Thursday, July 30, 2009

For Writers

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Using Body Language and Vocal Gestures to Create More Believable Characters
Online class August 10-September 5, 2009
Fee: $20 for OCC members $30 for non-members
For more information and registration, visit OCC RWA.

Writing Workshops with Author, Playwright & Screenwriter Josefina Lopez
WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 2009
7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Beginning Writing
8:00 - 9:30 p.m. Intermediate Writing
9:30 - 11:00 p.m. Advanced Writing

Fee: $10.00 suggested donation for each class (all three in one evening or just one). No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Brooklyn & Boyle Literary and Artistic Salon, 2003 E. First St., L.A., CA 90033, in Boyle Heights.

Go to CASA to reserve your spot or call (323) 263-7684.

Five-Week Creative Writing Workshop by Reyna Grande, 2007 American Book Award winner and author of Across a Hundred Mountains
Starting Sept. 1
Fee: $125.00
Libreria Martinez—Lynwood (in Plaza Mexico)
To register:


Los Angeles Latino Book & Family Festival
California State University Los Angeles (CSULA)
October 10-11, 2009

Special events taking place at this year's festival include over 15 panels and seminars including:
· Chicas, Chicanas & Latinas: A Panel of Contemporary Female Authors
· Latino LA: The City of Angels through Poetry, Journalism and Fiction
· Border Stories: Writing About the Immigrant Experience
· History Past & Present in the U.S. Latino Novel
· Writing for the Big Screen
· Editors & Agents: What's Hot in the Publishing Industry
· Writing Historical Fiction
· The Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing
· Chicano Thought & Art
· Barrio Stories: Inspirational Stories of Survival

San Diego County Library's First Annual Literary Event, "Page One: Celebration of the Written Word"
October 16-18, 2009

More info coming soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Latin Heat Online - REVIEW: One Hot Summer Delivers on Different Levels

Latin Heat Online - REVIEW: One Hot Summer Delivers on Different Levels

Every writer dreams of seeing her book or short story made into a movie. (I know I do!)

When I heard about Lifetime's new movie, One Hot Summer, I cheered for Author Carolina Garcia-Aguilera and screenwriters Nancy de Los Santos and Gloria Calderon Kellet. To me, this is a sign that our stories are making it!

But then I realized I'd missed the movie, which aired yesterday, because uh, no one said a peep! I never saw a commercial on Lifetime, even while watching Nora Robert's Midnight Bayou. The preview is not on Lifetime's home page ... you have to dig to find it and for your viewing pleasure, I posted it following this minor rant.

So I hope audiences tuned in and when the movie airs again, I'll make sure to catch it. (It looks cute!) But seriously man, a little notice would help! But to prevent this from happening again, I fanned up on Lifetime's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, July 20, 2009

And speaking of signs...

When I logged into my Facebook page last night, Selina McLemore left me a little present that Latina Magazine choose Names I Call My Sister and In Between Men for their Top 10 Summer Reads!

No way! WAY!!!

So back to last night ... Just when I was about to shake my groove thing, the Little Dude peed all over the bathroom floor. You know what I did? I let Daddy clean it up while I basked in my glory.

Shake you groove thing, shake your groove thing oh yeah!
Show 'em how you do it now
And now its back to work but with a smile on my face.

Thanks Selina! And MUCHAS GRACIAS Latina Magazine!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mariachi On the Endangered List

Not if I have anything to do with it!

What the heck am I talking about? Check out this video.

Ever since I started rewriting "The Ballad of Aracely Calderon" (aka the mariachi book), I've been given "signs" that seem to say that I'm doing the right thing.

The day before I started, I was driving to pick up the Little Dude from school and saw an Astro Van crammed with men in trajes and a sign on the window that said, "Mariachi de Cantares." Today, when I hit the wall with chapter two, I stumbled upon this video.

Like I said in my previous entry, experience and confidence aren't enough to finish a book. Faith and an open mind are underrated. Sometimes I need a sign or a little karmic nudge to keep on going. I'll just keep my eyes, ears and mind open and see what happens next.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Beginner's Mind

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few.

-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

This week I began a page one rewrite of my mariachi book. I know, I know. I've been working on this book for three years. The writing experts would've told me to give up and move on to more profitable pastures. Actually, three years ago I would've told myself the same thing.

But the last eight weeks (and being dumped by my agent) have shown me the number one reason why this book has yet to fly. It's not the fault of my agents or readers. It's not because the market sucks or Mercury in retrograde. It's because I worked on it with the mind that I knew what I was doing.

I'm not saying that this journey has been wrong. I'm not blaming anyone or anything or labeling my decisions as mistakes. In fact, I'm beginning to waver on the concept of right versus wrong and adopting the idea of "what is." (Note to Karen Maezen Miller: you're rubbing off on me, comadre!) For us Westerners, specifically for us writers striving to become published/acknowledged/adored, the idea of "it is what it is" is wrong and scary and exclusive to authors with a lot of money and mileage on the best-seller lists.

Through all of May and June I wrote a pilot script, a series treatment and then a spec script. I began those projects never having taken a TV writing course or having written a script for TV. (Although I'd taken screenwriting courses in university, that was 15 years ago and I'd lost those class notes!) How did I do it? Well, I did it by pinching my nose and jumping in. This journey turned everything I had believed in as a writer upside down. I believed in business plans, outlines, the three-act structure and 10,000 hours of practice. I believed that I had to get away from my beginner's status as quickly and efficiently as possible. I even believed that my producer should have hired an experienced screenwriter instead of a beginner like me.

But then I remembered what Nora Roberts had said in one her chat sessions back in 1994. Someone asked if she ever got over the fear of writing a new book. Nora, who has written something like 120+ books in her career, replied, "No. Starting a new book is like starting all over again."

At the time, I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought it was nice of Nora to say that to all us beginners, but now I know what she meant and it freed me to write the pilot, spec and treatment. No matter how many books or screenplays I may end up writing, I will always be a beginner. It's not scary or discouraging. A beginner's mind isn't hemmed in by business plans, right vs. wrong, plot-driven or character-driven or the three-act structure. A beginner's mind damns the consequences and is open to spontaniety and "what if." Isn't that what we writers do?