I was thinking, what can I do to thank people who subscribe to my newsletter and follow my Facebook Author page? Those of you who know me in real life, know that I love to throw parties, but lately, my husband has been squashing my grandiose soirees, and I thought, what about a virtual party? The people here in Chicago could actually eat and drink, and folks who attend virtually could win prizes. This would be a test because it’s important to see what might go wrong, or right. (The idea was inspired by Pagan Malcolm who just did a virtual book release for her book. You can visit the site for her amazing new book Lanterns in the Sky.)
I do want to have a real launch party for my fifth book, Not Your Abuelita's Folktales, and do a reading. That portion would be Live Streamed, but that's as far as I've gotten in the planning. All I know is that I want to make it fun, since it will be my first-ever book release party, real or online, and it will have to take place during Spring Break.
I also got some cover concepts from my friend, and they look great! Now, it's up to me to finalize this bad boy. Everything in due time.
It's midterms, and I have to grade papers with rad energy.
Keep dreaming big and write as though it were your last day. #barrioblues
I have a number of exciting projects in the works. First, I am crafting a book launch video. Now, I did a Facebook poll, and not surprisingly, most people did not know what a book launch video was. Truthfully, I don't know if the video will lead to more sales, but it will get more exposure and make my social media sites more interesting. There is a sample of a professionally produced one below. If I do it, it won't be that fancy, and I want the content to be great. This one below isn't as clear, but still interesting to watch.
My other bit of good news for newsletter subscribers is that I am working on a science fiction story for my next freebie. The story is tentatively titled: "Never Have I Ever, Slept with My Clone". It will obviously be about cloning, but not smut. I am excited to write that piece!
Finally, I am revising my novel on schedule. In fact, I woke up twice this night at 11p.m. and 4a.m., and I worked on an Alan chapter. I hope to have the revision done by August 2019, but at the rate I'm going, I might be done sooner. Fingers crossed!
Well, have a great writing day! #barrioblues
Below is an excerpt of the first chapter of my novel, which I am revising. I hope to be done before August 2019. I welcome constructive feedback in the comments.
You can read the full chapter in The Harvest tab.
Chapter 1: Ashley Packer
My mother hands me an old gallon container; this one is grey without a filter. I look out the window and see no Red Guards on the street. No Guards means no Harvest, most of the time.
“Now, Ashley,” says my mother, as if I haven’t been doing this run since I was six years old, “Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t stay out in the sun too long. If you hear the sirens, run to the old bunker. Just last week, Mrs. Ramirez’s boy was harvested right before he got to his safe spot. You can’t hide here during harvest.” Her faded grey eyes are still beautiful, and I want to trace that deep indentation with my finger, but caring too much is a sign of weakness.
“Mom,” I sigh looking at her weary face. She is leaner than I remember with ever graying hair and perpetual orange stains on her hands and face from the processing plant. Her hair is a knot over her head with nothing holding it tight but a wispy strand of her own dwindling hair. I want to give her a biting remark, as really, I should outrank her because I am more productive now, but instead I smile and say, “Don’t worry Mom. I’m the fastest runner in my class and besides, there was just a harvest yesterday.”
I had a lot of profound things to say about my amazing beta readers from The Inner Circle Writing group, but I will have to keep it short, since I’m tired from making dinner and baking birthday cupcakes for my little girl. Yesterday was an awesome day. I got two new writers to read over my story "Barrio Blues," and they both suggested that I revise the ending. My rule of thumb is that if two or more people give me criticism on the same issue, I should pay attention. My friend Todd Heldt also gave me feedback on my piece of flash fiction. He offered a lot of areas to improve. Thank you all from the bottom of my corazon!
In turn, I had the pleasure of giving feedback to one piece of flash fiction and a science fiction short story. I was maybe a little heavy handed on the corrections, but that is the kind of feedback I like to get.
Anyway, I am really tuckered out because this morning, I got up at 3a.m. and revised my novel. I got to page 55, which is pretty good. When I finish, I’m going to see who will give it a full read. (The beta readers will scatter!)
Well, I hope you had a great writing day! #barrioblues
You need this macabre piece of magical realism for your commute to work.
************Excerpt from the Intro. ************
Elisa cursed under her breath, “Fucking whore!” She touched her lower lip which was bleeding a steady stream of heat. She checked her teeth with her tongue and found none were loose. She held back her tears, and let herself be imbued by pure rage. Elisa visualized every detail of how she would tear that bitch apart, starting with her hair and splitting her cunt with the buck knife in her tool box. That is if the police hadn’t found it, but she was sure they had. It had been a gift from her father, so she wouldn’t be defenseless on the streets of Chicago. A lot of good it had done her to keep her family safe.
