Saturday, January 04, 2014

Kathleen Alcalá on latinos/SciFi. 2 opps for novels and writing samples

Three chingón lit pieces today, including opportunities for submitting your novel manuscript or writing. First, Kathleen Alcalá provides her sober and challenging views about latinos entering the world of American spec lit. Do leave her comments about your own views. Kathleen's credentials for this include her attendance at the prestigious Clarion West Science Fiction Workshop as a student and an instructor.

Science Fiction and You
by Kathleen Alcalá

Is there a place on science fiction for Latino/as? No. Anywhere in the publishing universe? No. You have to make a place. Want a checklist?
You get 1 point if you are White, East Coast, Old money, a straight male or have a famous last name.
You lose a point if you are: Brown, West Coast, Female, A gay male or have a name that is hard to spell or pronounce for non-Latin@ English speakers.

Are you still at zero or below? So what? Why are you writing?
The advantage of writing science fiction, mysteries, or romances is that genre writing pays. It has an established system of conventions where readers meet writers and buy books. There are fan clubs, and plenty of media cross-over. The only category of fiction that lacks this is literary fiction. If this is your passion, you must write for love. Editors are subservient to the marketing department, and marketing continues to stay well behind the curve on demographics.

More to the point, if you have read this far, why should you care about science fiction? Because science fiction offers both the grandest and most nuanced metaphors for the human condition. Where do the templates for the civilizations of the future originate? In the past, including yours. Countless writers have mined your history for their work. This is the same history that certain school boards don’t want you to know. It speaks of science, of religions, of land dearly won or lost. My ancestors looked at the stars and saw the campfires of their beloved departed. They used the plants around them for medicine, grew and wove cotton for their clothing. All of these details are gold for people who have lost or tired of their own mythologies.

Latin@s can step into this field and bring an authentic voice to it. Will people accept you? Who cares? You create your own gravity in any field, and people come to you. Will you get published? Yes. There are thousands of places to publish, and one of them will take your work. Can you succeed through self-publishing? If your work is good and you persist. Can Latin@s help each other? Sure. Publishing is a new frontier. You can form publishing co-ops, review each other’s work (as Rigoberto Gonzalez did without pay for ten years), read drafts, share opinions, go to Cons and form your own caucuses. You can start a Con.

Will you be disrespected? Yes. Will you be adored? Yes. Science fiction readers are early adopters, so many jumped to e-readers and intermedia presentations early. They are also collectors, so if you have published one or more books, you might be approached by someone with a bagful to get your autograph.

Science fiction people are very sweet, very bright, and have their own subculture. If you’ve got a good story, it will be picked up, and you will have the opportunity to promote it in a very supportive environment. Your first publisher might not be Tor, but there is a publisher for you. Science fiction readers have always valued small presses as much as large, and pride themselves on discovering new writers. Rudy Ch. Garcia met some amazing writers and editors at his first WorldCon. Would that have happened if he had gone to New York and tried to meet the top writers and editors in mainstream publishing? Not a chance, unless he had already written a bestseller, or received a major prize.

Common advice is to “write what you know,” but Ursula K. LeGuin advised us to “write what you care about.” The greed of a few corporations has brought us to the place where we are destroying the world around ourselves. Is that important to you? Human rights? Censorship? All topics of science fiction. All aching to be written about.

Ursula LeGuin said of her first collection, “This is a book of wonders. Each story unfolds with humor and simplicity and perfect naturalness into something original and totally unpredictable. The kingdom of Borges and García Marquez lie just over the horizon, but this landscape of desert towns and dreaming hearts … is Alcalá-land. It lies just across the border between Mexico and California, across the border between the living and the dead, across all the borders – a true new world.

Kathleen Alcalá is the author of a short story collection, three novels set in 19th Century Mexico and the Southwest, and a collection of essays based on family history. Her work has received the Western States Book Award, the Governor’s Writers Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. She received her second Artist Trust Fellowship in 2008. Kathleen has a B.A. in Linguistics from Stanford University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. She completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of New Orleans. Her work is often referred to as magic realism, but Kathleen considers most of it historical fiction. She has been both a student and instructor in the Clarion West Science Fiction Workshop. A permanent faculty member at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.

Untold Press Open for Submissions

We are currently open to Novel Submissions for a limited time.
We accept stories from Middle Grade to Adult.
Novels must be a minimum of 50k words (40K min for middle grade).
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, SciFi, Steampunk, Horror, Romance (except Erotica)
We also accept previously published novels as long as you have the rights back. Author will need to provide proof of release of rights.
To submit, please E-mail the following:
Query letter (be sure to include word count and genre), Synopsis, and First Chapter.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at the same E-mail address. We will get back to you as soon as possible, normally in 2 weeks or less.

About Untold Press: There are an infinite number of stories, most of them remain unheard. No tale should ever remain untold. We are a small group of authors dedicated to sharing these tales. Thus began Untold Press LLC. A US company (based out of Florida) with Canadian parts. Untold Press is not a vanity publisher. An author will not be asked to pay for publication, editing, cover art or other services. We pride ourselves on publishing works that are exceptionally edited, formatted and have gorgeous covers!

Submit your writing samples
[from the National Hispanic Cultural Center]

May 22-25, 2014, 10 am - 5 pm
NHCC History and Literary Arts Bldg., Albuquerque

Mark your calendars to attend this unique conference emphasizing the work of Latino writers and poets; all are welcome. Genres include: novel, poetry, memoir, play/screen writing, young adult, children, creative non-fiction and news writing.

Internationally recognized authors from Mexico and Spain and nationally known authors, publishers, editors and agents will conduct workshops, panels and individual consultations. There will be opportunities to read from your work and to interact in an intimate and beautiful setting. Faculty will read writing samples submitted by the deadline of April 1, 2014.

Price for the 4-day conference ($400) includes several meals and a formal awards banquet. Register early and get an early bird discount. For more info contact Greta Pullen at 505/724-4752.

Es todo, hoy,
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Twitter - DiscardedDreams


M. K. Theodoratis said...

Interesting assessment of the market and which authors might slip through a half-opened door.

Cometimes doors do open when you don't expect them.

Jose Carrillo said...

hola, Kathleen
yes I agree it's noble thing to write for the love of it; and for the fun of it:
today's cyber-digital world offers unimagined opportunities for skilled writers to join other artists to create multi-media stories. Got stories?