do a reading at my favorite bookstore as I had always dreamed of doing. Then she suggested hosting my book release party, as long as I could guarantee that my family and friends would show (translated, as long as I could guarantee lots of sales). She really was very nice, asked me the usual curious questions about publishing, but after stating that she would read the book and contact me about the possible book party, I have yet to hear from her; it’s been three weeks. I know I should follow-up on my end but I’m taking this as a sign that maybe her bookstore isn’t the place for my book party.

I then called the manager at the Barbara’s Bookstore located at the hospital where I used to work. During my intro, he sounded nonchalant or uninterested; I couldn’t tell which. In the end, he asked me to send him an advance copy of the book. Later in the month, I visited the bookstore and the “nonchalant” manager turned out to be a very nice (and African-American) guy. He believes my book will sell well given the multi-cultural angle, since the market remains untapped in contemporary fiction. He also suggested that I come in and sign the books (since the store is too small for a reading) which he would then affix with “Signed by the Author” stickers (something I had suggested in the letter I wrote him). He didn’t seem at all fazed by the Christian theme and asked questions about Christian fiction and my road to publication. We ended up having a great conversation. Lesson learned: Sometimes first impressions are not true indicators of a person’s character.

I have been getting almost daily e-mails from my publicist and publisher. My publicist has been sending almost weekly updated daysheets for my upcoming book tour beginning in June. (A daysheet is an itinerary of scheduled speaking events.)

The scariest e-mail I got was from my publisher asking me how the “new novel” was coming along. I was like, HELLO? The first one hasn’t even been released yet. I had been working on it off-and-on so I asked her for a deadline since I work quicker under pressure. Apparently, she was under the impression that we had settled on a May 1st deadline(!) When I told her I could not recall such a deadline (which is true), we decided on a deadline of August 1st (much better!) My “new novel” is actually the first book I wrote, which I need to revise before submitting it for approval.

Most recently, I got an e-mail about receiving a poster for my book signings which I will need to take to the bookstores with me, though I have yet to receive it.

My first interview for CHOOSE ME will be published in Marcela Landres’s May-June 2005 LATINIDAD™ Newsletter. If you would like to read it, you will have to subscribe to Marcela Landres’s newsletter (

UPDATE: A recent e-mail from my publisher requested that I get the “new novel” as soon as I can (YIKES!). So, I’ve been editing every day like a madwoman on a mission from God. Meanwhile, there’s my day job, ongoing book promotion, my niece’s SIU graduation, my mom’s arrival from Puerto Rico on May 12 (which means I have to clean the house!) – need I say more. I gots to go . . .

Peace, Love & Soul
Paz, Amor, y Alma



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