Thus, La Bruja in the Orchard Kindle edition will be free! Free! Free! October 31 through November 1.
If you want to give me a Halloween Treat:
1. Download the book.
2. Tell your friends about this awesome deal!
3. Read the book.
4. Give it a positive review! (You can just give it 5 stars, but a few favorable words won't hurt.)
5. Tell you friends about this awesome deal!
Why are reviews important? They boost exposure and sales. Plus, I am laying the foundation for the launch of my novel The Harvest, which I hope will be accepted for publication in 2019.
Treat yourself to my book! #barrioblues
These last few weeks, I've had the writing blahs. Mostly, I think I've been tired, so I have been sneaking in writing time whenever I can, so I don't go crazy from wanting to write.
Yesterday, I talked cover concepts with my friend Brett. Today, I actually spent a few hours going over my short stories, and then I grew a pair of balls and asked my friend Todd Heldt to read "El Encantado". Now, Todd is a fucking amazing writer. His book Jukebox Loser tells me so. Also, I know he will tell me if he thinks the story is garbage.
In short, I am happy with the progress I made this evening. I immersed myself in the writing like I wanted to. I also have one more story to write, so enough of my self-analysis.
Stay tuned for a one day giveaway of a story my friends pick for Halloween!
Immerse yourself in your writing, preferably with a glass of wine. #barrioblues
Ever feel like this about your writing?
There's only one cure: To write.
So, write. #Barrioblues
The question hit home for me as I was reading Misery for the first time. In that story, you don't know the main character's full name until chapter 3 or so. You find out more about his identity in later chapters, an identity which of course is central to the story. Obviously, a short story is, well, shorter, but I was looking through my own introductions, and sure enough, often I start with the main character's name.
So, I started tweaking the introduction of the third story in my collection Not Your Abuelita's Folktales. I do think the introduction below reads better, although I introduced two main characters in the same paragraph, which I will have to revise later. There are so many elements to consider, but first thing's first.
I have to finish all the stories before I take them apart and put them back together like a gorgeous puzzle. The work has to develop in the right stages, with time, and I have this vision of a nestling that has already hatched, has grown but should not be set off to fly too soon. Or else, it will crash and die.
Right now, the collection is at 85 pages, and I am aiming for two more stories. Well, I'm off to write and write and write some more.
Analyze to improve, but don't rip your work apart. #barrioblues
"El Encantado" (The Enchanted One)
He spied her in the mirror’s reflection. She had gorgeous golden hair and almost silver eyes. Her face had what the gueros called a sweet heart shape, though a bit elongated, with a perfect nose and kissable lips. Her eyes are what had attracted him the most; she had enormous, kind eyes that never judged anyone. Her skin was flawless, and he swore glowed. She was slender like an alfalfa stalk, and when she smiled and eyes sparkled, his heart would melt. If her father could see him spying from the window, he would shoot him on the spot. He peeked over the expansive ranch-style window, with imprisoning bars, but she was so absorbed with her primping and beautifying that she paid no mind to him. It was a hot July summer day, in Yuma, Arizona, and despite the heat she looked fresh. How did she manage to keep her hair so bouncy when he was sweating like a pig? “Girl, you’re perfect. You don’t need all of that on your face,” he whispered, tracing a circle around his own face.
An acidic hiss startled him out of his adoration. There was the ugly black mangy cat she loved so much, Nightling. It hissed again with all of its hair standing on end.
“Mind your own business!” he hissed back. He peeked one more time through the window, and she looked up, but he ducked before she saw him. Beto crept back towards the desert. The ugly trailer he called home was just over the wall, just a five-minute walk away. As he neared the property's end, he felt the hot breath of Mr. Stan’s hideous Rottweiler on his backside. It snarled and snapped sending spittle at his face. Beto screamed and ran so fast, he didn’t hear the cacophony of barks that followed his trail. The ugly beast neared and nipped so many times, but each time, Beto managed to avoid getting mangled or killed and practically leaped over the adobe wall that surrounded her property.
The dog only stopped and spun around when Sarah Isabelle Stan’s dulcet cries called him back. He wished with all of his heart she would someday call out to him like that. “Beto,” he whispered sweetly, imitating her voice in a high tone, “Oh, Beto, you’re so amazing! Damn, no one plays ball like you.” He took off his baseball shirt and mopped his brow. A. Andrades it read in embroidered black letters in the back, but he didn’t go by Alberto, but Beto for short. He took a deep breath, put his jersey back on, and left.
Recently, I was going through a weird morale/writing slump. I guess I had the barrio blues. Ha ha. Most of it is probably due to the weather change because when it gets colder I want to hibernate, so I haven't been able to get up at 3a.m to write. This morning I woke up with a lot of writing energy and was going to stay home, when my husband monkey-wrenched the writing session I had planned and asked, "Doesn't your morning go better when you go to church?" Duh.
Now, I am writing this blog on my laptop as we head for morning Mass. Afterwards, I am going to go back home and continue where I left off, book 3 in La Bruja del Barrio Loco.
