I was at my intimate 10-year anniversary with that handsome man and supporter of my writing dreams, Aaron. It was an amazing time. Just for the record, I didn't get any writing done this morning not because of a hang over (I'm not remotely); I spent the morning evaluating placement essays, and they were pretty amazing.
So, last night I was at our anniversary dinner, and one of the regular readers of The Harvest, my novel draft, said she cried in the Alan section. Wait until she gets to chapter 18 because that section was pretty sad too. I was moved by her reaction, and am motivated to finish this piece more than ever. I love that my work, even in draft form, is having an impact on people. I also explained the evolution of the Ashley section, after my third glass of wine.
It just feels great to be able to discuss your novel to folks who are reading it.
Oh, and for folks who bought my first publication, your signed copies of the Long Walk are coming next week.
With that, I'm off to run union errands and attend union meetings. On another tangent, it has been a difficult week for labor in the U.S., especially public sector unions, but these anti-union conservative fucks are not going to break us, not with Janus, not with attacks on our pensions. Not today, not tomorrow. Solidarity forever, fascist assholes!
Celebrate your fans and true love. #Resist!
First, I managed to get more of this draft done: The Harvest. So, the characters are in Mexico, and I am having fun scheming how much better Mexico is going to be than the U.S. Not perfect, but better.
The refuge where Alan and Cherry are going is an ejido, shaped out of one I used to visit as a child. However, Alan and the gang are going to face a real challenge with Toro, who does not believe in the Mexico's communal philosophy. Toro will be corrupted by promises from the former-U.S. What can I say? There are greedy fucks in all timelines, real or imagined.
Now, on a totally different note, today I celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary with my amazing, supportive amor, Aaron. We were going to go to the original restaurant, Reza's, where had our first date. Then, I remembered he prefers the other location, so we are going there instead. I can't wait to drink some wine and break bread with friends. I am very blessed to have a community that supports us!
OK, so, duty calls. I have to read placement essays and short stories. But, you there keep writing!
May you reach your writing dreams today. #Resist
First, the much deserved thank you to the editors of La Bloga. My poem was posted online on La Bloga's poetry section of Flor y Canto. That is a huge honor for me!
Unfortunately, I opened my big mouth and told my older brother, who is no doubt blabbing the news to my parents. He wants to post his own poetry, so I sent him the url, which I may regret later because he will tell my dad I was talking shit about him. It's like that one time when I was performing for 100 Poets for Change in 2017 and thanks to my older sister, he got the damn Facebook video, which I uploaded, and my brother played it for my dad over and over. Mind you, my dad is the reason I weave poetry, as he is quite the rhyming poet and singer himself. Well, of course, all the political content of that poem "True Faith in Unity" was totally lost to him. My Dad only cared about the cursing and how good I looked. Sigh. Familia.
This morning, I was tired from all the long meetings and early morning writing, so I got none of my novel The Harvest done. I plan on hitting it hard tonight and slowing down the pacing to capture the new environment where Alan is going, to south of the border in what used to be an ejido hidden from tourists. The c-ervants will play an important role in this chapter.
What did I do this morning? I designed the manuscript for Wolf Trek. I sent it to the editor, Elizabeth Marino, and cover designer. I am so excited to see what he will spin out! I sent him some prototypes of other covers, but I am open. Look, my first cover design of The Long Walk on Smashwords was rather limited (I almost said ugly). I have sold one copy of La Bruja in the Orchard there, probably because of the cover.
Amazon is a different story. The printed copies are taking off, and that makes me very happy! I also got kudos from Luis Rodriguez, and I may pester him for support on my novel. But, it's not about the sales. It's about the love of writing, and I am so glad to see the improvement, book to book (and poem by poem). I really think folks are going to enjoy Wolf Trek.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to my new Creative Writing group! It is meant for busy HW students and writer friends. I wanted to highlight one of the author sites from a former creative writing student, Brenda Halter: www.brendahalter.com/ Her story draft "The Advantage" is awesome! You can read it on her author site; I'm sure she would love comments on it!
Well, have a fantastic, productive Wednesday. I will be posting more of my novel draft later tonight.
