Saturday, January 31, 2015

Latino writers, workshops, books, art, anthology, calls for stories

Matt de la Peña YA workshop. Quiñones, the journalist. Picacio's Lotería artwork. Kick-ass Latino noir. Will Big Book include Latino spec authors? PoC Time-travel anthology.
Matt de la Peña. YA & children's books author

I'll soon review Matt de la Peña's The Living, a plot-driven YA thriller that was total, Bam! Bam! Bam! If I were younger, I would've read Living in one night. Matt's one of the few spec-authors who feature Chicano protagonists in their books. In the meantime, here's a note from Matt about a Sept. workshop that will quickly fill up.

Advanced Writer Weekend Workshop:
Digging Deep: Exploring Narrative and Character Depth
with novelists Matt de la Peña and Margo Rabb
Sept. 24-27, 2015

Matt de la Peña is the author of six critically-acclaimed young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, The Living and The Hunted) and two award-winning picture books (A Nations Hope and Last Stop on Market Street).
A long weekend of lectures, craft exercises, and workshop in Austin, Texas. Matt's workshop is entitled: The Magic of Narrative Balance: Showing Patience and Restraint in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

"In this workshop we will discuss the author/reader relationship and reader psychology and the function of the narrator in novel writing. How and when do we back off and allow the characters to drive scenes and conversations? When do we the thrust the narrator forward? We will break it down using examples a wide range of published work."

If interested, you should apply today.

Sam Quiñones, journalist, novelist and ??

Primo journalist and chignón novelist Sam Quiñones wouldn't call himself a hero. It's such a cheap term now--used to describe over 1.6 million armed, U.S. employees--I won't call him that. But for years this Chicano has investigated, interviewed and written about Border issues that get Mexican journalists disappeared or assassinated. So, you pick the term you feel describes him. Quiñones recently sent us this about his article: Boxer Enriquez, the Mexican Mafia, LAPD – What’s the problem?

"Why would you not want a former Mexican Mafia member to be educating police brass on the workings of one of the most influential, and little-known, institutions in Southern California life today? I’ve interviewed Boxer Enriquez extensively. That’s what he does, and, an articulate fellow, he does it pretty well. He’s co-author of the book, The Black Hand.

"Far from being a 'giant waste,' this seems to me to be essential work. The Mexican Mafia is Southern California’s first regional organized crime syndicate, one of the most important institutions in Southern California, particularly in communities with large Latino populations and gang problems." [Read the entire article here.]

"Also, the new Tell Your True Tale; East Los Angeles book is out, the product of a workshop I did with a great group of eight new writers. Their stories are again fantastic — about Albert Einstein in East L.A.; a Czech 'almost blind' boy growing up in a Communist boarding home; a young man going to Tijuana to help a deported friend return; a woman on her deathbed remembering the last time she saw her kids; and a girl on her way to Mexico, a child bride. Check it out, on sale at for only $5.38 hardcopy or $2.99 as an ebook.

"My next Tell Your True Tale workshop begins Saturday, Jan. 31, at 10:30 a.m. at the East Los Angeles Public Library, in the Chicano Resource Center. I hope to soon expand them, with the county library's support, to Compton, South L.A. and elsewhere."

John Picacio, spec-lit artista

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a "taste of what is happening in the world of Latino speculative writers." The opportunities for Latino spec continue, like from Chicano artist John Picacio, a San Anto, Tex. homie who went spec-viral.

Picacio won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist in 2012 and 2013 for his illustration in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His accolades include the World Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, five Chesley Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards, all in the Artist category. I have his Calavera poster in my living room and wish I could cover my rincón with the others, like the Sirena below. Here's news from Juan:

Many people have requested that I make my Loteria Grande cards available for online sale -- and to produce new ones. I worked until the last day of 2014 to produce new artwork and cards -- and that last push has now paid off because they're now available! Supplies are limited.        

Here's purchase details for The Loteria Grande Once Set of eleven cards, only available until Wed., Feb. 4th. I'll be actively posting on my new blog, the Lone Boy website, and here's the first post with more details on today's product announcement.