I also finally narrowed down a title for my next collection Not Your Abuelita's Folk Tales. Thank you friends for the feedback. I can't wait to work with my friend on the next cover, and see how that title looks. I also have another cool title The Veil, which I may use instead of The Awakening. I like both titles. Of course, both The Awakening and The Veil are quite popular on Amazon, but oh well.
Finally, I am going to grow a pair of balls, again, and email the manager of 57th Street Books, to see if I can drop off a couple of copies of La Bruja del Barrio Loco. What do I have to lose? If he says no, well ni mido.
When you are feeling like you are all alone in your writing cave, get your friends and family to help out. #barrioblues
I'm going to write about something taboo, I suspect. But, screw it. It happens to everybody who self-publishes, I suspect. Maybe even folks who publish traditionally get these blues. You stare at your sales and wonder why they have flat lined. Surely your book merits a download or two. What is wrong with people?
Well, like the amateur that I am, I started to let the lack of sales bum me out. Then, I sold four copies! All is well in the Jesú universe again.
What really troubles me, of course, is when I find a gem like Jukebox Loser that hasn't gotten much exposure. How can that happen to such a great book? I have my books being advertised on at least four independent sites and Amazon, and I know more needs to be done.
Anyway, I also uplifted my own spirits because I had been complaining that I can't get up in the mornings to write. So, I decided to sit my butt on the chair and just go. I am currently working on The Awakening (#3 in La Bruja del Barrio Loco Series). It is another speculative fiction piece about witchcraft, but it takes place in the future. Stay tuned. I'm not giving myself arbitrary deadlines, just putting books out in their due time.
Well, I am about to pester the designer of my last book because even though it looks cool in print, the e-book cover is hard to read digitally. I may have to go with the white font color altogether. I also am working with my friend who took the author photos. He is going to do me a solid and design the cover of my short story collection for free because my union could go on strike, and I did invest way too much money on the last four books. (Don't ask me how much.)
Uplift yourself and keep writing! #barrioblues
I tried writing this morning, but the kids are running around the house. Instead I revised some of my work and went over "The Awakening", so I could continue writing it. I need more story ideas for my collection, so I am doing memory work on stories my dad and mom told me growing up. I haven't done one on the cucuy, which is basically a boogeyman story. So we'll see what emerges. I'm going to go old school and literally brainstorm on my laptop.
Yesterday, I was visiting an author site, and someone asked if other writers used flashbacks in a story. I thought to myself, "How can you avoid flashbacks?" I probably have too many flashbacks in my stories and should challenge myself to have fewer flashbacks. One challenge at a time.
It is really hard not to use adult language in my stories. I noticed there was an "F" bomb in "El Encantado", so I had to change it. I am sure there will be more potty words.
Well, my mother duty calls. I have to make lunch for #2.
Stay productive. #barrioblues
This morning, I woke up thinking about Stephen King titles: Skeleton Crew, It, The Stand, The Long Walk (ahem I titled mine before I realized he had a novel titled the same), etc. Short punchy titles do the trick for his novels. I am still working on my young adult story collection, and NOTHING is really coming to me for the name. It's not done yet, so I hope when I finish the title will emerge magically.
Of course, that is not how it's going to happen, and I'm worried the name will be something like Magical Barrio Stories, but that doesn't quite capture the essence of the collection.
I have also been thinking a lot about the kinds of writing I like and how much time I actually need to spend on my craft. I want to spend the time my work deserves from the words to sentences to passages and that may be part of the reason the collection is taking longer than I expected. Regular work has also been busy. However, I am going to start revising the novel on days I don't have the energy to write.
I just have to rethink my writing schedule, as union obligations and papers pile up. I find that I am sneaking writing time between meetings and grading. I put in about an hour today and will spend a few more minutes writing before I go to bed. I just miss having a morning block. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to get up at early.
Well, it's time to write or revise or pass out while watching cooking documentaries.
Hang on to that thread. #barriobules
Only I would try to keep publishing books while we prepare for a strike. Even so, I am back on a regular writing schedule. I can't seem to get up at 3a.m. without my daughter waking up, so I am getting up at 6a.m. and going back to car writing. Of course, weekends are fruitful. Last Saturday, I finished "El Encantado" and now, I'm in the process of revising it.
I also got some great feedback from a new beta reader, and I am inputting corrections into "Rita vs the Duende". That one I feel pretty good about. The other two need more work on the pacing, especially the last story, which is shaping up to be one of my favorite new pieces.
I also have to start revising my novel, but I need a bit more time for that. Originally, I was going to send query letters this month, but I think I will have to wait until the December break to really sit down and research publishing houses.
This November, I am also going to sell books for the first time at a Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair on November 17, (I am donating 10 of my books to the People's Tribune) and I have sales and giveaway scheduled for November 22 and 23. Sadly, the last Labor Day giveaway resulted in no book reviews. :( In any case, I hope folks read my book La Bruja del Barrio Loco and enjoyed it.
This morning, I also crafted the next newsletter, and it looks great! I will probably put two out in October, since September got away from me with all of this labor organizing.
Well, stay true to your craft. The universe will be better for it.
Keep on! #barrioblues
Dr. Jesú Estrada,