Celebrate your writing victories with some quality tequila (I will tonight)! #Resist
This early morning, at 2a.m., I woke up with this urge to revise Wolf Trek, my next short that is coming out next week. (Did I mention that I farmed out the cover for that story! Yes! I can't wait.) This story is one I struggled to finish, so it's a real accomplishment to have it done. Just now, in the revision process, I hacked off six pages. The writing in those eliminated pages is solid, but it will leave too many loose ends. Besides, I may write a part 2 to it. We will see.
So in that revision process of the current story, the "damn" versus "damned" internal debate came up. I struggle with when to use damn or damned, so like a noob, I looked it up online. Guess what? They are interchangeable, and both can be adjectives or adverbs. So, fuck it. I stuck with damn for spoken English and damned for emphasis.
So, it is almost 4a.m., and I did my due diligence. I am quite happy with the additions, and can't wait to launch this story into the world. I just have to find the right divider images for the book design. I am obvi looking for a wolf one.
I hope you all have a productive day. I will post more of The Harvest later on this evening because that novel draft will get done this month, damn it.
Dream, wake, and write, but write. #Resist
I gave myself the goal of finishing the novel The Harvest by this month. I'm still hitting it hard, and I did get past 350 pages, which is awesome! Still, I'm moving forward like I can finish the full draft by this month. Go with it.
I do have a plan of sending query letters out by October, regardless of where the writing stage is at. The genre is still pretty hot, so I will go with big and small presses, and Arte Publico Press, too. You never know.
Anyway, this morning, I did spend what time I could writing. Now, I'm off to prepare to teach my amazing students. I am so blessed!
Oh, on a final note, "Wolf Trek" should be out next week. I can't wait to see the cover the designer is putting together!
Write, write, write, and don't ever stop. #Resist!
I'm still in my writing cave, for a few hours. The writing process has been slow because I needed to rest. I suspect, I'm a little weary from getting up at 3a.m. or earlier to write, ahem. Anyway, I did sleep in and take a nap, yesterday, but I am 1/3 of the way through my goal of writing 100 more pages of my novel, The Harvest.
I know I am rushing the pacing now, and I had Ashley connect with Alan's parents. I won't spoil what happens, but it's the direction the novel is taking now. That is why revising is so important. Yeah, the clean-up, when you have that massive hangover.
Anyway, I'm off to get writing-drunk. In real life, the kids are going to the pool. Then, we will go to our favorite restaurant Indian in Champaign, IL.
Enjoying Life=Writing (and Peace)
Oh, and on a random note, there are still many of my friends who are not aware that I published two books on Amazon. I guess a personal message won't hurt. You can buy my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=dr.+maria+j.+estrada&sprefix=Dr.+Maria+J.+%2Caps%2C176&crid=3U31QUCOI9N1H. Half of the profits for a year will go towards a strike fund. Also, students can have the *.pdf for free, upon request.
Enjoy life, but hide in the writing cave to finish. #Resist!
Do you have your weekend writing goals all lined up? I do! I have to birth 100 pages of my down draft The Harvest novel, as in I have to get the draft down, as Lamott suggests. I hope to have the draft done by the end of this month. Yes, in eight days.
(Shut up! It's going to happen, you naysayer on the right!)
I mean, I've been writing this novel since I was an undergrad and revised or restarted it a number of times, so it's at least 10 years old in the making, ahem. This time, it's flowing in first-person limited point of view with a gender shift. I still kept a lot of the original story, but it has since, like the last 100 pages or more, done it's own thing. The characters decided to get cyber-modified; it wasn't enough that the women in the book were being geneticized to be cat-like. No, that wasn't sufficient to guarantee this fucked up matriarchy. Yes, all systems of power where others are exploited and oppressed are fucked up. So it flows.
On a random, but really exciting note, La Bloga where I have been wanting to submit work is publishing "Lo Tierno"! Woo hoo! In fact, this morning I woke up with this poem spinning from my throat and out of my mouth. It woudn't let me sleep at 2a.m. Of course, this other bit of great news distracted me, and I still have to write the poem. It's still there, up there, most of it. I want to write a poem about speaking together towards revolution in a flow state. The concept is very cool in my head. It's an image poem.
Well, I have Union grievances to tend to, and I clearly woke up too early. That means I will have to be hyper-vigilant of typos all day and the stupid shit that comes out of my mouth when I'm tired.
The kids should be very entertained and my husband confused.