In Loteria We Trust,

Daniel José Older, NY Latino spec author

For years, Daniel José Older has been rising in the spec-fiction world, getting  stories published in Strange Horizons, Flash Fiction, Crossed Genres, and The Innsmouth Free Press, even though others have ignored him. Whatever kind of Latino he is, the dude's first novel is going to burn up U.S. spec literature, much like Junot Díaz scorched "literary" fiction with his novels.

I mentioned him two weeks ago and am now halfway through his Half-Resurrection Blues, the first in his Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series. I can already say: You. Should. Read. It. It's more than horror or noir. More than spec mystery. And definitely Latino. I don't how he performs in public, but if he shows up in Colo., I'll be there. His first novel is one page after another of 21st Century prose, and not regular "horror." I'll leave the rest for later, but here's a note from the writer that Publishers Weekly hailed as a “rising star of the genre, striking and original.

"I'm so excited to announce the release of my first novel, Half-Resurrection Blues, about a half-dead hitman in Brooklyn trying to uncover the secret behind his mysterious life and death. Order it here." You can read about him.

How many Latino stories by us will The Big Book of Science Fiction contain?

Best-Book lists and anthologies of "the best" repeatedly come out with few or zero Latino authors. All we can do on our end, besides write great stories, is jump on opportunities that appear. Whether the gate-keepers let us in is of course another story. But here's an invitation from Jeff VanderMeer and Ann VanderMeer. They are editing The Big Book of Science Fiction for Vintage and are soliciting suggestions until the end of March for a massive anthology of more than 500,000 words, scheduled for 2016 publication.

"The Big Book of Science Fiction will contain short stories originally published during the period 1900 to 2000, any work of fiction under 10,000 words. Works under 6,000 words will have the best chance. We define “science fiction” very broadly, from realistic hard SF all the way to surreal material with a science fiction flavor. This includes what might be called “science fiction myths.” However, we do not define SF as including traditional stories about ghosts, zombies, werewolves, vampires, unicorns, etc.

"We are very interested in international SF originally written in English and in existing translations of international SF originally published in a language other than English. We will commission a limited number of new translations and would love recommendations if you read in a language other than English and have encountered a mind-blowing story. We have translator resources in place already."

If you're a Latino who's written such stories, get the word out to your fans. Latinos' stories will not make the cut if the readers do not suggest any. Check out the details.

PoC Time Travel anthology
La Bloga received a request to spread this news:

Co-editor, Heidi Durrow (NYT best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky) and I are putting together an anthology about Time Travel. Have you ever wanted to time travel? It sounds fun, unless you're from an under-represented community and then it might be not only NOT fun, but downright dangerous. Imagine being Japanese American during World War II, mixed during slavery or in the Jim Crow South, or LGBTQ, well, at any point in our history.

We are looking for writers to submit proposals for short stories (5–10 thousand words) featuring a character from an under-represented community, traveling to some time period before this one. And that's where you come in. We were hoping you could help spread the word to all of your writers and contacts. Please send proposals or questions to: Time.Traveling.4.All.of.Us ALA Deadline for proposals is Feb. 14, 2015. Details on the flyer.

Koji Steven Sakai [Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, will be released by the fantasy imprint of Zharme Publishing Press in 2015.

Alfredo Vea – un chisme
An Internet rumor going around regarding spec genres: "I just read a manuscript by Alfredo Vea that's going to blow the roof off that subject when Oklahoma University Press publishes the novel."

Es todo, hoy, but debe ser suficiente,
RudyG, not a rising Chicano spec author, apparently more like, floating


Daniel A. Olivas said...

Excellent post! So many great things happening with great writers. By the way, my interview with Daniel José Older about his new novel runs this Monday on La Bloga.

Viva Liz Vega! said...

I admire Sam Quinoñes very much. He does important investigative work in our communities. I highly recommend his book, Antonio's gun and Delfino's dream.

Great column

Anonymous said...

Simón, Liz. Every Chicano should read him. Every Anglo, too. He's a Sentinel straddling the border. With the ganas and guts of the youth. - RudyG