What one bit of advice would you give writers? I just wrote an article about this for the Inner Circle Magazine, and my article was accepted, so I will wait to post mine later this week.
What is your sage suggestion? Post it in the comments below!
Also, I am live-streaming videos each Sunday. Feel free to friend me on Facebook or follow my Author site! Check it out!
Have an amazing writing day! #barrioblues
What kind of writer do you want to be? And by that I don't mean the writing you do or how you write. I mean what kind of human being do you want to be? I have been shaping the answer to this question, even though I wasn't fully aware of it. I want to be a supportive writer that builds a writing family.
In practice, I am already this person or try very hard to be, but I read this great book for Authors Publishing (which is free when you subscribe), How to Promote Your Book by Caitlin Jans, and in it she writes about how she builds community. I was deeply inspired by how she makes herself available to people on her author Facebook page. Then I thought, What else can I do to be supportive of other writers, especially young writers and writers of color and working class writers? Recently, I have been reviewing other Facebook Author pages, but there is no reason I can't promote their books or throw in a review every now and then.
I also revived the Harold Washington Creative Students and Friends Creative Writing Group. The name sucks, but I want to make that group useful and supportive of the members. My current students can't be in it, but past students can. Besides, I wish I had had that kind of support after I finished my CW classes. Nobody should write in isolation or a vacuum, unless that is what they prefer.
Writing should be a communal act. That's what I hope to make it every day.
Oh, and on the real time front, I got my first poetry rejection! I am so excited to be submitting my work on a weekly basis, even if it comes with rejections like these, and this one was pretty kind:
Thank you for sharing your work with us. While we enjoyed reviewing your poem, unfortunately, it is not a right fit for us at this time. We sincerely wish you the very best in placing your work elsewhere. Happy writing!
Team Sonic Boom
That's all I have for now. I hope you are having a great Sunday and that you get a lot of great writing done!
Be your awesome writer selves, to the max! #barrioblues
This morning I woke up at 4a.m. and revised more sections of my novel. I am filling in more of the narrative and am really pleased with how it is shaping up. Then, I got distracted because I couldn't shake the advice Eric Allen Yankee gave me to create nice books for my newsletter subscribers. It's not just a marketing gimmick, but a genuine thank you.
I ended up doing just that this morning and posted the ebook on Smashwords of "La Lechuza". Yesterday evening, I did send out a *.pdf of that story along with the newsletter, but thus far, I haven't gotten any feedback on whether people like the *.pdf of the story or not. You can see the cover of the story below, which is probably one of my best ones I've designed, but it is easier to craft ebook covers versus print.
I also cut loose and had a great time writing "La Lechuza". I consider it a piece of flash fiction, and I will most likely submit it to contests, if the editors don't consider free ebooks as publications. Truth is, I may collect all of these shorts into a special collection some day. I also wrote a 50 word short for the Inner Circle's Flash Fiction Friday; this excellent Facebook group has a call for Flash Fiction due late April, 1,000 words:
The disheveled angel in her living room was drunk, again. By now, Carla Mendoza with her reality TV education realized it was having a pelagic crisis. She prayed a stillborn plea that landed squarely on its ears.
It stirred and said, -Mas tequila.-
“Say please, you sin vergüenza.”
Well, let's just say its has been a great morning. Now, I need to work on my collection for another hour and then grade papers and short stories. Truth is the house has reached a crisis point, as was evident last night when I took over an hour to wash dishes. What a victory it was to see the bottom of the sink!
Whatever you do today, have fun! #barrioblues
As many of you know, I have been busy negotiating the contract for faculty on top of teaching and raising small kids. However, today, I finally delivered on the promise to write a unique short story for my newsletter subscribers. It is called "La Lechuza", a short magical realism piece about witches that can turn into owls, and I am finalizing it tonight.
The newsletter also looks pretty good. It's a simple double sided newsletter with short articles on upcoming publications and giveaways. The next giveaway of all my current books is on Easter weekend.
That is all I did this morning, thanks to Aaron who helped me watch my daughter. Before the cavalry arrived, we had a great morning making pancakes, but it's hard to write and watch a Little at the same time. She and I watched Captain Underpants, and I was let down by the last episode of season 2. Still, I got a lot done.
Follow through on your writing promises, even if it takes a while. #barrioblues
Dr. Jesú Estrada,