The May end-of-the-school-year craziness is gone, and I've only got 6 more days of summer school! But my students have been awesome, and we have spent so much time on things I don't get to focus on during the regular school year, such the legacy of the Latin American conquest, Latina/o art and literature, local Valley history,the political and social changes in African culture, Things Fall Apart, Nigerian oil and government, and a Great Depression/New Deal media project...pretty good for two week semesters and pretty good for getting lots of learning done!
So, starting today I'm ready to blog at least once or twice a week.
First...some exciting news! Cinco Punto Press requested a full manuscript of my YA Latina verse novel, Always Near You. Unfortunatly, they passed on my novel, but I got a long email reply from one of the editors which is almost unheard of the publishing world. They found my novel relevant and enjoyed the writing, but wanted to see a bit more plot in some parts rather than focusing on the verse. Plus, they want me to send more queries over other stories once I am ready.
Meanwhile, Rene Saldana, YA Latino writer, wants to read my novel! It's a long story, but basically I sent him a short story, "September Lagoon" for a YA anthology he is editting focusing on writers from the Rio Grande Valley writing about teens living along the border. Hopefully, he will accept my story and also enjoy my novel. He also sent me a very long email with insight into publishing and advice on how to proceed with my novel.
Also, I am writing a review for a new novel by Diana Lopez, Choke, and it is going to be published in Texas Books in Review and also in Southwestern American Literature. Amazing! Of course, I will post snippets here and take out some of the formality. But I am so honored! Basically, my former thesis professor recommended my name to both journals and they agreed even without ever having read anything I've written. My review will be published in late summer. I can't wait!
I also plan to contact Diana Lopez, and hopefully she can visit with us either through a guest post or interview questions or something else. I really admire her for doing something that I think is extraordinary...she is writing YA with Latina/o characters who break stereotypes. Her characters are the every day teenagers with Spanish last names. We dominate in South Texas, especially in deep South Texas where all schools are about 90% Hispanic. I'm not joking. So, for her to write Confetti Girl and Choke? Both of these novels are so relevant. We see ourselves in her novels. and we see how she portrays us the way we see ourselves--regular Americans who like to eat breakfast tacos and who are able to enjoy middle class lifestyles. For instance, in Choke, the main character's mother is a nurse and her father is a radio weather forecaster. She understands the Spanish phrases her parent use once in a while and shows an appreciation for her ethnicity without focusing on her ethnicity. That's what I want to do!
Be back later this week. I will have a review of Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick.