Friday, August 17, 2012

The Rush of Publication

Melinda Palacio

Countdown to Publication: Two Months. Coming soon, Tía Chucha Press, October 2012

Last month, I turned in the final manuscript for my new poetry book. It was hard to let go of How Fire Is a Story, Waiting. I enjoyed knowing that the pages were safely tucked away in my computer, backed up in three different places, with several hard copies adding to the overall chaos of my office. A final manuscript means the last chance I will ever have to rewrite, revise, and breathe on the poems before they are released into the world. A month ago, a year ago, five years ago, I was anxious to turn my scattered poems into a coherent book. I asked, pleaded, and prayed for the book to have a chance to be released into the wild. So why am I worrying now?

The worrying only gets good from this point on with each review and each book sold, or not sold. Who wants a poetry book when readers are mourning the end of the Shades of Grey trilogy?  One author is capitalizing on Shades of Earl Grey Tea, one way of riding the success of twenty million copies sold.

Over in my world, in the no one told me I was supposed to make money side, I was pleased to see my novel, Ocotillo Dreams, listed as a top Latino pick for Remezcla's 5 Things to Read This Summer That Are Not 50 Shades of Grey

In another nice moment, a bookstore contacted me to say that my poetry book was listed in the Fall catalogue at Northwestern University Press (Tía Chucha's distributor) and would I be interested in a book signing. Would I? Of course. I'm old school when it comes to book promotions and signings. I prefer going to an actual bookstore and reading to people who love books so much, they prefer an in person interaction to a book trailer or Skype reading. I cherish a handwritten letter to an ephemeral email. And, yes, I write all my posts in my notebook before transferring to the computer and adding links and photographs. I write everything, poetry, fiction, and essays with pen and paper first.

All my worrying about my new poetry book ceased when I saw the final cover and the generous blurbs from Juan Felipe Herrera and David Starkey came in. Two more months until the publication of How Fire Is a Story, Waiting. Follow the countdown at and La Bloga.

"Palacio’s work is expansive, physical, funeral-wet, elevated, funny, existential, woman-story, jazzy and Pachukona. She is unafraid to dive head-on into questions of death, loss and self. Into the fiery entwined spikes of father-daughter estrangements, mother-daughter intimacies and most of all, she is “insomniac” bold in this volume as an ongoing sequence on self.  Melinda’s collection has Bop and “swagger,” lingo, song, denuncia, compassion and wild, unexpected turns– all the key ingredients and hard-won practices of a poet (and shaman) in command of her powers.  I don’t think there is anything like this book. ¡Brillantissima!" - Juan Felipe Herrera

“Continue to fix broken things,” Melinda Palacio writes in “Ramona Street,” and the poems in How Fire Is a Story, Waiting are consumed with naming the problems of the world and trying—however provisionally—to set them right.  Palacio’s verse, dense with imagery, is by turns sorrowful and sardonic, and always the voice is her own.  There’s a little universe in this book: enter and learn." --David Starkey

Book Party for Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande's publication party, August 25

La Bloga friend, Reyna Grande is having a publication party for her new memoir, The Distance Between Us (Atria Books 2012). For those who wake up with the Los Angeles Times, you would've already heard all about Reyna Grande's new review. The Distance Between Us received a great review from Hector Tobar at the L.A. Times.

Tobar writes: 
"Grande relentlessly mines this thematically rich terrain in "The Distance Between Us." With two deeply flawed adults at its center — her embittered father and her less-than-reliable mother — it's a brutally honest book that avoids the sentimentality that permeates many Latino immigrant narratives."

Grande recently said she enjoyed tiling her home office. "Doing manual labor reminds me of my father," she said. "My dad was a handyman." In The Distance Between Us, Reyna paints a complicated portrait of her father. La Bloga has followed Grande's journey as she's laid the foundation for a career as an author and an important literary voice. 

Reserve your ticket to Reyna Grande's book party and fundraiser for Chirla and Libros Schmibros, An Evening of Dreaming Publication Party, Saturday, August 25, 2012 from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm at Pan American Bank Headquarters, 3626 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90063.

1 comment:

Thelma T. Reyna said...

Melinda, I can't wait to get my hands on your new poetry book. I loved FOLSOM LOCKDOWN. Congratulations on this new creation and the wonderful praise it's receiving. Looking forward!! Regarding Reyna's new book, I read a preview copy and was deeply touched by her storytelling. I'm also awaiting that one eagerly. I'll be going to the Vromans signing for her book in September. You two are quite a dynamic duo!