Let inspiration take over, whatever hurricane that is for you, and write that shit down before you forget it. #Flow,JustFlow
-Why? The first is obvious. I want my covers to pop, and I need a cover I can post in multiple forums, not just Amazon. Plus, my next story coming out is longer, around 150 pages, and will require a spine. I'm not messing with that.
The copy-editor is a definite. I don't want to have to re post my manuscript because I put an extra fucking period somewhere or misspelled a damned word. Oh my Lord! I detest typos. My content editor gave me advice about reading for different issues at once, spelling, punctuation, grammar and I am going to try that. Copy-editing is not the same as grading student papers. Duh. I had a writing friend recommend her copy-editor. I am willing to try her for Wolf Trek.
I was also shooting the shit with my friend Eric Yankee who is amazing at selling online, under a sexy pseudonym, like on the top 10 for romance, and I was picking his brain about the KDP (Kindle Direct) program. Do any of you use Amazon's unlimited Kindle program? I am having Aaron read the guidelines for it because I want to be able to give the *.pdfs to my students, and if I can't do that, forget it.
In the end, it's about the writing and getting better at the craft.
That is why this weekend, I am going to try to crank out 100 pages of my novel draft The Harvest and only work on that. I am going to finish this draft in June, yes this month, or so help me, I will extend the deadline to July. Ha ha ha.
Well, stay accountable and keep writing.
Meet your writing goals! If not, reset them, so you can kill them. #Resist!
This post is going to be short because today is the first day my creative writing students workshop stories, and as ever, I am probably giving them too much feedback.
Hey, it's a gift. Interpret that how you must.
For the past couple of days, I have been thinking about the limited point of view in The Harvest, and whether I should make one character's POV omniscient. After bouncing ideas around in a writing group I am in on Facebook with other relatively new writers, I decided that I want to keep that sense of discovery for both characters. Readers who come here regularly, what do you think?
I also keep having this occasional "Of FUCK!!!" moment because I did say I was going to finish the full draft this month, and that will mean I really have write like a maniac. I have to make a herculean effort. If not, I will have to extend the deadline. I mean, I have accomplished a lot this summer, and I don't want to exhaust myself because I do teach full-time and run my union chapter. So, we will see what compassionate mods I need to make to my June deadline. There are some future road trips that will give me concentrated time to write, but we will see because those won't be until July.
On a final victory dance, my printed pub of La Bruja in the Orchard was approved on Amazon. I am just waiting for it to go live: To be continued, probably later on today. I do regret not admitting somewhere in that book that the inspiration from that story came from Stephen King's "Gramma". I know a lot of writers owe a gratitude of debt to King, and this brown girl survived the boredom from the barrio and decided to be a writer in great part because of him. So there. Thank you Stephen King, and if you have not read his story, please do. It is in the Skeleton Crew collection. It is still terrifying.
Tip your hat off to whatever master inspired you and get back to work. #Resist!
Yes, friends and readers, I spent most of last night and this morning putting the finishing touches on La Bruja in the Orchard. For some reason, that took longer than the last book, probably because I was going for "perfect," which is not necessarily a bad thing, except that I didn't spend any time working on my novel The Harvest.
La Bruja in the Orchard is a real beauty. I learned a lot since the one I put out over the weekend, mostly that my books sell on Amazon, which is better known than Smashwords.
In terms of my ongoing novel, I decided to start sending query letters in October or earlier, but I definitely want to finish the full draft this month and start revising immediately afterwards. That story needs to get out and done because other stories are competing for attention and waking me up at odd hours. I am thinking of spreading my wings to a Murder on the Strike Line series and donating a good portion of those profits toward a strike fund in my union chapter because, we may very well be on strike over this contract.
This week, I also reached out a to a graphic designer to see if he would be willing to design my next two book covers since those will require a spine. (He just responded, and turns out he does more photography, which is fine. I need a good head shot.) If not, I am using fiverr after all, which offers a range of prices. I don't want to needlessly invest money on design aspects I can do myself. In fact, I am growing more confident in my book production abilities, and my editing skills. I had agonized for so long that I needed an idea reader, and I don't think I do anymore, at least not for these shorts. Watch, I'll end up finding one after all.
Well, I'm off to union meetings! Solidarity all.
Grow, grow, grow and produce beautiful books! #Resist!
Dr. Jesú Estrada,