Saturday, May 27, 2006


THE CHICA AUTHORS & GUESTS, MIAMI, 2006 (Getting ready to go to Bongo's, Gloria Estefan's restaurant; I'm at the lower left-hand corner in the turquoise top)

OK, so I'm probably the last chica to blog about the Chica Lit Club Fiesta. You all know me by now so this should not come as a big surprise -- I'm a procrastinator! And that's what us procrastinators do.

I got to Miami just around 12:50 a.m., checked into my hotel room around 1:30 a.m. to find I was sharing a room with another guest (author Berta Platas, I learned the next morning). Even though the hotel was elegant and the bed comfy, I couldn't sleep because I don't sleep very well in my own bed as it is.

Next morning as we got ready, Berta & I talked (she's funny), then we headed down to the sunny garden breakfast room for a continental breakfast, and keynote welcome talk by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, followed by readings by several authors. I met many of the Latina authors I've only seen on the Internet (Mary Castillo with a new haircut), Reyna Grande (who's a tiny thing & billed as the new Sandra Cisneros for her new novel, Across a Hundred Mountains), and Sofia Quintero a.k.a. Black Artemis (who is fierce in her writing, beliefs and in person. As my sister would say, "I want to be just like her when I grow up").

During her talk, Alisa Valdes Rodriguez talked about her experiences in Boston, Miami, L.A. and how her Latin-ness (or lack of) was perceived in each city. She has a great sense of humor and wonderful presence. At 12:00, there was the “Emerging Chica Lit Stars Panel” with Sophia Quintero, Reyna Grande, Caridad Pinero, and Berta Platas. I especially enjoyed listening to Sophia, who is a passionate speaker and dedicated activist. There was such a diversity in their writing journeys and genres, from hip-hop to literary to paranormal to romance. This is what I was talking about! The greatest thing was when I went up to have the authors sign my copies of their books, two women came up to me with copies of my book: Christina (former Chi-Town girl) and Tennille (yes, she was named after Tennille of infamous ‘70s duo, The Captain and ...). I felt so special.

Then at 2:00 p.m., I participated on the panel of “The Importance of Telling Our Own Stories” with Reyna Grande, Barbara Ferrer, and Raquel Ortiz. Although I had jotted down some notes and most of the questions had been asked of me before, I was nervous and my answers sounded inadequate and rushed. Also, I was sitting next to the moderator, Kathy Cano Murillo so I had no time to prepare my answers. Meanwhile, my cohorts were jotting down answers so by the time they got to them, they sounded so much more intellectual. Even Reyna, whose English is her second language, sounded more seasoned than I did. I beat myself up all night for it. I know I shouldn’t but I did. (Note to self: NEVER sit next to the moderator.) My reading went well, though. I read the part about Eva dancing on the lakefront and her encounter with the married congero. Everyone laughed at the right parts and even during some of parts, I didn’t really think were all that humorous. I hoped I was able to convince some readers to buy the book. But since I had to leave before the Book Fair on Sunday, I don’t know how many of my books sold.

At 4:00 p.m. there was another panel discussion: “Chica Lit in Hollywood.” My girl, Marcela Landres, was on the panel, along with a couple of NY editors.

The weekend ended much too soon because I had to be back for a Sunday obligation and then work on Monday. I really wished I could have stayed through Sunday, especially for Kathy Cano Murillo's workshop; it really looked like a fun and creative activity.


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